Moving forward from last week I've started a cycle of making works on canvas board and presenting them back outside into the elements especially when there is rainfall. At this time of year rain is the main element that has the capability to break down the materials and strip away the matter on the boards. If we were in the winter period, there would have been plenty of invasive weather patterns to help the degrading of the marks, like snow, ice and heavier rainfall so I've got to be on my toes with the weather forecast and present the work outside as soon as rain is predicted!! The added advantage to this time of year is that the pieces dry out quicker so reworking can be done faster.
Initial marks can be really interesting and aesthetically work. There is a doubt as to whether they should be presented back into the elements but the whole reasoning behind this project is for the elements to make their mark and I need natures contribution to the drawings. The repetitive aspect of mark making and the presentation back into the elements to strip down mimics the constant that is nature, the cycle of growth and decay and the fluctuation of the seasons.
The stripped back pieces (above last row) have a feel of decay and transience and the remnants of what once was, an ephemerality. Whether this is the point where I stop the repetitive process, I'm not sure at this stage. For me it's a matter of capturing the process at the moment of its most aesthetic perfection!
We had a really interesting workshop this week with artist Lauren Saunders aurensaundersart.co.uk talking about her practice-based research methodologies and alternative ways of experiencing the word around us. A kind of holistic approach we did mindful activities, slowing the pace down with an emphasis on the senses rather than the visual aspect. With closed eyes, drawing the feel, texture, smell and taste of an edible object and the same with a piece from nature. It was a great exercise to see things from another level and one of the questions I particularly took away with me was ' If a piece from nature was talking to you, what would it say?' I'd never really looked at nature from this perspective in any depth but it's something I will be questioning from now on.
The workshop did remind me of my connection to nature and my long association with the natural world in one form or another within my working life and how I apply certain ways of seeing every day in an instinctive and intuitive way. I'm lucky enough to be able to observe nature and how it informs us in its changing of the seasons through my 9-5 work, my garden and my embodiment of the Yorkshire landscape. Natures many changes I observe on a daily basis, the colour and smell of the landscape, the texture of plant life, the changing forms of growth from lush green to stark dark skeletal and the restfulness of decomposition in Winter before the cycle begins again in Spring all inform. Along with profound memories of childhood and interacting with the landscape, the textures and senses of water, stone, earth, wood, the wind on my face in the open fields and the water around my body while swimming in the rivers of the countryside are what fuel my making now. My present investigations to see what earths materials can make are, I suppose a need to return to the innocence and pure happiness of childhood?