Last week found me in Devon. My husband was attending an engineering course so I went along for a week thereby avoiding providing hotel services to teenagers. My idea was to sketch, read and paint my way through the week. Initially, the weather was truly appalling, and sketching was limited to a self portrait using a little plastic mirror and sketches of stormy skies and landscapes. I had taken ‘Kurt Jackson Sketchbooks’ with me as reading and these sketches show the clear influence of his collage and spattering. I found this approach to sketching, using torn mag pages to find initial tones, very liberating, producing graphic images. I have used collage before to help design prints but I enjoyed combining it with paint and inktense pencils in this way. Reading his book has given me terrific respect for Jackson’s sketchbook work ethic.
The weather cleared up and I decided to spend my time in Lyme Regis. Although, disappointingly, I had just missed the Lyme Artfest, land sculpture works by local artist John Calder were still in place around the town. I enjoyed his use of burnt or charred wood and hazel or willow lashing. The now wonderfully clear sunshine and the magic of fossil hunting pushed me onto the beach. This not only has wonderful ammonites but also iron pyrites, quartz, sea glass, rocks with holes bored through them by molluscs and tumbled rubbish. The cliffs are ancient shales eroding away fast. The original town tip was behind the beach and has now fallen down the cliff, delivering old bottles, corrugated iron and bricks to the waves. Building piled sculptures, rock balancing and stacking, was irresistible.
The next day, I returned with my little micro four-thirds camera to document the sculptural inspiration of the beach and its environs. I was looking for shape, colour and texture in both natural and man-made materials. I was interested in the juxtaposition of like and un-alike; how the new cliff defences echoed the natural beach.
Using some of the several hundred photos and small video clips I took, I have produced this montage celebrating the colours and shapes. The video footage is very wobbly without a tripod – apologies.
Lyme has provided inspiration and also materials. Not all that old iron was left on the beach!