Sunday, September 30, 2007

Leaf Fade

Leaf-Fade-2, originally uploaded by escher1.

We went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park yesterday to see the Andy Goldsworthy exhibition. Of course his stuff was good but a couple of pieces were really striking. The large log cone and the slabs with holes in were pretty impressive, but the last two pieces in the first exhibition hall were more so. The dark room which turned out to be inside a round log and stick structure, complete with musty smell was a surprise and it was interesting to see the internal structure was very similar to how I built mine; more rounded at the bottom but with longer struts as it started to close in at the top. But the piece de resistance was the chestnut stalk curtain. It had a really unearthly feel and a strong power over my psyche. The thorns used to hold the stalks together were quite long (a couple of inches) and it gave it a much more three dimensional aspect that I wasn't expecting. But it also seemed to be moving, gently undulating in and out but with no individual part actually visibly moving, so its overall affect was quite organic, powerful and unexpected too.

Dotted around the park were dozens and dozens of spectacular trees many displaying the rich colours of autumn with every shade you could possibly expect on display. I wanted to get cracking with a coloured leaf design there and then but it wasn't really possible to sit down for several hours to make something as we had company. But it inspired me to make something soon.

Around Lancaster I had been keeping my eye out for the changing leaves but really hadn't seen much that would be of any great use. The horse chestnut trees had gone yellow and orange but the leaves looked unusable as they had shrivelled up. The rowan leaves up on Clougha had gone straight from green to dried up brown, almost diseased looking, very disappointing. Maybe the climate on the other side of the Pennines means autumn comes earlier over there and the milder climate in Lancashire means the colours are yet to come? But I am not sure as many leaves seen to have just dried out completely with no colour except to brown. Most puzzling.

So we went out around the park to see what we could find, and disappointingly my fears seemed to be played out and out of all the varieties on show one solitary copper beech was displaying enough different shades, they are very beautiful though and deserves some attention. Shame it is right in the middle of the park. Julia suggested we try the cemetery as we have had luck there before. I wasn't hopeful.

Three quarters of the way around the park we finally see some amazing colour. Next to each other there are two trees, I am not sure of the variety, perhaps cherry trees that are displaying a huge range of colours. On first inspection I can see yellows, oranges, reds and greens so we grab some leaves and go back to the flat for a while so I can figure out the potential.

I identified maybe five different hues and planned out what I was going to do and walked back to the cemetry to begin. Apart from the colour fade I wanted the leaves to be overlapping and for central veins to be horizontal so that the structure would seem symmetrical and would flow. It started to come together quite well and quickly I could see the potential and also the number of colours actually available proved to be a lot more than I first thought. All shades from purple to red to orange, pale yellow and green were evident. I was amazed by the number of hues. And very pleased with the final result.

No comments: