If I go off on a bit of tangent somewhere in these notes then it is because I have baked my head out in the sun today. If I really start to go off on one then it might be best to call the men in white coats. If you tell them to pretend to be selling ice creams then I will go with them without too much of a struggle.
I wanted to do something with water (other than drink it) today but I just can't leave (you see what I did there) coloured leaves alone especially in the wonderful sunshine we are enjoying. First I thought about making the discs so they were parallel with the water but the light shining through them was too much to resist. I am sucker for it don't you know.
I can sense some of you are hovering by your phones looking up the local mental institution number. Anyhow...
The red one is made from copper beech leaves, the yellow and green from rhododendron. Thorns and dried grass stalks were used to pin it all together.
This stream is right next to a footpath and I guess for the average passer-by it is a little unusual to see two fully grown adults splashing about in wellies in a small stream. Not unless they have met either of us before.
At one point a lady and her dog walked past and they were a little shocked (both of them) to see us there especially as the dog wanted to jump in a follow the water upstream just where we were.
As we were finishing up another walker went past and stopped to ask what we were doing. I explained to him about land art and showed him the sculpture.
"Why are you doing that then?"
"Well you know, it just making a sculpture" I replied
"Yeah but why would you want to?"
"Errmm, just for fun?"
I started to pack up, collect together the bits and bobs and fold up the tripods. Our new friend fancied a bit of a chat and being a friendly chap I joined in.
Soon, I am not sure how, the conversation turned to his nephew and how he is 17, 6' 5" but not fat you understand, just a big bloke. And he's got this motorbike see, that he has trashed and he never looks after his things because his parents always do everything for him. And he's got this phone right, cost £400 it did and guess what he'd only gone and lost it two days after buying it! You wouldn't believe it would you! Two days! Kids today eh. And then he went to the snooker club with his uncle and when they came out he had a flat tire. "A flat tire!" I exclaimed. "Kids today having flat tires willy-nilly, never would have happened in my day!"
Meanwhile I can feel the skin on my right ear and right forearm slowly starting to burn and crisp up nicely. The smell didn't seem to bother my new chum. "I am helping him build a new motorbike, but he seems to think I will do it all for him."
"Does he, what a cheek eh!" I replied.
"He reckons he is going to get Terry to do it for him, but I know Terry I've talked to him about it" he said.
"Nothing gets past you does it mate" I agreed.
"No it doesn't. He reckons if Terry can't do it he'll get his Grandad to do it. Wrong again - I've been to see Grandad too, he's got no chance!"
The blistering was becoming quite intense now so I took my chance, pushed him into the river and legged it.
View Large On Black
Sunday, May 31, 2009
If I go off on a bit of tangent somewhere in these notes then it is because I have baked my head out in the sun today. If I really start to go off on one then it might be best to call the men in white coats. If you tell them to pretend to be selling ice creams then I will go with them without too much of a struggle.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
With this sculpture I have finally joined up the circle. I started on a path a few years ago where I began to investigate the colours of Autumn. I made this from cherry leaves and was astounded at the different colours that were there. They were not all obvious at first and by making something where the colours faded - one into another - I had to spend time with those trees and study their leaves to discover all the colours that they could produce. I have made more sculptures over subsequent Autumn seasons and I found that that range of colours is not always available, different seasons bring different factors that affect the colours and I discovered that sometimes the full range is only there for a day or two.
This season has been the first time I have tried a similar voyage of discovery to reveal the colours of Spring. In some ways this has been an even more suprising, inspiring and fruitful journey and I have been amazed to find quite how many colours there are to be found in leaves. In fact this Spring has been comparable with a really good autumn in the variety of colours present, the only difference being the quantity of coloured leaves to be found. What has staggered me the most though is how I have missed the colours before. Sure I must have seen them in the past but their presence fleetingly glanced off my consciousness without making much of an impression.
It is only during the last few days that I have finally found the full range of colours I would expect in fall and realised that they were there all the time. Yellows, reds and greens have been present in abundance but the oranges and in-between hues were harder to find. But through the process of making the leaf series I have been constructing recently I have gradually reached the point where I now know that all the colours of Autumn are present in Spring too for those that care to look.
This is what land art is all about. Immerse yourself in nature to open your eyes to the world. Discover that we are often distracted and unable to see what is all around us. Know that there is joy to be found in the structure of a leaf, the colours all around us, new growth, new life. With each new discovery a veil is lifted and it is possible to see more clearly. I hope that I bring some of this to you too.
But with each new insight there is the promise of more. There is so much more to see that I cannot see now, I am convinced of that. And again I will be surprised as to how blind I have been as I peel back another layer. Next Spring I will find out more about this one as I learn the difference between one season and the next. Will all those colours be there again? Will there be more? Did our cold Winter mean that this Spring was more colourful than before? There are many revelations yet to be had I am sure.
Ps. I haven't started drinking yet. I talk this much rubbish when I am sober. To the barbie mobile!
View Large On Black
As you know I am a man of few words so here are a few: Sun, leaves, colour, thorns, circles, buttercups, summer days, beer, barbecue, drunk, shenaningans, unconscious. I'll expect you can guess the direction my Saturday afternoon will take. Time to make fire!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Coloured leaves? Sunlight? That's completely unexpected. Never seen that done before."
The first sun wheel was getting a bit too big for it's boots. After getting all that attention a few weeks back it's been swanning around the house making demands and muttering about how "no-one understands me, its tough being a celebrity."
Well I had to bring him down a peg or two so I made him an older sister to slap him around a bit. There has been a marked improvement, you'll be happy to know, he has even brushed his hair and doesn't only converse in grunts and frowns now.
I did some travelling for work earlier this week and put some extra hours in. As Friday and the weekend are set fair I left work early and got home just before lunch. My partner said to me "so what are you going to do this afternoon?"
"Land art of course" I replied with a grin. This was met with a frown. I guess tactless enthusiasm for a fair weather weekend wouldn't go down well with someone who works Friday afternoons and evenings and Saturday mornings! Especially after we went out yesterday evening and collected a bounty of beautiful coloured leaves that she then lovingly arranged on the dining room table. I'll be having them I thought! I guess there is someone else round here who needs slapping around a bit.
This was constructed the same way as before using hazel, leaves from several different shrubs, reed grass to divide the circle and thorns to pin it altogether. The leaves themselves dictated the form. I only had a few larger leaves so those went in the middle, the rest were much smaller and so demanded to be put into smaller frames. Also the colours available were more orange, red and brown with only a few yellow leaves collected and the green leaves were fresh and so had to be used sparingly as they quickly wilted in the strong sun.
Other land art lessons learnt today.
1) The sun moves! No, really it does! Banks of cloud kept rolling past and when the sun reappeared I had to keep moving the sunwheel forward so it wasn't in the shade. As I have explained before land art is very "deep and meaningful" and I think I might be onto something with this sun movement thing, I reckon that might explain what happens at night.
2) It is never, ever the right temperature. It is only ever too hot or too cold. Today the sun was very strong and it was far too warm for anyone other than lizards and Californians. I blame meteorologists. Oh and the banks. And politicians.
Have a nice weekend everyone!
View On Black
Thursday, May 28, 2009
As always click play then pause, let it download then watch.
This is a film of the Coloured Rock Splash sculpture I did last Autumn. Watching it back reminds of how the little sections of leaf were much more keen to stick to my fingers rather than the stone. And I remember how cold my digits were too!
Seemed like a good idea when I started but soon turned into a "wish I'd never begun" project as many of them turn out to be! (I am mostly unable to give up once I have started). But as always the numb fingers are soon forgotten and the frustrations with the materials soon fade away only to leave the moments captured on video and in photographs. I love the transience of ephemeral art. To me it is all about making order out of chaos only for the elements to strip back the imposed structure and return it all back to nature from where it came. An allegory for life.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I could do the rubik's cube as a kid. A minute and a half was my record. We used to put vaseline on the inside of the cube so that it would spin more quickly to help in solving it rapidly. I don't think I could do it at all now let alone do it quickly.
A few years ago I made a pebble sculpture at Loch Lomond in Scotland. It's one of my favourites as it was the first time I really studied the pebbles on the beach and discovered the multitude of colours present. I was rooting around in the garage the other day and I found a bag with some stones in. I had no recollection of keeping them but it seemed I had brought the pebbles with which I made that sculpture back home with me. I am not sure why I did but it was interesting to see them again, to admire their different colours, after looking at that photo many times.
This cube has three of the colours - white quartz, pink feldspar? (guessing on that one) and purple slate.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
It's been a strange week.
Last weekend I felt I'd lost my mojo. I tried several sculptures on the Saturday, I had the ideas, but not the willpower to carry them through. And on Sunday we went to the beach and I did some rock balancing, but they all fell down before I could get any photos. Disappointed we skulked home with nothing to show for it. After such a long period being so prolific I felt a little lost. I started a new job this week - more hours, more stress, more travelling, more responsibility. It seemed that I didn't have energy for both work and play.
I think I had reached saturation point and couldn't even think about land art despite having lots of editing of my book to do and land art always being my solace. I was worried.
My art has a large element of luck associated with it. Very fragile pieces hanging together long enough to be photoed, the light in the right place and time and so on. These things, up to now, just seem to come together for me. I don't why or how. It just seems to work. Without any
knowledge of how this formula is put together, when it ceased to be and I had no clue what to do.
I guess inspiration needs some freedom, needs some space to reveal itself and the pressure I felt was not allowing it any room. It can't be forced I would have to wait until it was ready.
As I awoke this morning this is how I felt. I knew I wanted to make something, what I didn't know (well I rarely do know, it just seems to happen) but now I wasn't confident anything would come.
So I went for a stroll around the park. And this was when I realised what was missing. It doesn't matter what I do, how I do it or what I end up with. I do this because there is joy for me in a little flower, or a beautiful leaf. Through a connection with nature I find myself.
As I walked around the park my mojo started to return. The beautiful plants and trees thrilled my senses and once more I cared not about any worries and strifes.
There are two wonderful copper beech trees in Williamson Park. Massive and majestic and their leaves are exquisite. I looked at the colours and the veins in the leaves and was enthralled. This is what it is all about. To feel such pleasure through looking at a leaf, how delicate and colourful they are. A joy to hold in your hand. My land art has always been purely about this. About the pleasure of constructing something from natures wonderful creations and trying to take a few steps into that world, to feel more part of it, connected and at one with the world.
It isn't about creating nice photos or other people enjoying my work. These are all secondary to how it feels. And without that feeling I can't make anything worthwhile, take interesting pictures or expect any appreciation. I had to lose that feeling to discover actually what it is. If I try to make things people like it doesn't work. It has to come from the heart and from deep within in or else it isn't what it is supposed to be.
All the attention I have got recently meant I wandered off that path but now I have come full circle. It is important to keep your feet on the ground and be true to yourself as that is where the best things about you come from. But it has taken all the kind words from dozens and dozens of people to have made me see where some of the answers I have been looking for are. For that I will always be grateful.
I took some of those copper beech leaves, some maple and some horse chestnut and set about making something, exactly what and how didn't matter.
The sun did not show itself until late afternoon so I waited and waited and the muggy air meant the leaves did not wilt. But with the sun came the wind and once again I embarked on a battle to take a photo before the elements destroyed it. And this is when I was sure my inexplicable luck returned. As I got it ready I laughed to myself and said "why do insist on making things so flipping fragile?! I must be mad!" and as I thought this two of the triangles fell apart completely and off the frame. I didn't think this sculpture was much good anyway and as I waited for the sun to come out I expected the photos to be binned. It didn't worry me though as I enjoyed making it and was completely absorbed in the process, and that was what it was all about.
Finally the sun did come out and the colours revealed themselves and the three together were just right. The other two triangles would have spoilt the balance so they seemed destined to not make it to the final cut. Was this a coincidence, a fluke or all part of the inututive process?
Who knows? But without the luck I get when things are going well my sculptures would be a poor imitation of what they can be.
Born lucky? Yes I think so.
This is the second thing I made today (I will upload the other one later) and a pyramid was the first idea I had. At first, though, as I tried to make something I experimented with triangles and it seemed a pyramid might be too difficult. But as I finished the triangle sculpture and had learnt a lot about their construction I decided I would try to make one anyway.
The triangles came together quite easily and I was sure that it would be easy to join them together. Wrong! There is always a sting in the tail with everything I make and this was not going to be an exception. Cue much swearing, sticking of thorns into fingers and frustration at getting the pyramid made. The slightest curve in the triangle frames meant they didn't mesh together but as (nearly) always I perservered.
At Littledale several troops of scouts were hiking. The leaders were parked up nearby as from there you can see the whole route that they were walking. I set up my camera at Baines crag and spooked a young buck deer who started to gallop down the road. This wasn't going to be his day though as he careered straight towards a large group of scouts coming up the road. This wasn't what he was planning as he made his escape.
This pyramid is made from hazel twigs and reed grass pinned with thorns to make the frames and copper beech leaves to make the sides.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Normal blurb. Click play then pause, let it all download then watch.
I tried several things this morning but I didn't finish anything to the point where I wanted to take a photograph. I tried working with some new materials with some success so I hope to make something along those lines soon. It's the first Saturday I haven't managed to make anything for ages (well I did make something but it will adorn the mantelshelf rather than Flickr for now) and it is probably down to having a stressful week and having to travel for work the next two weeks. As we all know absence makes the heart grow fonder, I hope that is true when it comes to land art.
This is a film we made at Robin Hood's bay on the Yorkshire Coast. When we arrrived the weather was fine but as you can see it deteriorated. The wind strengenthed and I thought the stack would topple quite soon. I was extremely surprised to still see it there the next day.
The story about building it is here.
Friday, May 15, 2009
After my good fortune of being on the Flickr Blog I have had quite a few blog entries. I wanted to record them somewhere.
Some of these may not work, some may be duplicates! I didn't check that hard...
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
This was super hard to get a picture of.
It is still very windy here but the sunshine is strong too. I had to be really careful when making it to shelter it from the wind as it is (was) very fragile. I tried several times to make a new circle but the sticks are starting to change and thicken up and it was incredibly difficult to get it curve and to stay in place held with thorns. And the thorns I used were new and not strong and they snapped over and over again. It was very, very frustrating. Even when I had it completely assembled they still kept snapping and even while I was shooting it I kept having to replace the thorns holding the leaves on numerous times. And then the little circles kept falling off too!
I searched for a spot near home to set up the picture so that I could work out what to do ahead of time as it wasn't go to survive very long in the wind. I picked a place and dashed home to get my camera. We put a box over it to protect it from the wind but when we arrived where I had just been the sun had moved. Doh! Quickly I looked for another place - anywhere would do now!
Barking out orders and in a slight panic I asked my good-humoured (fortunately) partner to help me protect it while I got everything ready. It wasn't over yet! Many more times I replaced the thorns again and twisted it and tweaked it to get it right and then the sun moved again! Arrggghh I am going to miss the boat!
But finally everything was right and the shutter clicked away as I got the picture I wanted. Phew! Why did I try this on such a windy day! I must be mad!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
This is the time lapse movie I made of the rock sculpture I did yesterday. You're probably getting bored of me saying it but click play then pause to download the video then once downloaded you view it with stuttering. And you'll need to play it twice. The first time it plays an AVI it seems to go at 4 times the speed it should. The second time should be fine. I have no idea why.
It was interesting to see that the rainbow arches I made yestreday weren't very popular despite getting a few views. That is very useful feedback for me so thank you. I hope that it means that the comments I do get are genuinely because you like something and if you don't like something as much then you don't favourite or leave comments. I really hope my assumption is correct because it should mean what you are writing are genuine, useful comments rather than just being nice!
There were a lot of people around yesterday in the park and I felt rushed and a bit pressured and didn't put enough effort into all the things I normally would. I think it shows and it seems so do you. Resting on my laurels (as opposed to making something out them!) is not good and constructive feedback will keep me focussed on doing what I do to the best of my ability.
Also please know that I do read every single one of your comments with great interest and I really appreciate the time that everyone gives to write comments on my pictures. I may not answer everyone individually (but I would like to) but I take a lot of notice of what every single person writes. I appreciate it a great deal.
I had many 100's of new contacts made last weekend and it will take me a good while to be able to look at everyones photos as I like to do. So please don't think I am ignoring anyone or not grateful for the kind words you all have left me, its just that I am a bit swamped at the mo and have too many projects on the go at once. A lot of my effort is going into two books I am compiling at the moment, I hope to have them finished soon.
It is also quite challenging to keep coming up with new and different ideas whenever I make something so it may be time to step back for a little while and refresh my inspiration. (However I am always saying that as I expect my ideas to dry up any moment as I don't know where they come from but the ideas do seem to keep coming)! So I hope everyone sticks around if I do take a short break, I still want to share what I do with everyone if you want me to.
A few hours sat at my desk at work will soon put me in the right frame of mind though. It only takes a little pointless shuffling of papers to help me come up with some fresh ideas to carry out! Who would work a job with so little creative content? Me and countless millions of others I am sure.
Have a nice rest of the weekend whatever you are up to.
Ps. Apologies for the lack of humour but my comedy writer has gone on holiday!
Saturday, May 09, 2009
The weather did indeed make a turn for the worse and at lunchtime it absolutely lashed it down.
But after the storm came the calm. The wind was gradually dropping and the sun bright and strong. There was only one thing for it. To the leaf mobile!
The three arches are made from hazel twigs stripped of their bark. The leaves:- red: copper beech, yellow/pink: maple and yellow/green: oak.
I sat on a bench under a tree and enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine as I threaded the leaves onto the sticks.
An Eastern European couple wandered by enjoying their holiday and day in the park. They seemed to be expecting especially bad weather as they were dressed up to the nines in heavy jackets and woolly hats.
They stopped by a curiously bent tree and pointed at it for a good ten minutes. Then the lady took off her hat and produced a mirror and a brush from her bag. She then spent the next five minutes brushing her hair. Then she draped herself around the tree while her partner took her photo. This went on for another ten minutes (this was much more interesting than what I was doing). Then they swapped places. He brushed his hair and then she took hold of the camera and directed him into different poses as she took his picture. Several minutes more passed and then they put back on the hats and set off again along the path only for them to come across an interesting rock 10 metres further on. I'll bet you can guess what happened next.
Well it is still bloomin' windy and there is still no chance for leaves so what to do instead? Head to the beach and build a delicate rock balance and dare it to defy the wind?
The forecast was set to deteriorate by lunchtime so I headed to the coast. The wind was very strong there and my optimism dwindled. I had in mind something like the stack I built at Robin Hood's Bay. That one withstood the wind perhaps this one will?
The tide was due in by lunch so I set to work collecting flat stones and pebbles. I set the camera up first in the vain hope that I might get a picture and started on the construction.
The first effort had a horrendous wobble three-quarter built, the lower few layers were rolling on their pebbles and it soon fell. I tried again and dismantled the next two tries in order to concentrate on stopping it wobbling so much although it was impossible to eliminate entirely.
Always expecting it to topple I added each new layer one at a time until I finally got it done. I thought it might need another layer (I still do looking back at the pictures) but sometimes you can't push it any further. The proverbial last straw.
Now, a bit panicky, as it swayed quite a lot to and fro, I waited for the sun to come out. It needed to be front lit or else the contrast was too strong. As it seems to be with recent luck it there was blue sky either side of where the sun was with a strip of grey cloud right through the middle. It didn't look like there would be any decent light anytime soon.
But despite the nerve jangling wobbling it stayed upright and within half an hour I got all the pictures I wanted. Quite perplexed how it was still standing I thought I would try and capture a time lapse of the incoming tide. I set everything up and sat back and waited.
I looked at my watch - it was 11.30 and the tide would be fully in in 3/4 of an hour. The wind was really cold but I thought I could handle the shivering until the tide arrived. I am not so sure about the sculpture.
What seemed like an age had passed and the tide was still not in. I looked at my watch again and it said 11.30! What? I must have read it as 11.30 when it was 10.30!
Glutton for punishment that I am I couldn't stop the time lapse capture as the sculpture still stood. Sat in my 9 coats and 4 hats I practiced my powers of telekinesis. "Fall over! Fall over! Fall over! That way I can go and get warm!"
It wasn't working.
Still the tide marched in and still the stones wobbled and rocked. Didn't seem like anything could topple it.
As the hypothermia took hold I whispered to myself "just hold on, don't fall asleep, someone will rescue me soon." I took my emergency chocolate bar from my pocket and split it into quarters. "I will have to ration it" I thought "it might be a long time before anyone finds me."
"I am so very cold mummy."
And then it happened. A series of quite violent wobbles lead to its final demise. It sacrificed itself so that I might live.
PS. the lit up look of this photo was done with a reflector not in photoshop.
Friday, May 08, 2009
This is a video of the 3 coloured pebble lines I made last year.
(As with all videos on Flickr they work best if you click play then pause - let it all download - then watch it).
It's been very, very windy the last few days which has prevented me from making the sculptures I want to as the wind would destroy them in seconds. I hope it calms down this weekend as I am itching to get something done.
My partner and I tried out something yesterday, it didn't quite work, which is unfortunate as I thought the associcated antics were quite amusing.
The Land Art Connections project theme for this month is "Air" and I had collected some blossom and I went looking for a place where the wind was whirling round so I could create a blossom storm. with the cameras running I started to release the petals and apparently this looked quite funny. (I don't know why it did but my partner is as childish as me and finds the most benign things hilarious).
She was laughing so hard she nearly wet herself (she told me later) at least she was until she got a huge mouthful of blossom (the amount of blossom was large rather than her mouth ;-)). Then I nearly wet myself instead! I wasn't popular. But who wouldn't laugh at someone coughing up pink petals? It's not something you see every day is it?!
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Well I have a confession to make. I am not a land artist at all, I am a dinner artist. Here is a picture of three of the brussel sprouts I had for my dinner. And I would have got away with it if it wasn't for those pesky kids!
It's been grey and wet for days and since all this weekend's shenanigans I've been feeling a little overwhelmed and not in the right frame of mind to make anything. I've been replying to all the mails I have had and thanking everyone for their kind words. I joked that it might be ironic that after being put on the Flickr blog that my creative inspiration would dry up. Fortunately that hasn't happened yet and as the weather has finally dried up instead, I headed out after work.
When I was out collecting leaves at the weekend I visited a hazel tree and I loved how it's leaves were new and fresh and curled around into a little bowl. I am sure they flatten out as the develop so I made a mental note to make something that shows off the curve of the leaves. The obvious idea was a sphere. I have been trying to make things that reflect the time of year. The circles I make from hazel won't be possible later in the season as the wood will be too stiff to shape and I suspect the hazel leaves won't be curved enough later on to make spheres so easily.
A few weeks ago I made three hazel balls but those were tiny. I don't think anyone could tell the size of them from the picture but the leaves were very small and delicate. Now the leaves had grown so the balls would need to be larger.
I collected some leaves and headed down to the stream near where I live.
As this was an after work excursion I didn't have much time to get it finished but everything was going well and my idea was taking shape in a sprightly fashion. I was starting to get excited as it was coming together well and I aws going to get a photo (must be an obsessive land artist's thing).
Just as I had nearly completed the third ball the middle one dropped into the water.
Often I tell myself that preparation is all important. If you don't get the early stages right it generally means that you need to go back and start over. Despite knowing this, my normal way is just to crack on and see what happens. Not a wise strategy.
I finished off the third one and then started on the middle one again. All the while the first one was happy on its perch. A couple more leaves and I'll be done.
The little ******** seemed to be doing this on purpose! Each time I would get near finishing them all another one would decide to go for a swim! Arrgghh!
I thoroughly scolded them and they promised to behave so I set about remaking the first one. They were good to their word and stayed dry this time.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Everything has gone completely mad! On Saturday the Flickr blog did a post about rock balancing and amongst the linked searches were some of my pictures and I got a load more hits on my photos and blog, more than I had had ever before - at least twice or three times the number of hits. I was very chuffed.
BUt then yesterday afternoon I was on Flickr again and noticed another increase in activity. I thought it was strange as things has calmed down a little after the rock balancing blog post. Then I noticed one of my pictures on the Flickr homepage. I clicked on it and found Heather had done a Flickr blog post about me and my land art. I nearly fell off my chair! Currently one of my photos is on the home page of everyones Flickr!
Since then things have gone completely mental! I have so many hits its untrue - at the moment I am getting 30-40 times the most I have ever had before. I can't believe it!
I am getting exposure that I could have only dreamed about. What have I done to be so lucky!
Thanks to everyone for their kind comments, I really can't tell you how much they mean to me.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
I've been mulling over some new ideas and I have been pondering how to capture movement, air and the wind in a still picture.
NB. As an experiment I think this piece worked but as a finished article it does not. It taught me lots so that I can improve it the next time and but I normally like to post something that I am happy with. I am not happy with the result but I also put up everything I do so that I have a record. Added to that this video took 10 tries to upload!
We toured quickly around the park to find a few leaves, checking out the two sculptures I did yesterday. They are both still there but looking a little tatty. I wonder if anyone has noticed them?
In a clearing I looked for a patch of sunlight and ably assisted by my camera assistant who took the photos (she probably prefers another title) and trying to ignore the gawping dog walkers I tried to carry off a good impression of a tree in Autumn.
"Are you ready?" I said.
"Yes I am ready, just say when."
"Go" I said.
"You didn't say when" she said.
"Ready?" I repeated, then she fired off another volley of shots.
"I haven't dropped them yet, I thought you wanted me to say when?"
"Say when then."
"Right now - go."
"You didn't say when!!"
So folks the lesson is communication is as important as an artistic bent. Otherwise pictures of the forest floor just don't cut it.
The sun moved away from the spot we were working on and hopeful we had got at least something, we headed back to the car.
I chucked camera and tripod in the back and then went to pick up some lovely red leaves that were adorning the pavement. Bent over and looking at the ground a voice said "are you Escher?"
"Errm, yes I said" a little taken aback and really perplexed how he knew who I was.
"Noone else would be picking up red leaves like that" he told me.
So hello to Litrate another Flickrite, it was very nice to meet you. He was off to go and photo that stripey field I saw the other day. We discussed the idea of a Flickr meet on Clougha. I think August 12th may be an auspicious date. Anyone agree?!
I am still a bit amazed that anyone would work out who I was, but Litrate is obviously very astute! ;-) I guess I don't know that my behaviour singles me out into a group of one. That would certainly explain the thoroughly rude stares we were getting this afternoon. If you want to know what I am doing just come and ask, simply staring just puts me off!
It's been quite an interesting Flickr day for me. What with meeting another Flickrite and for rock balancing and land art to have featured in the Flickr Blog. My views/faves/comments have sky-rocketed and lots of new contacts have been made. Thank you Flickr.
This was made for the Land Art Connections project May theme - AIR - using new tree leaves, air, gravity and sunlight! At Fenham Carr, Williamson Park, Lancaster, Lancashire, England on 3rd May 2009.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
I had some left over leaves from this morning and I didn't want to waste them. The red is copper beech leaves (I am quite amazed how very red they look), the middle flag has two pink maple leaves in it and the yellow flag is dying rhododendron leaves.
It was windy so I wanted to make something more robust this time. I constructed the frames from hazel and peeled off the bark. I split them so that the leaves would be held inside then I pinned them together with thorns.
What I didn't consider was how they would twist when I pushed both ends together in the ground. As I did so each frame came apart and the leaves came out from being held between the split stick. Doh! So as usual I had to do much fiddling about to get the leaves straight.
As I was setting it up an American lady came over and said "can I ask what you are doing?" We told her about land art and she said "how is it held together - do you use white glue?" I explained that I use only natural materials. I pointed her to the position where the sun was shining through and she happily snapped away with her camera. I hope she got some good pictures!
I don't know how long this will last but I left it in situ next to the mosaic dinosaur/dragon thing at the bottom entrance to Williamson Park.
Well what a surprise - leaves and sunlight again.
I collected 1 leaf each from 47 different plants and trees. What was interesting was the fact still not all the trees and shrubs had fully developed leaves. Where the maples had large broad leaves, flowers and seeds developing. The oak, beech and sweet chestnut have only just started to sprout and are covered with buds. There is also a lot more variation in colour than you might expect. Finally as I waited for the sun to emerge from the clouds it became clear how different leaves wilt faster than others. Some have a strong structure and lose water slowly some less so. Even within the maples the strength and water retaining abilities varied quite a bit. Ideally I would have liked to have been able to get the photos as soon as it was constructed but the sun had gone in. By the time I managed to get a picture many of the leaves had wilted and it was nearing being past its best.
I cannot name all 47 leaves but these are the ones I do know: beech, copper beech, sycamore, 4 different maples, apple, cherry, bramble, dock, dandelion, plantain, rhododendron, 2 types of oak, hazel, laurel, stinging nettle, willow, silver birch, rowan.
Friday, May 01, 2009
For some reason this week my mind turned to rain. It has rained a lot this week but everything is fresh and green and the sun has now come out just in time for the weekend. But the rain lasted long enough to bring some ideas to fruition.
I've been thinking about other aspects of nature and our environment and I wanted to find new ways of revealing these things through my art.
After so much sun and the wonderful green growth of spring I racked my brain for new inspiration to stop things becoming stale.
Gabrielle's May theme for the Land Art Connections project - AIR - has also got me thinking. I hope to explore these new ideas over the coming weeks. But now the sun has come out I expect I will be sticking leaves on sticks and carrying on with the same old stuff. What a surprise!