Friday, June 01, 2012

Sense is working over time!

I have been thinking about Hichens work all day and realise the Seasons Project for me will be about the senses and not just about what we see. He listened to nature not unlike Wassily Kandinsky who listened to music, then reacted to that within their paintings.

Next Thursday I will be heading out to partake in 'Art in the Garden' when artists from East Riding Artists go to open days held by the National Garden Schemes. I am looking forward to experiencing the garden I have been assigned, which is in Walkington near Beverley. Unlike my past participations I intend to do some recordings of the background sounds and later I can refer to them along with my sketches.

That remind me of John Cage who was an American composer and artist, he is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition Silence 4’33” (four minutes and thirty three seconds). This piece was written for David Tudor the professional pianist, and at a concert hall in Woodstock, New York he performed Silence.

At the beginning he lifted his hands to play, and during the performance lifted his hands twice more to denote the various acts. At the end he got up and left. Not a single note was played!

The reason was to draw everyone’s attention to background noises.
There is always noise: programs being shuffled, stifled coughs and general background hums.

“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.”

Labels: , , ,

Beginnings and Ivon Hitchens

Well I have made a start and generally to whet my appetite I have started with looking at the Seasons on the whole. It was very difficult putting down the first thoughts in my sketchbook as I find sketchbooks very difficult to do. I suppose the main reason is I like to be neat and ordered but a sketchbook is permanent and you cannot just rip out a page! I need to loosen up and just go for it! Quick fire drawings I suppose is the secret.

One of my favourite artists is Ivon Hichens and he certainly knew how to depict the seasons. Ivon Hitchens was a contemporary artist whose use of subtle colours and sweeping brush marks made him known as an outstanding English landscape painter during the twentieth century. He left a legacy of work spanning sixty years, from figurative to abstraction.

‘My pictures are painted to be ‘listened’ to.’

‘I should like things to fall into place with so clear a notation the spectator’s eye and ‘aesthetic ear’ shall receive a clear message, a clear tune. Every part should be an inevitable part of the whole. I seek to recreate the truth of nature by making my own song about it (in paint).

Extracts taken from Ivon Hitchens by Peter Khoroche, 1940s ‘NOTES ON PAINTING’ p80-81

This is Hazel Wood, (1944, Oil of canvas 55.8 x 149.8cm) this was the first picture I really saw, it was on a visit to Leeds Art Gallery and I was totally spellbound.

The size and shape of the picture hit me first, as it is double the width of a standard landscape, akin to the wide screen films that we now enjoy to take in more of the scene and action. A standard landscape you can see in one viewing, however with this wide format the canvas can be divided up into two, three or even four sections to allow the viewer to weave their eye over the canvas taking in harmonies, contrasts and being able to sense a feeling of the subject.

The colours are subtle yet vibrant; the use of the dark autumnal colours, olive greens, raw and burnt umbers which create a depth into the gloom of the wood. In contrast there are warmer hues of red, burnt sienna and yellow ochre. The bright limes and white highlights to the outer edges of the picture shine out giving the effect of the sun penetrating into the gloom, framing the wood to draw you in.

He makes the broad stokes of the brush look simple and uncomplicated, but are in fact a complex network of curved vertical and horizontal shapes. He is demonstrating quick intuitive sweeps that can only be obtained through being totally immersed with this subject. Some strokes are layered on others but mainly appear as blocks of paint onto the canvas. There are areas of tone, for example in the centre of the picture, where he has allowed the colours to merge and mix, creating tone and depth.

Ivon mainly painted directly form nature, in the open air which was his preference; he enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere and the changes to nature that the weather and seasons would bring. With Hazel Wood (as with most of his landscapes) he has translated his feelings to canvas so that the impression I feel is late summer when the wood reaches its peak. The trees are rich with their fruit and the leaves are starting to turn after completing their annual objective. It is hot and the coolness of the wood beckons you along the sunlit pathway (bottom left). You can hear the rustle of the leaves, twittering of the birds and the stillness of the wood, like time standing still. The smells are of moss, bracken, fresh and rotting wood. This must be England as opposed to the dryness of hotter climes and as such it inspires a sense of belonging and it evokes a calmness and sense of peace within me.

Hitchens influence will resurface no doubt, not just for the duration of my degree studies but for the duration of my life.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bringing my blog up-to-date

I have tidied my blog and am bringing it up-to-date so that I can plot my thoughts and progress for the Open College of the Arts degree course that I am embarking on.
Just briefly to fill in the gap since my Foundation:
In 2008 I attended the HNC Fine Art course on a part-time basis whilst working to fund my studies.  The course was over 2 years ending in 2010 and unfortunately this was the end of the road at York College as the next stage would have been to go to York St John University, but for funding and location reasons I decided this was not possible.
In 2010 I also gained the City and Guilds Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS)
Turning my back on office work I obtained work at our local secondary college as a Cover Supervisor (that is covering for absent teachers taking lessons in any subject for years 7 to 11).  Recently I was offered and accepted a chance to temporarily cover some Art classes as an Instructor, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  This in turn has given me the impetus to proceed with my degree.  The OCA seemed to offer the type of course that will enable me to fulfil my future aspirations and also help me continue on my own journey of discovery.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So much has happened over the past couple of years - and I am still on my incredible journey.

After working extremely hard during my Foundation I achieved a Distinction and I was well and truly back.

The Foundation was an excellent course and run by a dedicated bunch of tutors that were very knowledgeable and inspiring. I was the only mature full-time student amongst about 130 17-19 and one 26 year old. OK I was old enough to be every ones Mum, and I was older than all the tutors bar one. But age did not matter it was our love for art that carried us though and between us we were extremely inspired and motivated. Of course there we the few immature students that saw me as a person that should not be in their world, but the majority were a delight to interact with during the whole experience.

The course started by having projects in Graphics/Illustration, Textiles, 3-D and Fine Art and by Christmas we split into our chosen area of media. I chose Fine Art.

We then embarked on one major project which was to last for the remainder of the course. The Project was 'Time, Space and Appearance"...........


Sunday, October 22, 2006

30 years later

When I was 17 I was not mature enough to realise my ambition and took the easy path to making a living,– this is something I have always regretted and now want to make amends whilst I have the dexterity to do so.

Where I work they are making vast numbers of people redundant and I am hoping to take this opportunity to make a major change to my life. My idea is to explore my creativity so that I can continue on my chosen career path as an Artist.

Over the last few months I have started to explore this as a possibility and have looked to family, local groups and Artists and have come to the conclusion that I CAN DO IT!

Knowing where to start is a major stepping stone, but after a visit to our local College for my son who is at the age for choosing his options in further education, I came up with the idea to do a Foundation course in Art and Design.

The course will run from September 2007 to July 2008 and will cover a wide range of topics and this will enable me to explore my inner me and find out which direction my creativity will take.

After an enquiry I now have an application form - this feels so right - and all I need now is to find out at work if redundancy is an option to me. The process is slow, because the unions need to ensure that every aspect of the reorganisation is carried out fairly. I have submitted my preference form and now await the decision on November 13th to see if I can have redundancy as an option. If this is the case notices of termination will be issued on November 20th, which means as I have 16 weeks notice to serve I will be free early March 2007.

So this new blog is to plot my progress on my continuing journey 30 years on....