Comfort Zone – one toe out?

I am not really sure I should always share my concerns about my process, because it may undermine my professionalism…but I do anyway!  I really appreciate the feedback from everyone on social media and my family, it is so valuable. I am holding it all in my mind whilst I evaluate where I am taking this new body of work, the vast majority of people seem to prefer the old painting, but see what I am trying to say with the new…so I have a dilemma!!!

Speaking more broadly however, I think whenever we are breaking new ground for ourselves, whenever we step out of our own very small comfort zone we feel a little apprehension mixed with excitement.  I can comfortable stay exactly where I was 5 years ago and just make the paintings that I know are well received, but for me it is about a continuous dialogue, and they did not articulate my concerns or particular perspective.  I am trying to understand the world and communicate my particular view or concerns about it using painting, drawing and printmaking. This is kind of amusing in itself ha ha why would anyone try this method of communication? Speaking or writing is so much easier…unless you are me.

Old Owl on the left new on the right…


With this (new owl) particular body of work I want to create a dialogue around the human/animal relationship, considering on the one hand those magical momentary glimpses of a Barn Owl, the barely heard hoot of a Tawny Owl or the distant flock of lapwings whilst passing an estuary, whilst on the other,  watching pristine wading birds picking through plastic on the strandline or standing under a cloud of 200,000 starlings and trying to ignore the roar of the busy rush hour road close by, that white noise, busy landscape, wind turbines, power cables, plastic, roads,  cars…etc. that our wildlife navigate on a daily basis.

Here is another example this time with Swallows

I feel excited about where my paintings are going, many people do wildlife painting very well but only I can make my new paintings because they are about a very personal perspective and engagement with the world.  When I look at a well painting picture of an Owl I see an Owl, pause for a few moments, then move on with my Owl image in my head, however, when I look at (some) abstract paintings, the more I look the more I see, it holds my attention, it often has a filmic quality and I can explore its layers, mark making, textures, shapes and space for a long time…I find this hard to explain but I kind of escape into them, like when you can sit and look at the sea, a stream, wind blowing the leaves on a tree or the stars, nothing much is happening but your mind is wandering, its kind of meditative. So basically I want to make paintings to escape to!

My particular perspective is about the way in which I and presumably other people view wildlife,  environmental mini rant coming up if you want to leave now…! The environment is very high on everyone’s agenda and has been up there on mine for as long as I can remember, it now seems to be reaching fever pitch which in many ways is fantastic and we may start to see change, but as is always the case we humans never really understand what we are doing and in trying to rectify the problem we often create a new one. So I am a little skeptical, there are just too many of us consuming too much when my Nana was born there were less than 2 billion people on the Earth and now there is over 7 billion which I actually find terrifying.  I have no solutions, I try to walk lightly on the earth but I could do more, on the small patch of land that I care for I try to let it do its thing, I feed the birds, never use pesticides, value the wildlife benefits of (most) weeds,  cut the grass only when it gets to the mowers limit and instead of cutting hay on the fields I let it grow then graze it off in the winter.  If we all did a little to reduce our impact, ie do less of everything, strim, mow, drive, eat, consume etc. and more to support and encourage wildlife with a considered well informed approach, whilst also shouting loudly at shops, supermarkets and manufacturers to do better, voting with our purses and signing lots of petitions, this is all I know how to do. If we all do what we can do we may get somewhere. My Nan used to say if everyone swept outside their own door the whole world would be clean and tidy…so that is what I try to do, only I don’t sweep because it may disturb the spiders!

Sermon over…back to that conversation with paint.

Day 26 yesterday a sparrow hawk passed me as I walked across the field pursued by a small group of sparrows… I hoped it hadn’t taken a chick but also know it may have chicks of it’s own to feed…either way it was a beautiful sight

Yesterday I had two robins on the garden not together… I thought it quite unusual as they are so territorial…
There is lots of myths and meanings associated with robins . Apparently they reflect the need to sing your own song and relate to new growth in your life. They always bring to mind my grandad as my mum used to say he always had a robin close by when he as in the garden. ♥️

It’s been very grey here in cornwall so I hope to bring a little brightness with this over-printed starling. . . . . . #wip #illustration #contemporaryprintmaking #humananimalrelationship #ukprintmakers #get_imprinted #contemporaryprintmaking #printmakingtoday #creativeinspiration #happyaccident #patterndesign #patternmaking #repeatpattern #printandpattern #sketchbook #inthestudio #collageart #creativityandplay #camoflage

For a slightly differnt, a more real world observation of Crows this poem by Mary Oliver is also one of my favourites… Crows From a single grain they have multiplied. When you look in the eyes of one you have seen them all. At the edges of highways they pick at limp things. They are anything but refined. Or they fly out over the corn like pellets of black fire, like overlords. (Crow is crow, you say. What else is there to say? Drive down any road, take a train or an airplane across the world, leave your old life behind, die and be born again— wherever you arrive they’ll be there first, glossy and rowdy and indistinguishable. The deep muscle of the world

Gool Peran Lowen! Happy St Piran’s Day! “The heathen Irish tied him to a mill-stone, rolled it over the edge of a cliff into a stormy sea, which immediately became calm, and the saint floated safely over the water to land upon the sandy beach of Perranzabuloe in Cornwall. His first disciples are said to have been a badger, a fox and a bear” “He landed in Cornwall, and there established himself as a hermit. His sanctity and his austerity won for him the veneration of all around, and the gift of miracles, with which he was favoured, brought many to seek his charitable aid. He was joined at Perranzabuloe by many of his Christian converts and together they founded the Abbey of Lanpiran, with Piran as abbot. St Piran ‘rediscovered’ tin-smelting (tin had been smelted in Cornwall since before the Romans’ arrival, but the methods had since been lost) when his black hearthstone, which was evidently a slab of tin-bearing ore, had the tin smelt out of it and rise to the top in the form of a white cross, thus the image on the flag”