I am delighted to have been invited to be the artist in residence for the second Wealden Literary Festival in the Garden of Boldshaves in the Weald of Kent and Sussex. Many thanks to Kate Beaugie who was the artist in residence for the first festival in 2016. This year’s festival runs over the weekend of 15 and 16 July 2017 and will feature place, nature and travel writers talking about their books and their passion for the natural world.

This unique festival will explore the rhythms and patterns of place, reflecting upon the fragile relationship between people and their surroundings and unearthing some of the ways in which the natural world can sustain and enchant. (from the Festival website)

I am so lucky to have an enormous barn to work in on site. On my first visit I took a few photos of the garden and have started to do some research into the garden as an ambiguous space.

 


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Well I thought I was getting on really well and went from this …

…to this

I spent hours this afternoon trying to get this right and ended up scraping away a lot of the paper. Funnily enough I rather like the end result and think I can still salvage something.


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Wow! Not quite all change at the top (yet) …

When I started the work for the festival I had a strong feeling that I couldn’t go on working in the same way as before so the opportunity came at a good time. It was hard to identify the exact reasons but I just didn’t feel able to work as I had done before. Even though my work is not political as in polemical, what is going on in the world has its effect; immunity isn’t an option.

My work is much more about the real world around me – there has been a figurative turn which I’ve felt coming on for a while, although there is a sense in which it also lies between representation and abstraction, as in this piece. For ages I’ve fretted about presenting work on paper and the need to frame it. Because of the way I work, I tend to just make the work and then think about how to present it and it’s always a problem. But, I am now trying to incorporate those considerations into the process earlier: so I have tried collaging a re-worked ghost print onto aluminium and then working into it with printed markets using slow drying acrylics. I think I’m finding a solution….


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So, I finally have a title for the project…. Encountering Place. Having been a nomad much of my life, the idea of a sense of place, which the Festival is built aroundis a bit alien to me. I’ve never felt really local to anywhere or even had a really strong bond to a particular place. I do get attached to places, though mainly because of the people who are there.

I managed to finish a rough cut of the film yesterday and here is a link to a rough cut of the trailer: https://vimeo.com/220703789

Lots of tidying up still needed but I am keeping the idea of the split screen… the rest might still change a lot.

N.B. I am voting today!

In the broadcast and the lecture, heterotopias are defined as sites which are embedded in aspects and stages of our lives and which somehow mirror and at the same time distort, unsettle or invert other spaces. From http://www.heterotopiastudies.com/whats-it-about/

 


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Summer has disappeared and I am at my desk shivering after a wet cold walk with the dog! Maybe it is a good thing as I have decided to edit the film today and tomorrow.

This is last week’s charcoal drawing done in the shade while enjoying the warmth of the sun. I’ve popped in a photo of the view too, for fun. I promise the drawing was done from observation and not from the photo.

I showed three of the monoprints at the Dover Printfest as I wanted to get some feedback and one comment was that I need to sign them – maybe in the bottom right corner away from the image. If any readers have any views on that I’d welcome them.


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I remembered my charcoal this time and did a two-hour drawing in the shade by the pond. The drawing got darker as I went on; it was impossible not to reflect on politics and the Manchester bombing. Bright sunlight but dark day.

I was drawn to the bright red poppies too and the bees …


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