Watercolours, pen and ink on cartridge paper. 24cm x 18cm.
I completed this picture as a kind of experiment. A dear friend of mine suggested that instead of filling the curlicues of my current very spiral art with more curlicues and spirals that I should add words instead. I have lots of ideas of what to do with this, perhaps, eventually. But this was the first of it’s kind.
I wanted to put together a painting that had words and symbols and images that go with the esoteric element of earth, but the words I chose haven’t quite worked out. However, I am pleased with the apple/wheat/leaf border and the ivy border too. I’m also pleased that I left empty space, not because I got fed up of this, but because I felt it was all finished and balanced.
This will be an idea I come back to, that of the four elements I mean. Words have been important in creating my latest pieces of art.
PF Summer Camp, Late May Bank Holiday Weekend 2011
Watercolours, metallic watercolours, Zig Art and Graphic pens, Rotring pens with black ink on watercolour paper. 9cm x 18cm.
Last weekend, I gave a talk entitled ‘Death and disposal in the Bronze Age’. In the talk, I concentrated, it turned out, on how the landscape in which the monuments are set can and other factors such as time of day, season or weather have an effect upon how people experience the site. I drew on the work of archaeologists such as George Nash and Ann Woodward’s book ‘British Barrows‘ who discuss such things. I have found it a fascinating, if a little brief study by myself, but I already have books on order for when I have the time to dig deeper into such matters.
I mention this because it may be that the barrows could have acted as ‘mnemonics’ for reciting the history of the clan who were the barrow-wrights. Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson, in ‘The Folklore of Discworld’ write:
“The landscape is full of stories.”
What I set out to do in this particular painting was to put words in that act as memories of the weekend, especially the ‘bardic circle round the camp fire’ in the evening, where there were songs and stories and friendly banter and chatter. This is something I have never done, the camp fire thing that is. I loved it and want to take part in one again. I may even be able to take my flute and play something, or tell a story; I think the informal and non-judgemental nature of such a gathering would allow me to do this.
I wander off topic here. The colours and shapes I chose to represent the flow of ideas, talk, music as well as an opening of the mind and an igniting of certain things for me. I am really quite pleased with how it has turned out, and it was another experiment as I used Zig Art and Graphic Pens to draw the design with; they are water soluble and bled into the watercolour paints. It has turned out to be a happy accident, as I’m pleased with the colours in places which give an aged feel to the work, kind of like an old, hand coloured etching. This is how a lot of my work tends to be, but I really want more vibrant colours so that black doesn’t swamp them.
Watercolour, Zig pens and Rotring pens with black ink on cartridge paper. 7.5cm x 15cm.
This was an experiment, again. I started it last week and left it for a few days to ponder what to do with it. The colours I had used seemed quite insipid and I wasn’t at all sure where it was going. The purchase and subsequent playing with the Zig pens a couple of days ago gave me another technique to use in my art, and in this case it’s worked out well, I think. Things aren’t as irritatingly perfect as my work has been in the past, but I think that adds something to the work. I like the way the Zig pens add depth and intensity of colour, while being able to be washed out with a damp to wet brush to very subtle shades. I feel I’m going to love using them in this way!
The adage ‘Time heals all wounds’ is, of course, not entirely true. There are some wounds that never heal, unless it’s the final journey to whatever awaits us after this earthly existence. I do think the words are particularly pertinent to me at this point in my personal progress. I have been having counselling for a number of years now to help me heal the emotional wounds of the past and the damage it has done to my self-image. It’s a long, slow process it seems. I often feel guilty for talking so long, to be going round and round in circles, and there have been moments when we almost believed it was time for me to cut loose, then something happens to knock me back a few steps. As I’ve been told, you can’t heal the damage done over 40-something years overnight, it takes time to undo the learned concepts and to replace them with new ones. I am getting there, though, even though some days, or weeks, I feel I’m back to where I was. Art helps me to relax, de-stress to bring joy into my life, and it’s a great re-balancer for me. I am so grateful I have discovered this gift, and that I have people who encourage me to explore new ways, as I’m still not able to be self-motivating or to find the inspiration that sometimes I lack.