My #what3words locations - text I wrote during the walk and the prompt words
Struggling with - the dog, aged father, staying away from tourists
Technologically baffled, dog barks, sun shines
Irritation calming, smile returning, dog squeaking
Tide marks, footprints, Virgina’s lighthouse
Breathe in, breathe out, space
Heading back, feeling lighter, distance.
Yellow, must dash, now
Lack of touch due to social distancing during Covid 19 has heightened my awareness of tactility, I took this yearning for touch into the studio and this influenced the materials and ways I worked. I wanted to work with some of the walk images but also with what is absent now and for the foreseeable future.
I have spent the last 7 weeks not going to the beach, missing the wide open vistas of a littoral landscape, where my red dog can run free, breathing in the saline-infused air and hearing the repetitious rhythm of waves against land.
Conversely, I have been walking Ulf locally and mostly on the lead as we are frequently traversing farmland. I have spent a lot a time looking at his furry back legs, he always wants to be ahead of me. I have delighted in finding new footpaths and bridleways and working out how they join and work together to form a network of birdsong, spring wildflower scent and hedgerow colour. These walks have allowed alone thinking and being time as I adjust to a new shared lockdown life with my dad, who came to visit for 5 days and is still here, 7 weeks later at the time of writing this.
Process- I first manipulated a single image in photoshop of a feather in the grass and printed different colour variations that also changed when printed as the printer was running low on ink. I created a combination of image from location with the marks that echoed the physical movements I made to let go of my mum as she was dying in 2008. The drawn marks figured in a number of works I made around that time. The grass reminded me so much of them, I needed to revisit them. Grief doesn’t leave us just changes as we walk with it. This will eventually become a triptych of images, utilising image transfer techniques to create transitional images between land/grass/sea/loss.
I returned to the photos I had taken on the walk these were taken at the #What3Words' locations and were inspired by my chosen prompt words. I stripped out the colour making them black and white and adjusting levels/contrast. This first stage was visually important as it drew my attention to texture, tone, space and that influenced what materials and processes I chose to use.
Working with the tactility of marks left in the sand, traces of time. I stood Ulf in my kiln to get the impression of his paws and used my dead partners boots for the boot prints. I created a whole series of work during my practice-based PhD based upon my partners slippers and the marks of his feet left in them. I have written - “He is kept near but conversely there is also a distance created by the transformation of this everyday object that bears his imprint into other forms and images. The different iterations of this slipper image are akin to a meditation practice, the reciting of a mantra. Watching whether the image of his slipper or my footprint comes to the fore visually echoes conversations with my therapist about where I am situated in relation to his absence.” (Davina Kirkpatrick 2017)
I wanted to revisit this meditative practice through using glass and monotypes, thinking about how longing, distance, memory, touch play out, against, alongside, each other. I created cast glass impressions that also include ghost images of a back view of Ulf and my shadow. This resulted in two pieces -
Horizon – breathe in, breathe out, space.
North - breathe in, breathe out, space.
The monotypes followed, playfully layering texture and colour, getting my hands dirty, cutting and sticking collaged digital prints with marks made by touching, stroking, scratching, responding to the previous marks, layering over. Allowing the images to emerge and change from initial photographic and word prompts. I found myself smiling, as time slipped, and I stopped worrying, for a while, about my changed life landscape of Covid 19.