High Summer in the Forest
The full moon came up this evening tinged rose pink. Not huge like a harvest moon, but neat and modest. Now, an hour or two later, it shines bright silver in an inky sky. There is no movement in the air at all. This true June weather is giving us such intense colour and deep shadows through the long days. Plentiful rain before the heat wave has ensured rich green foliage in our gardens and in the forest. The sheer weight of sap-filled leaves has brought a great oak branch down across a path nearby, ripped from the main trunk. The leaves were still perfectly fresh when I found it a day or two ago. I wished I had been there to see and hear it come crashing down. Oaks do this apparently, just deciding to drop a branch that has grown too heavy. These arboreal events seem unpredictable, but perhaps they give us just a glimpse of a different sort of world order.
The sheep would be restless these days if it weren’t so hot - searching for edible grass amongst the bents, the tough grass stalks that give a hazy bleached quality to the common and which animals find spiky and indigestible. Soon the mower will come. The drama of shearing is finished and the lambs still with their coats on look almost as big as their mothers, folded into narrow strips of shade against the walls. Tonight a ewe is calling through the darkness, working her way along the well-known paths in the patchy moonlight, and I’m left wondering whether her lamb is just wayward, or lost for ever. I never get used to these anxieties.
I have one new linocut since my last newsletter - shown above. It shows an indecisive gardener wondering where she is going to find room for another tray of plants. A common problem for keen gardeners. The greenhouse, beanpoles, hens and buckets are familiar elements in my compositions, as is the ambiguous circle of a moon - or is it a setting or a rising sun?- hanging in the background. What is new is that I used two blocks of lino rather than one to make the print. The first I carved all over with thin curving grooves, removing only the moon/sun circle and the greenhouse roof shapes. Then I used a second block in the usual process of making a reduction print. I hoped that the blue lines from the first block would show through the later layers of ink, creating movement, and unity. I like the result enough to plan more two-block prints.
And there is one new painting, probably the last in a series about domestically active angels, called Earth Angels. The idea for these came from a photograph I found of an 8th century Italian stone altar screen showing four angels flanking an ascending Christ. I was struck by the huge hands of the angels in this primitive bas relief, and how capably they would carry out practical tasks. These images are painted in oil on stout plywood boards, 30cm x30cm. Earth Angel No. 1 has already found a new home.This latest one is Earth Angel 4. That along with Earth Angels 2 and 3 will be in my studio during the farOpen event.
The second farOpen http://faropen.co.uk event is about to take place. I shall be opening my studio here at Breams Eaves Cottage, Henley Road, Bream, Lydney, GL15 6NF from Saturday 7th July until Sunday 15th July from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on every day except Monday 9th July. Do come and join me, to:
- see finished prints, prints in progress, paintings and sketchbooks
- examine and discuss the tools and materials used in relief printing
- browse books about printing
- talk to me about your own interest in art
- take tea and cake in the garden
The farOpen website has all the information you need to find your way to my studio, and to the 49 other artists who are taking part. Well worth browsing the online brochure to plan your tour. I have some hard copy brochures here if you would like to pick one up. Do get in touch if you would like more information - or to arrange to come along at an out of hours time.
'Finding Room' can be seen, along with two of my earlier prints, 'Snowdrops on the Quiet Windowsill', and 'Hafren's Ark', at a new exhibition at The Old Passage Inn, Arlingham, http://www.theoldpassage.com/wp/ which will run until the Autumn. It is called Between Seeing and Dreaming. Well worth a visit to this lovely location right on the banks of the River Severn.
There are farOpen joint exhibitions to accompany the opening of studios in July at Taurus Crafts and
at the Dean Heritage Museum in Soudley, where you can see samples of the work of many other farOpen artists and makers.
I have again been working with Hannah Lease http://www.sylvaticaprints.co.uk/hannah-lease-welsh-landscapes.shtml to develop my range of greetings cards. Hannah produces meticulous Giclee prints of my work on really good quality archival Somerset paper. I gather that people who buy my cards often put them on the wall, so it's important that the colours last, and that the paper doesn't buckle. I'm confident that these will be good for years. You can see them at my studio, or take a look at my website Welcome: Patricia Homewood or in my Etsy shop: Patricia Homewood's Linocut Prints by ForestFootPrints.
I have decided to simplify the structure of the cards, and the price will reflect this. All cards now will now cost just £3.75 each, or a bit less if you come to my studio! It may take a few days for these websites to reflect this change.
During the first farOpen event many people who visited my studio asked whether I ran courses in linocutting. I didn't then, but I have decided now to offer tuition in a one-to-one or one-to-two teaching situation. My work space is not big enough for larger groups at the moment. Do let me know if you are interested in learning about this fascinating process, and I'll send you details.
I do hope you can find time to enjoy the farOpen event this summer, and to come and see me here in Bream.