My journey was a walk from St Bees where I live to Florence Art Centre, where I am part of a small group making artists’ materials with the haematite from the now-disused Iron ore Mine, as well as some other minerals.
I like to draw directly with the pastels, often layering the range of pigments. These are marketed by Florence Paintmakers as Egremont Red, St Bees Yellow and Kirkby Grey. I am always intrigued by the way the colours of the local wildlife resonate with those within the land; thus reinforcing that connection.
On this route I often see a male kestrel or tercel planning his next move on a fence or wall before hunting in the local farmland: windhover is another descriptive name. This seemed a perfect subject on this Artful Way, since I noted our locally-sourced colours in his slate grey head and tail, russet brown back and buff underparts, along with accents of St Bees Yellow.
Answering the three Artful questions
What does Creativity / Culture mean to me?
The chance for a single focus on making and on eliciting the essence of something, often becoming a kind of meditation. Drawing, as a starting point, provides a special means of connecting and explaining: understanding what is there, both similarities and difference. Creativity and culture can build confidence, reinforce belonging and be transformative.
What have I missed? I have missed spending time, in person, with a range of creative people to exchange ideas, networks and plans.
What new possibilities? More time to study and connect with nature, whether the rich variety of garden birds close at hand, or the local countryside and its plentiful wildlife. Perhaps they were always there and time in lockdown simply allowed them to be noticed, or else less traffic and activity encouraged their own exploration.
How can we creatively and artfully better care for our environment?
Drawing with natural materials such as local minerals: haematite, sandstone and slate connects the subject with the artwork in a unique way. Ethical and environmentally-aware art practice reminds us all of our responsibilities to the planet and our choice of subject matter can help to raise awareness of the issues.