I spent the early years of my life growing up in Altrincham in the greater Manchester area of northwest England. It was in these years, between the 1970’s and the late 1980’s that marked the end of the industrial age for the town.
This period left much of our local area with factories that became redundant and closed, some locations included empty land where factories once stood, a lot of these locations existed beside the Bridgewater canal.
I am currently working on a visual art project that is calling on my memories of these locations, working both digitally and with charcoal on paper, creating some compositions that reflect on this period of my life, places from my childhood. I am in my 50’s so this is not easy at times but I feel its a great exercise in visual storytelling…
This Landscape Before Me
By : Sarah Holland-Batt
First the factory stood, quiet as an asylum.
Then the annihilating mallee with its red fists of blossoms
and the mountain ash creeping over it like a stain.
I have no proof, but I tell you
there were leadlight windows here once, barred.
They cast a little striped light on the women.
Now in scrub and yellow broom I stand on a history
braided and unbraided by stiff Irish wrists.
The rope and span and carded wool are unpicked
as are their faces and names.
Londonderry, Cork, Galway, Kildare—
as I say the words they are sucked away
to a hemisphere in darkness.
I will not presume to say
what suffering is or how it was meted out in this place.
At what point it breaks a body I cannot tell.
But this morning I saw a young rabbit
hunched in brush and shadow.
I saw its lesioned face, its legs too thin to scramble,
the blood-berry red and pink scab of its eye.
It had caught the disease
we brought here for it
and wanted a quiet place to die.
And it was lucky, or as lucky as it would get—
there was time and light, the hawks and dogs
had not been written yet, and were still out of sigh
Following my post yesterday, I have started working with my PC based art application ( Krita ) in order to use its charcoal drawings tools to recreate as best as I can the landscapes style of Trevor Grimshaw.
Tomorrow I will give myself time to work at my desk with actual physical charcoal and chalk, I do feel very much however that a digital method of producing a work of art is just as valid in 2020, as working with physical materials, every mark made on my drawing above is made manually using a Wacom art tablet with an art pen. I often use this method of working to work out just how best to construct drawings and painting, when later it comes to sitting down with a sheet of physical paper or canvas.
February evening at Duncannon Beach
The light by the last wave lingers on fronds
of seaweed fingering wave-wet rocks where
brim-filled pools overflow before they
empty when the water surges then sucks,
surges, then sucks.
glistening, sun warmed, lit by the last
light of day while slow footsteps meander
with the gentle waves rhythms, rising, falling,
so calming in my ears, that crest falling
with an almost silent swish, hearbeat’s grace.
All troubles tumbled away calmed first,
washed by light where the last wave lingers.
I am continuing to explore the world of digital painting using a Wacom studio art tablet and truly enjoying the creative experience it can offer.
I am planning in the new year to return to real paint and brushes but at the same time I have really taken to using digital media, I will continue to use it both to produce sketch work and finished drawings and painting. The power that digital painting offers to be creative and to be attached with modern social media is hard to escape 🙂 , the next step is to explore how to print onto more traditional papers and canvas in order to present finished work in a more traditional way.
During the weekend, I started to use an application called (my-paint), to help with some of the art work that I am starting to work on again.
I first used this application last year and along with a Wacom tablet , I have its great fun to work with.
I love the drawing control the tablet can give, almost as good as using a real pencil or brush and this combined with the pens and brushes available in my-paint, you can make a great start learning line control and layering of both tone and colour.