16th Burnham Art Trail
Saturday 20th June to Sunday 28th June 2020
Day 5 Wednesday
We are now getting to half way through the Trail and joining Kevin to share his appreciation all things wooden combined with his love of birds.
The Joy of Driftwood
At the beginning of this year we were very fortunate to spend all of February touring the South Island of New Zealand. Heading up the east coast towards Kaikoura the first beach we stopped at was strewn with driftwood. I thought then that I would need a bigger suitcase.
The quality of the driftwood is fantastic, mostly hardwood, solid, washed out, dried and bleached by the sun. Every shape, size and texture you can think of, from tiny bits right through to whole trees all ready to use. I decided at that first beach I would only take a few select pieces from each beach we visited but I still ended up with half a car boot full.
The west coast town of Hokitika host an annual Driftwood and Sand Sculpture Festival in January. When we visited there were still a few sculptures left standing. They were amazing. Created just from what’s on the beach on the day of the competition. We left our own mark on the beach in a big word ‘LOVE’.
The first piece I made on our return home was a whale made from a lovely piece of New Zealand driftwood.
My Favourite Birds
Wading birds like Curlews, Wimbrels, Avocets, Egrets and Herons are my favourite subjects to sculpt.
I try to use the shape of the tree branch to mimic the elegant curves and movement of the Heron and Egret, trying to capture a degree of animation to bring them alive.
Curlews, Wimbrels and Avocets also have interesting features in their curved bills, it makes them stand out from the crowd and always recognisable. Also the long legs all these birds have add a touch of elegance and brings elevation to the sculpture.
When I created the Grey Heron I thought I would experiment with a bit of colour. I quite like it, adds another dimension. So, I will use colour again probably. Birds of prey, or raptors as some like to call them, are my favourite birds but up to now I’ve found it hard to reproduce in my sculpture style. But I did have a bit of luck when walking the sea wall out on the marshes, I found a driftwood piece I liked the shape of. I twisted it and turned it and then it popped out at me – my first bird of prey, an Osprey poised to take a fish from the surface of a lake
Thoughts on “being an artist”
Lockdown has, to me, meant the chance to work more on my art without the pressure of having to produce finished pieces. This has allowed me to change my style to approach and produce work that is different and perhaps reflects my personality more.
Having more time in the studio has let me to sit and consider the next sweep of the palette knife, or the swish of the spatula, making free unrestrained movements across the canvas. I have used colours that I would not have chosen before with many more layers to my work, producing less tentative and more abstract art bringing a smile to my face.
My family call them Marmite pictures! Some love them, some hate them, but all look more closely than at any of my previous work.
Are they any good? I don’t know…
Will I show them? Maybe…
By playing with paint and techniques I have learned so much, not just about paint, colour and mediums but about myself and what excites and appeals to me as an artist.
Who am I and what do I want to be?
As artists we all adapt, adjust and change over time, this dreadful period of isolation from what we call normal has definitely allowed me to do this, perhaps at a faster rate than expected. I feel very fortunate to have had this time to reflect and play while others have been through hell.
It will not be wasted. To see a range of Jenny’s painting styles visit www.jennynewman.org
“I paint in the open air and in the studio. A fan of the impressionists, my paintings are inspired by the history, architecture and landscape of East Anglia and beyond.”
Working in wide range of styles, techniques and medium including drawing, painting, digital media including photography and sculpture.
Tracey’s series of images of St. Peters Chapel explores the traditional through to new media and the potential interaction between the two.
For more of her work visit www.traceymerrittart.com
Local, historical images are my inspiration. History and the recollections of times past, old photos of urban and rural life are the references for my social history paintings. I most enjoy working in oils.
Inspired by traditional stitch techniques, and with a love of nature, Julie incorporates recycled and ethnically sourced materials to her homely range of crafts.
We have now reached the end of another Armchair Art Trail post, so time to put your feet up and take it easy…