Monthly Archives: September 2010

mouldscapes, in more detail

Wednesday 22 September 2010

nine mouldscapes; these are mixed media on wood panel, 15cm x 15cm x 4cm…

here are three of the panels, photographed at a jaunty angle…

mouldscape I (side-ish view)


mouldscape II (side-ish view)


mouldscape III (side-ish view)

and all nine mouldscape panels, full on…


mouldscape I


mouldscape II


mouldscape III


mouldscape IV


mouldscape V


mouldscape VI


mouldscape VII


mouldscape VIII


mouldscape IX

these small paintings on panel are currently on view in the artworks exhibition at blackthorpe barn,  open daily. 10am – 5pm, 11 September to 3 October 2010…

why only nine? well, i only managed to complete nine in time for the exhibition – i have plans to do at least twenty five… which would give me more opportunity to develop patinas, textures, surfaces, etc – i also like very much working on this smaller scale – they become extra tactile objects – the gaze extends to the touch…

is it real mould? no! i would never entertain any kind of mould in the house – it can be deadly – no, these are  just creatively adapted from nature…

why mould, exactly? am just endlessly fascinated by things that are simultaneously beautiful, a little bit ugly in the wrong context (or eyes) and equally a little bit in awe of, not quite knowing if it is good or bad, a sign of life or death…  it’s quite existential stuff, really…

perhaps they also act as visual antidotes to all things sterile and clinical in our western culture – and the persistent culture of fear that the media (especially the daily mail) continually perpetuates – and the environmental pollution and health issues that evolve as a result of seeking to eradicate all signs of a natural, biological world… have i said this before? nature is quite cruel really, we must respect its ecology…

on the lie of the land

Monday 20 September 2010

paper, crumpled, textured, samples or forms, exampled… some ‘arty’ photographs, in the slow build-up to creating something new… (all in good time; soon enough…)
crumpled paper - sculptural art
this looks like a decaying leaf…

crumpled paper in the studio
as does this…

crumpled paper photographed in the studio
and this looks like a craggy rockscape, or a crevasse…

crumpled paper yet again - experiments in the studio
another rocky, mountainous barren landscape, one that looks oddly familiar…

antarctica drawing - sketchbook
from my antarctica sketchbook, june 2010

you can see more of my antarctica sketches here, when, despite that fact it was early june and the start of the summer, i spent some time out in a virtual, cold wilderness…

there are many landscape painters in this region, and it is perhaps no surprise that the east anglian landscape should be interpreted in the main quite realistically, representationally – conveying an appealing impression of ‘being there’ for the viewers, more than the artist’s individual experience. i find it difficult to adequately quantify why some paintings engage and draw us in and other paintings fail to – whether success or failure is just down to a painting’s style, the painterly process, or whether the fact of the matter is – are they being truthful or playing along with the lie of the land?

an artist friend asked me the other day if i knew the paintings of michael porter – no, i didn’t – but on visiting his website i was very surprised to discover that he paints a little like me, or perhaps, i paint a little like him – but there are more figurative elements applied to the shifting, textural grounds of his large canvas paintings. the colours of a autumnal leaf, a river’s surface with its underlying pattern of vegetation, old woodlands, craggy rocks and found pebbles are just some of his visual influences – all interpreted in a very organic and sensory manner… i could see the connection to my very own lichenscapes… i found the visual contrast of a freely-worked surface with very finely worked botanical details quite mesmerising (at least, as seen from the photographs)…

michael porter’s large studio in cornwall… jealous, moi??

For many years I have described what I do as ‘making’ paintings rather than ‘painting’ paintings, even though the materials I use normally conform to those used by traditional artists, What I attempt to do is use the natural characteristics of paint itself as a means of describing nature.  For me, creating a painting is not simply a mechanical process. Like the land itself, it is something you sense – through your feet, your hands and your eyes.

Michael Porter, interviewed by Peta-Jane Field, Art in Cornwall

he puts it very well, what it means to translate an experience into a painting. it becomes something akin to but independent of its source. paint & canvas is the vehicle, the surface is the transmitter, the subject reveals a message, the gaze is the confirmation and response becomes its meaning… it seems somewhat fortuitous to have discovered porter’s work (via my friend’s recommendation, having seen similarities of process and subject in my work) for it has affirmed in me that it is still good to make paintings – to manipulate the material of paint, to use the transformative qualities of paint to create illusions, sensory surfaces, a surface that is alive, that contains depth & intricacy… he also reminds me that one has to look, to experience and then to paint for many years to refine one’s concepts  about nature and the environment… trust your instinct, be truthful and then just do the work…

there is an interesting discussion going on over at the guardian website regarding the threadneedle art prize – the perennial representational art versus conceptual art debate, good art, bad art, skills, or no skills, etc… no shocks or surprises perhaps, a photo-realist painting by boyd & evans won the top prize and most of the other works look quite ordinary on the threadneedle website, but perhaps you really have to be there…

in the run up to the artworks exhibition, there seems to have been lots of practical, day-to-day, non-art issues to deal with … but i did grab a peaceful hour or so on a very pebbled beach… some quick sketches in pencil, acrylic and watercolour…

coast sketchbooks - dunwich beach drawings
sketchbooks at the coast…

i think i need to retreat a little (in blogospheric terms) until after the demonstration of ‘painting without brushes’ next week at the artworks exhibition – except that i do, very occasionally, also use traditional paint brushes… and yes, this really is the artist at work on those lichenscape paintings

jazz green - artist studio - lichenscape paintings

i am currently exhibiting two new large paintings, lichenscape I & II and a series of small works, aka the mouldscapes, at the 11th annual artworks exhibition at blackthorpe barn, 11 September to 3 October 2010, it’s open daily 10am – 5pm…

until the next time…

artworks annual exhibition: a private view

Saturday 18 September 2010

some photographs taken at the recent artworks 11th annual exhibition at blackthorpe barn…

first up is little ol’ moi, jazz green, as my paintings are directly opposite the main entrance in the long barn – someone said it was really good to have some strong pieces at the start – strong, that is, if they have a penchant for the strangely mouldy and lichenesque

lichenscape i & ii, and mouldscapes i – ix, mixed media on canvas and wood panel…

entering the main medieval barn, one is immediately confronted by lynn hutton‘s explosive piece of sculpture, ‘in the natural order’. it stands about three metres high and is made of mirrored steel with text etched onto it. hutton’s work explores identity and memory, often referencing aspects of the landscape…

turning to the left, one meets liz waugh-mcmanus‘s gleaming red glass sculpture ‘pierced’, placed on a white plinth – seeming to reference either the biological body or a botanical structure…

nearby are eileen revett‘s minimalistic & monochromatic intaglio prints – the nature of time is explored through subtle gradations of tone, blind embossing and repetition of line…

one can’t fail to miss jenny goater‘s wire sculptures in the centre of the barn  – here, a large and small elephant, perhaps a mother and child – these are life size and very heavy. i love the concept that when they are situated outside, within the dense and intricate mass of wire a little bit of nature takes hold after a while…

mac mccaughan is a sculptor turned furniture maker – this high-backed english oak chair is both a contemporary design statement and a rather stately, functional item – it suited the rustic environment of the barn perfectly…

at the far end of the barn is one of eleonora knowland‘s sculptural, curved canvases. this small, captivating work on canvas, ‘11.59 summer’, aims to capture the mystical magic of twilight as seen through trees…

as these few selected works from the artworks exhibition demonstrate, the landscape, the environment and nature in all its forms continue to be a strong source of artistic inspiration.

the 11th annual artworks exhibition is at blackthorpe barns, open daily 10 am  – 5pm, 11 September to 3 October 2010

artworks is a professional group of thirty east anglian artists, who join together each autumn in a major group exhibition at blackthorpe.