Week 3 of the 365 Day Challenge. Rock Paper Scissors. I have now completed week three of my challenge to engage with my practise in some way every day – even if for only half an hour. I am doing this because my current circumstances do not allow me to work full time on an art practice that I have built up over the last ten years. I work full time at a school at the moment and hence I am trying to create work in the cracks of time that I have between juggling work and family. This was half term week and a different kind of juggling took place. Working on the computer so intensively for the last two weeks prompted me to ditch the digital approach and go analogue, working largely with printed imagery, paper and scissors and at other times documenting things that inspired me with my camera (ok – that is digital, but only pressing buttons). I always enjoy a trip to see family in the Lake District and later on in the week, descended on them with my boys, to enjoy both their company and the beautiful scenery that beckons as soon as you open the front door.
Day#15 & 16
I often work on collages before creating photomontages. It gives me a chance to play, without an agenda and allows for chance encounters of image combinations as the pictures get piled up and pushed around on the table. I wanted to start making sense of the imagery I have been attracted to lately, the way the colours work together and the moods they create. I am not used to combining lots of images that are so unstructured and usually manage to incorporate some man-made coastal feature such as a boat or a beach hut into my work. However, I seem to be making an effort to avoid those things in my latest experiments. I have also previously avoided using very dark, stormy colours, choosing to create quite harmonious, colourful imagery, but it is the darker more stormy atmosphere that are drawing me in at the moment.
This was the day we took the six hour drive up to the lakes, and with everything packed the only thing I could do was start a little bit of refining on an image. In the first week of this challenge, I created a couple of photomontages of quite angry seas and on the on the spur of the moment I entered them into an Open Submission for an Exhibition called Elemental at the Horsebridge Arts Centre. To my great delight, they have been accepted, but they need refining, as you will see from this image when I zoom in, there are details which are not quite right. I started hand painting water droplets and erasing stray lines and marks that didn’t benefit the image.
Arrived in the Lake District. The scenery of the Lakes is breathtakingly beautiful, and I have often wondered if I could find a way of creating photomontages inspired by this place. I have not arrived at that point where I would know how to approach this yet, but it does inspire me and today I chose to photograph rocks. I have a thing about rocks just now. I put my 28mm lens on my camera (not the natural choice I know) as I am trying to find different ways of looking at things. It wasn’t my favourite lens when I put it on the camera and after today it is still not my favourite lens, but you have to try these things. I was in search of more abstract compositions.
On Day#19 We walked to Rydal Caves. The camera really helped me to capture the colours of rocks inside the caves as it naturally compensated for the dark areas by over-exposing them.
It may seem like I am jumping about with my work. Creative work never seems to go from A to B and many different ideas are cooking at once. A few days ago Janet at the Lombard Street Gallery invited me to participate in an exhibition with Weaver Margo Selby – Working Title Colour & pattern. I trained and worked as a textile designer for a number of years, hence Janet made the link and I have long admired Margo’s work, so this is a lovely opportunity. I have it in mind to take this opportunity to explore more abstract ideas using the many textured photographs I have taken. Day#20 saw me clumsily beginning to explore colour, pattern and vague ideas of rocks – well you have to start simply. I didn’t really know when to stop and the collages became a touch complicated. The shapes are clumsy and my pritt stick technique even worse, but there is potential in there.
Day#21 I chose a simpler approach to collage, still working with similar tones and generic stone shapes.
During half term holidays, all routines seems to go out of the window. In some respects this is refreshing. We all need a break from those things we have to do day in and day out, just to keep things functioning. But the break in routine also throws everything up in the air and that it what it has done with my sense of direction, with regards to my artwork. I have the direction in which I was going inspired by wild stormy seas and now the curved ball thrown in by the Lombard Street Gallery and the opportunity to create more abstract work for an exhibition with Margo Selby. It all feels exciting and unknown. Who knows what this next week will bring.
To read more about what inspired my to set myself this challenge, please read my blog post CREATING ART IN THE CRACKS
To see more of Claire Gill’s finished prints please click here SEASCAPE LIMITED EDITION PRINTS