That’s the first two weeks of College overwith. It has been quite an interesting learning curve, not least because an old dinosaur like me is being dragged into the modern age as creating this blog is part of the course and a way to record our work on line.
The first week was mainly about mark making and creating drawings without using paint brushes and pens with our hands. We also had a trip to Uphill Boat Yard, we had a brief to make quick sketches of what we see, take photographs and collect any items that we may wish to use in our project. As someone who likes to spend hours on a sketch, the quick jotting down of several was a bit of an eye opener and whilst these early ones are not worthy of a spot in the Tate, I achieved the task.
In the second week we had two creative exercises to complete relating to cause and effect. Whilst at the boat yard I stopped to sketch by a boat called Progress, and it just made me think about how we are all caught in this net of progress and the effects it has on the things that fall by the wayside and get left behind. Therefore saw a lot of broken boats and parts of the yard that have been discarded and reclaimed by nature. Not least the cliff face that was created when there was a thriving lime quarry there, there are sections that amongst the discarded litter and face masks left by visitors to the nature reserve, you could find buddliahs and sunflowers, butterflies and bees and birdsong was prevalent. I wanted to capture this in the pieces I created, the large monochrome piece and the four smaller pieces using a limited colour pallet. I like using negative space, colour and fluid loose movements to achieve this, apart from the sunflower, all are mixed media and created without using a brush. The materials used were household emulsion, card, charcoal, acrylic paints and vynil sticky paper, and photographs I’d taken. The tools were my fingers, sponges and plastic cutlery.
Artists that influence my current style and who inspire me both past and present fall across a number of schools, Pre-Raphaelite, expressionism, symbolist and also the ones who are so realistic the detail in form and texture are things I can only aspire to recreate at this point. I have a print by Franz Rusicka at home and that definitely inspired my composition of the larger piece, my use of the blue is definitely inspired by Franz Marc the German expressionist and a British artist I’ve recently started to follow Dan Bullock. I aspire to be able to create realistic imagery like Tina Spratt and I’ve just found Jukka Mompa who mixes realism with bold abstract colours. Links to there websites are:
In my final piece I wish to show the story of the Wharf as it progressed through time. It was originally wetlands and mud flats that formed part of the estuary. At one time it was a thriving port where people came to trade cargos like coal, salt and timber. Besides the quarry and lime kiln, Uphill was also home to brickworks and fishing boats. It’s still home to a working boatyard, but has a seasonal influx of holiday makers who stay at the campsite. It’s a regular route for cyclists and dog walkers as the nature reserve now links with other coastal paths to Brean.
Whilst researching the cause and effects of progress globally, I came across this trailer for a digital exhibition by Canadian photographer Edward Burtinsky encapsulating the effect of progress on the landscapes around us over his 40 year career. Our little corner of Somerset may not be on the same scale but the effects are there to see and the landscape certainly bears witness to its history.