I’ve been very quiet for a while – sorry about that. Now that the children are back at school I have a little more time and have been making the most of it. The Nightingale Project, which I started a year ago, has gained momentum in recent weeks. Many of the paintings were just scribbles and notes, and had to be left while i concentrated on the paintings for Toffee Town, and then Christmas orders. And then, well, home schooling slowed production too. Though my Maths has improved!
Anyway – as the paintings have been coming together, I’ve made a definite decision about what to to with them:
I’ve been putting the paintings and the lists of things we saw in chronological order. From March 2020 to March 2021 I can see the seasons change, and it’s been good to look back and remember some of the lovely times we’ve had. Small scale, and very local – but quite precious.
This is my latest group – some are not quite finished…
They’re all a mix of inky paper collage, inks, watercolour, threads, gold leaf. They’re not literal, but maybe each one is like a diary entry – a collection of things that we saw or heard on a particular day. Some trees I photographed every month – like the twisted willow down at Hardcastle Craggs. It’s such a beautiful shape that it’s lost in the summer. In October it suddenly looked like a Kay Nielsen tree, so that’s the season I chose (If you don’t know Kay Nielsen’s work then do look him up).
I’ve found a book binder that specialises in art books and have started working out the details; choosing cloth cover colours and paper quality. I’m producing this myself and I want to do it right!
For the text I played around with all sorts of layouts and lettering but nothing felt right. So I’ve taken the very practical and sensible decision that every page is going to be handwritted with a Copperplate dip pen…
There will be over 30 trees when this is done, and I still really want to present them all together. One huge joyful wall of rich colour and delicate detail. It’s all been about finding beauty in the small things. With galleries and museums all closed it’s not been a good time to sort this part of the project out, but I’m determined to find somewhere. Ideally to coincide with the launch of the book.