As soon as the The Great British Caravan series was complete, it was time to get ready for the next big thing! And the next big thing was something really exciting. I wrote back in August, that I was going to be part of C-Art; Cumbria’s largest visual arts event. The catalogue had been printed and my Installation titled ‘Looking for a Sign?’ was to be featured as an Extraordinary Place on the Ullswater Shores. I was so incredibly excited about this, I received permission from the owners of the campsite, (they own a small part of the lake shore), that I could go ahead and install, and on my morning walks I slowly began to imagine it forming. I began thinking about what I wanted my installation to say. From the title, you can probably guess that this work was to follow on from the contemporary sculpture I’d made for Greystoke Church. I wanted this work to be a reflection of the time I’d spent at Ullswater and the questions I was asking myself at that time. I’d envisioned three signposts to feature in the installation. The two I’d already made, ‘At a Crossroads in Life’, ‘A Place in Time’ and a third sculpture yet to be made. I wanted this last sculpture to use the lake to reflect upon the last five summers I’ve lived at Ullswater and speak about my future moving on. I’d had the image of another sign I’d seen in Australia in mind. Pointing two ways, the sign stretches itself out between two long distances. It was that sign I wanted to replicate, yet using dates rather than places again. <2012-2016>. In some ways the dates may be recognised resembling a gravestone scripture however it doesn’t mark a sad occasion just points towards the past, (2012 marking the summer I came to Ullswater), but also towards the future, what the rest of 2016 and onward will bring…
Once I’d collected a whole host of images from the holiday park, I started to think about the colours, shapes, composition and style my paintings were going to strive for. The sky became increasing more important to the outlook of the image- perfecting my watercolour skills, even in the reflection of the windows! Getting the perspective right was another key element to the success of the painting, teaming that with the light and shadowing of the detail was crucial. I played around more confidently as I developed the series; with trees, fencing, walls and mountain ranges. I used my artistic license to throw in some extras and cut out any unnecessary detail. I really enjoyed the challenge of these paintings. I’ve never made a series before, always preferring to do one piece and move on to the next. But I’ve noticed the real value in a series, there’s always more to be achieved and the skill involved can be enhanced each time. Plus they look absolutely amazing altogether! I’ve posted a few of the many images I took to show the progression of each painting. All my paintings are now on sale at Café Oswald’s, Penrith, Cumbria.
Small- £120, Medium- £170, Large- £220.
So here’s my latest set of works! I’ve been thinking about this idea for a little while now. During the exhibition at Greystoke the signpost suited it’s surroundings- being the place where my great-grandparents got married. However it always felt a bit restricted. A signpost should be outside, directing the way. Although I know it’s a metaphorical sign, I wanted to play around with it a bit and take it out on the fells and see how it photographed. If it looked silly at least I’d had a go! But I have to say I really enjoy the photographs! Some are stronger than others, some are merely on here to demonstrate my set up. But many are strong individual works. The post stands proud on the hills of Ullswater, looking out at where we live, the spot we plan to marry in and just beyond those hills the church my great parents married in, the great Cumbrian sign post is pointing the way to various mile stones in life. Which actually now I’ve just wrote that sentence, could be a good name for the works. Milestones.
I’m extremely proud to say that the piece is up! It’s currently in place at Greystoke Church, Penrith, Cumbria. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to hold an exhibition in the very church my great grandparents were married in. It feels very monumental. It’s the first piece I’ve made in the UK since graduation and it’s of great family value to me. It reflects my current life situation, explores place and time and picks up on those memorable moments in life, the repetition of those events and our incessant need to secure ourselves in an area- our corner of the world.
Putting the piece up felt really special, I want to say a huge thank you to Christine Hurford, both for asking me to get involved in the exhibition and for all her help installing. Seeing the piece in the space, the idea coming alive so to speak, it became really real. It was no longer just an idea in my head, something I wasn’t sure I could make- but a real piece in an exhibition. And it looks good, professional yet artistic.
It also feels important that I’ve managed to break through an unwritten rule of the Lake District- the desire to paint the beautiful landscape. It’s so beautiful here it’s hard not to. However I knew I needed to break through that barrier to pursue my practice the way I’ve been doing. This piece explores the area without having to paint a replica of its surroundings.
There’s still a lot swirling round my head about being in The Lakes and the swings and roundabouts of life but just as a last blog post for today I wanted to share my exciting news that I’ve started a new volunteering venture with Eden Arts- working currently on the C-Art project. I’ve only been there two weeks and already I feel a huge sense of achievement. At the moment I’m helping out with the social media and blog aspect of the project. Learning the ins and outs of programs like Hoot-Suite; setting scheduled facebook posts and tweets. But for me the real value of this experience is getting back out there, learning new skills, meeting new people, finding out that Cumbria actually does have quite a lot going on art wise and most importantly reminding myself that art jobs are available nationwide and I can do this!
It’s impossible while you’re in the Lake District not to succumb to the beautiful landscape that surrounds you. Every trip to the lake puts a smile on my face, I couldn’t help but do a little painting (I have to admit this was a while back now), it’s nothing special but that’s how all ideas start. I really like the shadows from the tree above- each time I moved the shadows changed, changing the outlook of the painting. I enjoying playing about with watercolour it’s quick and the colours run into each other so easily. Looking back at this, I enjoyed it but I need to push it further, I still keep meaning to re-work with the idea of expanding from a photograph. The image above could be a beautiful expansion.
Yesterday finally went down to the lake to do some painting! All summer I have been meaning to, but kept putting it off. I’m so glad I did it though. It was really good to just sit at my favourite place by the lake and paint what I saw in front of me! I used my life draw skills but also enjoyed not feeling too precious about the outcome, just seeing what happened, experimenting with colours and rubbing dirt into the paper. I wanted them to be quite messy like Laura Oldfield Ford’s drawings however I used a fine liner instead of biro; enjoying the smudge effect the watercolour had on the fine liner marks. Originally in one of the paintings I was only going to use half the A4, but whilst painting I decided why not extend the image by extending the lake, I did the opposite with the next painting and extended the sky. What I most enjoyed about painting in the great outdoors was using water straight out the lake to dip my paint brush into! It felt very artistic!