Seeing the Old Year Out

At midnight on New Year’s Eve I always like the idea of letting the old year out of the house to make room for the New Year to come in and be welcomed. I feel that I need to do that with my studio, even if I’m still in the middle of a work. 2021 brought a dramatic change – this was our first year of living and working in Cornwall. It was also a year full of covid restrictions, so no travel abroad, very limited social opportunities and worst of all, no studio for most of the year. We had bought a B&B to turn back into a family house because it would give us plenty of studio space alongside the living space. The downside was that it took all of 2021 to do the necessary building work, so we couldn’t move in until near the end of the year.

I made two large panel pieces that I’ve very recently finished. The first uses monotypes of the Mermaid of Zennor woodcut and is called ‘Mermaids catching the Moon’. I’d watched the moon throwing a moonpath across the sea to the rocks on the shore where sometimes the moon was caught in a rockpool. I wondered if the mermaid’s mirror might be used to catch the moon and perhaps keep it in a rockpool. I collaged monotypes (Akua inks on Japanese paper) of the mermaid woodcut and monoprints (Akua on Arches 88) made from an etching of rocks to build up this image on a 4 foot x 18 inch ply board. I worked into the image with acrylic paint and will complete it with a clear acrylic varnish when I’m sure it’s completely dry. I’m pleased to have caught the ideas within a strong image in such a vertical composition.

The second large panel was the same dimensions and developed from a traditional Greek story about Moonspinners. I read a lot of books last year, including re-reading most of my Mary Stewart novels. She tells the story of the Moonspinners in her novel of the same name. These are three maidens who walk along the shore with their spindles, unwinding moonbeams out along the moonpath to enable the new moon to grow to become a full moon and then winding moonbeams in to reduce the moon to allow a few nights of complete darkness. I had an image of three ancient Greek women that I had used in May 2021 (discussed in my blog ‘Not in Florence’) to make some monotypes of this Moonspinners idea, but I hadn’t been happy with the finished prints because they seemed to need more moonpath, probably more scale. I laid two of those prints on the panel and liked the repeats, the changes of tone and the sense of sequence. I needed more monotyped pieces for the moonbeam threads running down both sides and gradually refined and added to the image with acrylic paint.

I finished this panel just before Christmas, just before the stairs to my studio were taken out, so this is a good time to pause to review, reflect and to find a way forward into 2022.

About vivmartin1

Viv is an artist and educator based on the south coast of England.
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2 Responses to Seeing the Old Year Out

  1. cimyart says:

    Hi Viv,
    Love reading your blog and seeing what you have been doing! I love how you are incorporating the monotypes into a larger format and using paint and collage.
    Do you ever have trouble adhering paper on top of the Akua inked areas? What adhesive are you using?

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