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.
More trees! Shaking, waving and being together in a fragile sort of way. What will happen to them – no defences against us. If you have read Tolkien – you might remember when the trees are marching in aid of ‘the good’ – an unstoppable force. I can almost feel the earth shaking under their heavy footsteps.
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.