One of my favourite things about living in the shepherd’s hut was looking out on the rabbits in the morning and evening. I even watched the fox stalking them (and failing).
Rabbits (from Portrait of My Father in an English Landscape, 1998)
The rabbits are about their business
of softening. They congregate in gangs
by hedgerows as if waiting for an event
of greater softness to overtake them.
The cloud overhead grow rabbit scuts
and bolt across the field in evening dress.
The whole sky is purpling with the scent
of evening. A clock opens and shuts
time out. Flowers bend on a single stem
and wind plumps wings to leaves.
(Practising light and shade on a non-real rabbit)
It was wonderful to spend time in the glasshouses earlier in the year – warm and with tropical plants! I joined a group which met regularly to draw in the Botanic Gardens. The mark making was experimental, and we followed instructions such as only using vertical marks, only holding the pencil at the end, or using three pencils taped together. It was fun but also frustrating – it is challenging to spend two hours drawing with multiple pencils, concentrating on just one plant, or only using one particular type of mark. It freed up my drawing though – and these are quite different to anything else I’ve ever done.
In March I followed Veronica Lawlor‘s ‘A Drawing A Day’ course on Sketchbook Skool. I still haven’t finished it, but I am loving it, and learning so much. It is great to have just one tutor who has constructed the course to be cumulative and progressive. I love her work and will get her book which I think the course is based on at some point. These are my favourites from Week 1 ‘Line’ and Week 2, ‘Marks’.
I have spent April going to printmaking groups – some by Bristol Print Collective, and some at the Greenbank Print Club, both of which I will definitely be going back to.
Painterly monoprinting near Bristol Marina – using caligo inks, and playing with different mark making tools, water and inks. The layers build up, adding more each time. It’s a process of playing and seeing what happens – at this stage for me it’s unpredictable and uncontrolled, which makes it all the more fun.
Botanical book making at Arnolfini – it was part of BABE (Bristol Artists Book Event) which I loved.
We made folded concertina books, using a pasta machine to apply pressure, and using dried flowers to create different textures. I added the poem using alphabet stamps later. It is so satisfying to produce a book, though what came through the pasta rollers was hard to predict and impossible to control! Photo credit of the printmaking process: Bristol Print Collective.
All that is gold does not glitter…not all those who wander are lost… J.R.R. Tolkien
And this is from mono printing at the Greenbank pub! The figure is from a sketch I did years ago on my Art Foundation course. The phrase is a work in progress – I want to make a print of the Loving Kindness meditation – May I be happy, may I be healthy, May I live at ease.