It has been a very, very exciting day for me today. It should, theoretically, have been yesterday of course, but life gets in the way sometimes and I didn’t check my email inbox until today so I’m counting it as the best day TODAY.
What’s so exciting I hear you calling?
Only the fact that of the four images submitted in early November to the Palace Gallery in Redcar for their New Year Open Exhibition, not one of my pictures were selected.
ALL FOUR were!
I’d tell you to calm down, but that would be a serious case of ‘do as I say and not as I do’ as I’d be trilling down to you from my ninth cloud on high.
You see, for me to be an exhibiting artist is, quite possibly, the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me, barring getting hitched and birthing three fantastic children.
So, there it is.
It has been a very long time coming in a way, although it may seem like I’ve only been at this for a little while. I suppose forty (plus) years is only a little while in the bigger scheme of things, but in real, human terms, it’s at least a half a lifetime, surely. If you’ve read my recent essay on the element of colour, over on my personal blog, you’ll already know that being an artist has long been my life’s ambition.
And of course, it tastes all the sweeter for the wait.
What about the pictures then? Which four were selected? Well I can show them here, but they will only be available for purchase through the Palace Gallery of course, so if you like them, come see them at the Palace Gallery New Year Open Exhibition, details of which can be found here (scroll down the page). It opens on the 9th January and runs until the 13th March 2016.
Keeping an Eye on the Time:
This image is taken from a shot of the clock on the platform of Kings’ Cross Station in London, made globally famous after featuring in the Harry Potter books and films as well as countless other English literature besides. It stands keeping an eye on the time for the thousands of daily passengers who arrive and depart from this central hub of human life in England’s Capital. How many people have referred to this clock to ensure they arrive at their train in good time? What sights has this clock seen over the years? It seems only appropriate to me to consider things from the clock’s perspective – I love the way the clock’s numerals have become the iris of an eye and its hands (which were pointing to eight forty one evening) indicate the direction that the eye is peering towards. The concept of keeping time is one very dear to my own heart. What times would I keep, if it were possible? What times would you keep?
This image was captured from Town Wall on the Headland in Hartlepool, looking out into the Tees Estuary, across to Redcar, which lies to the South East. The offshore wind farm is partly visible under a glowering sky, but the central subject is the small lighthouse marker that guides boats into the safety of the small harbour there, one of several such refuges in the area. The dramatic sky and darkened earth seemed to emphasise a feeling of foreboding in the image, which I have heightened through use of a limited colour palette and frame-within-frame technique. There seems to me to be an eloquent juxtaposition of ancient and modern in this sea-scape, with the wild if often fairly bleak beauty of the North Sea rather uncharacteristically tamed as it meets the land and the attempts of Man to harness Mother Nature’s offerings for his own use. For how long will it last?
The ubiquitous nature of images of Gormley’s infamous Angel of the North that towers over the A1 as you approach Gateshead was what drew me to take this image, one of several captured in about 2008. It seems that everyone has their own snapshot of the gigantic, iconic Antony Gormley installation, erected in 1998. At the time, I lived in Hong Kong and knew nothing of the sculpture until I returned to the UK in 2005. I was definitely intrigued by Gormley’s work although it had been standing for fully ten years before I got to see it through my own camera lens. Postcard pictures occasionally capture the grandeur of scale but I was interested in more of the details and took many shots up close, using the linear structure to provide awe-inspiring perspective reference points along the curvature of the Angel’s body. Wings outstretched, he seems protective of the surrounding environment. But what if he felt wronged? Misunderstood perhaps? How would an avenging angel look? I found by looking with renewed perspective, I could see him with his hands brought together in prayer, opening his heart to the world, asking for guidance. It changed the whole experience for me. I’m hoping that it might for people who see this image.
Stormy Scarborough seas:
Late autumn in the sea-side towns that lie along the north eastern coast can be a wild experience. Gales from the North Sea batter the coastline, causing all kinds of damage, throwing millions of gallons of seawater at the cliffs, coves and beaches along the way. Land erosion has been a serious concern for at least the past half-century and variously successful sea defences have been erected to combat this nautical challenge. Scarborough Castle was rebuilt in the twelfth century for Henry II and has seen over eight hundred years of maritime battery; whilst now lying in ruins, it still stands, fearlessly facing all that the North Sea can muster, even in the depths of winter. This image was captured during the start of a fearsome storm in 2013, whilst the town remained bathed in autumnal sunshine. Again, I limited the colour palette to emphasise the savagery of the waves, wildly walloping the North Bay promenade. The wild sea pitched against the serenely calm castle seemed to say a great deal about the people in this part of the world. It felt important to me.
These images are large scale photographic-type images and measure around two feet on the shorter sides; this enlarged scale is essential for them to produce the required impact.
There will be limited editions for each of these images, which I’ll let you know about when I’ve decided how limited they need to be. Also, I’m planning to make postcard and greetings cards of these available too, which will be for sale at the gallery during the exhibition.
I think it’s safe to say that I am a very excited girl this afternoon.
Thanks for reading!