Archive | July, 2012

Shaping landscapes

31 Jul

Having made a landscape drawing a day for over two months now , I was thrown by a drawing block ,on  a recent trip to Arles in France ,( for a photographic festival , my husband had pictures in an exhibition there ).

I was trying to do my daily drawing (which was to be of flat, french, landscape)  having  previously looked at a rolling english  landscape so intently ,proved to be very difficult. It made me realise how ‘linked’ people become to landscape they are surrounded by for a long time. Is this why , Van Gogh went to Arles? , a certain flatness and wide horizon suited him , reminding him of Dutch land.ImageImage

The painting on the left is called  Flower beds in Holland 1883 ( National Gallery of Washington)
, on the right : The Harvest , Arles 1888 ( The Van Gogh Museum , Amsterdam )

The artist Turner ( Joseph Mallord William ) , was born in Convent Garden , spent his young days in Brentford and Margate , returning to the theme of land and water throughout his life ( and to Margate,  ) , dying in a house on Cheyne Walk by the Thames in London.Image

Margate (?) from the sea 1835-40 ( The Tate Gallery),

Constable was obsessed by Dedham Vale ( on the borders of Essex and Suffolk) , so much so, that we all regognize what is meant by art historians and in tourist guides as Constable Country.


Do all these artists have an initial identity with certain landscapes that never leave them ? at times the work that they do, is simply reconfigurated, to suit this identity , wherever they happen to be . So maybe as well as humans shaping landscape, does landscape shape humans and their creative responses ?




12 Jul


I have been working on a pilot project for EnglaID , : public engagement and archaeology alongside creative work.A triple bill..  Just finished a drawing today ( I think) in a large development in Didcot.Image

The drawing was made over a series of weeks, of one view,by the side of an archaeological site, in the fields pre development , the idea was to record each day, and its particular light, on top of the last, many cloud formations , excavations, and maybe Iron Age and Roman traces appearing after wet weather. The darker dashes in the drawing are swifts.


I placed myself on a footpath within the development : the simplicity  of placing an easel and a drawing in progress, brought about  many conversations from members of the public and archaeologists :

such as .. conversations on how there was a sadness that the land was being developed when it had been known as beautiful farm land , a real interest in archaeology of this particular place, conversationImages on wildlife , politics , life in general, death, recent remembered  Didcot history , dogs.. Artists from the next door streets emerged and brought pictures up to the site:


It seems that more time is needed to look over the amazing material gathered at Didcot, many thanks to all at Oxford Archaeology and all the residents of Didcot that I met, this could be an exiting project !

As I left , I noticed that wheat from the large fields had spread to the streets , around the bus stop and even on the curb , as I walked into Didcot..Image



on time..

3 Jul


After having had a very interesting and thought provoking meeting between the EnglaID team and the Professor of Visualisation  ( Min Chen ) and his team at the Oxford University’s eResearch Centre ( Oe RC), I have been thinking about how we present time visually, as Min Chen said : ‘ How do you visualize time , without using time ( ie not using moving images) . His team have developed ‘glyphs’ , a visual code to do this , which the viewer or researcher has to learn .

Referencing art historical images , why ( and how) do some drawings evoke a feeling of extended time as opposed to a showing a specific moment?   (see above ,

Leornado Da Vinci , early landscape drawing 1473 )Image

 Landscape 6-8 August 1888 , Van Gogh .

Is it easier to show longer moments in pencil or monochrome? the image below is by contemporary artist John Hubbard, a beautiful drawing of Dartmoor.Image

Would bringing in colour make the viewer think of a more specific moment ? or would it be a question of how the colour is used : if the colours are aligned with ones perception of what is deemed ‘normal’, then it may feel more like a snapshot moment , but if the landscape is painted with colours that feel ‘out of the ordinary..’, does this mean that the image has a feeling of a ‘ longer’ amount of time, just as some of these drawing represented here, seem to do?Image

This is a drawing from a series by Cy Twombly , Poems to the Sea ( 1959 ), he mixes drawing , scribbling, writing, each drawing has a horizon line , the poems , or ideas of a poem , seem to written in the sea..