Wednesday, 28 March 2018

We Are Forest sketchbook despatch #2: Beech

I find the roots, especially, of beech trees to be fascinating. The way they writhe and weave and make wonderful patterns on the surface... (this happens because beech has a shallow root system. It seems to help it to thrive on the steep slopes of our local downs, where there is a thin layer of soil over crumbly chalk bedrock, but it can make the trees vulnerable to high winds).

Beech is traditionally thought of as being feminine - perhaps it is the smooth bark and the elegant limbs - or the way that it can make so much (a grand tree, with useful wood) out of so little (the thin soil). Or perhaps it was just that the oak, "king" of the forest, needed a queen of a suitably stately nature.

We Are Forest is now complete (inclusive of beech) and currently on show at Sticks Contemporary in Gosport, Hampshire. It will cease to exist after the exhibition closes on 14 April.

detail from We Are Forest, a collaborative room-sized artwork by Artikinesis

Friday, 16 February 2018

We Are Forest sketchbook despatch #1: Silver birch

Bodown Woods, "Pierre noir" pencil
We Are Forest is an Artikinesis project. It's about trees. These sketches were all made "in the field", or, more accurately, in the woods...
Greenham Common, fountain pen
Silver birch is native to the UK. It is a fast-growing tree, often populating heathland and occasionally viewed as a "weed" species. It's an opportunistic tree. Its pale bark and distinctive dark banding make it easy to recognise. 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook six - In the forest

Imaginary treescape, acrylic (knife painting)

Lone Hudson's In the forest theme was the last book I worked in. I do like trees, and I had been looking forward to this theme. The book was a smallish hardback guide to trees, with plentiful pages of nice quality paper. The text and line drawings made an interesting counterpoint to work placed directly on the page, and others in the group had made inventive use of the colour illustrations as well as doing some marvellous cut-work and additions, including manipulated leaves from trees.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook five - Shadows

This, selected for Charles Burns' Shadows theme, was a different class of book. It was a beautiful period hardback about photography, with elegant typography and full page monochrome photographs. It was also printed on nice paper - thick, matt and creamy in colour, it took every media we collectively threw at it - it had enough "tooth" for pencils and enough integrity for watercolour.

It was a book that demanded to be worked with rather than to be worked on, or against.

Shadows and reflections. Cello: woodblock, printed in the Japanese style, with fountainpen inks. Wineglass: Molotow One4All markers.

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook four - Experimental paint and weathered effects

I found this book, initiated by Jane Skingley, rather daunting, and not just because of its size. I suppose I'm not really much of a mixed-media experimenter. My rather bland contributions were all added directly to the glossy pages and I didn't photograph them. I rather think that the array of textures in this book needs to be leafed through for maximun effect.