It’s 3 years since I last posted on here and the answer to the question ‘what’s changed’ is rather a lot both personally and professionally. I considered deleting all previous posts and starting again as the previous posts seem irrelevant to what I’m doing now, but actually it’s a good opportunity to see the way my work has changed and why.
One of my last posts in 2016 describes the first artists’ book that I made following a weekend long bookbinding course I completed the previous month. 3 years on with constant practise and overcoming many glue issues I feel that my book making skills have improved beyond recognition from those first efforts. I now tackle quite complicated book forms and techniques and am confident enough that commissions I receive from collectors are of sufficiently high quality as to sit well within their collections. This summer I was delighted to have my artists’ tunnel book ‘Winter Woodland’ selected for inclusion in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London with the edition of 2 selling before the exhibition’s official opening. I was also commissioned to make a one-off tunnel book by a collector who had seen my work in the exhibition. It makes me feel that I must be doing something right.
Photographically I am still going out into the landscape but I’ve noticed that my style has changed from 3 years ago. I always used to head out with my camera fixed to a tripod with filters attached, and my photographs were fairly traditional I suppose – sometimes a little heavy handed with the filters I now notice! Today I rarely use tripod and filters, instead opting to hand hold which speeds up the whole photographic process and frees up the image content. I think this is particularly evident in my ‘Land Lines’ photo project where I never used a tripod or filters once. The subject matter of abstract shapes and marks left by farming practices meant that a fair proportion of the photographs lent themselves to being processed in black and white which was a further departure for me.
Why my artistic practice has changed is partly due to a move from living in a heavily wooded area surrounding my house to living in an area surrounded by open fields with big skies and not much to stop the ever constant windy conditions and consequently I had to change the way I worked. Drawing and painting has also returned into my life. Having worked as a freelance illustrator for over 20 years, some of the – shall we say – less stimulating commissions you have to accept as a freelance was killing any enthusiasm I had for that art form, and so in 2014 I stopped illustrating and turned to photography. It was such a breath of fresh air my creativity returned and I’ve been constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries with how I show my photographs since that time. I’ve not returned to illustrating and I don’t think I ever will, but drawing, painting and to a small degree printmaking really engage me and have been slowly creeping into some artists’ books that I make. Sometimes a single book contains photographs, paintings and natural materials.
With a change in my artistic practice, the content of this blog will also change. I’ll be posting details of my artists’ book making from initial idea to finished artwork with photos to show the process and also some thoughts about the decision making along the way.
I’d be delighted to hear from you if you have any questions or would like more information about my work.