Tag Archives: garden

little birds

Sunday 12 July 2015

little birds…


I am still baffled by the mystery of how man has an independent life from woman, whereas I die when separated from my lover. While all these threads of desire and tenderness stifled me, I climbed into a giant bird and swooped toward space. Up here I do not suffer. Distance is magically covered. It is a dream. It is an inhuman bird that carries me to a new destiny. I rise. [Anaïs Nin, December 1939]
[from Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1939-1947]


[Roman Standard, Tracey Emin, Snape, Suffolk]

I started drawing birds because I liked them and because they’re pretty […] They represent something to me which is heavenly, because they fly. It’s like ascension. That was a time in my life when I really needed to rise above the situation I was in, and birds seemed the perfect metaphor for me. […] The Roman Standard came through that way of thinking. […] What I’m saying through the piece is that strength isn’t always about being big. [Tracey Emin, May 2013]
[Vanity Fair: Artist Tracey Emin: Critics Are Harsher Because I’m a Woman]


[Paul Klee, Bird Garden [Vogelgarten], 1924, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich]

This lovely, fantastic, absurdly comic garden scene is as much music as painting. We feel that on our pulses as we look at it. Its lovely incongruities provoke delight. Each of those brash, small birds, so perkily self-assured, sounds like a single brazen struck note, usually quite a high note because they are treading very delicately upon the tops of all the leaves and all the plants […] Not one of them is flying. They have no such ambitions. They are perfectly, harmoniously at rest, picking their way back and forth, round and round, across the tops of equally fragile and delicate natural things. [Michael Glover]
[The Independent: Great Works: Bird Garden, 1924, Paul Klee]

going outside, again

Saturday 18 October 2014

outside, again – this time, in the garden…

collage fragments on the garden table

[into the garden, on the garden table] fragments #2 2014, 5cm x 4cm

small abstract fragments collage hanging on the shed wall

[and up again, on the shed wall] fragments #2 2014, 5cm x 4cm

small abstract fragments collage 2 on shed wall

[getting closer] fragments #2 2014, 5cm x 4cm

with over fifty miniscule collages to share with big wide world [as an acquaintance artist friend so helpfully said: “you’ve just gotta put it out there!”, quoting another artist], i think this one-a-day approach might take me some time… thinking maybe i should ramp it up to five-a-day? goodness me, these tiny fruits of my eco recycling labours!!

i had a dream the other night about oil paintings, or rather a character [unidentified] in the dream asked why i didn’t paint in oils like other artists, and i made some excuse about the fumes and having a tiny studio to work in [this is true].

on artworks and two small paintings

Saturday 8 September 2012

the artworks annual exhibition opens this weekend at blackthorpe barn in the heart of rural suffolk. i am one of thirty artists exhibiting new work in this art exhibition.

[edit: i would like to mention here of my gratitude for the encouragement and support i have received this year in the continuation of my membership of the artworks group. they will know who they are, and i thank them.]

each artworks artist is allocated a space in the barn and here is a small picture of my wall of (very) small paintings.

these paintings are very possibly the smallest paintings in the artworks exhibition, and my intention was to produce a series of delicately textured paintings which would require close scrutiny so that the beams (in all their rustic heavyweight charm) did not entirely steal the show.

these small paintings are framed in white wood frames (using natural liming wax), floated within extra-deep window mounts to give a degree of separation and independence from the exposed beams and overlapped timbers of the barn’s rustic interior architecture.

small paintings - art exhibition - blackthorpe barn suffolk

plain white walls do help to concentrate the gaze when someone happens upon an artwork for the very first time, where there is no background noise to distract from the ‘get to know you’ conversation (or creating a dialogue as some artists will call it, but a conversation seems much more personable).

this series of (very) small paintings combine my rustic style of painting with collage, constructed in many layers to create subtle accents of texture and relief within the surface, minimalist in composition offset by irregular striations and stacks of textured colour, to evoke everyday sensory elements of the rustic and the rural – walls, fences, boundaries, edges, horizon lines, buildings and structures.

here is a picture of one of the (very) small paintings on show in the exhibition (minus the picture frame)…

small painting - suffolk pinks, tarmac and straw
[suffolk pinks, tarmac and straw 2012, 10cm x 10cm)

this (very) small painting evokes striated, layered memories of walking, cycling or driving (or sometimes just taking the bus, which is nice) through the suffolk countryside in late summer, of straight roads and stubble fields, the harvest straw and dust as it clusters and clumps by the roadside, of sideways glimpses of traditional ‘suffolk pink’ farmhouses, sometimes set back from the road behind hedgerows, gates, fences and walls – and wondering (in that brief moment of passing) what it might be like to live there, with those fields as your only neighbours…

here is another (very) small painting in the artworks exhibition (again, minus the picture frame)…

small painting - purple sage, potting shed, garden
[purple sage, potting shed 2012, 10cm x 10cm]

sometimes it’s the smallest of things that momentarily hold the attention. the textures, colours and aromas in the garden on any given day, a purple-leafed sage in a terracotta pot, the dust, dirt and cobwebs in the shed as you sort through a jumble of odd-sized plant pots, the aroma and texture of compost in your hands as you sow the tiniest of seeds, or the patina of waterlines on the inside of a rain bucket or watering can.

these seemingly mundane visual experiences, now insignificant memories, seem to have filtered through when making these small paintings, perhaps to acknowledge some of the humble pleasures of rural life, and to cast away the less pleasing aspects, as things are ‘felt’ and layered in one’s memory, without recourse to a more ‘literal’ narrative.

if there (ever) was an overarching idea, an underlying motive, a subconscious need, it was a need to evoke such sensory memories –  in a way which felt authentic, honest and pure, quietly evocative, modest in every way – as a small expression of retreat or escape, back into a small world which i could claim as my own, and from there on in, came the titles.

rural life has been an inevitable influence in these (too?) small paintings as i continue to be drawn to the colours and textures of time passing, a humbling antidote to the relentless pursuit of ‘perfection’ in contemporary life.

artworks 13th annual art exhibition
8th to 30th september 2012
blackthorpe barn, rougham, suffolk (SatNav IP30 9HZ)

the artworks exhibition is open daily, 10am to 5pm, from 8th to 30th september 2012.

artworks is a professional art group of thirty east anglian artists who organise a showcase exhibition each year at blackthorpe barn. the thirty exhibiting artists in the 2012 exhibition are:

Valerie Armstrong, Mike Ashley, Lyn Aylward, Penny Bhadresa, Gillian Crossley-Holland, Helen du Feu, Genista Dunham, Janet french, Chris Gamble, Roger Gamble, John Glover, Jenny Goater, Joss Goddchild, Jazz Green, Lynn Hutton, Alison Jones, Eleonora Knowland, Christine McKechnie, Katie Millard, Elaine Nason, Carol Pask, Anne Paton, Doug Patterson, Ben Platt-Mills, Ursula Kit Price Moss, Lizzie Sanders, Colin Slee, Constance Stubbs, Liz Waugh McManus, Virginia Wright.