I have been looking after my brother’s pottery and gallery in Askham Cumbria for the last week and took the opportunity to make some experimental clay heads for my puppetry Artshealth MA which I am underway with at the moment. I have made many such heads with Year 9 when I was art teaching and wanted to do some playing with scale and expression to see where it takes me. Some are quite small and some larger, but all would work as glove puppets. I want to make the most successful into a string puppet. One reminded me of Francis Bacon whose work I love. Two more were based on the Edward Lear nonsense verse ‘ The Dong with the Luminouse Nose’, which my dad read to me whilst I was in the gallery. Stuart my brother is going to fire them when he can and I will get on to the next stages once he has done that.
I began this large oil painting last month after our short break in Staithes on the east coast of Yorkshire, England. I found the slabs of stone near the cliffs pulled me towards them. Maybe they reminded me of the cliffs at St. Bees my home village. However these were mostly blue/grey horizontal slabs on the ground as I have shared in the photos on this blog. There were one or two lumps of red sandstone that looked very familiar as if stranded amongst these alien rocks.My father told me it is the same seam of sandstone that stretches across the north of England and all but peters out on the east coast. The isolated orange/red of the rock spoke to me. I made a sketch on the spot which you can see here, and the oil painting from it back in the studio. I stopped much sooner than I usually do. I had said all I wanted to. I hope this will be dry enough to go in the show at The Plough in Cambridgeshire with my friend Mo De Rome in October. The glazes are quite thin with only one or two thicker brushstrokes, so it should be. Don’t forget to click images to enlarge folks!