Reflective Journal Week 46, 9 Aug – 15 Aug 2020

“I want my audiences to achieve a mutual understanding by finding their common appreciation to a landscape or via the awe to nature.” 

The feedback of the exhibition proposal was harsh, however positive to some extends. The process of receiving comments give me a deja vu of being interviewed by the Royal College of Art, who has been famous for pushing incredibly hard and identifying weak spots of the presentation right in applicants’ face. But I did enjoy this kind of style, undoubtedly stressful, however very educational and constructive. 

Mrs Love pointed out that my exhibition relies on the site specification too much, which I both agree and disagree. But indeed I need to consider its universal compatibility. Since I imagined this exhibition is held in St Ives, what if the weather is frustrating during the show? Weakening the connection of the colouration between Wind from St Ives and the ocean view could significantly sabotage my original thought. As I had been suggested before, Mr Wilson recommended me to look into Cornelia Parker’s Edge of England again. Upon reevaluation, I happened to found new inspirations from trying to recompose crafts and sculptures on the floor. 

“At the meantime, I travelled to Portsmouth simply because I missed the train home and I wanted to see a sunset. I looked into the harbour and ferries at Fratton shore and thought about how the sea expands to occupy 71% of the Earth’s surface. Scientifically oceans are differentiated, but to an artistic eye which seeks emotion and meanings in seawater what can that mean? I looked at both ends of the view, wondering which direction is for Cornwall. I recalled the rumour said in a clear statement, passages were able to see the French coast when riding the Brighton Wheel during my BA.

I made a quick drawing of thin, extending strokes of the horizon, and trying to figure out the next. I wonder if I can see the seascape of Cornwall in this strange water and the answer, despite it was a no at that moment. Still, many times I looked into something and thought about the delightful time I had spent in St Ives, wandering, the outlook for the jade-green ocean water. Sometimes a familiarity of odour or colour might also trigger the memory.”

The massive amount of components and their slight difference of each piece made me think of whether there is a continuity in landscape. Picturing seascapes is very similar to rendering a concept of vastness and blueish surface, and its size or format can be flexible. I made a few designs using Google Sketch again, showing the composition of the new design. Materials of this project were ordered for the installation of the Growth of Salt. I talked about this project before, and now it might remain in blueprint forever. The first series of experiments very much focused on its fluidity and colouration. Data feedback supported the potential of this installation. 

I mixed gouache and watercolour with a configured solution of Arabic tree gum and water. The solution increases the stickiness of the liquid, which allows demonstrating the fabulous colour of Schmincke’s product while the stratification ensured the flowability of Winsor Newton’s transparent watercolour, creating a sense of ocean water. 

The first stage of experimenting. I planned to make a short video stating my idea and also moving image is the perfect way to document the movement of the colour. It must also be interesting when seeing how changing lighting condition and natural elements (for example, wind) could influence this project. 

Some images were illustrated to introduce the basic idea of the continuity in the seascape. Combined with my previous idea of a landscape “rendered based on simplified, conceptualised ideas of elements”, I also found inspiration for one of the final work. 

Now, speaking of Frances Hodgkins, in her portfolio, there are some drawings of Cornish landscape dated 1902. She joined a summer school in 1901 and met a Penzance artist. Her letters on 8th May, 1902, and the other in Nov talked about the excitement of visiting Cornwall, and her experience of the weather of the county. I haven’t found any document indicates her original motivation of travelling to Conwall. I guess the mouth to mouth storying telling played quite an essential part in the establishing of the art colony in Cornwall. West European art was a small circle, as I wrote about the human connection from JMW Turner to Thomas Girtin, and Dante Rosetti to James Whistler, the spreading of the word created an exciting image of how verbally described landscape and figure drawings in the sketchbook lured endless artists to travel to this remote land, and achieved its ultimate status in the history of art. Hodgkins attended a summer school in Britanny which was held by Norman Garstin. Garstin moved to Newlyn in 1886 and then relocated in Penzance years after. In the context of the flourishing of Barbizon school’s idealised rural image of idyllic life, it is very possibly that Garstin suggested this visit.

Produced by New Zealand Micrographic Services, March 2016
Garstin and his class on the way back from Helston Furry Dance, 1902

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About cechenpaints

An artist, painter, illustrator based in London.