Having written last time about the British Library Writing Britain exhibition of writers interpreting place and landscape, I was consciously thinking about this while painting this week. The rather provocative second part of my title (given a lot of those who read my blog are writers!) refers to a slightly different but related aspect of representation and how it works, which I leave in the air.
The marshes above are painted somewhere I know well and that means a lot to me, with associations personal and literary in fact. However it could be anywhere. There are no distinguishing features or combination of features to locate it in a particular place. As I wrote a month or so ago on a guest post on Under a Grey Sky this is very much what I am aiming for in my painting. One advantage of this may be to make them appeal to more people – anyone who likes this type of landscape whether a marsh in Norfolk, Essex, Hackney or Wales, or even Maine or South Carolina. The painting at the beginning and the ones below are a different marsh from that above.
Do people want to know where something is painted? Or do they just appreciate the language of the painting? – colour, brushstrokes, lines and marks, space, atmosphere. The composition can be a more specific element to locate a place geographically as well as climate or vegetation, but not necessarily.
I may be consciously trying to do something or reacting to something or somewhere while painting and probably a bit of both. Painting in a place or afterwards or from imagination will all make a difference to the finished work as well as time of day, season, weather if in situ. What else affects the creative process? – mood, time factors, outside pressures.
All creative endeavours are making something out of nothing, whether in words or pictures or other materials – clay, fabric or whatever. Poetry may be more like painting as it can be more abstract and less specific than a novel. Photography can be specific or more abstract or universal. I am starting to ramble a bit here so maybe it is time to stop for further reflection. Any thoughts?