Let’s hear it for seaweed and bamboo!
My art has been stuck and seemingly going around in circles for several years now and all my attempts to move on have left me even more frustrated. Then a few months ago Viv sent me a Facebook link to a short film of an Australian artist who made her own brushes from materials found on her walks on the beach and in the countryside. Her brushes enabled some accuracy of marks but the huge variety of materials gave a wide range of different marks and alongside, random spats and squiggles from the often uncontrollable nature of trailing seaweed or springy twigs and leaves.
At the very least the idea looked like fun and as it was a lovely day, I set off down the beach in search of flotsam. Within an hour I had collected a bag full of likely materials ranging from twisted dried seaweeds and brightly coloured pieces of frayed fishing ropes to bird feathers and twigs.
Back at home I set up a table in the garden, got out a range of acrylic and other drawing inks and Tippex, and gathered together my new hoard of potential brushes and some home-made bamboo pens. Inspired by some apples still clinging to our trees, I began working in inks on large sheets of watercolour paper using twists of seaweed, feathers, bamboo pens and the glass droppers from the ink bottles. OH WHAT FUN! Drips, splats and dribbles everywhere. The mixture of control and accident was intoxicating if hugely messy!
I had not had so much sheer art joy in a long time. The results were not great art but very liberating oh and did I say FUN!
The first two works shown here were done in the garden of apples, but I then began to think how I could work on and develop existing ideas with this approach. I thought of the sketches I did earlier in the year in Greece so using a piece of three foot high cartridge paper I set off into the image of the temple of Nike using inks and Tippex applied with tufts of seaweed, bamboo pens and drawing and dribbling with the glass dippers in the ink pots. The result had all the energy my paintings had lost!
Then I cut five feet of paper off a roll of Fabriano and set off into a larger work. While staying in Athens, early one morning as the sun was rising, the full moon was beginning to go down but was hovering just over the Parthenon above the heads of the tired horses of the chariot of the moon goddess. OH WOW! So I started a work I call Moon-fall the first of what I think will be a series exploring that idea. My art is on the move again and that’s what matters