Sunday, 21 December 2014

Winter blog

Having missed a couple of months blogging and despite the madness that is Christmas I am determined to blog one last time in 2014.
I have been working on a few things in the studio, although unlike how things usually are at this time of year it has been slow progress but it's interesting none the less.
The most recent work has involved an old enamel bucket that John found for me. Several months ago I used the rusty bottom of the pail to paint on and the other part had been rusting  away in the garden, with the grass was growing up round it.
Seeing that it had potential I battered it out to form a nice arc shape. Not realizing that enamel is in fact glass some pieces kept pinging off during the painting process. Next time I'll bare this in mind and perhaps leave it for a few days to de ping in isolation!
The curious thing about these two pieces is that the first one titled Low Yellow Field has a blue field and yellow sky. I don't know why I titled it this way. The arc does have a yellow field and blue sky and I am now thinking about redoing it, feeling that the yellow sky works so much better.
Painting on unusual surfaces is really unpredictable, paint behaves so differently depending on how absorbent or porous a surface is. Working with the natural defects and shapes also can lead to unpredictable results so all in all an interesting way of working.
Low Yellow Field


Anyway with my new found enthusiasm I am actively exploring other supports apart from canvas to paint on. I'm also really eager to explore alternative ways to construct and display my work. The Go Ape residency along with these bucket pieces has certainly got me thinking.

Oil on in progress for Go Ape

A new addition to our family by way of a pup called Owl has been keeping me extremely distracted and unfocussed with regard to taking photographs....hmm something I will have to fix. Her company and general antics are so much fun but I have had to draw the line at her persistent desire to sit on my knee whilst I'm painting! Quite ridiculous really.
Cheeky chops Owl, post bath.

Looking back on 2014 ...well put it this way there is a good deal I am glad is over but I also have a lot of happy memories too. I've included some images from our Mallorcan holiday and Yorkshire w/k in October. The light and  colours of Mallorca are  truly beautiful. It contrasts so sharply with our own colour and light at the same time of year.

Time now to think about recharging  the batteries ...(I am very fortunate to have some time off to do this) take stock and think about all the exciting creative challenges in 2015.
 Yuletide greetings to one and all :)

Owl's first outting

Grit stone

Lime stone

Nice little house for sale in Pollenca !!
Lime stone sports climbing
Happy holidays

Gillean enjoying the limestone

Friday, 19 September 2014

Autumn Blog

The  Scottish Independence debate has caused much discussion and heated exchanges in our family and given it's topicality I can't write this post without reflecting on how I feel about it.
 Living so close to the border with England and spending so much of my down  time there it felt strange to think we may well have been more separated than we already are this Friday. I have never doubted or felt there was a blurring of lines between Scotland and England and each country and the various regions within these countries all have their own unique and distinct identities. Our identities are strong.

Being Irish and having grown up for a good part of my young life in Southern Ireland it did seem strange on moving to the Borders of Scotland twenty odd years ago that Scotland acknowledges a Monarchy and that her Government is not her own so to speak and located at the other side of the UK.
I hadn't really considered these things. Many Irish people of my generation left Ireland to travel to England to seek jobs and money, Scotland in my mind always seemed like a wild and far flung place, a place far away from the idealized and so much more civilized world we as young people believed England to be. 
Scotland was a revelation to my naive twenty year old self and I suppose in someways (perhaps negatively) it perpetuated that myth we grew up with about the under dog and the view that somehow the English were superior historically and that countries like Ireland, Scotland and Wales had something to prove. 
 Now as my adopted home I see things very differently and see how strong Scotland is in so many vital ways, as a country she is in no way inferior etc. I voted yes because of  these views. This mornings' news is disappointing and many yes voters will feel raw and perhaps betrayed but we should take heart...yes voters will not be ignored, reform has been promised and both sides will work together to make it happen.

Ripening wheat, the end of last month.
No wonder I have been slacking with the blog! Since my last post things have come on a pace or two with just about everything. My sister is doing incredibly well and this week is back working in the studio! 
The Summer show in Peebles , the Crossing Borders Art Trail have came and went and we are more than four weeks into the new academic term. We have been climbing and bouldering almost weekly and also finding time to forage and brew. Life is full to bursting with activity at times, always a good thing.
Moving through the trees.

Small studies for Working Perspectives

 The Working Perspectives residency  I am involved in is slowing taking shape. I have made some tentative steps and feel strongly that I will be making paintings for the show in 2015. Glentress and the Go Ape site is  filled with trees and despite the man made structures and the whirring of the zip wires, whoops of laughter from visitors etc it is very much a place where nature thrives, lives and breathes.
I can't pretend and say I'm finding it straight forward in terms of idea making but what is interesting to me at the moment is the environment....looking up from ground level and looking down when higher up. The juxtaposition between the organic environment and man made structures is jarring it feels like the thick streaks of oil paint in one of Gerhard Richter's photographic  pieces.  Time will be the revelator.

Installation shot from the Summer Show (paintings on the right are by Niall Campbell)

Studio all spruced up for the Trail
Rowan berries, I think!

Rocks in the Lake District
Maybe this is why I like cake so much!

Foraging in Ireland

This red tin roof caught my eye,view form Debi's kitchen

Ireland bound.

The strange things you find at crags?

New ropes...feel like silk
Wild meadow, Lake District
Berries, everywhere

Heading home from Castle Crag
Back Bowden

Photogenic Arete, Hepburn

Lonely trees at Gouther Crag