From Isolation to Creation:
Artists Respond to a Changing World
…as lovely as a Tree…
Art was my lifeline during lockdown. I think many of us came to appreciate the value of connections because we felt them taken away. Creating art gave me a sense of connection to nature when connections to other people felt so much more difficult.
The natural world is more densely connected than we ever knew. I have loved and admired trees my entire life, and we have only begun to understand how trees communicate and support one another through complex networks of roots and fungi under the ground. This ancient sense of community and collectivity has inspired my recent work and supported me through lockdown.
Lockdown also forced me to change the way that I create Art. Before lockdown, I used to develop an initial idea or sketch or photograph into a carefully constructed intaglio ‘collagraph’ plate. The first two images are giclée prints, which have a special place in my heart. The ‘Winter Oak’ is a tree in our local Park and one of my favourite trees. For many years I have walked by it. I can just see it from an upstairs window and it’s a friend. The ‘Woodland Path’ print was inspired by Queenswood Country Park and in 2017, was chosen as the cover photo for the hArt brochure; hArt has become my favourite time of year and will be really missed.
I was happily printing my collagraphs, using the press at the Print Shed, a nearby dedicated print workshop, owned by my lovely friend Jill Barneby. However, lockdown limited me to printing by hand instead, so I adapted by focusing on Lino and mono-printing.
I usually print my collagraphs in black and white and hand colour them with water-colours. Sometimes the first print is too dark to paint and can’t be developed further. In lockdown, I experimented by persisting with a ‘too-dark print’ using oil pastels and rediscovered my love for them. I especially like creating a thick layer then working back in with a blade, as in ‘Trees on the Hill’.
We had wonderful spring weather and I would have loved to walk in the Brecon Beacons for inspiration, but Wales remained in lockdown. In the spirit of ‘the new normal’, I visited ‘BeautifulBeacons.com’ and used the amazing photographs of Matt Botwood and Dan Santillo as my inspiration instead. I thoroughly enjoyed creating the two oil pastel pieces, ‘Hay Bluff’ and Cribyn’, the colours are delightfully bold and vibrant.
I also found inspiration right on my doorstep – I was so lucky that the bluebells in my garden were stunning this year. I worked on a monoprint of the view from my veranda, which evolved with collage, acrylics, oil pastels and chalks to become ‘Veranda View’. Alongside completing this, I painted the last remaining ‘Bluebell’ print from Coed Cefn, Nr Crickhowell. I gave the sky a rose tint, whilst thinking how amazing it must be looking this year.
Then I went back to a drawing I had been working on before lockdown for my next collagraph, ‘Trees on Aconbury Hill’. Inspired by the connectedness of trees, I wanted to express the unseen phenomena which goes on below; a vast communicating network of support. The trees really do talk to each other.
Often, I finish my drawings on the plate. This time I finished the drawing, then used this to make a monoprint coloured with pastels. I imagine the underground fungal networks connecting trees in a forest as shiny and silver; as they are in the first mono/pastel, ‘talking trees’. However, I prefer them as strong, dark lines as they are in the second mono/pastel, ‘Connections’.
Thank you very much for visiting this exhibition, I hope it has been an enjoyable experience.
From drawing to monoprint:
The pictures are for sale, priced as listed.
Audrey, at Timothy Hawkins Gallery, 14 Church Street, Hereford, has kindly agreed to be my point of sale. If you wish to purchase a picture, please contact me by email and I will deliver it to the Gallery for collection.
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