Having been determined to do some outdoor painting while here, the weather always seems to be against this. However a couple of days ago I braved the freezing conditions and went out with a rucksack full of oil paints, boards and palette knives, and sitting in the snow, made a few small paintings before retreating from failing light to the warmth of the studio. Working crouched on the ground with my palette in the snow, snow became mixed in with the oil paint, which altered the consistency of the paint so that it became granular - it was a bit like painting with ice-cream. But it was good to have worked with paint and with colour – white snow against black/brown rocks under a darkening pink-streaked sky reflected in the dark voe.
Whilst the research I am doing - the artifacts relating to Haaf Fishing, the written, narrated, and embellished accounts of storms, disasters, rescues, the contemporary stories of recent huge waves that people I meet recount with relish - all play a key role in the development of imagery, yet observation is, and always has been, critical to making work.
How much does drawing and painting transcend observation of the landscape I have walked in? Having drawn/painted in a place, is my memory and my interpretation affected by this act? Do I then understand and ‘see’ the place differently? Or is what I draw and paint based less on what I see and more on what I know or believe, or have read? When I look at the paintings and drawings I have made, I think that I have a deeper (or is it just another?) understanding of the places I have been walking.
Working in the studio with the research alongside drawings and paintings made on site, the connection with the actual places - some with traces of the past embedded into the landscape - the historical significance of events is more evident, or perhaps more keenly felt. However, when translated into an artwork, the images may mutate into more fictitious form; it is inevitable that I will project my own experiences and memories and imagination onto them.