All images after the first one derive from Peregrine Farm, first of the places for my Places Project, which I began a few months ago. Alaska in August and Wales in October are next on my agenda.
But first: For the Summer 2016 issue of Charleston Style & Design Magazine, I was to illustrate an essay by Judy Kurtz Goldman on mothers and daughters and their gardens, in particular, the story of the garden of the author's late mother. Her mother had had an unusual way of waving the garden hose in arcs above her head as she watered her flowers and this is something the daughter does, too. "I wish [my mother] could stand beside me on a hot July afternoon and feel the spray from my garden hose. I'd thank her for this wonderful things she's passed down to me, as we both squint at the arc of water crossing itself over and over."
Continuing with my plan to use materials from the places I immerse myself in, in combination with the elements earth, air, fire, and water... in one guise or another... I made another cyanotype with love-in-a-mist from Betsy's flower fields. The image, an arrangement of flowers and cut paper placed on photo-sensitive paper, is developed in sunlight.
Later in the month, I sat and drew in the celosia fields. Here I fell for the brash and blazing reds of the blossoms as well as for the accidental beauty of the white mesh fabric used to support the tall stems as they grew. This was found sculpture! On Strathmore toned paper, I used paint made from soil I gathered from the farm as well as crayons and pencil.
The days I visited the farm to draw celosia flowers were very hot. I tried to convey the sense of red hot air in this drawing, made on site using a multi-leaded colored pencil, with red acrylic paint added later in the studio.
Drawing with charcoal made from charred blueberry branches found on the farm, I sketched a plowed and open field edged by a road leading to the Alex and Betsy's house. The reddish paint was made with field soil and the ochre paint was made with soil I collected near the farm's creek beds.
Here's another drawing of celosia flowers growing through a grid of white plastic mesh. Drawn with watercolor crayons, painted with paint made from field soil and a final layer of acrylic paint.
Not all of my experiments were successful, but isn't that what experiments are for, to try stuff and see?
Here's a case in point, a collage I made of purple and red lettuces growing in a field. I had been attracted to the wavy, concentric shapes of the lettuce heads, and to their jewel-like colors. For these, I drew from my studio stash of leftover painted paper, cutting the paper into lettuce-inspired shapes. As in the images above, the field's earth is painted with earth from the field itself! That is what I love about this project... playing with found, organic materials in combination with more conventional media, to try to render the energy and essential nature of these places that are meaningful to me.
I leave for my art residency in Alaska in a few days! Trying to work out which art supplies to take is my challenge. I will report back on what I chose soon! Happy August!