College has kept me busy since September but with my first piece of artwork of the academic year complete it felt like time to share it.
We were given the theme of 'Abstraction' as a starting point and one month to explore possibilities and produce a finished piece. Abstraction in its purest form has never been something that has sat comfortably with me. I've never quite understood it. Pattern and geometry yes, but entirely none figurative mark making no. I think it's something about letting go, removing any initial idea of how something should look that has scared me away in the past. I visualise things, carry them around in my head for months sometimes before I commit to paper. To start with nothing but possibility and paint takes some getting used to.
But I've been reading Anna Moszynska's book on the subject and that, along with Louise Fletcher's weekly newsletters, has helped me find a way through.
I played with collage, splashed some ink around. Yet, I still found myself needing a focus, a purpose to what I was doing. During my research I stumbled upon images that showed the inside of trees and plants in microscopic detail. The phloem and xylem, the 'veins' of the trees, the surrounding bark, the internal heartwood, and saw that my subconscious had drawn me to those patterns of cells.
Trees have been on my mind a lot lately. Since our UK lockdown began back in March I've watched with horror as HS2 workers have destroyed the countryside in the name of 'progress', taking the trees and wildlife with it. It has filled me with rage and sorrow in equal measure. And so, the idea of 'Heartwood Divided' began to take shape.
Rather than paint my own representations of these natural patterns, I turned to textiles and began stitching pieces for two 45x63cm canvases.