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Marsh, mixed media on paper, copyright Diana Hale

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.

Saltmarsh, mixed media on watercolour paper on board, copyright Diana Hale

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.

Marsh Sunrise, mixed media on paper, copyright Diana Hale

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.

Marsh High Tide, mixed media on canvas, copyright Diana Hale

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?

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