Sunday, 24 April 2011

Contextual thoughts

The garden is bursting open with the warm spring weather ... this gunnera was just one of the plants powering its way sunward this week. Yet I have been thinking it is time for a slight pause to reflect on the context of the Garden, having been there for a few weeks. It's a little like being an outsider in a huge scheme of things, the University Department, the academics, the curator, the students, the researchers, the gardeners, the volunteers, the friends of the Garden and the visitors - many of whom I have been meeting and talking with over the last two months. Then there is the national and international botanic garden community, liaising, discussing and exchanging information about plants as well as giving and receiving them. (There must be more). And over it all hovers the ghosts of Carl Linnaeus (who designed the double Latin name system for plants), Darwin (evolution of plants) and Hiatt Cowles Baker, who lived at The Holmes - the Botanic Garden surrounds the house.  Hiatt Cowles Baker (1863-1934) was a businessman, alpinist, horticulturalist and plant collector and made the first garden at the Holmes in the 1920s. He plant hunted in the Caucasus, Corsica, Pyranees, Crete, Palestine and the Lebanon. Being aware of all this forces me to see myself as just one more of those people who feel the need to be outdoors with plants. How does this information/knowledge affect what I am doing?
Meanwhile three flying ducks flew twice over the garden, softly hooting. Being there.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Moving on with the multiples

Another two one-take plates -  one of a gardener planting seeds - a composition made up of four individual quick drawings. The eternal past-time of hope.

The second - a banana plant in all its waxy glory.

This is developing into a series of multiple prints..
perhaps a scatter gun approach but forcing a discipline that requires observation for both the drawing and then the plate. Dipping two or three plates in and out of the acid to strict times is like a cross between juggling and cooking!


Friday, 1 April 2011

One take prints

I've become enamoured with the concept of the sketchbook print and am taking it forward with a series of etchings  - all the same small size  - inspired by visits to the garden. The word sketchbook to me denotes a work in progress or working towards - certainly not a finished piece with all that 'finished' entails. Taking this a step further the idea of the 'one take' sketchbook print has taken hold. The magnolias is one of the first batch of 4 etchings that I developed from bare copper plate through line work and aquatinting, dipping in and out of the acid (about 12 times) to check and to modify, but not taking a proof until the print you can see. Sheer heresy in the printmaking world as you are taught to take proofs at every stage! The magnolias have an ethereal air while the prickly bodies below are more...prickly. I'll carry on with these while I'm thinking and planning other schemes..