Jazz Green : Artist Journal

June 18th, 2011

last weekend i delivered twelve paintings to be exhibited in the 2011 HWAT* art exhibition – including my large painting ‘lichenscape‘ (or liken-scape, based on my liking of lichens) which seemed to suit the spot above a dark grey marble fireplace. these are different paintings to the ones recently exhibited in six abstract painters at the halesworth gallery.

in this exhibition, the paintings are mostly dark blue, brown, violet and grey in colour, a more subdued palette – perfect for a british summer (which obviously began this week, heralded in by much falling of raindrops)…

modern textural abstracts on canvas and panel, rust stone weathered textures

six paintings waiting patiently; edgescape meld/rain (left) and voda (right), and four small edgescape paintings on constructed panels.

sometimes it seems like a very long & arduous journey from the beginning of creating paintings to having a cohesive & meaningful exhibition of them.

two small abstract paintings on panel, weathered stone and rust, eroded textures

edgescape #29 and 30, mixed media on panel, 23cm x 23cm

i am very pleased to be showing some of my art as a guest artist along with the environmental artist jane ivimey in HWAT 2011. it’s a creative contrast that works really well as there are some interesting, small similarites in subject matter, colour palette and materials. jane ivimey has spent the last few years in new zealand and is very involved in conservation & environmental issues in her work.

this year’s HWAT art exhibition has been expertly curated by caryl challis (the gallery owner) and the artists david page and jane german. i took these pictures of my work in the gallery last weekend when the show was being hung – the tags are left visible to assist placing the corresponding exhibition labels.

meld rain abstract painting with two small textured rust abstracts

meld/rain, 2008 and two small edgescapes #30 and #26

the harleston gallery is located in a listed georgian building (it’s an old bank building) and it has two very light and spacious exhibition gallery rooms upstairs. on the ground floor there is a more informal café gallery, with a colourful & eclectic mix of art on display, including the popular, ever-changing wall of mini-works (all these artworks are priced under £50). this year the gallery is celebrating its tenth anniversary in business as a venue for contemporary art & crafts, with much of the art in show by professional artists based in the region and some works from further afield.

from today (saturday) and for the next three to four weeks the harleston gallery will be hosting the annual HWAT art exhibition, featuring artworks from around thirty local, professional artists. this is the special taster exhibition to coincide with the annual Art Trail or open studios, a starting point from which people can plan their visits to the artists’ individual studios. unlike the county-wide open studios this Art Trail is more selective & intimate in scale – all the artists live/work within a ten mile radius of the gallery and HWAT artists are selected by committee. i bowed out of doing the ‘art trail’ again in 2009 so i feel very honoured to be asked back as a guest artist for this year.

abstract painting, textured, rust red brown grey - small work on panel

edgescape #30, mixed media & copper leaf on panel, 2006-2011, 23cm x 23cm

yesterday evening was the exclusive preview of the art exhibition – a very lively & convivial social event, with cava & canapés heartily consumed by a chattering, bustling crowd. it really didn’t matter that it was drizzling with rain outside. many of the artists were in attendance along with alot of other people who i had not met or seen before. i was complimented on my work by many people (which was very nice). some people said that the room in which my work was exhibited had a very calm, contemplative atmosphere (which was also very nice). i will need to go back to take some more pictures of the HWAT exhibition soon. the exhibition opens today and is open daily until 11th july 2011.

abstract painting, textured, stone blue watery violet grey - small work on panel

edgescape #29, mixed media, acrylic & copper leaf on panel, 2006-2011, 23cm x 23cm

some artists make paintings, exhibit and sell the work within weeks – i am not a fast-track artist; my paintings evolve very slowly & methodically – sometimes i subtly edit them if they are stuck with me for too long – it’s that sense of a history in the surface, forever changing. many people have told me i should be exhibiting my art in london – such an opportunity would be a joyful thing, but it seems london has more than enough contemporary art to deal with (and far too many artists competing for limited exposure).

i find it comforting to live & work here in the rural hinterland, but sometimes demoralising not to have as many exhibition opportunities as i would like – rocks, hard places and the places between come to mind. often, i wish i lived in a much larger house with more open & expansive views of the landscape as i think that a sense of being physically restricted, detached or just ‘hemmed-in’ is quite evident in my work. sometimes i see places on my journeys and think it would be quite nice to live there, life would change, one could do this or that – as i suppose we all do.

blue white grey stone textured painting, voda waterfall, small works on panel, textured, weathered

little & large… shown left voda, right edgescape #24 and #29

the series of large edgescape paintings on canvas (meld/rain and voda are in this exhibition) were started in early 2008. in late october 2008 they were couriered off to the capital city of london for display in centrepoint tower (a notable, tall office building situated on the corner of oxford street & tottenham court road). a few days later there was a financial crisis in the city and the paintings returned in early 2009.

in the summer of 2009 i then showed some of the edgescapes in a farm outbuilding (next door to where the painter dee nickerson lives & works). one of the edgescapes, rost (the fiery red painting) was shown in the 2009 HWAT summer exhibition and it was then selected for the elements exhibition in norwich in early 2010. this series of paintings seem to be moving around like transitory, shifting elements or displaced beings – they have come to be what they once just represented – or perhaps they are just my museum pieces.

pictured below are two of the smaller edgescapes (which were begun in late 2005 to early 2006). they are called edgescapes to suggest the physical and the metaphysical aspects of the environment, where surfaces, edges, borders or boundaries of things seem to shift, merge or dissolve. each time i say this i express it slightly differently because i am always drawing on what’s currently on my mind. borders and boundaries are a factor in my daily life – such as the flowing course of the river and having to cross the watery boundary it geographically makes, passing from one county to another. i had planned today to go by the river but i have spent the afternoon writing this blog instead.

two small abstract paintings - textured, eroded, cool blues and greys

edgescape #24 and #29, mixed media & copper leaf on panel, 2006-2011, 23cm x 23cm

in perception (in drawing, for example) there are no hard, defined edges to things, just changes in colour and tone because things continue around or past the point where you perceive there to be an edge or a line. in these works there is an absense of a clearly defined edge or line on the pictorial surface although there is the implication of one forming or in the making, which is contrasted with the physical boundary or hard edge of the panel (i make these panels myself).

this area, with its fusion of agricultural fields & pasture with woods, lakes, meadows and marshes, inevitably figures in many of the HWAT artists’ artwork. i find it fascinating how we should depict it or draw upon it as a subject or creative influence so very differently.

*HWAT is an acronym of The Harleston & Waveney Art Trail and is, as the artist David Page (a founder member of the HWAT art collective) once pointed out, almost identical in sound and spelling to the first word of the epic poem ‘beowulf‘ – hwæt – which i think approximates in modern terminology to listen up, look here or hear.

i have a copy of seamus heaney’s new translation, and on the book’s cover is a painting by barrie cooke, entitled ‘then rain’ - i like this tenuous link as i have a large painting in this exhibition influenced by days of rain. barrie cooke is represented by the kerlin gallery in dublin – i like all of the artists’ work that the kerlin gallery represents. one day i should like to visit ireland (or eire) – i think that the boggy landscape could be quite inspiring.

small abstract paintings on wood - patterns of mould, fungus, decay

mouldscapes II, I and VII, 2010, mixed media on wood panel, 15cm x 15cm

this week i also received back three of my very small mouldscape paintings (pictured above)- a little too late to be included in the aforementioned HWAT exhibition. so, i guess i’ll being looking after (and at) these little ‘uglies’ for a while… is this the end of the world? well, yes and no… that’s what the work is driven by, really – sensing a slow demise or quiet transition of things…

HWAT exhibition 2011 @ Harleston Gallery 18 June – 11 July 2011

large abstract painting, meld rain by jazz green and two small abstract paintings on wood - harleston gallery

open tuesday to saturday 10am – 4pm, with opening hours extended during the HWAT art trail, saturdays 10am – 6pm, sundays 11am – 6pm. (click the hyperlink for more details)

large abstract painting on canvas, voda by jazz green, blue grey textured - two small abstracts on panel

i hope that if you are in the area you will be tempted to view the HWAT exhibition and also visit some of the artist’s studios on the art trail – hwæt HWAT!

images & text © jazz green 2005-2011

current exhibitions

Reunion Refresh @ Reunion Gallery, 5 Feb – 22 Oct 2011

HWAT exhibition 2011 @ Harleston Gallery, 18 June to 11 July 2011

June 11th, 2011

in nine equal parts, shown in a random order (some surface incidents) – it takes a perfectionist to appreciate the small imperfections…

these nine ‘parts’ together comprise one of my series of small paintings called edgescapes. i found, or unearthed, four edgescape panels in a semi-completed state (luckily not consigned to the trash), and this particular painting on panel will be on show at the Harleston Gallery, Norfolk, from 18th June to 11 July 2011, along with some more of my abstract paintings… i am most honoured to be exhibiting as a ‘guest artist‘ in HWAT 2011…

abstract painting, winter weathered textures - frost ice, stone, white, light blue - edgescape 29 by jazz green artist

both the wood & the hardboard used to construct this series of paintings on panel was scavenged from a skip. i am quite handy with a mitre saw… i once found some small pieces of wood in the middle of the road, in the street where i live… well, if the trucks wouldn’t travel so darn fast…

i bought some acrylic paints and they have lasted me years – so i am obviously quite frugal with colour… my favourite colour (absolutely) is grey because there are so many hues…

blue abstract painting  - wall erosion decay, winter - edgescape 26 by jazz green artist

perhaps there is a trace of puritanism in my aesthetic, eschewing joy or extravagance in my process. i am mindful and serious, the less said the more done . i often work in silence, but true silence is a rare thing, even in the countryside…

solitude (i think) makes for better paintings – i call upon rembrandt and goya as some good examples…

abstract painting decay eroded surface textures, blue ash grey - edgescape 26 by jazz green artist

i often utilise materials derived from my environment in my paintings – soil from the garden, ash from the fire grate, tiny seeds or powdered eggshells. i carefully prepare and store these materials in jars – i like a semblance of order in my art studio. i like working with texture simply because it engages the senses beyond looking – there are incidental memories embedded in the surface…

my paintings evolve from a process of loss & sometimes failure, since i seem to erase most of what i paint – i lose sight of the thing in order to find it again… incidental flaws can be beautiful in their own way…

i am sad about some things but hopeful about others… if i can create art when i am doubtful then then there is always the possibility of making something better…

blue textured abstract painting, weathered eroded textures, winter - edgescape 26 by jazz green artist

i have never felt confident enough to go completely abstract in my process, in the manner of gerhard richter or robert ryman, although i believe that the paintings i have created are objects in themselves with their own distinct identity & reality, perhaps like human beings who assert their individuality but still desire to ‘fit in’ somehow with the rest of the world…

perhaps i am just asserting their right to be different…

abstract painting surface erosion, decay winter - edgescape 26 by jazz green artist

i am not sure that i am really a painter in the conventional sense – i do not make pictures and any resemblance to a known reality is often a coincidence… i take photographs to help me remember, but i fear that if i look at them for too long or work directly from them there will be a kind of pseudo realism creeping in (one can always tell)…i tried this with drawing and they became very scientific…

my work is perhaps a type of visual intervention in the course of an implicit understanding or knowledge, a quiet conveyance or translation of experience, between what exists and what most sticks in the mind, connected to the immediate, known environment..

abstract winter painting, textured, weathered surface - edgescape 26 by jazz green artist

my art seems to be driven by the small reminders of life and death, that nothing remains constant, how things fracture, break down, disappear – i am aware of mortality and the transience of our life on earth…

i am happy being older (and hopefully wiser) but it bothers me that i can’t see things as sharply as i once did – perhaps this will turn out to be a good thing (for a painter)…

blue textured, eroded surface abstract painting, winter - edgescape 26 by jazz green artist

it still rankles with me that i didn’t get a painting accepted into a regional art exhibition. in their words they were: looking for recent works by artists who particularly engage with habitat, the environment, and both the natural and the man-made world in their process… perhaps my paintings didn’t sufficiently  portray this environmental element – such a rejection is always food for thought… sensitivity creates a tough skin over time, an outer crust or patina of self-protection, and it feeds back into the painting process – we want to say less…

abstract textured painting on panel, ice blue surface - edgescape 26 blue, by jazz green artist

i have been thinking more about water and clouds and how they represent flux, fluidity, distance and a certain kind of unobtainable otherness… my world is not static, flat and contained within a square but i seem to have have made it look so… we need air to breathe and we are (i think) about 90% water, so these elements are omnipresent in our being

abstract painting dark blue eroded texture - edgescape 26 by jazz green artist

i am reminded by seeing the work of more established artists that i must have at least thirty more years of painting ahead of me to get this thing right (this is many more years than i have been painting so this is a positive thing).

today they announced that parts of east anglia are officially in drought, that wildlife is at risk and that farmers must be more prudent in using water on their crops. today it rained just as i remembered it (and i have been putting water out for the birds).

all images & text © jazz green 2011

last chance to see Six Abstract Painters

Halesworth Gallery, Steeple End, Opp. St Mary’s Church, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 8LL

28 May to 15 June 2011

open daily, Monday-Saturday 11am to 5pm, Sundays 2pm – 5pm

on now: Reunion Refresh @ Reunion Gallery, 5 Feb – 22 Oct 2011

next up: HWAT exhibition 2011, Harleston Gallery, 18 June to 11 July 2011

June 5th, 2011

in december 2008 i wrote i had started some incidental abstract paintings on some scavenged pieces of wood, surfaces that have been gradually built-up, partially obscured, then revealed, slowly reworked & edited over the course of about two years. it was never my intention to finish these paintings in a week or a month – painting them has been a slow, drawn-out process, as i added some colour here and there and then left them for quite a while, before attending to them again, effectively lost then found again – a succession of related ‘incidents’ contributed to the visual outcome of these paintings.

here are some surface details of one of the incidental abstract paintings

abstract painting - surface textures, orange, brown, grey

as ever, the colours are muted, faded… and the surface textures a little aged…

abstract painting - rough surface textures - rural industrial environment

drawn from hereabouts perhaps, in the rural/industrial environs…

abstract painting textures - chalky, bluish white, greeny-grey, earthy brown

a chalky, bluish white, a greeny-grey and a dark, earthy brown…

abstract painting - surface textures, brown, grey, stone

elements of stone, dark earth and slate grey-black…

detail of abstract painting on wood - eroded weathered orange, brown, grey

a slab of tawny orange, light grey and a thin brown stripe…

close-up of abstract painting on wood - grey brown texture

dark brown-black and a scrubby, scratched layer of grey-green…

the dilemma of having to give paintings titles, which should either reference the process or the subject matter… square forms, surface elements, hidden layers, interior/exterior, industrial blocks, stacks, containers, structures, doors, windows, walls, a flawed facade..?

this painting ‘incident‘ is called ‘orange slab, dark brown and various greys’, 30cm x 30cm, acrylic on wood…

Orange slab, dark brown and various greys - abstract composition, grid structure painting on wood - by artist Jazz Green
orange slab, dark brown and various greys, 2011

if these incidental paintings represent anything, they are another small record of my enduring fascination with weathered surfaces and the working dialogue that develops as i have created them – the slow emergence of a simple grid structure or rectilinear form, much influenced by the originating ground or surface (wood) – unlike say, the relative smoothness (or ‘not’) of paper or the regular weave of canvas (i like the texture & colour of raw canvas, but i seem to go to great lengths to deny its material existence in my paintings)…

some visual clues scavenged from the journal archive might hint at some of my surface influences…

photograph - weathered wall facade, wood textures - brown black grey

photograph - weathered wall facade, wood textures - brown grey

photograph of old rusty metal shutters - brown rust grey

photograph of rusty metal corrugated iron - brown blue grey

photograph of weathered wood - rust white crackled grey paint

photograph of weathered surface - decay white grey striations

photograph - weathered surface - decay green mould algae

photograph of rusted iron bars intersecting dark space - like a drawing

all images & text © jazz green 2005-2011

Reunion Refresh @ Reunion Gallery, 5 Feb – 22 Oct 2011
(incidentally, there will be two ‘incident paintings’ on wood in the reunion refresh exhibition)

HWAT exhibition 2011 @ Harleston Gallery, 18 June to 11 July 2011

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The website of British Fine Artist Jazz Green MA RCA. Abstract landscape paintings, fine art photography. All images and text copyright the artist.