an artists' view

an artists' view

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The High Peak

On our walk up Mam Tor, we passed a number of 'markers', set into the pathway. They were representations of objects from the Iron Age; because at the top of Mam Tor there had once been an Iron-Age fort.
I particularly liked this one, which is an image, etched into metal, showing what an Iron-age fort may have looked like.
I wished I'd have had some sheets of paper and a big stick of graphite with me, so I could have done some rubbings from the metal casts of the markers.
I had to make do with a photo.

The High Peak

A vein of Blue John
Whilst on holiday in the Peak District last week, we visited some of the mines and caves of the Hope Valley. This is a cavern where the Blue John mineral is mined. One of only 2 mines in the area that still mines for Blue John.
Derbyshire Peak is the only place in the world where Blue John is found.
This photo was taken in Treak Cave.
There were some wonderful stalagtites and stalagmites, and fossils when we went on the cavern visit. We were encouraged to take I did!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The High Peak

From Mam Tor you can see over to the valley of Edale.
The sun was shining hot on us when we walked up to the top of Mam Tor. Clouds would pass overhead, and we'd get cold. The wind was blowing, and we had to put our waterproofs on.
But this changing light meant that our views of the land were dappled with bright sunlight, and dark shadows, always changing.
Edale was more green of grass, and less of the darker green indicating trees and undergrowth. There was also more purple heather on the uplands. Apart from the other people on the hill, and the wind, the only sounds were the occasional thrum of vehicles climbing up the roads from the Hope Valley.
Beautiful clear air; beautiful quiet.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The High Peak

Atop Mam Tor
Last night we got back from a few days away in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire.
In between sunshine and showers, we saw wonderful museum displays in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, and sat at the top of Mam Tor ('Mother Hill') looking down the valley at the lush, green landscape.
On the one side, the Hope Valley, is limestone; on the other side, Edale, is shale and millstone grit.
Visible differences in the make-up of the land.
A noticable reminder that whatever is below the land determines the shape of it upon the surface.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Beechwod Spiral

After a great deal of carving, rasping, and use of a surform, this is the result so far! The white wood of the beech is coming through, and the surface detail of the grain revealed. The knots and inner blemishes and flaws are also becoming part of the surface pattern. I'm trying to keep these on show, and not simply carve them out. I like the blemishes. It prevents the carving from being a smoothed surface of uniformity. Arthur did warn me that beech would crack, and this is indeed the case. Still, these too are part of the attraction of the wood's surface.

Woodcarving course at YSP; Day 5

Day 5
Well the 5 days are over.....though not the work!
I brought home the spiral that I was carving, and have some more work to do on it before it's completed.

Today I spent the final session on the pole-lathe, turning a spoon!
In cedarwood.
It was a gorgeous hot and sunny day, and we had lots of onlookers visiting YSP and standing watching us carving away. This must be what the monkeys feel like in the zoo!

I have had an extremely tiring 5 days, but feel that I've achieved a lot.
One unfinished beech carving, and an almost completed spoon may not seem like much, but for someone whose background was spent ignorant of toolboxes and fuses were changed by using a knife to loosen screws, I think I've covered quite a lot of ground!

I shall get the photos downloaded, and put up on here, when I've got more time.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Woodcarving Course at YSP; Day 2

Day 2 of carving the beech.

It is beginning to take form; I've carved deeper into the wood, where the groove is, that indicates the uprising spiral.
I've worked on the chisel marks too, to emphasise the corkscrew twist that's already evident in the wood. At the tip is a broken and frayed section of wood, which I'm endeavouring to keep. There are also some knots, which create features in the beech; I'm trying not to carve out both these aspects.
I realised that the spiral was too flat on one side; so I need to carve away much more of the wood. But very slowly, the shape is beginning to emerge.
I'm beginning to see where the cuts need to made deeper, and where the rise of the wood needs to be kept.

The beech is a very white wood currently; the gouges I've made have a look of feathers on an owl, or a hawk. I'm beginning to be very aware of the marks I'm making on the wood, with the chisel/s.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Woodcarving course at YSP

This is the beech wood after the first day of carving it. You can't really see the spiral that I've begun to delineate. But as I cut deeper and deeper into the groove, the spiral becomes more noticable.
More photos to follow.

This is a piece of cedarwood that was cut from the end of a bench someone was making.

I love the pattern in the wood,and the knots.

Woodcarving Course at YSP; Day 1

Today I started a 5 day woodcarving course at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
I'm carving a piece of Beech wood; spent most of today stripping the bark off the wood, then attempting to work out how the shape I want to carve, could emerge from it.

I'm not 'naturally' a 3D artist; I'm a painter, so don't have to concern myself with what's 'behind' the picture surface!
So this is way outside of my comfort zone.

So far, it's been a lot of hard work; but as the session drew to a close, I began to see how I would move on with the carving tomorrow.
Arthur, the tutor, was really helpful, as was James, from YSP.
I forgot to take my camera today, so I'll ensure I take it tomorrow, so I can show the stages of development with this carving.
It's quite exciting doing something so different. Carving is absolutely NOT painting! I wonder how doing this carving will impact upon my 2D work?

Monday, 9 August 2010

MALTA; April 2009



The Atlantic Seaboard

Here are the 3 canvases of the Malta Triptych, with their individual titles.

'Overlay' Malta Triptych

Finally this is complete!
This is the first time I've attempted a triptych; if I'd have had had space, and a big enough studio, I would have loved to get 3 massive canvases, and splash loads of paint around on them. But; I had to also consider my quite slow working methods. Tackling 3 huge canvases would have taken me a long time, and so practicalities had to be taken into consideration. So it goes.
The 3 canvases are about my visit to Malta in 2009. As an archaeolgy fan, I enjoyed Malta enormously. All the temples; the museum/s; the exquisite archaeological carvings. It was a wonderful holiday, full of jolting bus journey's across the Maltese landscapes, fantastic food, and warm sun.
The stone carvings in the museum (and the replica's in situ at the temple sites), had many decorative connections to stone carvings I've seen at neolithic sites in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The spirals in particular, are found in Mediterranean Malta, as well as Orkney Scotland, and the Boyne Valley in Ireland.
Taking Lucy Lippard's book 'Overlay' as inspiration, I decided to title this work 'Overlay'; making explicit the artistic links of both cultures.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Tissue Text

Here's an extract of the strips of tissue which I've 'written' on using black perle cotton.
I've used the quote from Seamus Heaney, which I wrote up on this blog earlier.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Morning Glory Give-Away

Today I've spent time today designing the pages for the handmade book I'll be making from the photographs provided by artist/gardeners of their Morning Glory plants.

It was a fruitful day; I managed to get all the pages put together, with details of the place, the artist, and the plant number.

I'm aiming to create a botanical/specimen look.
Once the photos start coming in, I'll have a lot of work to do with organising the individual pages, and then making each book.
Currently it looks like I'll have 15 or 16 books to compile! One for each artist/gardener.
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