Author Archives: Catherine

Response to Tutor Formative Feedback on Assignment 6 progress: February 2019

 I reflected on progress here   and discussed with my tutor in our feedback session in February. Below is the relevant extract from the combined formative feedback report:

Assignment 6

Helen is very happy with progress so far. She said that she was more interested in the wood, is drawn to ones without people and is less interested in the sporting activities on the Memorial Field. The straight-on view of the bench in No.3004 (26.12.18) is very good. She also suggested I keep photographing the split tree and the tree in 2579 (3.11.18). the basketball court (2571) could be a possibility without the foreground. She was also drawn to the ‘memorial’ tree (26.12.18).

 Advice is to keep photographing all the benches because, during the year, everything changes around the benches. Also keep photographing the memorial tree and other structures (try to keep the same standpoint) and to be aware of subtle changes. I can build a visual vocabulary through devising a shooting script and schedule regular intervals – say two shots every season. This won’t be difficult because I go there nearly every day. The challenge is to be disciplined.

Overall, my tutor thought this was a great location to keep shooting and “At this stage I’d be again looking for patterns across these images, what ae you drawn to regularly, what is strong visually – are there any motifs recurring and how can these show “transition”. Her suggestion was to keep things simple, use visual devices to enhance metaphor, seek out compositional clarity, line, perspective.  Also to try to keep frames free of too much clutter – either in form, colour or content, or to have a very clear rationale behind overly cluttered frames, e.g. what does that convey.

In the early stages of editing for Assignment 2 I had analysed the frequency in which I had photographed the same kind of scenes (including this as a PDF in my editing process blog post)  and this had been very useful.  Assignment 6 looks like being quite heavyweight in terms of number of images so a similar editing strategy would work very well.

I know that I’m drawn towards different types of interventions in the landscape – what I’ve come to term “interrupted landscape”.    There’s the official landscaping; the Borough’s 5-year plan, removal of dangerous branches; installation of signposts and footpaths; removal of plant species ‘not indigenous’ to the habitat.  There are also the less official interventions, the marks of human presence often bordering on performance art. As well as the carving of initials on trees; branch tepees come and go regularly and there’s a new artistic activity of painted pebbles which has its own Facebook page and showing that some ‘Ottershaw rocks” have travelled far and wide. The Christmas ‘memorial’ tree was the first installation of its type and I’ll be interested to see if more appear    I am also interested in the difference between the Memorial Fields themselves – the mown grass; different kinds of leisure according to season and the different clothes people wear – and Ether Wood where the changes of season are more subtle whilst changes made as a result of the 5 year plan have been quite marked. – e.g. the clearing out of rhodedendron bushes and holly and building of some paths with grit composite material.

I know my tutor said she is less interested in the people but they are interesting to me, not only in terms of people enjoying being outside but in how they occupy the space; take charge of it. For them it’s there to be used as a stage for them to act upon (borrowing from Simon Robert’s approach).  Susan Trangmar’s film and book “A Play in Time” (2008) is a valuable resource as well. Excerpt below:-

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/4726751″>Excerpt from &quot;A Play in Time&quot; by Susan Trangmar</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user1778739″>Helen Wade</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This kind of film is an inspiration for me and I think it could translate quite well to iPhone video if I can find the right route to it.

I’m a little concerned regarding my tutor’s advice to try to keep to the same standpoints when I’m re-photographing the benches, trees and other structures.  With such variety to choose from it’s not really possible to put markers down so I’ll have to see how that transpires.

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Response to Tutor Feedback on Assignment 2

Response to Tutor formative feedback on Assignment 2 and the progress of my ongoing Assignment 6

 I had a comprehensive feedback Skype session with my tutor on the 21stFebruary from which, as previously, I wrote detailed notes which my tutor then ‘edited’ and added her own comments.  Report PDF attached.

CBanks_LDS_A2 Feedback

and below is the summary table of Strengths and areas for development.

 

Further thoughts

I will focus here on feedback for Assignment 2 and write a separate blog post on our discussion of ongoing work for Assignment 6.

I really appreciated and learned so much from her detailed analysis of my ‘final’ Assignment images and it was reassuring to know that seven of them were ‘strong’ as regards composition, viewpoint and colour (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10)

I need to have another look at 12, 13 and 14

to see if there are similar alternatives bearing in mind that my tutor said eight images would be sufficient rather than twelve.  There’s that slightly obsessive part of me that thought I should begin with an image from the beginning of the walk (1) and end with one from the end (15) however, Helen said I don’t need it.  I will write further when I have taken another look at potential replacements/additions.

I discussed the process of editing here but one of the areas for development is to evidence the creative sequencing and choices in more detail using the approach modelled by Helen in our Skype discussion. Her overall advice to keep looking for strong frames, especially with complex landscapes, and utilise different standing points can be applied to all Assignments I think.

Another of the strengths I have shown relates to contextual research, yet my tutor did remark on the fact that visual/photographic research specifically informing my work was lacking. I was taken aback by this because I did refer to several artists when discussing context (as here) . Perhaps this was because I was thinking more about the approach of the photographers than choices of viewpoints or methods, although I had written about Paul Gaffney – not only in relation to pathways but also the way in which he uses just spaces and no people – and my tutor commented on this in her feedback in relation to image No. 7 with its two paths and people emerging from both.  I had also used Simon Roberts’ strategy of photographing from above, doing this from one of the bridges over the canal, although I didn’t specifically link this.  I’ve taken on board that I do need to be more specific in linking my own work with that of well-known photographers; even to the extent of occasions when I have chosen not to use a similar approach.

Further posts to come regarding  feedback on progress with Assignment 6 and also initial discussion on Assignment 3.

 

“Time” Exhibition – Open Art Collective February 2019

I’ve only exhibited work once before. The Exhibition was in aid of a Charity and the process was quite straightforward. Receive the invitation, send jpegs of my proposed submission for general approval, then pay a sum of money for each piece of work exhibited.  The Charity would also receive a percentage of any proceeds. I turned up on installation day with two framed photographs, handed them over and attended the private preview evening. Although I didn’t sell anything I was excited to see my work on the display board and people actually looking at, and talking about, it which compensated for the stress in the lead-up – worrying whether my work was ‘good enough’ and having to think about print quality and the right frames.

At the time I also wondered about the two organisers/curators and how much work was going on behind the scenes. Well, now I know – having been involved in the organisation of OCA Thames Valley Group Exhibition “Time”.  I was thinking the other day about how organising an exhibition is like planting seeds from an unlabelled packet, nurturing them for two years, wondering what the flowers would be like and then seeing them bloom for just two weeks.

I’m including photographs and a video taken during the Exhibition process and apologise in advance for the less than perfect quality.  The gallery lighting didn’t lend itself at all well to the taking of photographs, but I hope it gives a reasonable impression of how it all eventually looked. l

In October 2016 some of us from OCA Thames Valley group met up at the Brighton Photo Biennial and Teresa mooted the idea of putting on an Exhibition of new bodies of work which would not be connected with ongoing coursework.  I volunteered to be on the Steering Group which began meeting at the beginning of 2017 and comprised Teresa (as co-ordinator), Dawn, Monica, Sue and myself at first and then joined by Jonathan as our Treasurer.  The theme of “Time” emerged after much discussion and we also thought it would be a good idea call ourselves a different name for exhibiting purposes. We needed a Project Brief and prospective budget alongside the funding application to the OCA Student Association (OCASA) and a planning calendar was also drawn up by Monica to keep us on track with the process. With a scattered sub-group, planning meetings were a mix of virtual and actual, with emails in between, plus the use of a virtual “Basecamp” provided by Dawn to lodge important papers. Each of us took on different roles to meet our action plan as it progressed, mine being that of co-curator with Dawn who had already had experience of exhibition organisation and, later on, I mainly liaised with exhibitors and the Lightbox regarding the Exhibition arrangements.

Two venue prospects didn’t come to anything for a variety of reasons but after, popping in one day to The Lightbox in Woking ,I suggested we approach them for use of their Art Fund Gallery which is on the ground floor and available for community hire.. The space and situation it offered was excellent and their contract included physical installation and take-down of the Exhibition; insurance; labelling (with wording supplied by us); necessary equipment and featuring our Exhibition in their own marketing and dealing with any sales.   The contract was signed after we submitted an Exhibition proposal to the gallery. The only problem was that we had to wait until February this year to stage the Exhibition as spaces are booked so far ahead.

Slowly but surely, the action plan came into bloom. Fifteen members of Thames Valley group initially confirmed interest in being involved in the Exhibition and contributed to the advance deposit – an amount which also met the requirements of the OCASA funding. Contribution.  Suggestions and voting took place for our ‘official’ name/public face which became Open Art Collective. Monica acquired a domain name, built our website  and sought ideas for a logo – again chosen via a whole group vote.   Thames Valley group members as a whole were kept informed of progress through a regular slot at our monthly meetings and a separate Facebook page was set up for exhibitors to enable speedier communication when necessary. During this period we also had the benefit of advice on setting up an Exhibition from photographer David George (a founding member of Uncertain States the lens-based and artist-led collaborative project) who spent a day with Thames Valley Group in April 2017  (see here) . OCA graduate Keith Greenough, a long-term Thames Valley group member also ran a session on planning Exhibitions for us in February 2018.

The pace began to quicken in May 2018 when we were asked to provide a short blurb and a keynote image in readiness for the Lightbox advance publicity which went out online and in print in September 2018.  Detailed submission guidelines were sent out to everyone involved, with initial shortlisting taking place on 6thOctober – by which time the number of exhibitors had reduced to eleven owing to pressing work commitments.  I learned much from my co-curator, Dawn, as she modelled the process when the two of us looked at the work submitted – all on one theme yet each so different and individual. We spread small prints on the table, shared what came to mind as we looked and saw patterns emerging as we moved them around, with some double-checking against larger prints.  As the curatorial theme evolved it became a curatorial statement, written by Dawn, which we then presented to the rest of the Steering Group together with a draft layout.

Although the Lightbox contract included their own social networking/marketing there were other networks that could be approached.    Sue worked on a draft press release which OCA Head Office were asked to ‘approve’ and Monica compiled an e-flyer.  Jonathan approached various newspapers and magazine outlets at the right point to meet their publication deadlines and Sue later contacted available OCA networks.

At times it seemed an unreal venture with such a long wait and communication with the gallery wasn’t always straightforward. Considerable time was spent gathering information from exhibitors about their work at various stages as sizes changed according to framing decisions and label information was a puzzle as well – how much/little to include. I kept worrying that we wouldn’t have enough space on the walls for it all as the walls kept expanding and contracting in my imagination despite our detailed layout plan and continuing reassurances from my much more experienced co-curator. We also had lengthy discussion as to the value of a special event  and what it should be called/viewed as, eventually agreeing on an ‘Artists’ Evening’ which seemed less formal whilst still being celebratory.  Jonathan made initial enquiries at an early stage which were followed-up and confirmed with the gallery by Teresa.

Yes – I felt anxious and stressed at times through being so new to it all, but everything settled and became real during the run-up week. Artist information had been provided to the Lightbox in readiness for preparation of labelling in their in-house style and Monica had printed out price-lists and an Artist Information hand-out.  Most of the exhibitors were able to bring work to the gallery themselves on installation morning (4thFebruary, 2019) and it was wonderful to see those blank walls and know that our work was going to be up there by the end of the day. Although James, our Lightbox technician, did the measuring and actual installation Dawn and I, and Teresa later on, helped with placement so at least I had some experience of actually installing an Exhibitions. The more detailed Exhibition layout we had provided also helped considerably in ensuring all the framed prints were in the right combinations. The labels would be printed out and fixed later on but we attached mock-ups to confirm placement.

 

(All work prior to painting of mirror platers and fixing of labels)

I called in the next day to make sure everything was in place, including Artist leaflets/cards and the comments book.  It was such a wonderful feeling to see it all, glowing so serenely  under the lights – looking just as we had envisaged.

All the thinking, talking, discussing and agonising became worth it, even more so on the Artists’ Evening during the first week when family and friends came to see what we had achieved.

The two weeks of the Exhibition went by so quickly and on taking-down day I did feel some sadness about that and the transience of it all – yet I have learned so much whilst gaining more self-confidence in myself as an artist. What did I learn? Long-term planning needs patience and imagination to ride the ups and downs of problems. Collaboration and communication have to be worked at particularly when it’s new and collaborators live quite far apart. Keeping the information flow going between us and also the larger group was very important.  Publicity, marketing, finance, web and graphic design are definitely not part of my experience or expertise, so I was very grateful that we had members of the Steering Group with those necessary skills.  I gained a good overview of Exhibition installation, plus the importance of the labelling and keeping it simple! I certainly went through a steep learning curve on curation, with Dawn as mentor,

So far as my own work was concerned, I do think it took somewhat of a backseat as I was focussed more on learning how an Exhibition gets organised. For me though, time in a wider sense gets measured very much by the time of year.  Autumn is my favourite season with its glowing colours as a last burst before Winter sets in.  I spent quite a lot of time taking photographs in Valley Gardens in Windsor Great Park and so I chose Autumn Trees for my Exhibition prints. Due to my own A3+ printer being determined to spurt ink drops on the edges of my A3+ prints I ended up having the images professionally printed, by the Printspace . Not my first experience of professional printing which I have had done locally once before, but certainly my first experience of ordering on-line and having test prints done first to check on colour quality.  I would certainly use the Printspace again.

 

 

https://www.openartcollective.org.uk

https://www.thelightbox.org.uk

https://www.theprintspace.co.uk

 

 

 

Experimental Learning : Cyanotypes

I began experimenting with cyanotype process in June 2017, quickly followed by a workshop in July that year with Russell Squires (see here )  and I’ve continued to play around with them, posting them on Instagram as and when I create them.

I say ‘play’ because I do find it fun, relaxing and enjoyable –  usually.  I haven’t written about  them, so far, during this Module because, whilst enjoying the process, I wasn’t too sure how I would fit them into ongoing coursework. However, I now think this is an appropriate point at which to ‘introduce’ them. Seeing the work of Emeric L’huisset  at the Brighton Photo Biennial last October showed that there is a definite place for cyanotypes as image and metaphor in a body of work – above and beyond that of ‘a pretty, blue picture’. Looking again at the ruined pier in Brighton encouraged me to experiment further:-

When I was photographing on the Basingstoke Canal at the end of last year I was struck by the lines of the Capgemini building and the cranes behind it on the opposite bank of the canal

 

It made me think of blueprints for buildings and so I decided to create a cyanotype.  It was a sunny day at the beginning of January – though the sun was weak. I prepared the negative

and then exposed on the treated paper for an hour and a half.

I was very pleased with the result until I realised that, although I’d inverted the negative, I’d forgotten to ‘flip’ it (the print side of the negative goes face down on the paper) so the building was the wrong way round. I waited for another day with sun, created a new negative and repeated the process. The exposure didn’t work too well at all this time so I’m now waiting until we get  sun with more uv or I get access to an exposure unit. I’m booked into a day workshop on Cyanotypes locally in a couple of weeks so will wait until then.

In the meantime, I have been collecting information on other artists who use the cyanotype method such as:

Eric William Carroll and Blue Line of Woods – large-scale images created in woods, “[…] commenting on the transient qualities of both the form and content. Equal parts Carlton Watkins and Anna Atkins” . Apart from the book he used innovative ways of exhibiting these such as installing them opposite more experimental representations of nature or integrating them with photogravures from Karl Blossfeldt’s “Art Forms in Nature”.

Liz Nicol  of Cargo Collective     – her earlier series of rubber bands (1997)  and  The Green Line – Nicosia (2015)  – A line drawn on a map in green crayon outlining the buffer zone between the Turkish-Cypriot northern region and a Greek-Cypriot southern region. Nicol decided to make cyanotypes in this buffer zone at the Ledra Palace crossing point.

I am exploring the idea of using cyanotypes further and hope that the forthcoming workshop will provide additional encouragement.

i. July 2018 to February 2019

Assignment 6 : Process
i July 2018 to February 2019

To begin with I have taken photographs of a wide sweep of the area to ‘lay the ground’ as it were and to see what is emerging. There’s still a part of me that worries that this is too small an area to cover in a longer project but I reassure myself that “the assignment should address the notion that the landscape is an evolving, dynamic system”, and I may, “ wish to confirm, question or subject this assertion” and I should certainly end up with sufficient material to do that.

I edited down the many photographs taken and have now re-edited them into contact sheets so that I can see the wood for the trees as it were. Here are the contact sheets:-

 

I can see how I am recording some of the same locations through time and season, including the play area (sans children), people passing through the landscape and some smaller details of graffiti, moss on branches, or leaf patterns.  I have also been thinking about change of use – how the calendar dictates whether football or cricket is played and how the seasons dictate the types of clothing we wear.

Additionally I have also created short videos and two are below

Football October 2018

Snow on the Fields February 2019

 

I’m definitely at the stage now where I need the discussion with my tutor to help me clarify my thoughts and discuss possibilities.

Decision regarding Assignment 6

Decision regarding Assignment 6

As mentioned before I have decided to shelve the idea of photographing my garden for this assignment although I will still continue to make photographs here for my own use. Instead I will be using my visits to Ottershaw Memorial Fields and adjacent Queenswood and Ether Hill to record and reflect upon the transitions there.  Below is the mind-map that helped me to make the decision.

Ottershaw Memorial Fields, Ether Hill and Queenwood

The playing fields commemorate the dead of World War 2. The area is home to a number of local sports clubs (including being the home base for Ottershaw Football Club); a children’s nursery; Ottershaw Scouts and Guides.  It has a Children’s play area picnic benches, football and cricket pitches; tennis courts and a bowling green, is now used for a Saturday morning Parkrun and, In the past, I have also seen some people practising Tai-chi and others flying small birds of prey on the field there. The field is also the venue for the annual May Fair.

Ether Hill and Queenwood are adjacent to the main park and that is where I regularly walk with my dogs. The site is owned and cared-for by Runnymede Borough who ae currently in the midst of their five-year plan to enhance the areas as Suitable Natural Greenspaces (SANGs). Some recent, very nicely printed, information leaflets inform me that the network of informal paths provide views over the countryside from the top of Ether Hill (depending on the Season I’ve found!) and most of the site is covered by either broad-leaved semi natural, mixed or plantation woodland, including Scots pine which grow well on the sandy soil and give the Hill a distinctive skyline. During the past year a lot of work has been done by the Council and volunteers to clear many invasive non-indigenous rhododendron bushes to open out the area so that small patches of bell heather and ling will thrive and increase the biodiversity of the site.   The hill was never cultivated as its slopes are too steep. I mentioned here  reading a story in the Parkrun blog that gallows once stood on the hill in the 14thCentury.  I’ve still been looking for the truth and here the story is again but in a different Century – in fact two!

This time it’s in the ‘official’ printed leaflet, although I’m not offering it as evidence for the ‘truth’.  It just shows how stories like these linger down the centuries and also shows how stories whether true or fiction become woven into the fabric of our environments – particularly amongst trees.

Thinking about stories, leads me into the idea of Landscape as a stage and the work of Simon Roberts. Simon Roberts produced a video series, in two parts, Sight Sacralization: (Re)-framing Switzerland   which fits very well with the Sublime and how we attempt to capture ourselves – or should I say ourselves within – as part of it perhaps.    Each film is in the same location (I think) one in Summer 2017  and the other in winter 2017  and, of course, fits within the theme of “Transitions”. In his own commentary here  Roberts describes the Swiss landscape as resembling a theatre set where tourists are both performers and spectators. This theme is something he has returned to again and again – how different people use the same space and how the landscape is used and commodified – his interest being in human presence in a space.

I’m also interested in landscape as performance – how we enact aspects of ourselves within it.  For the past few years there has been a continuing ‘art’ of erecting and installing tent-like twig/branch structures and last year saw the arrival of small painted stones being hidden around, collected, and re-installed in other places – some many miles away. There seems much to portray although, I should add, only in small amounts.  I have collected together photographs taken there since July last year when I explored the idea of Viewpoints – shelved at the time because there wasn’t a view at the Viewpoint but, with Winter, something has slowly been revealed.

Another photographer who continues to interest me is Susan Grangmar. Her project A Play in Time covers a year spent filming in St Ann’s Park, Hove to observe how the park was affected by the changes of season and weather; resulting in a book and video film.

In a conversation with Rebecca Drew, printed at the end of the book, Trangmar talks about the film which, “[…] is not constructed on this basis as a chronological cycle, but jumps backwards and forwards in non-linear fashion”. Tranmar goes on refer to the pressure to be inclusive with a long time- frame in a park with, “such a dynamic place of public ownership”, but that she, “[…] had to construct a piece of work which had its own internal rhythm and shape”.  I think this an important point to remember with a lengthier project.

More recent work by Trangmar is recorded here  including A Forest of Signs which explores the way in which urban street trees serve different purposes – markers of place, register of time passing or object of reverie. I have been able to access a very interesting essay where Trangmar creates a dialogue between her project and Virginia Wolf’s writing of London life with trees as a metaphor.  I will write more on this in a later post together with notes on several other artistic and literary influences.

 

Trangmar, S. A Play in Time (2008) Brighton, Photoworks

http://susantrangmar.com/about/biography.html

www.simoncroberts.com

 

Reflection on Assignment 2

 

 Overall, this part of the Module has been a good experience for me and realising how much the projects and exercises feed into the Assignments has mitigated my weariness sometimes at the time it takes to record them. This period during Part Two has been a busy time for me as I’ve also attended Exhibitions, spent a weekend at the Brighton Photo Festival and been involved in the organisation of the OCA Thames Valley Group Exhibition at the Lightbox Gallery and Museum in Woking.

I’ve also been experimenting with cyanotypes and anthotypes and recently went to a half-day session on hand-weaving where I began to create a representation of the canal.  All this is waiting to be written about.

So far as Assignment Two is concerned this is now complete and my self-assessment is below.

 Technical and visual skills

I think I did reasonably well with the challenge of dynamic range on a bright, Autumn day when the sun is low in the sky. The editing process itself was quite lengthy, mainly because I had a lot of photographs to choose from, although I’m aware that some people might think I should have taken a lot more photographs.   Once I’d made the ‘final’ selection I converted to jpeg reasonably quickly but I intend to re-visit these conversions when I’ve decided how I will eventually present them for Assessment.

I’m still pondering on my exclusion of graffiti and litter on the basis that ‘there wasn’t a lot of it”. Was I unconsciously aiming to provide the best possible view of a public leisure amenity?  I’ve acknowledged that I was caught by the ripples and reflection in the water and note this is reflected in the photographs I’ve chosen.

Quality of outcome

That fits in with the above really.  It was hard to avoid taking a pleasing image on that particular day. ’Change of use’ is something that came into mind early in Part Two during the first exercise and the canal as it is now certainly fits that. My final question in writing about the final selection was whether the canal has been too sanitised.  The word simulacrum comes to mind – a prettified version of something meant for hard work, alternative transport and to make a profit.  If I’d thought about that earlier I might have done an entirely different kind of project – layering old photographs of working boats on the canal over the present day for example.

Comments on my first idea for the Assignment – the video of journey by bus and train –  lead me to think that, maybe, I should have used some video for my eventual choice of using the canal. The problem there is that the towpath is narrow so, apart from being obvious I would also be an obstacle if I stood in one place for too long. One thing I forgot to mention was that apart people walking their dogs it was obvious that most were either using it for exercise or to get to one place from another. In this sense that moves away from the leisure aspect to the towpath having a functional practical use.  I did photograph people, but that was mainly from a distance, either appearing from or into it.  Also, I found it difficult to contemplate the idea of standing on the narrow towpath and shoving a camera in someone’s face, especially when they were going about their business as opposed to ambling along. Then again, when I go on the boat ride when the season starts I could video from there.

Different weather, less-used stretches and a different time of year could also have produced a different outcome and certainly the canal would be a good subject for Assignment 6.

Demonstration of creativity

I aimed to approach the project with an open mind, which meant taking the photographs before I read up on the historical context.  Having written that; I was probably fooling myself somewhat because I have previously studied social and economic history.  That was a long time ago now but I’m aware how much I’ve absorbed this into my way of thinking and articles I read.  I think that undercurrent has always been there in my photography work, but I was aware I was using this more consciously in this Assignment in acknowledging and challenging my views on local government – of which I’m usually quite critical amongst friends, relatives and neighbours but not in print.

Context

I was sparing in respect of the historical context,  but providing a PDF of my notes which could be accessed separately seemed a good way of demonstrating my knowledge of the history. Regarding artistic influences – I haven’t cited that many but those I have were influential in my thinking and approach.  I am constantly viewing the work of others and, at times, my head feels swamped with images, so I’m learning to go with what comes into my head as I’m thinking of a project whilst attempting to ensure that this isn’t just the last artist I looked at!

Researching Mark Titchner’s work brought my personal context more into focus for me. Firstly, I acknowledged to myself that my experience of living somewhere influences how I think about myself and, secondly, this highlighted my continually growing awareness of myself as an observer.  I am a participant-observer in my environment; partly through nature and also through having moved homes reasonably often.  I know I’ve referred to this before and I think it’s probably going to become more apparent as I voyage through this Module