Costing the earth

Climate change How do we make the invisible visible? Can artists, alongside scientists, make artwork to do this? Listening today to this Radio 4 programme ‘Costing the Earth’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00017b8 Artists have always responded to the environment, but “this is a real problem now…. because the environment is under threat”. How can we make art now about the relationship of human beings to the environment – “…… we have become a disease on the surface of the planet. This changes everything.” (Julian Spalding, former director of the Natural History Museum).   Related Images:

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abstract artists

Why abstract? Some quotes and comments on abstraction, I find these useful to return to: ‘The picture is not the vehicle of meaning: it is the meaning.’ Patrick Heron.  Heron’s work stems from his belief of painting not being dependant on external references for its meaning:  the impact on the viewer is not dependant on describing the world beyond. For Heron, the meaning was in the painted surface, the all-over interconnected and unified visual field – balance of composition through colour, light and shape. The distinction between figure and ground does not exist as each colour-shape or area however large or small, is as important within the painting as any… Read More

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acrylic paints

I’ve been experimenting with acrylic paint as an alternative to oil paints. Firstly because I wanted to work more quickly, and acrylics dry in a few hours, or overnight. But also I’m attracted to the wide range of colours, and how easy these are to use thinly, as a fluid, or thicker with medium, and to add textures. For reference I’ve looked at artists who work in acrylic paint, or changed from oils to acrylics. Here are a few I’ve admired:  Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) changed from oils to acrylics. Best known for her works in thinned oil paints poured onto unprimed canvas so that the colour would seep into the canvas, working… Read More

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Patrick Heron at Tate St Ives

Seeing this wonderful collection of paintings by Patrick Heron, with works at this large scale and alongside each other and from different periods, with one painting relating to another: intense colour, the pleasure of following a line across the canvas, the detail of a pattern, abstraction, looking from one shape/pattern to another around the canvas – this was an intense, exciting and joyful experience.     Here are the main ideas he persued:   Unity Heron strived for a balance across the canvas, the forms and colours interconnected by their position and their visual affect together, so that each area of colour/shape ” is as important within the painting as any… Read More

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Per Kirkeby

Image: “Untitled”, 1999 Oil on canvas 78 3/4 x 118 1/8 inches 200 x 300 cm  © Per Kirkeby, Courtesy Galerie Michael Werner Märkisch Wilmersdorf, Cologne & New York Danish artists inspired by geology, whose oil paintings are notable for their organic palette. Having read his obituary this week I’ve looked at his work online – https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/name/per-kirkeby-hon-ra and http://michaelwerner.com/artist/per-kirkeby/works I love the colours, the use of lines and scratches, sometimes abstract and other works are landscape, or possibly both within a single composition. He was a member of the New York based, international Fluxus group (Latin word Fluxus means flowing) which shared attitude rather than a movement, with experimental musicians and artists, somewhat revolutionary and anti-art.… Read More

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it’s warming up

Almost ready for open studio, and the days are warming up which will make it much nicer for people visiting. There shouldn’t be any frost this week (according to the Met Office) so I’ve planted out some of my carefully nurtured beans and the mini sweetcorn into the warm soil in my vegetable garden. This painting, possibly finished today, I’ve called Warming. This morning I read about a report by researchers based at Exeter Uni, about their studies of plant life in Antarctica – which exists on just 0.3% of the continent – and particularly the moss banks. the warming climate of Antarctica in the past 50 years has spurred on… Read More

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blue upon blue

One of the world’s most remote places, an uninhabited coral atoll, is also one of its most polluted. Henderson Island, a tiny landmass in the eastern South Pacific, has been found by marine scientists to have the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world, with 99.8% of the pollution plastic. The nearly 18 tonnes of plastic piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic, “grotesque” extent of marine plastic pollution. We’ve been arguing about climate change, and whether it exists and what is changing, for the better part of 40 years … “Let’s not… Read More

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Notter Tor

A cuckoo was calling early this morning, I listened to it and all the other birdsong as I drank my cup of tea standing at the open front door. Then later, on a walk to Notter Tor I heard another, this one was somewhere around Bearah Tor.  Notter Tor is covered with bluebells amongst the dried bracken which is yet to grow and under the wind-sculpted oak trees. It’s an interesting low tor on the eastern edge of Bodmin Moor. An old quarry has eaten into one side where there is now a deep pool with sheer granite cliffs. From the boulders on the summit the views are fantastic, and there are remains… Read More

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anthropocene

‘The Shock of the Anthropocene’ by Bonneuil and Fressoz. I decided it was time to read this – I’m taking it very slowly!  …. climate change, increases in extinction of species and loss of habitats, problems relating to air pollution, and other major changes to our planet including new substances being deposited in the planet’s ecosystems – all reflecting a change in the Earth system, these and other major transformations ‘that attest our entry into the Anthropocene’ Since teaching ‘Earthkeepers’ (Earth Education programme www.eartheducation.org.uk), then being a member of Green Tourism (Green Tourism) where possible I make decisions – just small gestures really – towards a more sustainable way to live.  We live on one planet with… Read More

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