Main aim of Sprint Two is exploration. Starting out with a workshop focused on the methods employed by Joan Eardley facilitated by Jill Eisele, at St Ives Painting School.
The workshop focused specifically on Eardley’s experimental and indirect methods. I chose this workshop to investigate a) random beginnings, and b)building more ‘feel’ and bodily engagement in the process of painting.
The workshop divided into figurative and landscape, covering her use of collage, as well as vigorous methods perhaps informed by seeing Pollock’s work at an exploration Abstract Expressionist show in Scotland. I’m excited by Eardley’s work, enjoy the physical engagement and the strong sense of characterisation of both place and figure in her work. Abstraction meeting the character-based expressionism of Soutine/Schiele…there is something very present and immediate about Eardley’s work that seems missing from my recent rather measured and planned work. So that’s the task of the Sprint…find ways to bring in that immediacy and vitality.
Documenting the work produced on the workshop
Methods: Graffitti and Collage: text/lettering as image (text in medieval and later painting – descriptive yet decorative); backgrounds lending structure in relation to the random/textural mark marking (edges of walls, doors & windows), geometry creating depth/layered picture planes; reference to photographs (Eardley working with Audrey Walker). Collage as a means of determining composition and form (plus happy accidents and suggestions). Bridging lines to create structure and definition plus calligraphic mark-making. Stencilling and collage was used as in early Pollock.
What I respond to in the children images is the sense of vitality and resilience shown in the characterisation and rendering of the portraits. There is an incredible sense of energy, despite poverty and straitened circumstances. There is also a sense of the ‘otherness’ of these children – these consciousnesses that are not weighed down by repression and depression. Demon children (Midwych Cuckoos, Good Omens children…children in Pinner’s The Ritual).
Really enjoyed the immediacy of painting like this. Quick, responsive, a sense of vitality built into the process. I like the scratchy surfaces and the depth produced by the layers, along with the random happenstances. The vibrancy of the colour – the level of saturation – speaks of livid life, along with the complexity engendered of the use of multiple layering. Using text in the urban context of these images speak of human habitation and the Anthropocene world – both used as textural layering, as abstract and calligraphic, and its use in more motivated ways.
Sprint 2: Exploring Eardely’s methods in relation to my own work around folk horror to see how it might be used to support the theme. Look more at: Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottleib, Clifford Styll, Basquiet, and Pollock. Also, note/explore the influence of all these on Bill Sienkiewicz.