From February ‘til now…
Back again after so many months away! OK so I haven’t written my blog since February; however there are reasons:
2.Time has just gone so quickly (absolutely flown by)
3.What a year! What can I say?
4.What a year! What can I say?!
What happened to 2020? Is the question that no doubt everyone is asking. It’s weird and I usually like weird but this is just dreadful weird.
Well, I just couldn’t create. I had no motivation and believe me I tried. Lots of artists produced wonderful works depicting the lock down time during the Pandemic, which was great; a memory or reminder/record of that strange time. I felt creatively numb and couldn’t create something unique to reflect the situation, to define the period of what was going on (and still is to some degree). I don’t know if I actually wanted to be reminded of it. It was tough but we’re getting through it right?
I suppose one reaction to the pandemic came in a watercolour I painted in May, ‘Without You’ as a response to nature doing very well and thriving without us; it was such a beautiful Spring.
As a nature artist I have found nature has helped me and so many others. It is healing and
giving as we are the takers. Healing and nurturing on so many levels. Our need for nature clearly outweighs nature’s need for us as we have somewhat bought about this disease, and many other disasters to our world in the way we live. We need to give something back and care for our beautiful home.
These last few months have led me to think of the fleeting, impermanence of nature and how fragile life is, and is perhaps taken for granted, becoming a constant, giving entity because it has always been here it always will be. But unfortunately not so. Nothing stays the same.
So instead of creating I was reading loads. There are a couple of books that really stood out
and really chimed with my situation at the time, both journeys of sorts. The first is Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty which I thoroughly recommend. ( Dara's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/naturalistdara/ A ‘must read’ if you haven’t already. It tracks a year in Dara’s life, a fifteen year old, whose passion and love of nature shines through. The changing seasons, his challenges coping with autism and his love and connecting with nature his fight to protect our world as a “conservationist and environmental activist” and educate others to do so is truly remarkable and inspiring. A year seen through Dara’s eyes, which beautifully expresses his love of nature, you could almost be there with him. It’s soul touching and heartfelt, wonderfully written and has connected to my very core.
The second book is New York to California by Jeremy Page.http://jeremypage.co.uk/Site/home.html A journey undertaken by Jeremy, starting at New York in Lincolnshire Fen to California in East Norfolk (where I live) where he grew up, where his ancestors lived. Jeremy searches for a connection with ‘his people’, a connection to his Norfolk roots. I’m not quite sure he finds exactly what he’s looking for because ‘as soon as you think you’ve seen it, it’s gone’. A journey perhaps as much inside the self as outside. It’s thought provoking, humorous and philosophical. Revealing many truths about the area that is so familiar to me now.
Jeremy Page’s description of Norfolk resonates so vividly with feelings of it’s serene, timeless beauty contrasted sharply with it’s isolation and remoteness which is so apparent in the Norfolk landscape. The sheer openness of sky, flatness, expanse of fields, and of the broads. I have been so lucky here, to be able to escape, to the sea, the countryside, the river and the woods of which I am grateful everyday.
To some, the remoteness and openness of the Norfolk landscape would perhaps be too desolate, lonely and isolated. However, it is uncluttered, the space, the vastness. So wonderful for the mind, body and spirit/soul. It has a purity, a meditative quality which is so good for mental health and well-being. To see the horizon forever, the distance. Nothing to distract from the vision of the horizon, which can only be of a benefit for clear thought and vision and state of mind. It puts things into perspective. Feelings of smallness, yet at the same time huge, part of it all, the great whole. Oneness. Such overwhelming sublimity. So breath-taking and beautiful.
I have indeed been connecting more to my environment, surroundings, these past month
I have been creating ink paintings, experimenting with East Asian Sumi e style, using Sumi e ink and paints. (Sumi meaning ink, e meaning painting). Usually created on rice paper, which I have tried and have realised for me, needs much more practice. Wet rice paper is temperamental. It cockles and needs ironing on the reverse to flatten it out. But worth persevering with. I have found this style quite challenging with using the different materials and techniques, but practice makes perfect and I do like a challenge.
So I’ve experimented with ink paintings of Norfolk scenes and discovered perhaps how similar the
Norfolk landscape is to that of the coastal and water scenes of Japan (obviously not the mountainous areas!) Similarities in their essence/inherent purity, evoking meditational timelessness, simplicity and serenity. I really love this style and hope you do too. They are all available on my website.
Lastly, I’m just going to mention that I’m so grateful to have been contacted a few months
ago by The Anonymous heART project asking if I would create a painting for the heart research charity. https://heartresearch.org.uk/anonymous-heart/ So I’ve been busy creating… and all will be revealed next month! I’m so happy to be part of this amazing event in which many artists create artworks anonymously to be auctioned on Ebay in October. All proceeds go to the heart research charity and which I’ll be writing about it in my next blog. So wonderful! Until next time...
Thank you for reading
McAnulty, D. (2020) ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’, Little Toller Books.
Page, J. (2019) ‘New York to California’, Propolis.
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