Tag Archives: transience

another winter, in pictures

Friday 1 March 2013

another winter stuck out in the sticks; or how i have endeavoured to evoke a fleeting sense of this winter landscape, in pictures.

what follows are some of my small sketchbook paintings (on paper) from the months of january and february.

flooded field landscape sketch painting

[flooded corner of a field, sketchbook painting, acrylic on paper, 7″ x 10″]

these small paintings will probably mean very little to those who do not live or work in the countryside, but perhaps to some of those who do, it might look slightly familiar: of dreary rain-drenched days, the flustering blustering wind which blows this way and that, or the earthy dampness of a foggy grey morning, the veil of mist or frost on fields, or days when the air is piercing and clear, freezing the landscape into a tundra-like quietude.

winter landscape sketchbook paintings

[sketchbook paintings]

i am always drawn towards the skyline, where a thicket of skeleton trees or the raggedy fringe of a hedgerow meets the open skies.

and how, at this wintry time of year when this landscape seems even more bleak, earth and sky are still ever-changing in their hues (because of the weather)… on a bright winter’s afternoon when an expanse of dark brown field turns a shade of rippled bronze, or when a sulky leaden sky flattens the mired landscape with a melancholic hue.

dark dusk field hedgerow sketchbook painting

[dimly dusk, sketchbook painting, acrylic on paper, 5″ x 7″]

marsh rain landscape painting sketch

[rain on the marsh, sketchbook painting, acrylic on paper, 7″ x 10″]

it is also curious how the rural landscape in winter can give a [false] sense of being in a wilderness, because there are few houses, and in these modern times, very few people are needed to work this agricultural land.

this landscape can appear desolate at times.

winter landscape sketchbook paintings

[sketchbook paintings]

remains of snow field landscape painting

[remains of snow, sketchbook painting, acrylic on paper, 5″ x 7″]

it’s always the little things that catch your eye: the vibrancy of green when framed by the gap in a spindly hedge, a puddled corner of a field glinting silver in the low sun, or the last traces of snow melting in the long shadows… insignificant, transient things.

anyone who cares to notice might want to tell you about these incidental things, never mind trying to take a picture…

suffolk winter landscape painting sketch

[snow melting, sketchbook painting, acrylic on paper, 5″ x 7″]

 field hill landscape sketch painting

[sketchbook paintings]

winter landscape sketchbook paintings

[shingle hill, sketchbook painting, acrylic on paper, 7″ x 10″]

each painting ‘sketch’ took about fifteen minutes, so cumulatively this amounts to only three hours of field work.

here, inside the pages of a sketchbook (or two), i was aiming to express, very loosely in paint, what the rural landscape looks and feels like on some days in winter, from observation, memory and experience. everyone will have their own point of view: nothing really changes, every day it changes.

it is interesting that buildings and people (or animals) do not interest me here, so perhaps i was only looking to seek that elemental sense of a wilderness in winter, isolating the isolation, finding solace in the solitude.

this is what i find myself returning to at odd moments when it seems i have made little headway in my other work. i hope one day to get better at expressing the thoughts and ideas in my head…

Where little pictures idly tells
Of nature’s powers & nature’s spells,
I felt and shunned the idle vein,
Laid down the pen and toiled again

[John Clare, The Progress of Rhyme]

on art, painting stripes, and wabi sabi

Friday 15 October 2010

two small abstract(ed) paintings on paper from the 100 paintings on paper experiment (now known informally as the ‘chromatids’) there are one hundred of these small paintings but i do not think these two paintings have made an appearance here before.

small textured abstract painting on deckled paper by jazz greensmall striated abstract painting on deckled paper by jazz green
LXIII and XLVII, painting on paper, 15cm x 15cm

these two small paintings can be viewed larger on my art for sale from the studio page

simple stripes or striations, as it turned out, were the most direct, uncomplicated means of exploring elemental, rustic colours and textures on a very small scale – they also began to be about exploring a quiet narrative within the process, of texture & surface and how simple stripes or colours interacted within the ragged, irregular edge or boundary of the paper – this simple pattern of stripes and striations echoed what i had seen and observed in the rural environment where i live – from barns and sheds, the rustic juxtapositions of colour and texture in weathered, worn surfaces or agricultural structures – all the things which appealed to me visually and aesthetically.

these close-up, ‘abstract’ photographs were taken in early 2008, shortly after i was given a new camera to play with…

down on the farm…

recalling again how this experimental series of one hundred paintings first came about (a dull, drizzly grey day in early november 2008) has caused me once more to muse upon the japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi, an appreciation of the understated, the transient, ephemeral or imperfect.

for myself, understanding the aesthetic or philosophy of wabi sabi, it seems to first arise within, in a quiet sensing, a feeling, an intuition or an awareness, that momentarily surrenders up the ego in reverence for the humble beauty of the object or scene, that acknowledges the relevance of time, use or location upon it, and that it can be experienced any time or anywhere if one is mindful enough to see it…

there is definitely something in wabi sabi that speaks very much about my own artistic inspiration, something that i can trace right back to my mixed media collages, but i am not sure one can faithfully make an artform out of it, for wabi sabi is what it is

in early 2005 i sketched out a rough mindmap about my perception of the local landscape and the rural environment, in which transience, imperfection and the effects of time surfaced as factors or keywords. later, in september 2007, i contemplated where i was headed within the environmental nature of my art, and i was reminded again of things that are overlooked, discarded or rejected, that situations change, that nothing is permanent, or perfect. i had also briefly referred to solitude a couple of months earlier and the relevance of time in the making of my art.

i didn’t write anything in this journal (blog) for many months, except for the posting of some photographs of a painting i had finished, a painting appropriately entitled shrede (an archaic spelling of ‘shred’), implying a slow scraping back or paring down of layers, and what remains, tattered, torn and fragmented.

the outward signs of time passing, transience and imperfection, and an inner sense of solitude, eventually led on to a slow meandering, philosophical path eastwards, towards all things quiet, gentle, calm and a little bit zen, one that made me realise that an awareness of situations or things could mean something more than the sum of their parts. it did not need a name, but it offered up some new interpretations…

blue sky, and thinking [again]

Sunday 18 April 2010

It has been very warm and sunny all this week, with a heatwave forecast for next week. I am finding this quite odd, when contrasted with the knowledge of a volcanic dust plume from an Icelandic volcano drifting grey ash clouds at high altitude above most of Northern Europe. With no incoming or outbound flights in the UK for the last few days the skies have been unusually quiet – just as nature intended. We are grounded, but the weather has been quite lovely… wish you were here

Wanting to take a slightly philosophical stance on nature’s subtle intervention (the best kind of art), I was delighted to read Alain de Botton’s musings on a world without planes… Heathrow, he writes, would become a museum, [and of planes] we would stroke their steel dolphin-like bodies in museums and honour them as symbols of a daunting technical intelligence and a prodigious wealth.

Modern air travel has destroyed any sense of geographical distance, the physical experience of moving through a landscape, or even the metaphysical space and sense of the passage of time that our travelling predecessors would have gained from crossing land and sea… perhaps the exception would be the hot-air balloon…

I was amused by the notion that Botton was the writer-in-residence at London’s Heathrow airport – how could he possibly think clearly with the constant noise of take-offs and landings? Of course, he actually resided elsewhere, it’s just a creative job description..

Clear blue skies or grey clouds ahead… (some animated cloud drawings)


[the art of idleness, part one….]

read more about the art of idleness