This came about on the top of Scarr mountain a few days ago. Looking out over the valley and onto the distant hills and forests. I followed the line of trails with my eye like a virtual map in front of me. Trying to work out my surroundings and where I was in relation to what I saw.
Plein air drawing in charcoal on cotton rag paper.
My trails, my ventures, my paths, my presence. It calls to mind a sense of living and where I’ve been in life up until now. Time has no presence, its hard to comprehend sometimes.
Plein air drawing is something I am doing a lot more of lately. It has no comparison to drawing in the studio. I get a sense of place in the studio and I work from memory. The studio forces me in to draw without a subject in the room and work from memory. When I draw out in the open, something else happens. It allows me to connect in the moment and respond there and then when something that catches my eye. In the studio I recall those moments but to bring back an image of my interpretation unlike a captured photographic image, reinforces a strong connection to the landscape and how I see it.
Here are four new paintings out of many I’ve been working on this past while. This work has taken on its own direction and I am very excited about where it is going and the process of making it.
I went back to abstraction in a more expressive way through charcoal drawing and bringing that through to the painting. When I am out sketching for ideas for a new paining I focus on the atmosphere and details that catch my eye. My drawings are more expressive and quick as I like to get the composition down quickly. When back in my studio I found that the freedom was more enjoyable while doing these quick sketches and that gave me the urge to start the painting with charcoal and pencil, making marks and developing something to start with. I didn’t want to loose the drawing so when painting I would keep what appealed and worked as part of the painting, so some of the drawing comes to the surface while other parts get lost. This is the challenge that makes the work more interesting to make and with free gestural strokes and use of colour, this way of painting has been an exciting new direction.
With my last painting series between 2016/17 which was my explorations of the forests and trees. I saw them as reminders of time and in brief of existance. I was interested in the fragilities of the landscape and I became more focused on the dyeing trees. I really indulged into my wonders and love of being in a forest and it was like an itch I had to itch.
My last few days in the studio have been very productive. I’m hardly able to stay away at the moment.. I’m really excited about this new direction and the work that seems to be flowing right now with the energy I have. I hope it keeps coming. Abstraction allows me to paint straight from my heart without too much thought. There is a sense of great freedom and I’m so excited about being back here.