‘History, you see, is like the interlocking wheels turning in a ticking-thing.
Something unexpected happens, some sort of hiccup…
the wheels are jogged…and then they set off again,
beating out the time in a new pattern.’
How to Break a Dragon’s Heart – Cressida Cowell
‘…some sort of hiccup…the wheels are jogged…’ seems an apt description of the world at the moment (yes,I know, it’s a big hiccup…) New routines, new ways of ‘doing’… In some respects, our worlds have shrunk, confined to our own locale; in other ways, the internet and social media are expanding our horizons…discovering fresh methods of connecting… all of which, at times, can become overwhelming… Exhortations to use ‘this time’ to be creative,to learn new things – a language, to play an instrument, to bake, to be painting and creating nonstop – can be both a blessing and a curse, to coin a phrase…
Almost a ritual, my daily ‘river’ walks are my comfort; life goes on,…things change – ‘beating out the time in a new pattern….’ (Cressida Cowell) I am aware of a heightened sense of ‘noticing’… rose-hued mornings, blankets of diamonds scattering with each stride, ripples of sun and clouds…dandelion seeds, soft as kisses blown on the breeze…reeds quivering with the water’s drift…each a part of the whole…
‘When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else
in the Universe…’
The ‘noticings’ emerge in my work, be that in my writing, or art – colours, marks, textures…details…intuitive responses… A favourite artist of mine, Andy Goldsworthy responds to the landscape in a much more ‘hands on’ instinctive way…
Natural materials, wood, stone, shells etc and their attendant muted colours appeal to me; most of my work is in a limited palette, none of which is bright…so it might appear odd that what first attracted me to this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Sarah Jennings, was her use of colour…
Sarah has always been creative, loving to draw and paint. Although she took Art ‘O’ level, and yes, I remember them, the law beckoned and Sarah went on to become a solicitor – which left little time to paint… It was only after the birth of her daughter and subsequently working part time, that she took painting up again as a hobby. Twelve years ago, after the birth of her son, Sarah took a career break and was able to focus on painting more seriously… going to classes both local and regional.
Sarah admits to having lots of favourite artists, and to discovering new ones almost daily! Cezanne ranks highly on her list of favourites, whilst contemporary artists David Mankin, Kurt Jackson, David Tress and Lewis Noble also feature strongly. She particularly likes their ‘connection’ with the landscape.
I love the zingy freshness to her Sarah’s work, it really pops!! And what fabulous colour contrasts; that mauve/lilac against that almost lime green!!
Sarah’s inspirations come from the landscape… ‘rural landscape, allotments and gardens all appeal. I like to be in the landscape and enjoy the changing light and seasons. I am not interested in making a representational copy of the landscape, being more interested in the mood and atmosphere. I’m a great fan of trees and rivers. I love organic shapes, colour and texture.’
The bright blue in the work above is fab – just enough to really make the painting sing! And I am always a sucker for interesting marks and forms…
Like many artists, Sarah initially worked at the kitchen table, before migrating to the ‘spare room,’ eventually upgrading to a studio at the bottom of the garden…(sigh, I can but dream)…. She admits to being a messy artist, but says that if you check out her Instagram page, there is a video of the studio looking all neat and tidy, with work on display – ready for visitors; she regularly opens it up during the summer for both the Rutland and Peterborough Open Studio events…
I usually shy away from using yellows in my work, but this one is just so joyous, I can’t help but smile at it…
Away from art, Sarah likes to listen to lots of different genres of music – classical, jazz and folk, as well as some that is on her daughter’s current playlist…. Equally eclectic is Sarah’s choice of reading material; from novels for her book club, through a fair amount of non-fiction and poetry, particularly in relation to the landscape or environment. Robert MacFarlane is a favourite author, along with Alexandra Harris, whose book Weatherland about, unsurprisingly, the weather and literary/artist responses to it, is also on Sarah’s chosen reading list, along with a myriad of art books: ‘there are never too many art books….’ – a sentiment I whole-heartedly agree with!!
As always, I would like to say a huge thank you to Sarah for agreeing to be part of this feature and for taking the time to respond to my questions…it is very much appreciated!!
Unable to venture far, I have taken to re-visiting my small library; this week’s book of choice is…
The book is designed to appeal to both beginners and more experienced artists in this medium. It includes an appreciation of the materials and techniques of some of the masters, including Turner, Constable, Lorrain etc, plus step-by-step instructions based on the methods and an insight into the principles…
Jointly written by Joyce H. Townsend and Tony Smibert, it was Smibert’s work that appealed to me… An Australian artist, he blends both western and eastern traditions: although he does paint in the ‘old masters’ style, it is his more minimal and contemporary work that I am drawn to…
Do take a look at his website to see more of his work…and read about the philosophy of art from aikido… I also like this quote on his site; ‘ See a thing clearly and state it plainly,’ – John Ruskin
‘If we move too fast,
we’ll break things.
If we move too slow,
we’ll miss things.
And if we don’t move
at all, we won’t see things
for how truly beautiful
R. M. Drake
As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you; if you have a favourite place to walk, please drop me a line and let me know why you love it!!
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