When I first started writing for the blog I published a post called “A Sense of Place” which you can find here. In it I describe a location that I often visit and explain that it holds a special meaning for me. My understanding of having a “sense of place” is that it is the combining of the physical characteristics of a landscape with memory, history, stories, and emotions – An interweaving of human experience with the landscape. My interest in this is largely what drives me to make work, and I can’t think of a more fulfilling way to build a relationship with a place than through walking, exploration and art.
Since writing that post I’ve been searching for my own particular way of working that does justice to my experiences in the landscape – Something that goes beyond straightforward visual representation. It is a longer and harder journey than I ever imagined, but also full of rewards and new discoveries.
This year I’ve been grappling with various processes that I use in the studio and when working outdoors and have made some practical changes to how I work help me to progress. One of my favourite sayings is “If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got!”, so I try to be mindful of that, even though it can be difficult to step out of the comfort zone sometimes. Effectively, I am trying to build a stronger bridge between the work I make outside and the studio paintings. This has led me to work more closely with the sketches, and to print out very low resolution copies of my photographs onto small cards, which I can hold in my hand whilst working, rather than viewing high resolution images on a monitor beside me. It is also so important that the work is authentic and sincere; and that it expresses both strongly felt experience and the physical characteristics and uniqueness of place. I am struck by the notion that the emotions resulting from my experience are somehow inherrent in the landscape. Hanging in the weight of the clouds, or captured in the form of a tree, for example. I wonder how this idea might feed into my work and I think it is important.
I am always interested in reading your comments or answering your questions. Please share your thoughts with me using the form below.
Here is some new work from my experiences exploring the coast and limestone country near my home.