re: surfacing, once again

resurfacing, from some dark days spent in the artist’s studio… it has been raining quite a lot lately but today was bright and breezy. august is now always such a washout; it never used to be like this. i have lots of green tomatoes but no chutney jars…  listening to the evening breeze, it could almost be the rushing sound of the sea in the distance…


some paint pots and some paint brushes

some works that are still in progress

actually, i have left these two paintings (the lichenscapes) well alone for the last week, concentrating instead on finishing some smaller pieces…

these are (or will be) mouldscapes


some small paintings drying on a washing line

these are looking quite mouldy but they are not at all mouldy… sometimes deep within this stuff lies a cure, a solution, the answer – it’s mould, but it’s not always bad… i had brief dip into charles darwin’s the formation of vegetable mould 1881, the natural formation of mould as in the breakdown of organic matter (green manure) to produce a friable, fertile soil and earthworms’ vital part in this process… darwin studied worms very closely and deduced they had no true sense of hearing (although they are sensitive to vibrations) – he wrote extensively about his observations & many experiments, but without (obviously) any intentional humour:

They took not the least notice of the shrill notes from a metal whistle, which was repeatedly sounded near them; nor did they of the deepest and loudest tones of a bassoon. They were indifferent to shouts, if care was taken that the breath did not strike them. When placed on a table close to the keys of a piano, which was played as loudly as possible, they remained perfectly quiet.

[from charles darwin, the formation of vegetable mould, 1881]

it does conjure up quite a comical scene – and i presume it was darwin loudly playing the bassoon…

so, back to the mouldscapes – perhaps i should work on dreaming up more lyrical titles for these? someone once wrote in an exhibition visitors’ book that my work was refreshing in that it explained its source without recourse to the written word… although i do go some way (here at least) to explain the things that fascinate me and the parallel desire to make work (for want of a better word) about them; the processes and concepts merge to the point that neither can exist without the other.. i figure (or fear) i’ll forever be consumed by the processes of decay/change/renewal because it is a big subject to explore and each time one thinks one can do it better or differently… my concepts and reasonings for making art seem quite focused but i think (or procrastinate!) about working in different media, a different format or scale… when i look back at some of my student work i can see that the sculptural elements have also persisted but have never quite progressed into 3d…

i also made a fresh batch of handmade paper this past week… i was quite taken by the ordered but irregular, deckled edges as i stacked up the dried sheets, and the 3d form they constructed, creating a strata of sorts, a layering of a different kind (3d again, take note)…


a neat ‘n’ tidy stack of handmade, deckled papers

i also pursued some sketching, around the irregularity of forms and surface imperfections were/are still on my mind… can the indefinable wabi sabi aesthetic ever be deliberately crafted?


some sketchbook drawings

i am still working through these notions of imperfection, by creating a series of vessel-like forms – that is, i am quite clear about my intentions and reasons for doing so but have yet to construct them and i have not answered the repeated call for action on the matter… something for a future post no doubt, when the lichen/mould paintings are truly done & finished, and after the artworks group exhibition opens to the public in september – the current lichen/mould paintings will form the main body of new work for this show, but i will also submit some smaller pieces for the exhibition’s shop… watch this space…

i framed this intaglio collagraph print in preparation for a new exhibition opening at the harleston gallery next week (i have put in two other collagraph prints for the gallery’s browser)… the broad theme of this group exhibition is the allotments and i considered that this collagraph, as the composition evolved out of looking at the surface structures of old sheds & barns, just might fit the allotted criteria – although, having visited the local allotments just once (on the second occasion they were locked up) i did not see any ramshackle, old tin sheds, it was all rather neat and tidy…


an old tin shed, intaglio collagraph, 2010

the exhibition at the harleston gallery is called ‘breaking ground‘ and it will open on thursday 26th august, the private view is 6.30pm-8.30pm. the exhibition continues to 25th september 2010. if you are local to or perhaps just passing through the delightful, waveney valley, please drop in to see the exhibition – and, one could also partake in a nice pot of tea and some lovely cake from the gallery cafe…

i also applied to a professional artist mentoring scheme; my application was considered but i was not selected for the programme – i may write about that process in a future post, but the first thought that came to mind was must try harder. perhaps all i need to re-invigorate my work  and/or recontextualize my practice is an all-expenses-paid trip to the venice biennale – i would become more critically engaged with the ‘issues’ in contemporary art/painting – and i would also, probably, still be deeply enamoured by the distressed architecture, those old, crumbling facades with their outward appearance of a slow and very elegant decay…

no matter, i will continue to reflect on and write about art and painting, even if some of the creative musings don’t (yet) make it into finished artwork, they have been registered as having some potential at least, and myself the artist and my art will continue to exist, out here in the back of beyond…

regular readers might notice that i have a facebook badge thingamy–>

i have just set myself up a little fan page, which pretty much just redistributes what appears here – the account for a page is very limited, which is perhaps a very good thing… and now it seems that i have three fans, so thank you! but if i get twenty fans i then facebook lets me personalise the page’s url!

i thought that having a professional ‘page’ was maybe the thing to do, the way to go, another platform for promoting the art, but now i am not so sure – i always have nagging doubts about these things… this week i heard on the radio that in the future people might need to create entirely new identities (as if some people haven’t already been doing this) for their own security, such is the vast amount of personal information that has already been distributed or shared online… you/we/i have all been warned… so, i will try out fb’s pages until september and then evaluate its true worth… all i ever planned to do was to have a nice artist portfolio website and this artist journal has become a naturally inclusive part of it, occasional musings and thoughts from the artist’s studio… and i have also been wondering, what will supercede the supersonic twitter, for soon enough something else will..?

last chance to seerebirth at the Art 1821 gallery – the exhibition runs until 8 september 2010…

next exhibitionbreaking ground at the harleston gallery, 28 august to 25 september 2010…

coming up: the 11th annual artworks exhibition at blackthorpe barns, 11 September to 3 October 2010

3 Comments

  1. steven
    Posted August 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh my!! look at those beautiful works on the line…
    look at those paint pots and brushes!!!
    look at that handmade bundle of papers…
    oh!!!! this is heaven sent.

  2. Posted August 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jazz, until now I have been a silent, but admiring, follower of your blog. I find I am both inspired and occasionally intimidated as I always feel I should be ‘doing more’ and am always critical of my own work. Love your work and the breadth and depth of your musings and creative explorations. I am amazed to see you write that you ‘must try harder’ – you are so prolific and engaged.
    I have returned to art late in life (first attempt at age 19 abandoned in favour of the pub! Not mature enough to work through blocks!) and just finished a degree in Fine Art. Now beginning to find my feet and take myself seriously as an artist, and begin to get to know the wider creative community. So just wanted to say ‘hello’ and thank you.

  3. Jazz
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    thank you Gill! and good luck with your art