Sunday 29th July

A piece with winged beings, woman-like and deer-like, worried me so I turned it on its side and another face appeared, a green woman, in the mesh of the flight feathers. The green woman has gone now, two days later, but I am still not sure about this one. I feel the two aspects need to be contained in the same body somehow. I will work on it tomorrow.

This afternoon in the garden I potted on coriander seedlings, planted out mange tout seedlings, picked the last of this crop of broad beans and pulled up the old stringy plants. Their string ties holding them to bamboo were turned into complete knotty cats’ cradles by the sparrows who had fancied the string as nest material. They had routinely taken all our string garden ties so that Andrew’s wonderful pea support actually lost its top tier and had to be re-done.

I have put two dishes full of water on the large table in the garden where we eat. The female sparrows come to drink when we are sitting there eating or reading the paper. Last evening a racing pigeon came and drank her fill as we sat inches away from her. She was very beautiful.

In the studio this morning I worked on a piece about composite humans/animals. Together they form an arch, with a view through to a landscape suggested. Visiting the V&A a few months ago to research Indian miniature painting I saw exquisite little watercolours and gouaches. Sacred cows supported the cosmos on the tips of their horns.

Began a very small piece where a figure is lying on the back of a horse. A wash of water down the material ground immediately suggested a figure, and beneath her a very strong horse. I like working small and making very concentrated, powerful images with the minimum of means and scale. I like to find the most stripped down essential part of an impulse, gesture or relationship and I work hard to pare away anything superfluous. I don’t always succeed!

Early morning, natural spotlight of the sun.

Spanning the Material Field

Welcome to my new blog about my work preparing for my show ‘The Secret Worth A Thousand’ at Newlyn Art Gallery in Cornwall. The Opening is on November 30th, and it will run until February 9th 2013.

The title, ‘The Secret Worth A Thousand’,  refers to what Goethe believed we could gain from entering into a conversation with Nature. In my work I seek to become quiet in order to hear what Nature has to tell me. I work with watercolour in an unorthodox way which I have developed myself; I also work with digital photography, taking photos of the plants, flowers, birds and insects in our  small but vibrant garden.

The phrase ‘spanning the material field’ refers to a recent work in which I appear to be lifting my special dog skywards. I see that I have drawn/painted myself with arms outstretched, fingertips almost touching the edges of the material darkness – the opaque matter, our physically manifested bodies, the span of our (human) knowledge.

Responding to the lessons animals have to teach us is part of my work. Last week I was working in another garden. As I prepared to gaze with the poppies a newly fledged dunnock flew towards me and jauntily, gaily, she sat on an iron hoop a couple of feet away to regard me. I kept very still, hardly daring to breathe, amazed at this special and unexpected encounter. She came and sat right next to me on the stone bench. I stopped breathing and absorbed the magical nature of this feeling, alone and yet finding myself with a new and ariel companion.