My blog for a-n and other news…Fallen Animals….Dean Clough…New Schoolhouse Gallery, York

 

Here is the link to the a-n page:

https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/travel-bursaries-a-n-awards-support-extraordinary-and-inspirational-research

and I’m currently writing my blog about my trip; it’ll be published soon I hope!

Here are a few photos which bring back memories of my wonderful trip :

Sheep and clouds Teampall na Trionaid    Two sheep, North Uist

DSC05339  At The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness

DSC05165  On the beach, with a seal bottling,near Skara Brae, Orkney

Beside The Ring of Brodgar  Beside The ring Of Brodgar, Orkney

 

I’ve just finished co-writing – with Professor Penny Florence –  a chapter of the book which has developed from  the Fallen Animals conference at Aberdeen University in March 2015.  Here are the details:

Full title: Fallen Animals
Editor: Zohar Hadromi-Allouche
Publishers: Lexington Books
Expected: 2017

 

…but to whet the appetite, here is an extract by Professor Penny Florence, which she wrote in response to my work Spirit Horse…

2 Spirit Horse watercolour Kate Walters 2016

 

The culmination of this wonderful re-creation of bodies into the humanimal, for me, is embodied in Spirit Horse (Fig. 14). Space in the painting is not representational, but it’s not abstract, either. The dramatic band of sanguine that constitutes about a third of the picture, together with the indeterminate boundaries of the bodies, brings alive the idea of ‘becoming animal’[i], which can be understood in many complementary ways. These include the expression of soul, which is invoked in the position of the horse’s head outside the darker area, and shadowed or echoed in the lines and shapes above and around it. The acceptance of how much more like than unlike animals we are leads to re-locating humanity in a cosmos that is both more mobile and more connected. In Rilke’s terms, by passing through the horse’s head, its face in the sense of its being, we might stop looking at ourselves, and so stand a chance of glimpsing what exists, beyond.

[i] Rather than pointing specifically to one of the many references to the concept of ‘becoming-animal’ in Deleuze & Guattari’s writings, this refers more closely to Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art, NY, Columbia, 2008.  Her comment that, “art after painting, can be seen as the action of leaving the frame, of moving beyond, and pressing against the frame, the frame exploding through the movement it can no longer contain” (p.18) is a good example of how she brings Deleuzian thought to bear on art that initiates “harmonious vibration” (p.19).

And I’m very excited about my solo show at Dean Clough, in the Mosaic and Upstairs Galleries, opening October 15th, early afternoon. On the 14th October I’ll be giving a talk on building a career as an artist at the New Schoolhouse Gallery, at lunchtime… I’ll have works to show and catalogues to view…all welcome!

 

Film about my work, The Secret Worth A Thousand

Here is the Vimeo link to a film (recorded by my son, and generously edited by my friend Karen Lorenz) about my solo show at Newlyn Art Gallery December 2012. It includes fragments of the talk I gave about my work, and James Green’s introduction. It also includes footage of my two lovely dogs, Frankie and Missis Darling, both now sadly passed away.
https://vimeo.com/73134126

In the film fragments of me in the garden with the dogs I think you can see the nature of the bond which I try to realise in my paintings.

 

Beginning to reflect on my a-n research trip to Orkney and the Hebrides

Dusk Lochmaddy N Uist Dusk, Lochmaddy

 

Every night  since I returned to my home in Cornwall a week ago I have dreamed of being in either the Hebrides or Orkney. I have awoken each morning with a sense of that space, lightness,  intense colour, and clean air. That sense of having lightness all around (even in the rain) is powerful and lingers in my consciousness. There is also the scent of peat, of hillsides of heather in bloom, the salty breath of seaweed and tide.

I returned from Scotland with peat which I had dug out of the sides of banks with my fingernails. Just two tiny bags of the dense black stuff which I want to get into my drawings, to help me return to that sense of earthy connectedness which down south I cannot seem to find so readily.

On North Uist and on Lewis I saw strips of peat cut into the hillsides. I saw peat stacked in blocks as it has been for centuries. I walked the pathways of the peat cutters. I walked past lichen – the raw materials of the palette of Harris Tweed weavers – and I felt the colour of peat-seep-blood-sea,  milky serpent-breast-sea, blue-sky-sea, cloud-billowing-sea, lime-algae sea, yellow-petal-impossible-colour-blooming-sea, grass-orange sea coming into my veins as I stood in the weather, water beneath my feet.

N Uist bay colours best  North Uist

Lochan Aird Uig, Lewis Aird Uig, Lewis

peat stack N Uist  Peat stack, N. Uist

I worked with the rain in my face and the sun on my head making drawings. The wind prevented large scale work so I focused on the heart of what I was experiencing to make drawings in sketch books.

peat birds Peat birds

Every day on Lewis and Harris I saw golden eagles. One morning a large paddle-winged eagle flew low over my tent.

I would lay in bed in my tent every morning and listen to the wing beats of ravens. They would fly low when no people were about. There was a particular quality to the sound of their wings pushing air down, with the rhythm of a heartbeat.

One large raven often flew with its beak open. I stood and watched them. On the enormous expanse of Ardroil Sands the ravens flew circles and called to each other. They were always there. They are still there now.

Hebridean Creature  Hebridean creature

sbook1 colour drawing page

skbk3  sea drawing page

skbk4 swan cloud page

soft paws of Mountains  soft paws of mountains page

skbk5  double page

Harris sea  Harris Sea, dusk

writing landscape 2  writing, landscape

sbk2  colour, page from book

Embedded eye after Callanais Stones  Embedded Eye, after Calanais Stones

 

I  recently received a book which I’ve wanted for some time. It was sent by a friend who has gone to teach in Kyrgyzstan. I met him in the hostel on Iona, last October, before I travelled to London to be AIR at NOA at The RCA.
On that damp and windy morning we walked the mile together to the ferry, and spoke about our respective life journeys, and our work, and books which have been important to us.
We continued to speak on the ferry to Oban, then he went north to Aberdeen, and I went to London. I haven’t seen him since, but we have corresponded occasionally via email. I’ve spoken about aspects of my work which are close to my heart, and he has always responded with great generosity and kindness, which I’ve appreciated very much.
When I returned from The Hebrides there was a heavy parcel for me waiting at home. It contained a number of books which he sent to me, as he could only take a tiny amount of his possessions away with him. One of the books is called The Mountain behind the Mountain. I have only read fragments so far,but I know it is a vital book for me, speaking as it does of the importance of kindling the fire of the heart, as one kindles the peat in the hearth each morning on waking. Thank you Steven.

From Lewis to Harris

Travelling south now, little by little. In Tarbert I saw sumptuous rolls of gorgeous Harris Tweed fabrics, pinks, violets, gold green moor-redolent hues.

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I’ve been drawing every day, sitting and tuning into the spirit of place. A particular favourite was Ardroil Sands at Uig. It’s the place where the Lewis Chessmen were found – apparently by a cow hooking her horn around the handle of the casket. The enormous beaches were formed from the countless shell fragments of millions of shell-covered creatures who lived just outside the bay for centuries. I’ve enjoyed walking through ankle deep tide risings and experiencing the sea all around me, feeling her power and relentless nature. I’ve gathered handfuls of sea water for my drawings; I’ve scrabbled through peat bogs and dug my hands into their soft blackness, taking little handfuls to draw with.

It has been lovely to watch the eagle with two young rising on thermals at the foot of the nearby mountain, and to listen to the peeping sound of the sandpipers feeding at the tide-line.
I’ve lain in bed listening to the wing beats of ravens. When there is no one around they fly much lower and the pumping sound of air being pressed down was mesmerizing. I’ve spent time watching one raven who croaked incessantly, and always flew with beak open.
I’m very grateful indeed to a-n Artists Information Co. for supporting me so generously on this wonderful exploratory trip. I’ll be writing a full blog on the whole journey soon.

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At Aird Uig, near ex-MOD base. Wild, naked, raw, pure, powerful. Place of eagle feasts and peat.

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At Calanais Standing Stones. Spectacular, powerful.

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I swam beside this beautiful bell by Marcus Vergette (one of a series) which rings at each high tide, sending song along the valley, up the hill to the cemetery. It was a perfect day. Warm, and the sea like crystal. It took my breath away but I was so glad I immersed myself. I felt so different afterwards.

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Stromness – a brief post – more when I’ve Wifi again!

I am looking out of the window at the south shore of Loch Broom, where the water runs down to Ullapool. I’ll be getting the ferry soon to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.
A week ago on the drive here my heart soared as mountains rose from the horizon. Purple flanks, pink breathing masses of ancient rock.
Clouds as spirit whales over shark black sea; Orca pods skim the harbour waters in beautiful Stromness.
I saw a correspondence between the breasts of birds and the waters which swelled and carried them when they left their posts on the harbour breakwater at Helmsdale.
With reference to my work I’ve been thinking about what Barthes calls the ‘punctum’…a “detail that pierces the viewer and opens up the image, defying the closure any labelling implies” (Bronfen, The Knotted Subject).

I loved seeing the works of Barbara Hepworth at the Pier Arts Centre:  the fineness of her elegant figures which suggested being in landscape held the heart of the experience of standing against the wind and amazed before the Stones of the Ring of Brodgar.

Crawling into the hilly wombs of earth finding tiny bird wall piercings, so many ears to hear you in there. Runes like drawings made by earth herself, catching noble profiles growing upon their rocky forebears.

It was great meeting Neil Firth, the Director, and Carol Dunbar again. It was fascinating to hear about the Orcadian people, their openness, their open-mindedness, their expansiveness; they are an exploring people, their influence wide, clear.

For pictures please see my Instagram account – katewaltersartist – until I have time and WiFi to upload them here!

 

a-n travel bursary beginning…..

Travelling across the fine and large county of Sutherland today was such a joy, and I found myself feeling very grateful to a-n for their funding – making this adventure possible.

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I enjoyed meeting the curator at Timespan in Helmsdale, and I had a great time staying with Ann MacDonald beside the harbour, near to where the washing filled pinkly with breeze, and the cormorants dried their wings.

A heron flew over my head as I stood watching the birds leave their drying posts. It found another heron and together they performed acrobatics over the harbour.WP_20160809_061

 

More on my blog for a-n which I will be writing soon!

And some photos on Instagram and Twitter when I can find Wi-Fi….

The Other Art Fair, Bristol, July 22 -24th, link to events

Here is the link to the events page of the Other Art Fair

http://bristol.theotherartfair.com/visiting/2016-fair-programme

I’ll be doing two sessions of my ‘hollow bone’ performance drawing at noon on the 23rd and 24th July.

I’ll also be showing a range of unframed work in a small installation and a series of related framed works, many of which had their genesis on the Isle of Iona, where I was recently artist in residence.

I’m hoping to meet people who will be interested in my work; I’ll be happy to speak about the themes which flourish in it.

Bird making womb for my consciousness Drawing Kate Walters book page 2016 oil on gesso-prepared paper small file   Meeting you O my fluttering heart  oil and ink on paper 2016 Kate Walters book page with gesso

 

 

Other news:

I’ve been invited to Barcelona to be part of Femtourtruck to do my performance drawing… thinking about it…

Research trip to Dolomites, Bolzano and Bressanone

Just back from a wonderful trip to the Dolomites; and exploring early XIV century frescoes.

WP_20160615_003  The cloisters at Bressanone Duomo.

Walking into the mountains on a fine afternoon after a great visit to Johannes Church in Bolzano – the pearl of Bolzano.

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I met the  caretaker, a very passionate teacher, who told me all about the frescoes, all the stories and legends. There was St. Oswald from Lindesfarne, the healer, and the spring beneath the spot where the preacher would speak. Apparently in days of old the clever builders knew where springs were, and they positioned the altars so that a Spring would inspire and vivify the words of those who spoke. (It does also mean that many old chapels are damp).

According to the town booklet Santa Maddelena Church would be open on Friday afternoons… so a long walk on a beautiful hot afternoon led us there (after a visit to Sarentino and San Cipriano Church). Santa Maddelena was locked. I went to the house of the caretaker, and spoke to a frail old lady at length in my broken Italian but she was  a German speaker. She refused to give me the key. I waited and hoped she would relent. I peered through the large windows, and then another person arrived- a German speaker – who went and found the woman’s daughter, who was the caretaker, and after some discussion got us the key. It was such a wonderful moment to enter that beautiful little church. The frescoes were so tender and beautiful and in good repair. I spent around an hour there making drawings and taking photos.

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The following afternoon we set off for the mountains. The weather promised to be interesting, with mists, rain showers  and possibly storms. The tops of the mountains swirled with water vapour. The first part of the walk up was good, sunny, bright, beside a rushing mountain river. Wild flowers decorated the pathways; clematis climbed the spindly trees. As we walked higher the weather closed in. We passed enormous wood ants nests, over two feet high and several feet in breadth; the ants had closed their doors and gone indoors. The path became more rocky, precipitous, and the views became obscured by light rain. Blue sky had gone. We were climbing all the time, legs grew tired, felt like jelly. Brief respites came when we encountered two meadows and their lovely occupants, the native blonde Haflinger ponies.

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Eventually, after hearing thunder and worrying about the failing light, we saw a solitary building perched amongst the peaks. No road there; only narrow tracks. At first no sign of life, then through the dusk we saw a faint light and smelt faint whiffs of smoke – reassuring in this context. We arrived completely soaked to the skin, and were shown our little room, all clothed in wood. The stove in the dining room was huge and hot. We hung all our wet clothes around it and settled in for a meal of goulash and apple cake – most welcome! Our clothes dried overnight. I was disturbed in the night by severe cramp – my legs were very sore indeed. The next morning we walked up through snow and along via ferrata to the corrie – where several valleys met. It was all rock- whites, skins watery, hard, silent, no sign of life; as if there had been  some kind of planetary destruction – or as if the world was just beginning. These are young mountains, and subject to change; the river beds move, the mountains shed their skin.

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The Other Art Fair, July 22-24, Bristol

My work has been selected for The Other Art Fair, which is curated. It will be held at the Arnolfini, Bristol, July 22-24. I’m looking forward to showing my work to a new audience.

Here are some examples of recent works, in oil, monotype, ink and watercolour: These will probably be at the show.

Meeting you O my fluttering heart  oil and ink on paper 2016 Kate Walters book page with gesso     singing the babies over the stream Kate Walters 2016 monotype with drawing Smiles with Pelican monotype with oil 2016 Kate Walters book page    Violet Gathering watercolour 2016 Kate Walters Bird making womb for my consciousness Drawing Kate Walters book page 2016 oil on gesso-prepared paper small file      with ears that pray, my horse of the four winds small file