rust & stone…

Rusted artefact 1, mixedmedia on paper. © Mari French 2017

Rusted artefact 1, mixedmedia on paper. © Mari French 2017

I recently hit one of those annoying self-doubting phases all artists seem to experience occasionally, just wondering where I was going with my art, and what if anything is inspiring me now. I kept nagging myself that, since I returned from my two week art residency at Brisons Veor, Cape Cornwall in the spring, I hadn’t really explored all the rich inspiration I’d found, apart from the four canvases inspired by the rocky coastal coves that I’d produced for the mixed exhibition at Artichoke Gallery, East Sussex (till 23 September 2017.

To be fair on myself, part of the reason is that I was busy finishing/framing existing work and getting it out there to galleries – existing and new, and fulfilling various art commitments such as the Norfolk Open Studios. It’s been a pretty busy year for me so far for exhibiting. Something I really can’t complain about as it’s a big and exciting part of the job, or it should be!

But, of course, like most artists I’m happiest when I’m creating. So I decided to just play for a few days – experiment with different media, collage, etc. – and try to take the pressure off myself. And, as often happens (thankfully!), something started to click (and yes, you’ll have noticed I’ve been in this situation before!)…

Rusted artefact 2, mixedmedia on paper. © Mari French 2017.

Rusted artefact 2, mixedmedia on paper. © Mari French 2017.

Lo and behold, after messing about for a few days, I became strangely drawn to a lovely gold ochre gouache colour coupled with dark blue ink and collage. The limited palette and strong shapes reminded me of something.

 

I realised that the work I was creating was not only influenced after all, by the Cornish sea coves around Penwith, but more specifically was subconsciously referencing the old rusting fishing industry artefacts I kept coming across scattered around and embedded in rocks and boulders – winches, chains, mooring rings etc. Objects that are in the process of decaying back into the elements they were formed from. Of course the large circle might also be seen as referencing (albeit subconsciously) the Men an Tol, the Bronze Age hole stone near Morven, to the north west of Penwith. Circles figure a lot in my recent work!

So this is the latest theme I’m exploring. The works shown here are medium-sized (approx 40x30cm) on paper. If you’ve enjoyed this post and you’re interested in reading more of my art progress, thoughts and adventures, why not sign up for an email notification when I post to my blog.

luscious lines …

 

Collage/mixed-media on board. Mari French 2016

Collage/mixed-media on board. Mari French 2016

I’ve been diligently trying to practice the techniques I learnt at the recent Emily Ball workshop (see previous post), but keep succumbing to a flu bug I picked up on a trip to London. 

These are the result of experimentation in the studio this week, in between feeling rubbish, using some fabulous Markal Paintstiks I treated myself to after using Emily’s (they’re like big luscious oil pastels!). This is a collage/mixedmedia piece on board, which I’ve split into two as it seems to work better that way. 

By the way, I’ve tried laying out this post in a better way but have lost the will to live (it’s the ex-designer in me). 

 

Collage/mixed-media on board 2

Collage/mixed-media on board 2. Mari French 2016

a saltmarsh is born…

Subsequent tides. Mixed media on paper. © Mari French 2015

Subsequent tides. Mixed media on paper. © Mari French 2015

The following is an extract from an interesting post I recently came across, giving a useful insight into the saltmarsh coast of Norfolk, the subject of my current artworks :

November Saltmarsh

In Norfolk there are amazingly few habitats which are self-forming and self-maintaining – which therefore require no intervention from conservationists to keep them as they are – and almost all of them are associated with the sea, its winds, its waves and its tides.

… the tide … helps make two fascinating and oft-ignored Norfolk habitats. Two of the wildest, least human-led habitats in Norfolk at that: mudflat and saltmarsh. In areas sheltered from the intense energy of the waves, such as enclosed bays and the harbours behind spits, the finest sediments in the water – tiny particles of silt – are deposited at the top of the tide, where the water has least energy. These particles cling to one another and where they are not shifted by subsequent tides they form a tenuous, easily-moved mudflat. Where conditions allow, filamentous algae colonise the mudflat, followed by what botanists call glasswort and in Norfolk we call samphire. These plants stabilise the flat and encourage more silts and clays to settle.

A saltmarsh is born.

Nick Acheson, Norfolk Wildlife Trust

norfolkwildlifetrust.blogspot.co.uk

Overy Marsh. Workbook spread. © Mari French 2015

Overy Marsh. Workbook spread. © Mari French 2015

 

But here we are. Overy Marsh. Mixed media on paper. © Mari French 2015

But here we are. Overy Marsh. Mixed media on paper. © Mari French 2015