I’ve been working my way through frames and painting surfaces stockpiled over the years. Odd-shaped boards can inspire a mental process of shuffling through ideas which have been stored away, just waiting for a chance to spring forth. This is exactly what has occurred in the latest series.
I began with three 7″x7″ pieces of luan board cut to fit a trio of oak frames scavenged from the alley. The small square size dictated simple, strong designs.
Next, I had to decide what the series would be about. A trip to Rochester, England in Kent saw us touring many cathedrals, some of which sported strange, pre-christian imagery. Rochester Cathedral had a lovely tree of life full of birds and leaves fairly close to the altar which I spent a lot of time with. What loveliness and confidence in life! My version is more complicated (no birds of prey, nests or arterial roots in Rochester) but the tone of rooting for life, just as it is, remains.
The last image is based on the various Green Man carvings sprinkled throughout the churches we visited. Green Man figures are usually carved between the wall and the roof and peer down upon the faithful, often disgorging vegetation. Making the figure blue nudges the entire series into a more interesting direction than I’d originally intended. Taken together, the three pieces have become a fittingly strange contemplation of earth, sky and the violently beautiful realm of in between.
Sometimes an idea is so strange, it’s tempting to hestitate or edit it out. The recent Puffin Foundation Grant has changed all that. I follow ideas wherever they lead.