Welcome to my website; here you will find examples of my art practice which various from illustration to abstract mark-making to the odd crafty experiment. Scroll down and you’ll find my blog of art related ramblings. If you like what you see please ‘Like’ on facebook, or follow me on twitter, to keep up to date with my creative endeavours. I also have a small etsy shop which sells affordable items of/featuring my artwork.
The other week I nominated Aval-Ballan for a Liebster Award Nomination, after receiving one over on my “personal” blog, and Vicky kindly nominated my “art website blog” in return. I don’t think tag backs are strictly allowed, even although this is on a different blog ;) As it’s so close to my last one my original nominations still stand so please have a nosey at my nominees over HERE :)
However, I love answering questions and so didn’t want to waste an opportunity of having a good ponder! ;) So here are my answers to Vicky’s questions!
Describe your dream home.
I’m not entirely sure what my dream home is. I’m a fan of traditional charm and character, but admire clean modern architecture at the same time! I guess I’d rather have something that has something about it, rather than a generic housing scheme build. Location is probably more important – somewhere rural. Dream? Something near mountains, a woodland, remote. Most importantly it would include enough ground to have a wooden studio outside and a smallholding ;)
Do you prefer to live in a city or the country?
Absolutely the countryside! I lived in a more rural location last year and am finding it hard being back in a city. It’s so busy and noisy in comparison. As an artist who is inspired by nature and landscape the countryside is like oxygen to my soul ;)
What is your favourite movie?
I’ve quite a few for different moods and reasons. Lets get LOTR/The Hobbit/HP out of the way. Amelie is probably my favourite film overall, I can watch it over and over again. I love Mona Lisa Smile, and Pride & Prejudice is my “ice cream and chocolate” equivalent in a film. In terms of visuals and impact – Ratcatcher and Breaking The Waves – I love films that have that bleak Scottishness about them, and use the location and landscape cinematically to convey emotion. Favourite film from this year would be Sightseers, having grown up with caravan holidays it connected with me on a deeper level (haha!) ;)
What is your favourite song or piece of music and why?
So… hard… Mansun’s The Chad Who Loved Me, Katatonia’s Saw You Drown, so so many! I’ll go with Wolves In The Throne Room’s I Will Lay Down My Bones Among The Rocks and Roots. Even the title of it… this song just hits me in the gut!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I guess I went through the typical stages of Hairdresser, Vet… then settled on ‘Artist, Crofter & Bunkhouse &/or Campsite owner’! Now I’m grown up… that career path seems much more attainable than something in the environmental sector!
What motivates you? (Either to blog/ work/ learn …garden?! and/ or whatever else you do…)
That’s a tough one… in general for life it is essentially nature, place and connection to it that motivates me. My artwork is driven by something “spiritual” within and it’s that desire to “learn” or “understand” that drives me forward. A desire to explore and experience that sense of place.
When taking a break, would you prefer to go on a wild adventure or relax with a good book?
I like “wild” scenery where I can just sit and lose myself within it and my thoughts. But a bit of exploring wouldn’t go amiss.
What three people would you invite to your Dinner Party of a Lifetime? And Why?
I actually have no idea! Being slightly hermit-like the thought doesn’t overly appeal to me ;) But if I can include people no longer living… I would invite the 3 grandparents I never knew. Two of my grandparents died before I was born and one when I was a baby, so essentially I only “had” one grandparent. So if I could invite anyone, that is who I’d pick :)
What is your favourite book? (Or if you don’t have a favourite- what are you reading/ is the last book you read?)
The Living Mountain – Nan Shepherd
Overlay – Lucy Lippard
The Silver Bough – Neil Gunn
There’s more but those are the 3 that came to mind first.
What five words best describe you?
Creative, Hopeful, Day Dreamer, Calm and Thoughtful
(Another blog post, from an old blog, that I don’t want to lose so reposting here!)
Following on from my previous post regarding the role of the viewer in relation to land/site-specific artworks, I thought I would relate this to specific artists.
The first artist I want to mention is Lotte Glob, a ceramic artist based in the Highlands of Scotland. Kwon’s suggestion that a viewer is required to validate artwork becomes interesting when considering an artist such as Glob, particularly in reference to her work Floating Stones, and also raises questions in relation to place and documentation. Glob’s work is heavily connected to site selection and involves her giving back to her surrounding landscapes. In Floating Stones, Glob released 333 ceramic stones into 111 Lochans – three stones in each. Each release was documented through photographs and a journal, which has now been made into a book. The introduction of the book states that:
“Lotte has increasingly been drawn not to the mountain tops for their own sake but instead to discover the more private, hidden location that often lie on their flanks”
This demonstrates that the site and landscape are inextricable to the work. But when the specific, and remote, locations of her “stones” are not disclosed, where does this leave the viewer? If the viewer was to try and seek out the Stones, how certain could they be that they found the actual object – the ambiguity of Glob’s Floating Stones are such that it may be hard to tell them apart from a real stone. The only evidence of this project comes in the form of the book ‘Floating Stones’ published in 2008, which showcases a photograph of the “stones” in situ, along with a journal entry regarding the surroundings.
Fourteen years have passed since Glob first started this project, which has no doubt resulted in the altering of her stones through movement in water, weathering and decay. The original object will be forever altering, until it may possibly decay completely. All this is, no doubt, part of the “artworks” process. But this raises an extra issue of viewer validation. If a viewer is required to “complete” the artwork, when the object of the artwork itself is ever changing, at what point should the viewer be validating – when the stone(s) is first released, or when it is decaying. And with 333 stones within the project, would a viewer ever be able to find them all?
Glob’s stones are required to make their own journey, and in that sense are truly connected to the landscape they have been released into. This in turn should allow the viewer to look past the stones and into the landscape that surrounds them – and that in turn is the actual “object”. A viewer can not validate this artwork in terms of viewing the actual object to gain their subjective opinion, and therefore complete it, instead they must use their subjectivity in the first place to validate the object(s) they are unlikely to see in reality, and only likely to see within the publication. In this case the physicality of the object to the viewer is not necessarily the “required” link for the viewer to connect and respond – it is the action, placement and cycle of the “stones” that is key, and depending on the viewer, this may be enhanced by the existence of documentation (ie her book.)
 L. Glob, Floating Stones, Aberfeldy: Watermill Books, 2008, p. 1
(Another blog post, from an old blog, that I don’t want to lose so reposting here! Oddly the comment in the opening paragraph about kick starting the blog still applies ;) )
Sorting through some folders and files on my laptop, I came across some of my essays, and the notes I had for them, from art college and decided to use them to kick start this blog!
By third year my art practice research mostly revolved around “land/environmental” artists and site-specificity, the latter especially for theory/essay based things. One aspect that interested me was the role of the viewer within such artworks, relating to quotes regarding the requirement of a viewer to validate the artwork. Miwon Kwon suggests that the earliest form of site specific works were concerned with establishing an embroiled relationship between the work and the site which could not be divided, and that it “demanded the physical presence of the viewer for the work’s completion.” The suggestion of a viewer being required to complete the work interested me due to the nature of some of the artists work I had been looking at. Artists who engage in earthworks often produce work of such a fleeting temporary nature, or are often so remote, that engagement with a viewer may not occur. In some cases, the only certain “viewer” is the artist him/herself.
But why is a viewer required to validate the artwork? What exactly does the viewer bring to the work that enables this completion? When speaking about his own work, Richard Serra states that:
“Everyone will derive a different meaningfulness in terms of how they experienced the what. The what is really their subjectivity and so without their subjectivity there is no work.”
This statement supports Kwon’s statement of a viewer being required. It is not just the object (or the artwork) itself, that is important, but the subjectivity of the viewer in how they react or translate the artwork – it is the internal reaction of the viewer that completes the artwork, or could be said makes the artwork. Therefore, it is not enough for the artwork to exist “as is” (ie as a physical object) – it requires the viewer to consider it, validate it and therefore complete it.
This requirement fascinates me in terms of “land/site-specific” artworks that are remote, temporary, or are only experienced by the artist on their own. If an artwork never receives a viewer, can it really be argued that it has not been completed or validated? Can documentation of these type of artworks enable this validation, even although it is not specifically the artwork itself?
All the pathways that can be followed from these ideas interest me, and I am neither in agreement, or in disagreement, with the idea of Kwon’s statement. For me, artworks that may never have a viewer are still fully valid and completed artworks. But on the other hand, so many site-specific artworks, and art involving the land, are embroiled in an interest in connecting the viewer to the land, promoting a relationship with site and connecting the viewer with their surroundings (or the site), rather than the artwork itself, that essentially a viewer is absolutely required to validate or complete the artwork, because the artwork is a tool, or an introduction, to something much more.
 M. Kwon, One Place After Another; Site-specific art and locational identity, Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press, 2002, p. 12
 BBC: Imagine: Richard Serra: Man of Steel, Broadcast on 25/11/2008 on BBC One
This is one of a few blog posts from last year (from an old blog) that I didn’t want to lose so am reposting it here. These were some quotes from an interview with Wolves In The Throne Room from Zero Tolerance magazine that made me think, particularly in relation to place and location, as artwork stemming from ideas of “sense of place” interest me as my own practice is often connected to place.
From Zero Tolerance Magazine: Issue 42 – Aug/Sept 2011 – pages 14-19
Interview with Aaron Weaver; Interviewed by Will Pinfold
“Our music is completely connected to place. In fact, it is inspired almost completely by the unique natural aspects of the Pacific Northwest and their corresponding occult dimensions. One of the things I hate most about the culture of late modernity is its utter lack of connection to location and place. In modernity, the real world is increasingly being replaced with a simulation. Depth and complexity, connection to tradition and the honouring of uniqueness – both are discarded in favour of a one-world culture created by global capitalism.”
“… A deep sense of yearning for a forgotten past is what gives our music its melancholy spirit. But to be trapped and engulfed by the ghosts of the past is a different thing. We have no interest in dressing up as Vikings and cobbling together a religion from a lost culture. We don’t romanticise the past; we criticise the present.”
“Our mystical ideas are crystallised by our experiences with nature. For us, there is no alternative because we have no spiritual traditions to turn to; all we have are the wild places and beings that are messengers from the otherworld. This is why we’re not interested in the kabbalah or hermetic lore or an attempt to re-imagine traditional paganism. We want to start from nothing and begin to build a mythic world anew for ourselves.”
“Our music exists in a liminal space between the miserable, compromised existence we have to live in and the world that exists in our dreams and in moments of peak existence. If we lived in a utopia, this music would not need to exist. All art is caught between the flawed material world and the world of the ideal.“
Been a bit quiet here on the blogging front, mainly due to visiting the Scottish Highlands. The weather meant the drawing I had planned didn’t really happen but plenty of inspiration was collected instead.
With that in mind I have added some new paintings to the Landscape section – both specific places and “imagined” mountain/hill ones (due to the weather on my trip I had to resort to my imagination!) and also a wee embroidery piece under the Craft section!