Rewilding

It has been a couple of weeks now since I have updated this blog, so today I will be posting a bit extra to make up for the two week silence. I am currently sitting in the cafe of the Northcott theatre in Exeter, in the background I can hear a live concert pianist. In a couple of hours a charity christmas fundraiser gig is about to begin to help fund the costs of the theatre. financial pressures become more and more tricky for small business and cultural institutions it’s worth considering how communities can continue to bring artistic and interesting niches in a growing monotone corporate world. Sadly I don’t have an answer but it feels connected to the same questions I explore in my recent paintings. How can we balance the wild, creative and spontaneous with the logical, preplanned and organised.

The past three months have been an interesting time exploring painting and my process with it. I spent three weeks working on a body of work which was quite different to anything I had ever tried before. As I come from a background in illustrating I can have a very pre planned and detailed style however I love allowing the medium dictate the images; be it paint, ink or charcoal. This spontaneous and messy style is both fun and exciting to do as long as one can trust the process. I have wanted to try and merge these two, somewhat paradoxical sides, my experiments began by working on very small 6inch x4 inch pieces of card. I now have over 30 of these images. They reflect narratives and dreamlike qualities drifting between inner and outer realities.

While I was painting them I was reading an interesting book about women’s relationships to animals which led me on to pick up the book Feral by George Monbiot. My somewhat personal concern of harbouring both my neat planned self with my spontaneous wild messy side, is echoed in Monbiot’s book as a collective problem. How can we exist in nature without controlling it. He calls for rewilding.

Ask any good herbalist about the wild plants that have appeared in the unweeded garden and they will have a good idea of the nature of the illnesses inflicting the homeowners. Our wild edges are important. Pulling the roots away may create a prettier garden in the the eyes of suburbia but what are we undervaluing in the process?

I like the weeds, sploges, stains and distortion in my paintings especially if they surprise, confuse or perplex me. Then I feel the painting is living beyond what I have conceived. Although the painting remains in relationship to myself, it is no longer of me.

Below are a few examples of my recent miniature paintings, each began life as either a single or simple palette until more and more layers were added. Some images emerged quickly while others slowly took form. I hope to exhibit them together and am currently attempting to build mount backs and buy in some frames for them. Although they are individual pieces they are (like ourselves) all connected.

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