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, art, stories, and the emotions that certain places bring which linger in our minds and create a sense of wellbeing and of connectivity. 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 simple visual representation. Hindsight is a funny thing. I suppose back then I thought I might rock up to a place with my sketchbook, paints and camera and create all these wonderful engaging expressions, which I’d then rustle up into some epic emotional landscapes back in the studio. But things are never as easy as that, and I’m glad that they aren’t. All through life we constantly discover things that weren’t known to us before, we live with uncertainties and progress as best we can. We make mistakes, learn from them and try again, and so it is with creativity.
This year I’ve been grappling with various processes that I use in the studio and when working outdoors and have made some changes to 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 our comfort zones sometimes. It is important to me that a piece of work is an expression of authentic experience and that the significance of that moment in place and time is somehow contained within the image. Previously I thought that I’d produce this simply by being engaged in authentic experience, and perhaps to an extent you can recognise this in some of the sketchbooks and photographs. Now I really need to bring this authentic experience back into the studio, where I’ve begun to work differently with my sketchbooks and images. There has been some progress through August and September, and I’m excited about making new work.
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.