Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Last Post

The Last Post. Cosmo’s Post


I don’t think the formula of 1-7 years works in relation to dog and human life spans. The vet told me he was dying at an average age for a dog his size. This summer I had plans to really make the most of our walks together, and let the walking really stimulate my artistic output. But now I am left feeling cheated out of about two final years together. I find it painful to walk in the woods now as a blend of nostalgia and melancholy wafts over me. Cosmo was the reason for the walks, and I struggle without him, walking in a woodlands context. Other areas of my life are unaffected by the loss.

So this post shows my tribute to my companion Cosmo who I now realise had been my work mate, my inspiration, my shadow, my muse and my friend.
About five months ago I installed 'Cosmo’s Post' in the woods. I got permission from the owners of the woodlands, who were very understanding and allowed me to make the tribute. I made it from the trunk of a Chestnut tree from Thornden Wood.

 cosmo post2 taking bark off 

We spent a lot of time together in these woods, while I was artist in residence there he came to work with me every day. We spent many whole days in there together. I have got to know these woodlands very well as we walked in there most days for nearly ten years. We have seen  changes of ownership and land management policies, as well as the changing seasons.  

Cosmo post9
Cosmo's Post

The post depicts episodes of our times in these woods, it has wild flowers, a deer, horses, crows and oak trees. Several images of Cosmo and his foot prints plus a little bit of text and dates.

Cosmo's post 6 months later

I placed it right over the back of the woods close to the Wildwood Zoo, it’s a nice part and one of the remotest, the approach pathways are particularly overgrown this summer. The Zoo have replaced the wild boar Cosmo barked at with about a dozen deer. Lots of crows, as there is a Rookery there. It is my favourite part of the whole Blean Woodland and has Gatekeeper butterflies. To read my award winning artists blog A walk With Cosmo (click here). I followed that about 5 years later with a second blog 'Another Walk With Cosmo' and to read that (click here)

So R.I.P. Cosmo.

travel well - my friend

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Green Fields of France

This summer (2015) I was invited to Northern France where I took part in a World War 1 commemorative event over a weekend at the Chateau de Sacy, in a very small village called Sacy-le-Petit, which is North of Paris, in the northern region of Picardie, though some distance behind the front line fighting.

My commission was to draw an imaginary map which combined two layers of experience, an imaginary wartime scenario, combined with my present day exploration of the area over two days cycling through the landscape, one hundred years after the war. Some World War1 stories from participants and visitors to the event were built into the map, including my own Grandfather creating an imagined history for this beautiful area of N. France.

The Green Fields of France A2 coloured pencil on paper. 2015.

 The title 'The Green Fields of France' was taken from the famous anti war song written by Eric Bogle and covered by the famous Irish band 'The Furies'.

I researched this by riding my bike through the landscape over a two day preparation period and drew a map of each days explorations.

x2 bike rides in Northern France (sketch research)

The event was part of a wider regional festival called L'Oise verte + bleue and the whole experience was unusual and a little beyond description for me in a blog post, I'm not going to write a report which is what would be required...only to say very nourishing, surreal and very enjoyable and so so glad I took part. To see the Chateau de Sacy website and the film showing the Dada Procession click here

A Dada procession around the quiet town of Sacy-Le-Petit

Leaders of the procession Christine and Jenifer Binnie

Chris and Jen later led a communal walk around the Chateau Gardens celebrating 'Spiritism' which they advocate as being in touch with the natural world and inner personnel sensibilities.

It was on this walk that I saw this crow, I believe I could have touched it, instead I took a photo!

Crow.............. digital drawing 2015