Onwards, ever onwards. Motivation vs Rest.

The great ‘To Do’ list looms over me at the moment.

I’ve got loads on, I must take photos this weekend of my work and submit an application for a show that I’ve been invited to take part in, (times two! – very exciting to be offered so many shows!) I’ve got to finishing cutting a plate I started weeks ago (it’s complex and I’ve been putting it off) Imageplus reading, assignment writing, practising my piano and getting my head around a few things. I also want to do some walking and some cycling. I love walking or cycling in the countryside, I adore the different landscapes that are available to us. 

Looking at the landscape at two different paces like that really excites me. I see it in different ways. Driving through a landscape is okay, but it disconnects us from it. We aren’t in it, we’re beside it. If you’re not outside feeling the wind, (the rain…) the air temperature, tasting the air, hearing the birds and the rattling of the branches of trees then you cannot take it all in. You can’t connect with it. Having the ground beneath feet or the wind blasting across your cheeks as well as the sights (and sounds!) of the landscape brings us back to the roots of our being. There is something connective and utterly freeing about it, being in all that space. 

I’ve been reading Field Notes from a Hidden City of late. Esther Woolfson’s latest nature based tome. It was her book Corvus, which basically inspired my entire body of work that I made for my M.A. She seems to neatly and cleverly describe all my thinking about birds specifically and currently I have at least 10 references marked this this book and I’m only 1/4 of my way through it. I’m reading it slowly, trying to concentrate and take it all in. Reading for research is very different to reading for leisure. It is for me anyway, when I read for leisure I take what I want from a text. When i’m reading for research, I take it all in (or as much of it as I can!) and try to analyse what is important and what supports and agues against any concept that I’m trying to develop or support. 

I’ve filled up the feeders, filled up myself. Now time to get off the sofa writing about it and actually do it. Let’s hope the resulting drawings and photographs lead me down another exciting snicket of nature, art and space. 

Please feed the birds and enjoy your bank holiday. 

 

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Exhibitions down, Weddings done, hopes up.

Both of the recent group shows that I’ve been in have now come down. My dear sister currently has my prints from the British Wildlife Art Exhibition in her car as I was too shattered after coming home from Wales on Sunday to pick them up! It was a busy but wonderful weekend. A dear school friend got married to her lovely long term partner. She’s a birder like me and as such her wedding venue was chosen appropriately!

The Welsh Wildlife Centre is just outside of Cardigan and they have numerous bird hides about the place where you can see all manner of lovely birds. We didn’t have long to spend and still managed to see many blue tits, chaffinches, starlings, a half tame crow and a little egret! We also saw a lesser spotted woodpecker in the garden of our b&b, run by a lovely man called Godfrey (and his spaniel, Sally). We were well looked after in this fab little place which is as eco as possible without being worthy. Godfrey is a lovely, caring man who loves the area and all the living beings within it deeply. While I don’t necessarily agree with all his approaches, I loved his passion and sincere attachment to the Teifi Marshes and the area as a whole. Plus, he sent us on a fantastic little walk! It was such a beautiful morning. a really good time to take stock and study the landscape, slow down and recognise those songbirds that I love. Of course, I liked the half tame crow the best. Just as an extra link, the photographer who did the wedding was seriously shit hot. He doesn’t use flash, he’s a man after my own heart photography wise: Krystal and Neil King’s Wedding

It’s made me think about how these birds (Corvids) live along side others that we recognise as ‘more beautiful’ ‘more interesting’ and ‘sweeter’. I’m starting to focus on all the anthropomorphic associations that we make with birds (and animals more widely, but that would be getting ahead of myself) how we see some as ‘cute’ ‘sweet’ ‘cunning’ ‘evil’ ‘adorable’ etc. Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore birds. They are fascinating and wonderful creatures and I use those words without any association. They are literally fascinating and wonderful. But I know birds, I know that the Robin Redbreast can be a vicious and violent defender (or invader) of land, I know that Starlings are incredibly competitive over food and I know that Rooks and Jackdaws live in large family based communities and are actually quite, caring, to each other. (there’s safety in numbers and Corvids are great team players when it comes to defence) Crows and Raven’s are more solitary, but they do ‘partner for life’. It’s these thoughts and theories that I’m going to try and tackle in my new body of work. I want to hold up each association and examine it from my own visual perspective. I’ve got some stuff to look up and some drawings to do.

I also took down the work that I had up in the WOODSHED exhibition at the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes today. Here are some better photos of the work, so you can also see the hanging method. I wasn’t entirely happy with these (the left hand one, in particular, I put it up as a last minute decision and it didn’t have time to relax out of it’s curl) I hang them off 2inch box steel so they ‘float’ away from the wall, referencing the feather.

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So. I’m pretty happy with these drawings, but I think that if I am still going to draw using this method, that I need to find a way to scale it downImageI want to find a scale that I can use that is more accessible to everyone, that can translate through different display methods and on different types of paper surface too. I’ll have to work on it. ImageImageImageIf anyone out there has any suggestions on scale for these drawings, then let me know. I’m a bit lost at the moment!

Once i’ve picked up the prints from the BWAE exhibition, then I will take some better photographs, but for now, a little taster of those too. ImageI sold a small mono print of a Rook – I guess I should make some more of those too!

For now, that’s it. I’ve gabbered enough. Please recommend anthropomorphic papers relating to birds if possible!

Please feed the birds.

One blog, One month, Two Shows

This week and the coming weekend are manically busy. I need to compartmentalise my brain to be able to deal with it all. Piano lessons, assignment writing, presentation giving (and writing -argh!) learning set meetings, quarterly reports, teaching, hanging work, a higher education fair, a private view and a wedding in Wales. I’ve still got to find some time to finish the greetings cards I’m making for the up-coming show and frame one more piece of work. So of course, this is the perfect week to start writing my new Artist blog. Procrastinator, moi?

As I haven’t shown properly in three years and it’s all a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m enjoying it and determined to make the most of it.  Currently I have work up in the staff show in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes, they’re large scale drawings in charcoal.Image They’re really visual investigations into interrupting the large scale of the paper, but the use of a feather has so many connotations. I won’t go into it now, I haven’t got the reference material to hand and if I’m going to start banging on about indexical marks then I should be giving credit to the journals/papers/books that I’ve read on it. 

The second show I’ve got coming up is a different beast entirely, I’ll be showing some work at the British Wildlife Art Show at St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital Trust. This work is from The Book of Birds which was one of the pieces that I made for my M.A. in Fine Art Printmaking at Winchester School of Art. Which for any one who knows me or met me then recognises that this piece of work means a lot to me personally. Anyone who has done an M.A. (or MSc) knows that studying at this level can put you through the wringer a bit. The works that I’m showing are loose leaves from the book. I have finally recognised that in their own right, the pages are fairly interesting pieces of work. I will take pictures on Friday and post them, it’s the first time I have ever framed any work. Which for a printmaker is a rather strange thing… Someone else is hanging the work for me though, result! 

I’m posting some pictures of my newest work here too, these really are sketches and developmental drawings (I’ll go into my own personal definition of drawing at some point too!) so I’d appreciate some critical feedback from anyone who has any. ImageImageImageImage

I think for now, that’ll do. 

Please feed the birds.