Landscapes in the environment

I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees landscape all around them – but concealed within objects rather than the obvious views around us.  My eyes are just drawn to these beautiful miniatures.

As I live near the coast, these are often captured on boats, but also on buildings, traffic bollards, windows, washed up beach strandings and elsewhere – why not get your eye in while you are walking around – you’ll see so much more!

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Candida Stevens Gallery, Chichester

In a word – GO!!  The Candida Stevens Gallery is at 12 Northgate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1BA (near the roundabout with the fire station) and is open Wednesday – Saturday 10 – 5pm and by appointment until 7th July.  The current exhibition is “Geology of Landscape” showing a range of paintings and Intaglio monoprints by the wonderful Jeremy Gardiner.

You can read more about him on his website but here is an introduction from it: “Jeremy Gardiner’s artistic excavation of the geology of landscape is shaped both by human activity and by the forces of nature. Gardiner interprets, through his painting and printmaking, a variety of landscapes that contain the marks and secrets of their own distant formation, giving them a unique, contemporary depth and beauty. His artistic exploration has taken him from the Jurassic Coast of Dorset to the rugged coast of Cornwall, the Oceanic islands of Brazil, the arid beauty of the island of Milos in Greece and more recently the Lake District and its numerous waterfalls.

Gardiner’s spatially probing and texturally explicit pictures creatively transform the lessons learnt from pioneering modern British landscape painters such as John Tunnard, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and the American artist Richard Diebenkorn.

Jeremy Gardiner is a graduate of Newcastle University and the Royal College of Art. He exhibits regularly with Paisnel Gallery in St James’s, London. His paintings have been exhibited in Europe, the USA, South America, Japan, Australia and China. He has won numerous awards throughout his career including a Churchill Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a Harkness Fellowship. Gardiner’s paintings are represented in public and corporate collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Government Art Collection, BNP Paribas, Vincent Masons and Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi.”

I have his book “Unfolding Landscape” and “Pillars of Light” should arrive today.  But, the books cannot do justice to his work – you really do need to see the paintings in real life to appreciate the depth and texture in his work.  Here is one of my favourites –

Golden Cap, Dorset by Jeremy Gardiner

“Golden Cap, Dorset, 2007” – acrylic and jesmonite on birch panel.

Those who know me will understand my love of textured paintings and Jeremy’s use of layers built up out of  acrylic and wood relief or acrylic and/or watercolour and Jesmonite on wood panel in sculptural waves and ridges is very exciting.  He often works on wooden panels which are not driftwood but feel as if they might be and if you watch the videos on his website you can see how a blowtorch and a chisel help him create the lovely surfaces.   Recognisable features of the coast are part of a complex unification of shapes and textures and sometimes there are lovely details of buildings amongst the curves and sweeps of landscape.  Here are a couple more examples:

“Against the Light, Trevose Head, Cornwall, 2016” Acrylic and Jesmonite on poplar panel

Image result for jeremy gardiner pendeen sheer cliffs

“Sheer Cliffs, Pendeen Lighthouse, 2011” – acrylic and jesmonite on poplar panel

I understand that Jeremy’s next project will be Sussex so I look forward to seeing his new work in due course – please go and be inspired – prices from £1,750.

All images produced with the kind permission of Jeremy Gardiner.

My first foray into ceramics

In anticipation of spending four days with Elaine Bolt at West Dean College, I decided it would be prudent to learn a little about the subject first.  So I contacted Elaine and arrange to spend a day with Elaine Bolt at her studio in Brighton.

I had a wonderful time!  Elaine was a lovely lady and a great teacher who allowed me to run with the ideas that I had.  I wanted to use some of my found materials and incorporate them with ceramic.  First of all, I had the idea of using a piece of boot leather that I had found at Eastbourne.  I like the way it was twisted, I liked the holes and I liked the patina of the sea-salted leather.  I decided to form a vase and wrap the leather around it.  I chose porcelain here so that the white would contrast with the dark tones of the leather.  Here it is ready to be fired with the leather alongside:

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Another idea was to display a series of chip forks that I had found.  Oddly, these were found all bound together in a ridged plastic sleeve.  The fact that they had been squashed together meant that the action of the sea had made marks on the wood where the ridges had been.  I made a plaque from stoneware and covered it with slip to darken it.  Here it is with the forks (and an additional found piece) being auditioned to check the placement of the fixing holes.  Once fired, the pieces can be added to the plaque with wire.

carefully audioning the forks on the clay to determine where the holes are to go.jpg

Finally, I had a lovely piece of rubber shoe sole!  It’s lovely to me anyway!!  I wanted to try and replicate the colour, pattern and texture of this piece in different ways – firstly with ceramic.  This time I used a mixture of porcelain and stoneware to get the light and dark.  Here is the original and the clay piece – the second is larger at this stage to allow for shrinkage in firing:

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These are all interesting experiments. Elaine warned me that you can never be sure of the outcome and for a first timer, I guess I am particularly at risk but I look forward to being reunited with the fired pieces next week! Armed with a very small bit of knowledge (I realise that there is a huge amount to learn if I am to pursue this new area of interest) I can now plan what I would like to achieve during my next course. I think this idea has legs!  Thank you Elaine!

It’s not easy stitching through rubber!

One day last year I found an intriguing piece of rubber on the beach at Seatown, Dorset.  I can’t be sure what it started out as but it had obviously been patched numerous times and the sea had distressed the surface beautifully.

Seatown - rubber 1.jpg

My initial thought was to keep it intact as I loved it so much, but, on reflection I felt that there was so much going, it would be better to view it in bite sized chunks. So I tore it into five pieces.  This was a brave decision because, unlike with art that you have made, you will never be able to replicate a found object – once you’ve alterered it, it stays altered!

Next, I considered how I could add to the surface without distracting from the wonderful texture that the sea had created.  I chose some found pieces of paper and a little more rubber from another find and added them with stitch.  The original piece of found rubber was quite contorted and I considered laying the pieces under a heavy weight to flatten them before mounting – I have rejected that option because I think the twists and turns add interest to the piece but I will see what my framer has to say about it!

It is always a case of being careful to add just the right amount of stitch – too little or too much makes a deal of difference.  The aspect is also important and I will play with some variations in due course.

Here they are before I visit him:

 

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Once they are framed, I will update you with how they look!

From Trash to Treasure

Well I think so anyway!  I fully appreciate that these pieces will appeal to a minority audience but I have enjoyed using my found pieces in a way that pleases me.  Here are two of the three final objects in their original state – an anorak cuff and a rolled up piece of rubber, original purpose unknown:

I knew that I could see potential in both of these items – lots of lovely texture – but knew also that they needed more.  I decided to construct a third piece using some found black plastic, made interesting by the sea.  I then played about with different additions until I found what I wanted, and added stitch.

I wanted to make each piece interesting on the outside and the inside and felt that they worked best as a trio.  I plan to sit them on a piece of found wood (yet to be retrieved from my stash in a nearby garage!) and hope to source something like a vintage taxidermist glass dome to go over the top.  Here are the three pieces now:

Black cream and rust trio

These images do not show what is going inside the three vessels – you’ll just have to come along and see them during the Chichester Art Trail to see the full effect – Chichester Art Trail 2018