Drifting Down the Danube

Last Christmas I spent a week drifting down the Danube and I filled a sketchbook with impressions, images and ideas. Most of the drawings were of reflections on the ship windows, mixed with images visible through the windows and objects (mainly plants) between me and the windows. I liked the ambiguity of the drawings, the juxtaposition of the different types of image and the way they seemed to suggest stories and questions that reflected the experience of the journey.

I made a series of twenty monotype paintings, which I began in a workshop in Florence in May this year. Most of the paintings went through four or five stages, where I added colour and marks or removed sections. This is a selection from the completed series.

I’m not sure if I’ve finished this series yet because there are several more ideas that I might return to soon.

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Exhibition at the Fish Factory

This year Paul and I are showing work at the Fish Factory in Brighton Road, Worthing for the Worthing Artists Open Houses trail (from June 16th – July 1st 2018, more info http://www.worthingartistsopenhouses.com).

‘Rock Pool’ is a carborundum print, the image developed from watercolour studies of rockpools.

This etching began as a study of a rock at Marazion, in Cornwall. There were intricate layers of dark and light strands, reminding me of how rocks document their own history, through their slow development of form.

This is an older image that always reminds me of living by the sea. The image is of John, one of the last local fishermen to still push his boat out from the beach to fish here. I wanted to hang this etching/collage here because we often eat his catch here as our fish and chips!

 

 

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Tales of the riverbank

We spent last Christmas floating down the Danube. Last year I had made a series of prints from my drawings of the Rhine riverbanks, which used some of the reflections on windows and water as part of the image. This time, I made the reflections the starting point of most of my drawings, choosing to focus on the windows that we normally look right through. Here are some pages from my sketchbook:

This is a mixture of the bridge, the street lights and the river running beneath, with a plant and the lights in the cabin.

Another window looked out to a church and had reflections from a window behind me.

The bridge again, this time drawn from a different angle.

This was an evening when people were dancing and many were waving their hands in the air – seen reflected in a window where I was watching the river go by.

A daytime view of winter river banks, when the sun was low and light flashed onto windows, making bright zig-zags and hints of rainbows.

Another daytime drawing, with detail in the windows reflected on windows.

Christmas Day in Budapest – lots of inside lights overlaying the views outside.

Now I’m looking forward to developing prints or paintings from these ideas. I like the feeling of starting the New Year with new ideas, although I still have a lot of work still in progress from last year!

 

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Goodbye 2016

img_20161231_0012A New Year at last! In 2016 we had Christmas floating down the Rhine and instead of our usual morning champagne on Worthing beach, we drank a toast to all our relatives and friends in different corners of the world and shared some with the Rhine to carry to Neptune and the loved ones we’ve lost! These are some of the drawings I made through the week afloat – now I’ll start working out how to make larger work from them.

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This first group were of trees and windows lit up with Christmas lights, on the river banks as we moved out of Cologne.

 

 

 

 

 

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There were lots of castles perched on the tops of hills. Sometimes I drew with a pen and often I added colour with water-soluble pencils and a brush with a small water reservoir.

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2016 was very difficult for me because my younger brother died suddenly early in the year, which was a horrible shock and the reason why we had to do something very different and away from home at Christmas. As it happened, we arrived in Strasbourg docks on Christmas Day and I rather liked these magenta rail trucks.

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Maybe I had quite a lot of champagne, because not everyone saw the Rhine maidens or the Rhine gold, as I did!

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I’ve been thinking that I might develop some of my print sequences into books, so I joined a workshop focused on making visual diaries and graphic novels. That has helped me to increase the variety and spontaneity of drawing and I’ve learnt to be a lot less fussy about accuracy – who would have thought that it would take fifty years to shake off the objective drawing habits from 1960s art college! So these drawings may become part of a book as well as contributing to a series of monotypes – more in due course…

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New Florence Prints

We’ve just spent a few weeks in Florence again, making monotypes in a printmaking workshop with Ron Pokrasso and a group of printmakers from the USA and other countries. I’ve returned with fifteen prints, some almost finished but many with more to do.

At first I had an idea about including a short verse with an image and I tried it using the subject of a fountain in what had originally been the Medici Sculpture Garden.

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I continued with a few more – here is one that links some of the art in Florence with acknowledging the benefits brought by the Medicis as patrons.

Medici balls

The paving stones and cobbles are uneven and often carry interesting patterns and marks, but when it rains there are many deep puddles. As I was looking down trying not to tread in puddles, I noticed the reflections and stopped to draw with an idea about looking at Florence in puddles. I like the possibilities in this and perhaps making a link with the very destructive floods in the 1960s, so these prints are just a starting point.

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I’m hoping to work on all of these prints now, so that I can show them in our Open Studios weekends starting on June 18th. More news soon!

 

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