Saturday, February 11, 2017

Leafing through the Archive 2

Blossom Arc in Outer Dark
Number One 2006

From the Space Like Black Velvet Series 2006-10

Carbon and charcoal over watercolour on paper 
150 x 150 cms
Private Collection

The medium of the above drawing is charcoal over watercolour, which I began developing in 1974. I have used the carbon over washes in both monochrome and colour, and it was for this technique that I won the Chelsea College of Art Drawing Prize in 1975.

This post is a response to the many well meaning emails I have so far received, which have informed me that my large leaf paintings, 
the writing on the ideas of Beauty, and the techniques of using charcoal over watercolour, have been copied. This is a gentle response to you all in appreciation of your concern. And yes, I am aware that art history is peppered with stolen ways of working. 

The purity of my work is probably not affected by attempts to copy, because it originates from an attitude that cannot be stolen. My work has a meditative focus as a part of a reflective way of life. However, I do recognise that this kind of harmless attitude may sometimes cause me to be vulnerable to those artists who may have more predatory notions. I do tend to rise above the problems of being plagarised. 

The botanical aspect of my work and the teaching it has encompassed has always involved an aspect of service. My background in fine art has enabled me to see the plant world in a way that is charmed and imbued with the love of nature in a mystical way that is separate from science. I observe not with a scientific view but with that of a mystic who is in love with the natural world. I have often said how much I enjoy scientific illustration, and I see my works as the balance and a partner to that.

You will all know that I have always wanted my work to speak for itself, and that I have no need to glamorise the process. Photos of me are an occasional interest, and one I hope you enjoy. As a child in the 1960's, I was one of the Kodak Children, who formed a stable of photogenic kids that advertised Kodak film, and the Box Brownie Cameras. This was a spectacularly fun aspect of my childhood and it gave me great insight and ability to observe the pitfalls this can create for anyone in pursuit of 15 minutes of fame. And so, my attitude is very different from the face book generation, as I am focusing ahead of it.

I have also recently been asked why I have no interest in painting decaying or diseased plants. Why would I want to introduce this aspect of plant life to Collectors homes or into a museum? For me beauty is in renewal, and in the force of life that is ever evolving. Decay and disease in plant matter is not the message I want to convey, I'm looking instead toward renewal and evolution. The Imperial War Museum is a sobering and serious place that I recommend anyone interested in depicting death and decay to visit. The War Artists are those who have really seen and depicted death and decay in its most profound moments.

Thank you to all the kind and thoughtful people who sent me the emails.