In frustration, and wanting to continue developing my artwork during the Easter break, I returned to my hand-rendered layout testing, this is the way I enjoy working and feel most creative. I painted (watercolour) grey-blue swirls and waves of the surface pattern layers directly onto the sunset wash of the map background. Adding another layer over the map patterns created depth and emulates the layers of mediation process. I’ve got a new fan brush and have been practising painting the twisting “rope lines” creating pathways flowing out from the face image – do they work? I think so?
My biggest concern now is that if I hand-render my artwork and then make a mistake it might get ruined and I might have to start over again. (Like when monks worked on their book/bible illuminations. One of the unpredictable joys of doing analogue artwork?!)
On a small section of layered background map I have tested combining my images and drawings to help me get a feel for the final image, I painted in a light wash of watercolour over the tree trunk and wall to visualise how it would all look together. This had given more depth to them. The tree does not need to be so large or even be complete figuratively. I’m now thinking perhaps drawing in a section of tree branch or half of the tree could also add more impact.
Also, I have been researching and reading Zen poetry and mindfulness poems and have enjoyed the poems of Danna Faulds, a well-known yogi and mindfulness poet.
‘Being Present’ by Danna Faulds
Breathe, relax and feel;
take time to slow down the pace of life.
Watch the rise and fall of moods,
the birth and death of dreams.
Feelings and sensations seem so real,
yet they shift like changing clouds,
and flow with the high tide out to sea again.
Allow it all to be, no need to grasp or push away.
Present with each moment, the whole of you,
body, mind and soul, open to receive.
I recently created a couple of ‘found ‘ poems composed from random words linked to the process of mindfulness which I cut from magazines. Perhaps I could paint or write/illuminate my short poems into my artwork- above the face? Or maybe in the border of the map?
Poems On Maps
There are some very interesting search hits on map-based poems or poems written on maps. https://360.here.com/2015/07/11/the-poetry-of-maps/. Whilst further researching cartography, I discovered an emerging artist called Gommie, whose mentor is Kate Bryan. https://theglossarymagazine.com/arts-culture/best-british-artists-to-buy-now/#.YH2gbuhKjIU. Ollie Gomm/ “Gommie” spent a year travelling on foot around the British countryside using Ordnance Survey maps to navigate his way and writing mindful poems onto these maps and he creates artworks from them, it’s a really interesting and pleasing concept. He writes about things said in conversation with people he meets and his thoughts at the time. www.gommie.co.uk
Leaf Mandalas & Ephemeral Land Art
Nature provides a soothing, restorative balance and its ‘raw materials’ are a source for unlimited inspiration. I have researched Andy Goldsworthy a British sculptor, photographer and environmental ephemeral land artist who works with nature in nature. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Goldsworthy . He creates beautiful nature sculptures /leaf mandalas and natural land art using only found items such as twigs, leaves and pebbles in situ from the natural environment. I experimented with creating fern/leaf mandalas in watercolour wash or print with watercolour. See https://mossandfog.com/andy-goldsworthy-fall-leaves/ for beautiful images of Andy Goldsworthy’s work.
Eco Printing Effects
Eco printing also creates some beautiful natural outcomes, but involves hours of boiling/steaming leaves bound into papers or cloth, and weighted by large stones in a old pan, with added rusty nails for depth of colour. Not wishing to fog up my kitchen, wreck a perfectly good saucepan, and not having any rusty nails to hand (!), I reflected on how I might achieve a similar effect. I decided to experiment with watercolour, ferns and tissue paper and I achieved some pleasing effects. My outcomes were quite similar to those of Eco prints. I will test collaging some sections of the watercolour prints I made on my test map. The colours of the leaf and fern outlines are not quite dark enough to show up well, and I will continue to develop this by using darker shades.https://www.instructables.com/How-to-EcoPrint-on-Paper/
Also, I’ve been reading a book called “Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art” by Peter Barber and Tom Harper – many old maps have compasses (rather like a mandala) and grid lines radiating from them, with text. Not sure how this would look, could I incorporate some of these lines, or would that be too much detail? It might result in a very busy piece of artwork…. The hand-inked maps and legends
This week I’ve been further experimenting with my artwork detail by testing developing and drawing stars, using chalk pastels and acrylic inks, India ink wash and Paynes grey watercolour. These will be faded into the top left-hand corner section of my artwork map.