Fra Angelico

Some time ago I was leafing through a Dutch book about Fra Angelico, printed in Antwerp 1941. (The book has a paper sticker with Boekhandel Krooneman, Jansstrasse, Arnhem. It has had quite a journey in the 70 years since it was printed and is now in a small village in Sweden.) I started noticing the fabulous fabrics hanging behind Maria and child in many of Fra Angelico’s paintings. So the pattern on the yellow background is copied from a painting (1437-1440) that is now in the St. Marcus museum.

The luxurious brocade fabrics were of course only for the wealthy and powerful in the upper echelons of society so it is appropriate that Maria with child are sitting in front of a shimmering wall of silk. I used a ‘frame’ to place plants and a planet in a similar position of importance.

Fra Angelico is a monoprint with block printing colour, watercolour and colour pencils.

Red Landscape

Red Lanscape 74.5 x 97 cm

Despite their appearance I have some sort of landscape, or landscape/animal combo, in mind when I create my Fur drawings. A bit contradictory then, I admit, to call them Furs but that is what most viewers describe them as. They are in my mind ‘maps’ showing elevations, streams and other landscape features – obviously not urban environments – but what you might possibly find if you’re out for a stroll in an imaginary forest. The red colour is a sign of warning – what will happen if we continue behaving as an invasive species ….

Graphites

The problem with photographing graphite on paper is that light bounces off the surface making even dark areas look grey and uninteresting. From a group of drawings entitled Being these came out the best. The one on the right though is called Icarus and is my reaction to seeing, in a documentary about free climbing, a climber fall from a great hight almost down to the ground before releasing his parachute. I honestly thought I was going to witness a death. The relief when the parachute opened was immense.

Working against

Working against 76×56

The title for this piece is taken from an interview with Ian McKeever, an artist whose work I love. It seems we both start with a layer and then, at least I, push against what whould seem to be an inevitable progression. It must not just go there, colours blazing and forms fitting in. Although of course I seek some balance, coherence and beauty and looking at it now perhaps ‘some’ is an understatement. My preoccupation with the unseen systems of warning, information and protection used by trees is one aspect of this piece, I also wanted to show that life is still going on inside them despite their loss of leaves in the winter.