Friday, 23 March 2007

Landscape fieldwork for Willows art project, March 2007

For some fieldwork for my landscape and willow trees project in the Ypres (Ieper) area of Belgian Flanders, I could not have chosen a worse few days than 19th to 22nd March! There was rain, hail, sleet, snow and lots of freezing wind which completely numbed my fingers. The cold wind and the rain made it very difficult to draw in the bleak, open landscape of the fields, beeks and gentle ridges of the Salient, and my charcoal images were washed away by the rain and the big sheets of paper blown away by the wind, even though they were taped down onto the drawing board. I also took 360 photographs in the Ypres (Ieper) Salient area, from Poelcappelle and Langemarck in the north to Tyne Cott in the east and Messines and Ploegsteert in the south, so I have enough images to work on and produce further drawings and paintings. This will enable me to complete the first stage of my Willows project, which is an exhibition at the Star Gallery in Lewes in May 2007.

I am also developing ideas for sculptures, apart from the 'living willows' figurative sculptures which are a later phase of the project. I saw willow trees standing and fallen, living and rotting, growing around and enclosing old barbed-wire screw pickets, containing birds' nests, with grass growing in their crowns, in use as fence posts, bound around with new barbed wire, bound with chains, used as posts for notices, pollards savagely cropped with chain saws . . .

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