Tag Archives: iCons

the little canvas on the prairie

Saturday 26 February 2011

another episode in the creative space-time continuum conveniently afforded by my virtually travelling small iCons series… shown here in the now customary small canvas pose

prairie - abstract canvas - mixed media intaglio print
prairie 2011, 13cm x 13cm

i completed four more icon canvases last weekend, this here little prairie being just one of them, the others i might reveal in due course… the iCons are intaglio prints from handmade collagraph printing plates, individually hand-coloured and neatly collaged onto a box canvas…

prairie - abstract mixed media canvas - by artist jazz green

i am aware that the process of making traditional prints then fashioning the prints into more tactile objects (albeit still vaguely pictorial ones) seems also to embody a rural craft aesthetic… and perhaps that is my intention, that they cross that boundary..

prairie - contemporary abstract art on canvas - by artist jazz green

and where was this particular canvas headed? why the state of kansas in the usa – but i really should have taken a road map and my virtual reality sketchbook…

so, having landed somewhere deep in the kansas prairies, i then travelled back in time, to the dust bowl of the thirties, the association with the wizard of oz a most curious incidental connection in the process, a psychological, imaginary journey conversely inverted… here is another view of my own prairie, perhaps echoing wooden structures battered by a storm, wind-ravaged crops and dark dust clouds settling on a dim horizon…

prairie - small abstract intaglio print, collaged on canvas

[prairie 2011, 13cm x 13cm, intaglio collagraph on canvas]

my virtual travels slowly unravelled into a bit of an american history lesson… i have seen the wild grass prairies, the fields of shimmering gold and cotton plantations, the enslavement & racial tensions, the old farmsteads & migrant cabins, the depressing dust clouds that shadowed an ecological disaster of mankind’s making, dark skies and a slow exodus of people homeless & hungry, straight-as-a-die dust tracks, winds that whipped them westwards, eerie ghost towns & deserted gasoline stations, oil-pumps in skeletal silhouette, herds of roaming cattle, tumbledown tin barns & ranch houses, the rule of law and a sense of order, then a motorcade and a smoking gun, the burning flares of a rocket roaring through the ether, wild rodeo kicks & other cowboy tricks, the neon signs of roadside motels & all-you-can-eat diners serving supersize steaks… from kansas to oklahoma and then onwards to texas – it was all a bit of a whirlwind and i was thankful to be home at last…

prairie - concentric circles - abstract print

[prairie, digitally circularised]

i was very moved by some of the images which i viewed in the american library of congress archives, specifically those that related to the ‘dust bowl’ era – abandoned farmhouses half submerged by soil dunes, seeing only the very top branches of trees, and refugees camped out by the edges of barren fields. i wonder if matters have come full circle again, learning little about the precarious ecological balance of a planet that we want to call our home..

but history also provides a means of painting a prettier picture…

i used to like watching little house on the prairie as a child. i couldn’t remember where exactly it was set, but after a quick trip to the information portal wikipedia i discovered that walnut grove was/is in fact a real place in remote minnesota, but the tv series was filmed in california. i do remember it was loosely based on the true life story of laura ingalls-wilder (whose original series of books inspired the tv series), and i have since discovered she lived in many different places during those pioneering days of the late 1800s…

prairie abstract - intaglio print on canvas

[prairie 2011, 13cm x 13cm, intaglio print on canvas]

so, once transported back to the factual/fictional location of walnut grove, i began to imagine a humbler, simpler way of life in the little homestead surrounded by wild grass meadows and golden fields…

of sweet ma & pa ingalls and the too good daughters who looked quite unrelated, laura’s tears & ears and mary’s blonde hair & blindness, the prairie aprons & pretty dresses, the ribbons & bonnets, the handmade gifts from the heart, the hearth and the kitchen, baking sweet apple pie and the rattle of tin plates & pans, the wooden slat steps up to bed, the belief in the bible, the old reverend and the little white church on a sunday, the faithful horse & wagon, the toil of the land and the bounty of harvest, the bundles of school books and the kindly school teacher, mr olesen the storekeeper, his irascible wife and one very spoilt daughter…

i was also reminded of watching the walton’s (portraying a different era in american history), whose home, by british standards, seemed to be the size of a small hotel (with very thin walls, apparently)… can anyone imagine one hundred years from now watching with some rose-tinted fondness the stories of how we used to live..?

*prairie has ecological resonances with an earlier work in this iCons series, congo

small change

Wednesday 15 December 2010

a small change on my art for sale page… the studio gallery or little picture shop, a humble means of generating some creative commerce in the digital age, some intended artfulness, a place for the curious to browse or buy, the small shop for art that i quietly oversee and very occasionally promote.

if you can spare some change you might be interested to know that these small paintings are now listed in british £££ – although you can opt to pay in whatever currency you choose; worldwide Paypal will do the currency conversion automatically (which is nice)…

Abstract Painting. Mustard, Turquoise, Olive, Grey Stripes

LXXIX 2009, abstract stripes painting on paper [click to view more small paintings]

a big part of the online shopping experience is waiting for the special parcel to duly arrive, wrapped up in all the anticipation & excitement of receiving a gift that you really wanted…

FJORD modern abstract canvas art
fjord 2010 [click to view details]

to celebrate the small change in my shop, there is free p&p to anywhere in the UK mainland…

Modern Art BOOKMARKS five abstracts

[bookmarks, for books, naturally enough]

my online art shop is really an extension of my art studio, a selection of small abstracts on paper and even smaller works on canvas – of which, if you are one that has visited this blog before, might know a little about when and how they came about. these are all small, experimental works which are more process-oriented but they relate to (and perhaps even influence) my other paintings…

Small Abstract Painting. Grey Brown Teal Blue stripes
xciv, 2009 [click to view in my gallery shop]

view some of the original chromatids, a series of 100 small paintings on paper that were completed between november 2008 and march 2009. these small works are probably the most collectively colourful series of work i have ever created and yet i never outwardly planned to paint them at all – but i do have an ongoing thing about numbers, patterns and squares. i like squares for their impartiality and objectivity…

i usually work with a more subtle or reduced palette of colours on my larger canvases and panels, so this series has been a good exercise to explore colour and texture on this small scale for its own playful & expressive means, and in turn the one hundred paintings later inspired the creation of these distinctive bookmarks – a simple change in format opened up some new ideas to pursue…

Coastal Art BOOKMARKS - abstract designs prints sea shore beach
[a set of five art bookmarks – in subtle browns, blues and greens, liminal and coastal in palette]
modern canvas art. grey pink red violet abstract stripes. TRINIDAD
trinidad 2010 [click to view more]

ok, art for sale promotion over – i always feel a little uneasy doing this, i don’t want to seem too pushy – these are just a few of the things that i have done, things that in their own way make a path to the other art i want to make and do…

for now, i have some new exhibitions to focus on (which i hinted at previously) in the year ahead – but there are no pictures-in-progress because… well, it’s complicated – stuff happened, i thought a lot about it, what to do next… let’s just call this a deliberate episode of photography withdrawal, a creative interlude, a pause in the digital proceedings… purging the senses, a space to think, to write notes or sketch, to doodle and draw, to just make art – just how it used to be… i am always taking a philosophical stance on things…

My field of perception is constantly filled with a play of colours, noises and fleeting tactile sensations which I cannot relate precisely to the context of my clearly perceived world, yet which I nevertheless immediately ‘place’ in the world, without ever confusing them with my daydreams.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty in The Phenomenology of Perception

Thank you for your continued support of my art.

a little something for the weekend

Saturday 23 October 2010

may i introduce to you another small installment in my virtual world travelogue..? here is another mixed media abstract on paper on canvas, in the ongoing series of diminutive travelling icons or iCons. this one is entitled venezia

mixed media canvas print venice venezia

venezia, 2010, 13cm x 13cm x 3cm, intaglio collagraph on paper on canvas

mixed media canvas print venice venezia

venezia is one of a new series of very small works (virtual travel ‘iCons’) that focus on colour and visual associations with locations around the world – but i never quite know where i will visit next. this one is quite formally patterned as an object and i have begun to envisage it as work in textiles, perhaps as a woven wall hanging or a rug.

the dark brown recalls the damp wood of mooring posts and the striations echo shop front canopies, and also the mineral traces of waterlines on the buildings. the very small but perfectly formed venezia iCon is up for some real-life travelling should anyone wish it to give it a room…

so, a virtual weekend break, spent in venice, italy… well, not exactly (if only), but this is where i landed

venice - gondola

however, venice is presently in my thoughts, as i recall memories of when i first visited, many years ago on a journey through italy. we arrived aching & mildly dazed after a through-the-night train journey (in economy class, naturally), venice shrouded in an early morning mist which mizzled on for most of the day – but venice seemed like a very accommodating place in which to get slightly disorientated…

 venice canal and boats

venice also reminds me of my first experience of italian ice cream (or gelato) and the visual array of textures & colours on view along the counter. i was amazed to discover that ice cream came in so many flavours, and then i savoured my first taste of the very aromatic pistachio. it was lighter and more crystalline in texture than british ice cream and i marvelled at the sophistication of its presentation, elegantly scooped up and served atop a stylish cone. it was something of a glacial epiphany when all i had previously known was raspberry ripple in a large tub (re-used as a lunch box when empty), cinema choc-ices and maybe a wall’s funny face

venezia now joins tuscany, pompeii, milano and roma in a somewhat unplanned & erratic virtual tour of italy… these very small travel iCons (visual shortcuts, suitably squared, the equivalent of pixels, as small mementos to my virtual journeys) will continue the cause & effect – that of the aesthetic of colour leading onto faraway places; the subtext needs no futher explanation…

so, i found myself being taken back to what seems to be the very source of things again, the endless fascination with the signs of weathering, neglect and decay. i took a lot of photographs during my inter-railing journey through europe (about seven rolls of film) – of the cities and their buildings, the doorways, windows and walls – and even the pavements – any structure or surface which seemed to exhibit the textures of time, the evidence of history that didn’t require a tour guide…

later that year, during my art & design diploma (the pre-requisite qualification prior to embarking on an art degree) i first encountered etching. the printmaking workshop was a small but brightly lit room, with windows that overlooked the museum next door. in the centre of the workshop was a very old star-wheeled etching press. this seemingly archaic contraption of print technology was a much revered object, a prized antique (which, of course, it was). our printmaking tutor would often play old jazz records to jolly us along, so the atmosphere was more convivial and relaxed in comparison to the painting & drawing studios…

this is my first ever etching (1985), very simply titled ‘a door in venice‘. the subject matter of an old, weathered door and crumbling, decayed brickwork seemed perfectly in tune with the intaglio etching processes of open bite and aquatint

a door in venice, etching, 1985

is it really twenty five years since the not-so-grand european tour?

it’s strange how the tide of time affects the memory of things, how those memories resurface when you least expect them to, when you come across something, a photograph or an object, something that both creates & completes the connection to the past, that takes you right back there, in an instant, and in that instant everything that has happened since seems to make perfect sense…