Residency at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens 2016 – 2019

Beginning…

The name ‘Tremenheere’ means place of the long stones. From the tall stones of Orkney to Carn Euny I’ve long been entranced by the spirit which emanates from these stones and the lands from which they grow.

Drawing at Calanais for email    Calanais, Orkney

Callanais Standing Stone Lewis    Calanais, Orkney

Last year I spent some time in the gardens at Tremenheere, making notes and drawings about the alchemical process which plants seem to pass through as they leave the earth which holds them, into the air which caresses them. I sat for hours as if in a spell, watching that place in the earth from where plants – bamboo, tree, succulent, emerged…

“Everything in the natural world is a symbolic footprint of the metaphysical beings whose actions created our world. As with a seed, the potency of an earthly location is wedded to the memory of its origin. The Aborigines called this potency the ‘Dreaming’ of  a place, and this Dreaming constitutes the sacrednessof the earth. Only in extraordinary states of consciousness can one be aware of, or attuned to, the inner dreaming of the earth.”

From Voices of the First Day by Robert Lawlor.

Workbook notes made whilst in the garden: A raven calls deeply. Flying northwest, the second follows. A large white butterfly which resembles a small bird lands on a tree. A diminutive magnolia stands prettily alone, I am reminded of my dream of a little girl, a daughter, so bright and lovely. What if the young trees were our children, the elders our fathers, our mothers? How do things – stems, stalks, petals – emerge from the Earth? The change of element, the rich deepness become softer, translucent. In the earth our roots are held firm, in the air we become as dancers, balancing, our fingertips just touching. The ravens next to me … they throw croaks like balls over my head. They keep time with my thoughts. A dog replies to them. White agapanthus bow down. The wind has stroked them.

Yesterday was my first day in the gardens this year. I chose  a spot near the top, not far from Michael Chaikin’s sculptures. I found a long stone taking a rest, and I sat there too.

first day

It was March 13th, my parents’ wedding anniversary; they’re not here to remember it anymore….

Workbook notes:  A three buzzard sky ; their wings quarter space. Water washes song. Body settles, rock breathes beast strong black colourless transparent

Pink

Feeling the beauty of this place rising in me

Come here at dawn, be a bird she said

Bird song drawing

Absorbing sound, settling more, I change sound to mark

Dream of

I think, after my first day back here, that many of the drawings may be about sound into smudge, trace, arc; felt sense into hands on paper, open, receiving, moving, birthing black, or orange, green or blue.

The birds here will be my guides. They welcome me.

A good friend said “That’s great that the land spoke to you”.

I’m aiming to spend around half a day each week in the gardens –  if you see me drawing, please do come and speak to me!

Second visit on March 22nd 2017.bud opens

I’d had a dream of a paint woman, a saint woman, a woman discarded, half dead, dressed in rags; a mummified woman sitting in a hedgerow. I sit beside a pool, I am filled up. I see her clothes wrapping air, her bones not spirit shining, not bone white, not anything but air. Transparent this, this sitting beside a pool where sky rests as a babe in arms, gently rocking. I think of lovers from other lives, of meeting anew in this life, of recognition, of loving again with relief, with emotion.

sky in pool    reflections in pond

 

The slate is soft and warm. The Saint in the hedge is still, and watching me. I turn to the pond, I travel down through layers of sky and pink leaves to Edenic tissues.

I am thinking of how she is curled up in the mud.

Skin warm,

Bone woman,

Quiet Woman

without words

Wordless water

Silent pool

your sisters rush

pond woman holds up the waters

 

 

 

 

New work, oil, preparation for Iona notebooks…

Kate Walters Island Creature oil on paper 2016 small file

Island Creature, oil on paper, 2016.

 

Yesterday I worked with my friend Karen Lorenz to record readings from my fragmentary notes made whilst sitting on the white sands of Iona, or in the bosky light of St Oran’s Chapel. The readings are for a film Karen is making about my Iona works, due to be released around the same time as the launch of the book Iona Notebooks.

Here is a short passage I wrote whilst sitting on a rock beside the forlorn body of a dead seal pup in November 2016.

 

Little slim skull

speckled grey babe

silver black and senseless

the crows make sky of your eyes

I sit hunched in the cold wind, and weep for you.

 

Limelight, Falmouth Art Gallery, February 2017.

@katewaltersartist - detail from Obsidian, watercolour on gesso-prepared paper, snapped on exhibition on the Limelight Wall in the gallery. Please pop in to clearly see all the exquisite layers within this work-until 5pm Saturday, 11/2/17. #falmouthartgallery #limelight #painting #contemporaryart #horse #cornishart #katewaltersartist
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Earthlines covers – back and front!

I’m delighted that my work has been chosen to grace the covers of March 2017 Earthlines magazine:-

Quiet seemed to be the best kind of loud during that crazy, coming-home-to-roost winter. We just knuckled down and got on with doing the work and focusing on making this issue of the magazine as fine as it possibly could be – in the face of all that was, in spite of all that was. And so we have a new ‘Earthlines’ just back from the printer and we hope that it will be a breath of fresh air, a reminder of good people living well – committed people telling their stories, realistic yet joyful. We’ll be mailing out in the next fortnight. To get a copy please visit: http://www.earthlinesmagazine.org/buy/ Here’s a look at the beautiful cover thanks to the very talented Kate Walters

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Puglia, January 2017

 

Inside Galatina Church

 

 

after rain Puglia    curled skeleton

Carrying fire.

Vessel of fire.

Protection against fire and sickness.

Doorway Puglia    Galatina Church Nave

Horse with talismanic gifts.

Head Tree, leafiness, crown seeding.

Heart Tree smaller file     drawings Puglia   Madonna

 

baby skeleton

 

Baby Skeleton

Cave Shadow

 

Shadows make breasts or a crown for me

I am Boat, I am torrent streaming, pooling, shadows, red ground, sinking, gathering.

Burnt olive, ash and smoke, morning scent, orange fruit and lemon.

The poems of Rilke, writing to God, sitting in the cave, feeling the memories of horses walking in circles.

Bird with marigold     In the cave In the cave at Impisi with work by David Westby.

 

Forms filled with prayer, I clothe myself in prayer.

Thinking about The Ode of the Mantle…. words written by a sick poet: he dreamed of The Prophet laying a mantle over him; when he awoke he was cured. Water washed over the words of the Ode are thought to contain healing powers- they were given to the unwell to drink.

Sewing the scented Wound

Stitching the scented Wound

‘Living with the Sky upon me.’ Rilke

“By paths unknown to us, they all go upwards” Cioran

Wetting the souls of one’s feet in their tears” (writing about the Saints) Cioran.

Being tied to the invisible – how does that look?

Figure Figure with tree spirit in soul place

Figure with Tree spirit in soul place; tree with cut throat;

The melting crown of the seal-hare;

Arms as places for spirit to land, and rest, be restored;

The umbilicus of the Bird – an energetic navel?

Heart's Tongue

Horse with Soul Smoke  Horse with soul smoke

Horse sees a sickness   Horse calls out the sickness

 

Horse calls out the sickness; Horse sees the sickness; Horse blows sickness away.

 

January 2017. New work; what feeds it…Italy in winter…

I’ve been looking at Louise Bourgeois’s Insomnia Drawings, and recalling events from my childhood, which took place in France ( a balcony in Rouen; a country house and forest in Sologne). I remember going swimming in a big dark pool. It was raining, I was alone, I was around seven years old. There were large trees surrounding the lake, and everything seemed to be a muted deepening green. I remember crawling along through the water, my palms on the soft squelchy bottom, fingers pulling me along. Suddenly my fingertip felt ice, and warm, and alarm. My finger was cut, the pond was full of broken glass, the blood hung a red cloud in the water. I stood up, blood pouring down my arm, and ran down the path towards the big house. The rain was pouring down, the path was wet with millions of frogs, tiny baby green beings a torrent of legs and little hands on the path all around me. I found a strange woman in the large cold kitchen. No mother. I cried and cried. She wrapped my finger with something. I could not be soothed. Later, walking in the forests with my family gathering yellow mushrooms, I spied a family of goats. There was a pretty young kid. I made friends, I put my arms around her, she was close and warm and smelled of earth, I was comforted.

A recent  dream of an electric current, my father was connected to it, and another man, and so was I. It was full of pain, terror, and pulling. In the dream I knew I could let go of the current. I let go of the current.

I’m thinking (always through drawing)  about seeing with the navel; how the umbilical cord connects us energetically with ancestors and future generations. Bodily knowing. Bringing into sight what is hidden in the abdomen, or the womb, feeling oneself a bee, a queen bee; a carrier of seeds, a distended flower head in the autumn, ripe and full and flooded with the stain of dusky departures.

We can also see above the skin, above the skin of the mid-section, with the solar part flexing like a drum, or the voice cords, humming.

Drawings of a figure with head wings and spine wings. And animals as seers.

I think of my dream of the five little discreet lumps, like glands or tiny breasts in a  row, vertical. I think of the dark-eyed man who stands before me in so many pictures, of the book of love I have read again – of the boat, of the wine, the cheese and the metal, and of the dead children and the rain. The lovers in the rain. And the lake, the mountains, and the snow.

Of time wasted; of the erotic in art being sacred, of the energy of desire the same flame as the dull ache I experience as I sit before my easel.

The pink stain of Lucretia’s gown is the stain on my cheeks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    oil on linen.

Soon I will be in Italy again, in Puglia, working in a cave, researching.

 

 

a-n Travel Research bursary: Radio Coast FM interview Thursday 15th December at 2.30

This afternoon I’ll be speaking about my trip to Orkney and the Western Isles, generously supported by a-n Artists Information company. I’ll be discussing what I saw and felt, what moved me, inspired me, and what I am bringing forwards in my work as an artist. I went to Scotland in August and October, and the trips are continuing to be a powerful force igniting my work.

Here are some more images from my trip, and some images which developed as a result of my travelling:

Inside Unstam chambered tomb, Orkney       Orkney view The Italian Church, Orkney small file                Callanish Standing stones Lewis Lewis, Lochan, Sun       Welcome to Uig, Lewis Drawing, Water, Ardroil sands Peat drawing with Mermaid's purse, deer-bestowed arms smaller file    Figure after Seal Iona 2016 KW small file Figure giving birth through womb navel KW 2016 40 x 50 cm Iona Inks for email    Saint holding feet KW 2016 Iona for Iona

 

Iona in November; images of place, experience; words and memory

Mull snow caps    Red Valley Mull travelling across Mull…

After teaching my workshop (please see previous post)I spent two weeks on Iona working in the hostel at Lagandorain (the hollow of the otter) doing domestic work and tending the gardens. I walked most days to the beach with a wheelbarrow to gather seaweed to dress the currant and berry beds. For the rest of each day I worked in my nest-like room making drawings and writing; or cycling in the fading daylight to Abbey, Chapel or the beach at the back of the ocean. The hostel is surrounded by fields of close-cropped grass and a couple of dozen of small and wiry black Hebridean sheep. To go anywhere you must pass through a sheep gate or three, and at night ones’ dreams might be accompanied by the percussion of sheep – bottom or horn on corrugated iron.

first glimpse Iona

At dusk I would walk or cycle to the abbey and St. Oran’s Chapel and then spend some time being quiet and drawing in the darkness. For water I used my saliva with watercolour sticks and then I developed drawings from these inchoate scribbling and writings.

seal pup foot

Here is an example of my writing made in the chapel:

I sit beside a sealskin come to wrap me

Bird Spine rock

Spine Flower Ribs

Rock Bones Rock

Stem Blood Blood

St. Oran’s Chapel

Making My Earth Skin Bone Foot

                                                 with my face in the flame 

Drawings with a teacher

here awake, every night shedding my skin

Glow

Chrysalis

Fishbone

Breasts come down to carpet

the waves, quieten seas, comfort earth me

 

Vessel which glides

As Ice and Blood

Stone Jug Put Throat Song

Fingers wash

bone bird bolos

step

skin

Lily blessure bud

blond sea breathe

lichen beach Iona 16     colours beach 16

 

I made a drawing of a horse turning to watch a birth, asking when the return to water will come… the blue tapping legs of lobsters stir my dreams, the horse turns on her side now, revealing her tender belly; she is pre-occupied with flowers gathering at her mushroom-coloured muzzle.

I gave a talk about my work in the Hostel to Islanders. I began with this text from the I Ching:

“The mare is strong, tireless and incomparably fast, and she is acutely sensitive to the subtlest cues. When you have a mare’s constancy, you will be steadily loyal to the truth, and always alert and responsive to guidance.”

Then I read aloud a piece I wrote two year ago, about the horse I knew so well:

“Thinking of Phaedra, of how the breath of the horse creates a kind of womb for me; holds me aloft, intact, supported, whole. A womb of air, a light-filled womb, perfumed, smelling of a horse’s grassy green breath.”  And about how Iona used to be known as the Island of the horses/horse people so it is right that I should feel at home there. And this time many of the drawings which emerged were of horse forms, maternal, loving, protective.

In another drawing the horse weeps dark tears.

………………

fish supper    lobster with tapping legs

A man brought a plastic tray of fish for the suppers of women. I watched as they gathered in a circle around the fish. Amazed at the beauty and strangeness of the lobsters (which I have only eaten once, my father bought one just before he died)…..

I wrote about the lobsters.

When blue legs tap

which world responds?

Your blue legs are thin, hard, cool.

Blue legs little tubes of night sky, deep sea darkness you rattle in my world

A visitor you, one afternoon amongst women’s voices, a man’s hands and pale sun.

Strapped here in a plastic tray,

With your barrel-red body and your knowing of  other worlds, I am sad for you.