Friday, 20 November 2020

Finished Second Circus Set

 








 

How perverse technology is - I suspected it would show in reverse order however I chose to order them ....anyway here they are.... James the poet and I have decide to use both sets in a dos-a dos book together with the poems alongside both sets; it will hopefully be interesting to see the gestation of the images and  also to see how, or if, it changes the way the poems are read with different images alongside...

I am also now designing some little triple layer concertina books of the images to show the little circus in the forest, with a layer of trees in front on the folds to peek through with the circus artists as tho in little booths on each page - and with circus tents behind.....

it all takes so much time though - I hate days when all I do is cut and fold up pieces of paper... and yet more printing to do on these short dark days as well as factor in time for a sanity walk before sunset.....

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Further Thoughts on art in a time of crisis....




 I am still chipping away at the last of the second series of circus prints, and in fact ready to print - but it has been so dark recently I have had a breather and done some reading - the first break for 6 months, garnering strength for the winter and having lots of walks while I can ....

Developing events have also needed short essays and proposals for future on-line possibilities for exhibiting my books. It has come to seem much more appealing when fair organisers bite the bullet and and start preparing for such options for 2021 rather than endlessly postponing and cancelling which is stressful and upsetting - I don't see how we can plan ahead for real face to face events currently - Artists Books are really not socially distanced and hands-off events! ... and we have to think laterally and creatively....

Writing proposals has made me re-evaluate what I have been working on since March and think about how I might position it now we are in for a long haul. It seemed natural to incorporate the pandemic subliminally into it - and Fool Gets Sick ( still awaiting printing) flowed very seemlessly from my climate crisis related work. Now after so many months with the virus I question whether such work really will be of interest to anyone or  researchers, or whether in the future the last thing we will want is to be reminded of it.

This is the fine line where art balances between reasonable topicality ( including the dangers of veering into propaganda) and something more universal and timeless where my heart is usually is drawn.

I hope that by frequently oscillating like a humming bird between the two possibilities I can still end up in the camp of ART and not reportage; it is why I keep an umbilical cord to story making and a finger in the myth-kitty, a historical awareness as well as looking to the future...alongside experimenting constantly with the plastic possibilities of painting and printmaking materials, surfaces, colours and structures and all the ways of projecting meaning wordlessly and timelessly. A sort of 'slow art'.

I do feel that artists in the 21st century should be reflecting the times they live in, as well as keeping true to something more un-pin-downable, a step ahead or outside, a slow-art that doesn't reveal its heart on it's sleeve - and is not necessarily understood by its creator either.

From my relatively fortunate and privileged position, particularly of being able to continue working from home despite having to isolate strictly, I hesitate to presume I am competent enough to comment wisely; but I want to make work that is relevant, honest and respectful - might still spread a little humour and joy, insight, diversionary interest and context, while still keeping the overriding concern for our communal future in the general consciousness. However a little voice in my ear alarmingly suggests - will there still be enough time for 'slow burning art' to mature, when the climate crisis of which the pandemic is just another manifestation is accelerating rapidly.

And of course making art is a sort of therapy akin to meditation for the maker of it in real time too.



Sunday, 18 October 2020

Update on new sets of Circus prints










            Having finished the set as playing cards I have been experimenting further....I think these are improving – tho there is still a way to go with some of them... they are getting more dramatic and primal but also easier on the eye en masse or in book form.

I think the set needs some quite simple ones to rest the eye too...
 
they look paler in the photo and  look richer in the real....
I will plough on with more cutting and finish set then re-evaluate and rethink/moderate where necessary
They tend to come up slightly different each time way they are done but may settle if I did a small run, just doing 3-4 experiments of each one so far....
once I’ve done the set I can see how they need to work together and adjust colour if necessary
the paper cockles because of hand painting first – I hope they will press down once the ink is dry 

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Last 4 Blind Tiger Circus images

 







Last four images (printed in these colours anyway) finished this week - 

19 - it gets harder to explain without writing out the whole poem but it mentions an empty room and a chair, the poet asks where the tiger comes from, sees the spoor on the floorboards and the delicacy of its footmarks...

we are neither here nor there, left unfurnished....

20 - The Amazing Flying Man; the poem talks of beeswax and feathers and my flying man is like Icarus, leaving the tents far below, ethereal..... but will he fall

21 - the smouldering tiger skull watches the parade pass by from the edge of the forest and the circus move on against the bleak background of the city.....

22 - in the hollow cauldron of the skull are two ghostly puppets, but who is pulling whose strings.....


Thursday, 10 September 2020

Broadband collapse

 Apologies for lack of blogging; our always tenuous internet connection finally caved in and we were without one for over a week - now have temporary computer haven annoyingly right by my printing station, very inconvenient, a different world polluting my sacred space...however, useful for food supplies from the outside world.....

One benefit was that we had to do massive clear and clean up so that BT engineer could enter safely and without touching too much ( or get inky) - not the sort of house for much social distancing; but we now feel virtuous and ready for the winter and good clear-out job does make one feel good and vents a lot of frustrations, and also the discovery of buried stuff can be inspiring ( not needed at this point tho- have enough inspiration already and just need to get things FINISHED ) - P still working on a new computer station where new cable will have to come in and there have been many trips to the dump, encouraging, every cubic centimetre of paper which leaves this house is a minor triumph...

however printing was interrupted! and may be again next week when engineer returns annoyingly...hope I can last 4 images done then...

meanwhile










here is the next batch...bother - the first image of the ant should come between the mother and child image and the acrobats...never mind - I will continue the commentary in the correct order...

image 12 - the bareback rider - the poet talks of 'a woman who has lost her love is trying to catch may petals' and a capsized moon...

in poem 13 there is a child's voice and her mother is calling to her and here they retreat to their caravan - the fringes of the circus are always even more mysterious than the show.....

poem 14 speaks of a sleeping child and 'the ant... who knows the circumference of all things' - and I enjoyed researching flea circuses for inspiration; the wisdom of the ant probably surpasses that of the didactic group of watchers in some things....

15 - is probably the darkest poem/image in the whole set and needs to be read in full to be understood. I made an image On the Edge - we balance precariously on the circumference of our planet at a moment of great decisions. Will we fail the moment. the poet begs the Tiger for 'mercy, mercy, mercy....'

16 The poet says Blind Tiger when will we learn the subtlety of extinction.... and again an edge-land figure - the clown  stands in the wings and looks out at the forest edge...

17 - the poem mentions the elephant and a woman, and miracles of incarnation; the power of nature.

18 but all the images after the acrobats one have taken a more melancholic turn, the figures are all  white - ghosts of themselves.....

to be continued, in ten days time hopefully.....

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Half Way hooray

    Blogging early this week as I  know the next couple of images are going to take longer as I will have to  re-adjust them to fit and follow these 3 now that I am printing them as little books as well as playing cards   - can't change the order as they fit the poems..... 

So we have cards 9, 10 and 11: poem and image 9 introduce Fire and number 10 - the circus Strong Man...he stands like a lumberjack but in his tiger suit, the decapitated head in front of him, what a hero, has he just cut down enough trees to destroy habitat or actually shot the beast. Poem 10 ends - Let in only those who love, the mollycoddlers and embracers, those who absent-mindedly lift a hair from your shoulder. 

Poem 11 says - we have let the tree bleed too long, slaked and gutted    so I have introduced here the Strong Woman standing in front of a plank of a tree - it takes a different kind of strength to stand calm while flaming knives are thrown towards you and aim to pin your shape to the tree.   

This image is half way through the cycle so helps me feel the beginning of the end is in sight ; I am so looking forward to finishing so that I can do them again in a different and darker way ( to say nothing of the drypoint idea) - this is one of the reasons they are taking so long to do as I keep getting new ideas to keep a note of but I cant work on as I go along or it will ruin the blocks for finishing this edition.

And already it is feeling autumnal - the walks in the woods feel suddenly very different, evenings noticeably drawing in, loads of luscious blackberries, and yellow leaves dropped and carpeting the brown forest floor so that the whole wood is glowing; I suppose the drought has contributed to the early leaf drop, and now the strong winds....                                                                  

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Circus poems/images 6-9

  In the first image - no.6  - the poet talks of smoke stained tenements and a woman with stripes across her back like a tiger in a silent room... my tenement has a circus poster and people in the street below.

In image no 7 our poor planet hangs like a party globe upon the world tree, weeping/bleeding from its five wounds - fire , drought, famine, pollution, plague and more......the poet says...'neon strobes the bedroom ceiling, the city's traffic is perpetual'      ...he wants us to return to the forest at night but there are snares - he assures the tiger they were not set by us.........  

In image 8  he talks of.... 'the noise of helicopters shaking the dead in their graves' but my circus image is of a woman being sawn in half - she is associated with the trees as she lies on her plank, part of the forest - where the noise of destruction is terrible and there is an ominous sulphurous coloured sky; her blood drains into the ground.  

Poem 9 again associates   the woman with the tree and the forest is on fire; circus tents are very prone to catching fire and in my image all the animals are fleeing the forest blaze, leaping forward like a picture on a circus poster that we saw on image 6.