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So in between impromptu parties organised by friends and visits from my family I have actually managed to make a start on editing the film! But much as I get really stuck into the editing process, I find it hard to stay away from the studio so snuck in there to make a couple of monoprints (work in progress but might leave them as they are as a pair):

Apart from that I’ve been trying various other processes with varying degrees of failure.


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From Giverny, Monet could hear the guns of the first world war as he painted. He conceived his towering series of nearly abstract water lilies canvases as his response to the carnage. “Yesterday I resumed work,” he wrote in December 1914. “It’s the best way to avoid thinking of these sad times. All the same, I feel ashamed to think about my little researches into form and colour while so many people are suffering and dying for us.” Explains Dumas: “Monet saw painting almost as a war effort, his personal patriotic gesture.”  From The Guardian, 15 Jan 2016, Flower power: the gardens that caused modern art to bloom.

I have quoted that whole paragraph as sometimes I have questioned the validity of my own art practice in these, our own times of political and social change, competing “facts”, the so-called post-truth era and the apparent rise of populism (though it has never not existed).  I found the quote very affirming to read and it confirms my belief that  art is my personal form of resistance and my way of asserting the values of care, beauty, nurture, vision for a peaceful future through a focus on gardens as a place of culture.

The article is particularly relevant to me now, too, in that it talks of the shadows that hang over the gardens in many of the works included in the show. My current shadows are on my liver and hanging over my future. In the immediate here and now I have a film to edit and gifts in my lifetime to make.


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Actually I think I’ve been drawing box hedges but there are yew hedges as well…! I’d like to get back to Kearsney Court Gardens one more time this week if I can, in between upcoming surgery and oncology appointments. Drawing and blogging and focusing on this project are helpful but cannot quite stave off the anxiety that comes with waiting for the diagnosis to be confirmed and wondering what the treatment plan is.

 


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Popped back to Kearsney Court gardens in the late afternoon to draw the yew hedges. The other residents (not my interviewee) of the houses are tolerating my presence, I think, though I have not seen them. There is some anxiety over what I might draw or see…

I love these hedges, they are so sculptural and I want to go back and draw them again. I am getting the hang of my new Japanese watercolours too.

 


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So, I’ve been doing more research drawings and have been having fun using free paper samples and found tools – namely twigs. I’m not sure how I will use the observational drawings but they are an indispensable way for me to understand the Gardens visually and phenomenologically. How do I experience the Gardens, not just visually but as a space to walk in, sit in, think in, talk to people in?

I have deliberately been working small and am getting my plein-air kit down to a very manageable weight that I can easily carry and walk with! A small drawing seems to take me almost as much time as a larger one.

I had a go at painting again too, using new Japanese watercolours, but I think I need to practice a bit more ….


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