Many years ago I was flicking through a magazine and came upon an article about Andy Worhol’s swimming pool collection. I was mesmerised by the translucent turquoise; the patterns and ripples that transformed reality into an organic and abstract work of art. I have since been drawn to the liquid art of The Jubilee Pool in Penzance, now thankfully restored. When in India, I have the privilege of watching and recording the transient magic of the Cardamom House Pool. These are just a few examples of images that have been captured and give me pleasure.
Previously, I have designed four ‘portholes’, which I exhibited at Tuppenny Barn, as part of the Emsworth Arts Trail.
At first, my creativity was quelled. Being in the same place for a number of weeks, with the same old views, from the same old positions can stifle the desire to explore. It can also lead to a more intimate awareness of the nuances of light. For the last fifteen or more years I have stared at the skyline of the foothills of the Western Ghats. I have become familiar with the gullies and clefts. I have looked out onto them at all times of day and night, with all manner of skies, and during severe drought and monsoon.
It is only now, that I am beginning to see detail. Using watercolours, the number of interpretations becomes endless. Here are some of my latest renditions.
At Tuppenny Barn we had about 400 visitors. It is a superb venue. I sold the black and white pictured here. It is always good to sell things as this gives me feedback. Also popular were some of the tree images I took years ago. May be it is time to get out into the woods again.
I love ‘poking around’ on Art Trails and Open Doors and Workshop Events. The inspiration comes in three areas:
- Looking at the work of artists, whether in oils, ceramics, silver, wood or photography encourages me to explore a wealth of ways of interpreting ideas and form;
- I am nosey and visiting artists’ studios and workshops gives me the opportunity to ‘nose around’ not only their studios, but sometimes their gardens and even homes and to gather source material;
- A sense of discovery accompanies following a trail, which leads me into previously unvisited areas of the countryside. Discovery of the unexpected can fuel my imagination, leading me into new artistic projects, both visual and word.
It was whilst chatting as we hung banners publicising the 2012 Emsworth Arts Trail, that it was suggested that we might be able to organise a similar trail in South India. I certainly don’t want to be a tour leader. The landscape photographer, Charlie Waite, has visited us at Cardamom House with Light and Land Groups on photographic tours of South India. This kind of tour may suit photographers. However, painters and textile artists have suggested to me that they want something different – a chance to appreciate the work of local artists, to investigate something of the complexity of the cultures and, importantly, time to ‘play’ with ideas and start developing projects that might be completed once back home.
So far, my thinking is that a two to three week trip might satisfy these needs. There’s an artist’s colony in Chennai. Mahaballpuram is the home of stone carving and also hosts a variety of businesses selling crafts from across India. Kanchipuram is known for its silks and saris. Pondicherry has a hotel associated with an artist in residence programme as well as a guesthouse over an art gallery. It is also a place to find ceramics and handmade papers and many other craft forms. Guests at Cardamom House, Athoor, can visit local artisans such as weavers and potters, as well as going to a flower market for a different form of artistic interpretation. It is here, in a rural area, surrounded by the vivid colours of birds, butterflies, flowers, rice paddies and palm groves, that artists might find the time to rest and relax and allow their ideas to germinate.
…. And then there are the Western Ghats, with their different landscapes, cultures and crafts. Further afield is Kerala. The possibilities are endless.