Artists Book - flag book, acrylic gelli print, gold leaf, paper, card
May 2016 – in my makeshift garden studio I noticed how May brought with it the strength of the Sun’s energy. In our Western weather system of rain and abundant Solway winds the heat and the power of the Midsummer Sun marched through, even if it was short lived and in sporadic bursts. I was taken aback by its sincere strength. Had I never noticed this before?
I painted my response to this observation in intuitive fashion, in watery inks and masking fluid.
I decided to put together this piece as part of a group exhibition with Cumbria Printmakers in 2017 – at the time of the Summer Solstice. The work focuses on a snap shot of time - momentary, transitory, powerful - my understanding of an incredible expression of a body within our cosmos.
SUMMER SOLSTICE - Wednesday 21st June 2017
Sun enters Cancer 05:24 BST
"At the Summer Solstice the Sun has reached its climax. It is the longest day of the year. The Summer Solstice is the midpoint of the year; the peak of the Sun’s power, even though from now on it will be waning. Summer Solstice is a time to celebrate the creative power of the Sun. It is a time to reflect on both, the process of becoming and the process of death."
In my work at the moment I am exploring Line and what Line means to me.
Line is a strong element of Sun Dance and forms part of my enquiry into Line.
As I read about the Sun's energy, I was drawn into another world of scientific line related language...
- coral mass ejections
- varied eruptions of mass and energy
- a continuous flow of charged particles
And I began to explore various types of threads and journeys they took across the surface of the gelli plate to create Sun Dance.
I am very much affected by the moon's energy and since childhood have looked up at Her in wonder. She left a lasting impression.
I have begun to explore gelatine printing further using the moon as my subject and the naming of moons. This year, the full moons appear as follows attached with their traditional names (I believe this list is not set in stone):
January Wolf Moon (Cancer) 1-3-18 Blue Moon (Leo) 31-1-18
March Snow Moon (Virgo) 1-3-18 Worm Moon (Libra) 31-3-18
April Pink Moon (Scorpio) 29-4-18
May Flower Moon (Sagittarius) 29-5-18
June Strawberry Moon (Capricorn) 28-6-18
July Buck Moon (Aquarius) 27-7-18
August Sturgeon Moon (Pisces) 26-8-18
September Harvest Moon (Aries) 24-9-18
October Hunter's Moon (Taurus) 24-10-18
November Beaver Moon (Gemini) 23-11-18
December Cold Moon (Cancer) 22-12-18
But I like to invent my own names for the full moons based on my observations of Land and Time, here on the Solway.
Drawing in a place, or rather because of Place, whether it is a physical or an emotional place forms part of my regular visual practice. Sometimes, I use unconventional drawing tools and materials to make a mark - really, whatever is to hand; lonnin soil, petal, a dried stalk of some plant dipped in ink - whatever is instinctive. Drawings emerge spontaneously from that place and it feels good to express!
I have been observing the cycle of the seasons for a while now; learning so much! So much I had never witnessed before when my pace was too fast. Now, I savour the nuances between one season and the next; one new moon to the next; one celebration to the next. And I am fascinated by how these shifts in awareness were celebrated by our ancestors forming ritual.
The images below show details of a larger acrylic painting which celebrates the magic of the Celtic Festival of Imbolc.
This painting is an exploration into the mood and atmosphere of a moment in time too; magical, breath-holding, quietness.
I revisit this painting once a year only. It is executed outside at Imbolc.
It is my intention to allow the atmospheric and seasonal conditions play a part in its production and my response to them. This year was the painting's third birthday. You can read much more about an exploration of this painting with Kassi Martin here.
March 1st 2017. Busy clearing the allotment in preparation for the growing year. And I found an early medieval glass bead unearthed on a mole hill. The poem below is a response to that moment in time. I am in the process of making a limited edition of 3 books of the poem. Text is printed on my Adana 8 x 5 letterpress accompanied with gelatine printed imagery.
just me and the soil
and the year’s previous rot
winter’s damp black
a shift silences
and also alone
shaking off winters past lumbers
some glassy object
beer bottle neck brown
though zig zag
butt collected rainwaters
of sticky gritty
too precious a midden piece
and a gateway to longer days
everything is moving
and the bead from the Dark
is again reunited with the Sun
"Woman at the Edge of Two Worlds" series.
Just a tiny bit,
But it was still too cool to venture far.
Oh False Spring!
Deep, deep, deep in the dark earthy warmth,
New energy was stirring;
A new song was being composed.
Its tune was Hope
And its melody Dance.
For a while now I have been exploring 'Gate'. It began by taking photographs of farm gates on my daily walks with my dog. I wondered what would happen if I began to document them?
I have come to the conclusion that they are an endless source of fascination for me, it's hard to find just an ordinary one! There are more photos on my tumblr blog linked to this enquiry and my facebook page too. It's an enquiry which is very active and I feel will continue to be so for a long time.
I am currently working on a painting of one particular gate, a gate that has really caught my interest. My medium here is acrylic on canvas paper which is stretched on a board. This is a study. I have prepared some wooden panels to take this further into oil paint. I have been inspired by the oils paintings of Winifred Nicholson at Tullie House, Carlisle, especially.
For this work, I am being guided by a brilliant tutor and professional artist Steve Humble whom I met when I attended a Contemporary Painting course at Higham Hall in April 2017. I highly recommend his support and courses.