Now that the evenings are creeping in I reminisce about times spent in Ireland during the Winter. I know that pictures of sunsets is one of the things that are overabundant on the internet but something magical happened on this particular evening on one of my usual routes trudging through the boglands of rural Ireland. I am no meteorologist but the gloomy clouds crept in out of nowhere during this trip while away in the distance the golden hour gleam lit up where I was standing in a brilliant red, Yes the photos have been edited to bring out the red but done so in a way to highlight how it felt in the moment, while further away the ghostly spherical arc of a rainbow could be seen. I felt like I was in the epicentre of a storm – it was one of those moments where I basked in what was going on around me and before I could take any more photos from different angles it was gone in an instant.
A few further experiments in shape and colour for this Henri matisse inspired Kick about. I could have kept going with this prompt as I never tired of hastily drawing out those swirly shapes and moving and placing them in areas to brighten up the canvas – a very therapeutic practice indeed!
With this weeks kick about prompt being the cut outs of Henri Matisse I wanted to produce something quickly – full of shapes and colour. This felt very much like a meditative practice in which I lost myself in the process of creating such colourful squidgy shapes. In Photoshop the lasso tool in particular was the main modus operandi used to create the shapes which were then simply filled with colour using the paint bucket tool. Initially I made a bunch of shapes that resembled plant forms or algae as well as blocks of shapes that could be used behind the plant forms, then having a plethora of shapes at my disposal I could move, invent and create the grander picture of them all as one. I wanted to keep things as practical as possible and revert from any overly cerebral thoughts so a lot of these designs took a life of their own and I throughly enjoyed letting them be.
When I was an ambassador for University one hot summer similar to the melting heat in the UK at the moment I was tasked with taking down the graduate shows of the students that proudly presented their creative work to their family, friends and fellow students. I spent a few weeks dismantling the makeshift wooden stages, pulling out nails and painting over the brightly coloured stripes and symbols that students designed to present their work in theme with their creations.
One task that I had to do was take large painted canvases that students had painted on and throw them into the skip near the smokers shed where I spent many lunch breaks laughing and smoking my lungs out with my friends and classmates. It always saddened me to know that some students would rather dump their work no matter how large the canvas was, so instead of giving them the heave-ho into the trash I told my thrifty friends of the free large canvases that they happily decided to take back to their uni homes and upcycle to their hearts contents, painting and drawing what they please.
I kept the largest canvas for myself, Dripping in sweat carrying this beast down the iconic Rochester hill and ended up sandwiching it into my tiny uni bedroom. I never did anything with the canvas for years – it has since followed me along with two house moves. I have had ideas, I cut out all the silhouettes I kept from life drawing classes and thought about doing a collage of all of them together on the large canvas, but never did but I always knew I would when the time was right.
I have always loved Rutenberg’s kaleidoscope of colours, with the blocks of different variants of hues having such an immense power of depth to them. I thought it would be the perfect chance to finally let loose upon this canvas and use the many tubes of paint that I have stashed from many Christmases gifts that otherwise have been left to gather dust. I couldn’t think of any better way to spend a hot day – sitting outside in the heat with a cold beer or two and painting away in the garden. It was a therapeutic experience to say the least. I think I may have to figure out how to make my own canvases.
Some further light painting experiments. The idea of encapsulating a light source within a food strainer to block out the majority of light didn’t go down well, I couldn’t get a nice medium of light – the lights used were either to dim or way to bright. It is good to experiment though and whittle things down to see what works and what doesn’t. A few more experiments in between various arches with windows that bleed light from the street and then I think I will go on to some exterior attempts. I am excited to see what effects nature has to offer as our garden is brimming with blue bells and overgrowth and I wonder how the light will encompass this type of environment.
in regards to my own response I have been having wildly vivid dreams as of late, the kind of dreams where you wake up in the middle of the night and need to write them down, the kind you remember so clearly when you get out of bed in the morning, the kind where you try to decipher their meaning to see if its some sort of cosmic message within your unconscious psyche that needs to be brought to fruition.
These dreams feel as though they relate to the collective phenomena, where people at the start of lockdown had extremely vivid dreams, probably in relation to their unconscious being so fired up because their everyday lives felt like Groundhog Day, something I still feel like I can relate too.
Surrealism, as an art form, is cemented in the unconscious, with surrealist painters adopting many techniques to unlock the power within their unconscious, so that it translates through to their art, including many being influenced by allusive dreams. With this in mind, and with this week’s The Song of love prompt, I have created a landscape of some of the symbols I have recently seen in one dream that has had a lasting effect..
I have been cleaning and gardening around our house and came across a peculiar bell jar with pureed blackened berries cemented to the bottom like tar. It’s mad what you’ll find in an old house with plenty of history! Before chucking boiling water in it and dumping it down the drain I took some photos and did some edits to show its glistening gooeyness.
Another batch of photography from my first round of painting with light. When I first seen the images from the window nook containing the table and three chairs I lit up and was invigorated to spend a long time here, trying testing and experimenting – working with those theatrical curtains and light pooling in between its fabric crevices. I have some more experiments planned for the coming nights and I’m skittish to continue to capture some spectres.
The majority of my roommates moved out recently and I miss them dearly, the house is so quite and feels empty knowing that I can’t go outside our garden and have a cigarette and a laugh with them or be a victim of one of their many pranks or have them be a victim of one of mine. I live in a converted mansion of a house where the outside walls are brick red with gothic, victorian esque rounded towers, the house now converted into 3 separate buildings where our floor on the bottom being the largest house, while the floors above us converted into apartments with sprawling staircases.
My roommates have taken the wifi with them and I have been subjected to a digital detox which has been a blessing in disguise (currently using my dwindling data to post this) as its proving to get on with things that otherwise might have been put off. I have always wanted to give a bash at painting with light using long exposure trickery in particular when living in this house, the high ceilings with its ornate painted plaster and extruded window nooks with long thick curtains – one can imagine how the light would look in all its divots and grooves making it an ideal spot to give it a shoulder popping whirl.
I found myself finding things strewn about the place that I thought would work well – One morning after waking up to our roommates mammoth mounds of no longer of use rubbish strewn across the front patio thanks to pesky foxes I found a red bicycle light, and deep within the experiments of painting with light I noticed a rod hooked up to the large curtains used to draw back them back so you don’t end up pulling them off the rail, it became the perfect apparatus to attach the bicycle light too, meaning I wouldn’t be seen as some sort of shadowy figure in the results of the long exposure shots, even though wearing all black didn’t completely get me in the clear of some of the earlier shots.
I can really see the appeal of this endeavorer – It is invigorating to press the shutter button, swing violently away and away and then run back to your camera to await patiently for the shutter to finally release so that you can see the fruits of your labour. while the house is still empty I am going to keep experimenting with this. I bought some new LED strip lights but the results were less than desirable as the lights are too bright with too many – meaning the room was far too lit up, but with some tinkering I might be able to salvage something out of them. In the dedicated store room of our home where the walls are filled with discarded amazon boxes I found a head lamp with a strap, another golden opportunity to see what this light source can do, there’s also the possibility of not showing parts of the light – what about putting a bright light in say, a food strainer and spin that violently around? or some some of tube that funnels the light? the experiments feel endless and the creative juices are bubbling.
This weeks Kick about over on Reds Kingdom is a delight of colour and symbolism! Firstly, I was gobsmacked by the age of Aquarius song from the musical Hair. It left the hairs standing on my arms with the booming lead singer’s voice being absolutely phenomenal. If this show ever returns to live audiences I would love to see it! The “hippie” people of this era wanted to show their respect and love for the earth and focus on the world around them, while doing it as a group effort to show a sense of community and togetherness. Aquarius is an air sign, and as a fellow air sign myself, they are known to be creative, free spirited, and always seek clarity.
The symbol for Aquarius being the ‘water bearer’, who eternally gives life and spiritual food to the world, while also washing away the past and making room for a fresh start is usually depicted as a mighty figure pouring water from a vessel onto the earth. When seeing the image of the water bearer, I wanted to focus on a previous experience surrounding water that ignited the Pools film from the Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez prompt, which gave me more respect for the earth and the little wonders that happen sporadically, if you are open enough to find them.
These photos show a snapshot of a spectacle that was for my eyes only, where a trickling of snow was melting and forming a mirage of colours in a shallow lagoon of water. It was a joyous occasion to just sit and watch this natural occurrence, and with its dancing display, it allowed me to stop worrying about everything and what the future holds and just be here in this moment. I think experiences like that are important for grounding you and bringing you back to your present reality, where worry has no place, as the hippies in Hair embodied this physicality here and now by dancing and moving their bodies like water…”