Monday, October 24, 2011

Residents of Ercis, Turkey

-The night after the earthquake hit in Turkey, the residents of Ercis lit fires and camped beside the rubble that was once their homes. This made me think of the nature vs nurture angle in a different way; that a landscape of the 21st century is not too dis-similar from the centuries that came before humanisation. In the end, it is nature that ultimately defines landscape, if not it's inhabitants.
This image from the BBC website shows more of man than the houses that would usually be there, because of the adaptation that the human race has gone through- and how at the brink of our technological age, we still know how to survive in a basic way.
I don't mean to speak as if I know the struggle that is going on in Turkey at the moment. In Britain, despite the odd flood we are fine- but I think despite the morbidity of us watching, seeing and looking for bad world news on the TV or Internet I think it is important for us to learn from it, and that it isn't pride or arrogance that helps you to survive. It is basic human instinct.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The suburban landscape I have been looking at in Oxfordshire follows a familiar pattern of semi-detached houses with their gardens leading out onto a horizon of trees, electricity pylons and glimpses of rooftops. The controlled quality of the gardens peels away into the wilder fields and meadows yet these are still contained within an urbanised perimeter.

Thoughts, flow and production

The thought of rediscovering landscape using watercolour, is not something that i can easily stomach without thinking of the attempts of so many other artists (with great merit) whom have not achieved this as of yet. I think it would be naive to assume that we could create even a dent in the 'hobbiest' perception of watercolour, that even the Tate couldn't ignore. Of course looking at the Tate Britain's Watercolour exhibition there was a lot to admire about the skill and precision of the old masters, and skill is definitely something that you could argue lacks in today's conceptual market, however, at some point in time there must have been some transition where instead of the masters passing down their watercolour paints to their budding assistants- they must have passed them on to their elderly neighbours?

"Thank you for those watercolours you gave me for my birthday young Turner, I'm starting a class on Monday, so i can paint lovely pictures of fields and old houses, just like your friend Gainsborough. You should paint more like him Turner- he's such a nice boy"

Anyway, despite my bitterness about watercolour. I have accepted the challenge to explore relationships within landscape, whilst trying to hold back my own pre-conceptions of the medium. After all, you cannot produce something new whilst thinking about the old. I'm going to explore in my own way- not only in subject, but also in the medium that i haven't used since senior school. Below are my first mostly embarrassing attempts at just using the medium:

I don't think the colouration is bad- but actually i am very out of touch with water colour. Especially in terms of amount of water to apply to paint and painting straight lines. I think the only thing i enjoy about any of these paintings is the vermilion glow i have managed to obtain in the window on the left of the third image.

It also doesn't help that the subject of these paintings are so boring. All of the houses around my estate are very similar and greenery is sparse, in fact i live a two minute walk away from a massive industrial estate. It is difficult to consider the meaning of the word 'nutured' when everything is so absent of nature. Over nurtured maybe?

The next steps for me i think will be some subject research, what it is to nurture a  landscape and also how this can be done without intention to build or damage a landscape- such as the effects of heavy trade on a port's surrounding areas- or the effects of tourism on national beauty spots. This subject also makes me think about the difference between sculpting and nurturing a landscape. 'Sculpture in the Expanded Field'  by Rosalind Krauss is an interesting essay that tries to dismantle landscape and the differences between landscape and sculpture. One particularly interesting point is the reference to Traditional Japanese Gardens that would be both sculpture and landscape because they would fit into both categories. Perhaps this type of sculpture could be an interesting avenue to look down also in terms of nurturement- as it is something that exists with and without human interference?