A huge lightning storm rolled over our town (and much of Southern England) this week. I slept right through it! Subsequently I’ve seen a few photos of dark purple skies crackling to life in the storm. I thought this would make a good subject for this week’s free art drop, so here’s what I made. Watercolour and silver leaf.
I’m fortunate to live near lots of public open spaces. One of my favourites is Beddington Park. I enjoy walking around it, and sometimes use it as the location for my free art drops. Some friends are organising a Big Lunch event in the park on Sunday June 4th, and I’ve made this free art drop to mark the occasion.
The background is a graded watercolour wash, subtly shifting from green to yellow, representing the move from Spring to Summer. The gold leaf represents the many meandering pathways across the park, and the River Wandle, which flows through it. This work will be hidden somewhere in the park this weekend. Finders keepers.
Anne McCrossan has many talents – and the one I want to highlight today is her work as a ceramicist. Anne works in Cornwall using local clay to make a range of fascinating objects. Through a clever use of digital iconography in her work, she blends the art of making with a nod to the online world in which some of her other work inhabits.
I admire this connection between making with our hands and interacting in a digital workd, and for some time I’ve wanted to explore this intersection through my visual art. I dropped Anne a line yesterday to see if she was OK with me pursuing this. She is, and after I woke very early today, and couldn’t get back to sleep – I got to work. My intention was to create a simple backdrop through repeating a technique of wet on wet watercolour I have used previously, combined with a gradual addition of a second paint pigment. Here are photos showing how I set up my workspace, and the finished, graded watercolour washes.
I had to make all four of these pieces simultaneously – gradually adding measures of red paint to the yellow as I move down the sheets of paper.
Once the paint was dry, I pencilled an outline of the icon I wanted to use, applied some gilding paste and gold leaf, then waited…
I had to apply the gold leaf three times, trying to fill in gaps where it hadn’t stuck to the paper properly. In the end – I got a close enough representation.
As a first attempt I am pleased with the result – I particularly like the tonal shift in the watercolour. This piece will be the free art drop this weekend, given away a little later than usual. Note to self – don’t leave it so late in the week to try a fiddly new experiment next time!