It was a slow start to the month, undoubtedly due to the mental fall-out from my first mentoring weekend. Having your work critiqued by professional mentors and fellow students is a daunting process, but something, that for me, has been long overdue. I had become very firmly stuck in a fur lined rut. The mentors are fabulous, critical but considerate, and by the end of day 1 the class of 2016 were bonding with a sense of mutual understanding. We were all there for the same reason, I predict at times some of us will fly and others will be totally root bound - this will happen at different times and for different reasons.
I spent a huge amount of time looking back at previous artworks, sketchbooks and journals in order to take stock. Then, thinking about what I would do next, I was reassured by the fact that my practice is still firmly rooted in place. I am at my happiest when out in the landscape. So with this in mind I set out to collect images and sketches to bring back to the studio.
The ice provided a stunning array of textures and colours, I braved the -8 degrees at first light to get these photographs. I am not yet sure how I will use them - maybe they are already complete.
Seven Lords Land near Haytor
Oil painting in development, this piece is a response to a Ted Hughes poem - extract below:
Feeding Out – Wintering Cattle at Twilight
The wind is inside the hill.
The wood is a struggle---like a wood
Struggling through a wood. A panic
Only just holds off---every gust
Breaches the sky-walls and it seems, this time,
The whole sea of air will pour through,
The thunder will take deep hold, roots
Will have to come out, every loose thing
Will have to lift and go. And the cows, dark lumps of dusk
Stand waiting, like nails in a tin roof.
For the crucial moment, taking the strain
In their stirring stillness. As if their hooves
Held their field in place, held the hill
To its trembling shape.