Art at the edge: developments

Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018
Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018

At last! Having had an enforced break from painting for a few weeks since before Christmas (hope you all had a good one!), my thoughts are turning once again to my most recent source of inspiration – Dungeness. Read my previous post ‘Art at the edge: Dungeness’ for more on how a recent holiday led to my fascination with this unique and strange place.

Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018
Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018

In this post I’m sharing a few recent pages from my current workbook, which I’ve produced since the small paintings in the last post, and I’m working through ideas for a series of mixed media pieces, inspired by my experience of Dungeness, hopefully eventually leading to large canvases. I’m hoping to get back in my studio soon to carry on developing these.

Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018.
Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018

You can perhaps see from these experimental pieces that, as with my other work series, I’m exploring the shapes, linear motifs and colours that the place suggests to me, rather than trying to achieve anything recognisable, so I’m using a lime green for instance, to evoke the weird evening light (not grass!) and to suggest the latent power of the nuclear power station squatting on the edge of the area. I’ve previously used very little green in my artwork, but it feels right here somehow. Linear marks recall power lines, pylons, remains of tracks in the shingle, fences, telegraph poles etc.

Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018
Dungeness workbook page © Mari French 2018

In building up the workbook pages shown here, I used torn up pieces of scrap monoprints I’d produced with a gelli plate, while loosening up and playing with colours, textures and ideas. Then layered over with gouache, acrylic, homemade stencils and collage elements till I got the effect I wanted. I keep a box of scrap prints, textured card and assorted materials close to hand for when I’m messing about in the workbook, either incorporating them or using them for impressing or printing shapes. Sometimes it pays to be a hoarder!

areas of light …

Progressing the experimental studies on the Norfolk salt marsh areas I’ve been concentrating on recently.  The intention is to create a body of work on this theme eventually. I feel I’m getting somewhere … I’m excited anyway, which is usually a good sign!

Areas of light. © Mari a French 2015

Areas of light. © Mari French 2015

Am still starting with the orange gold colour I’m so obsessed with at the moment, but now adding a few more subtle tones to that limited palette. The one above, Areas of light, is in acrylic, Inktense stick, gouache and newsprint on watercolour board. One for framing eventually I think. The abstract below has a different feel, more of a summer atmosphere perhaps.

Saltmarsh abstract © Mari French 2015

Saltmarsh abstract © Mari French 2015


Workbook spread © Mari French 2015

Workbook spread © Mari French 2015

 And above, another workbook spread on the same theme. I love the golden hues and contrasting dark ink in this.

One thing that bothers me is that each time I write a blog the images look squashed up and I cant figure out why. If they look odd to you, please do me a favour and leave a comment letting me know, thanks.

… lets try again

Good old WordPress app. I uploaded the app as apparently you can now see images as you post them (instead of a string of computer code), and created the previous post ‘and mud, sand and stones’. Then I published it, only to discover the image sizes were all over the place and one (on my screen anyway) was stretched out of all proportion. So I’ve deleted it and here it is again… looks like future posts will have to be done on our laptop or via BlogPadPro as previously.
Anyway, where was I? oh yes…

Recent workbook sketches from a trip last week to Burnham Overy Marsh on the north Norfolk coast, in cold winds, grim sky and mist (the forecast said ‘fair’).

Workbook mixed media sketch © Mari French 2015

Workbook mixed media sketch © Mari French 2015

Workbook mixed media sketch © Mari French 2015

Workbook mixed media sketch © Mari French 2015

Workbook mixed media sketch © Mari French 2015

Workbook mixed media sketch © Mari French 2015