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cross pollination: making new marks

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Over the last week I’ve been attempting to start understanding how different strands of work, and different media, might relate to each other, and if indeed they do. Yet. I add that as a reminder to myself to be patient.

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” Joyce Meyer

A friend's course during the first lockdown in 2020 saw me pick up a paintbrush for the first time in over 30 years, though I soon found that I preferred improvised tools for mark-making that placed a limit on the extent of my ability to preconceive and control the outcome. For someone whose career and personality have been marked by self-control and an attention to detail, that probably speaks volumes...

I'd reached the point of wondering if I really ought to just stick to photography and pack away my paints. A pre- and post- move break of six months meant I had lost whatever momentum I had been developing with paint and ink, and the distraction that they had created meant that I hadn't progressed the things that I originally thought the pandemic might allow. I didn't, and a small chink of light appeared that encouraged me to stick with it in evenings and at weekends.

Last week saw another small glimmer as I reviewed both prints and paint studies and glimpsed what I felt were some interesting pairings: compare and contrast if you like. I've also begun this year to see parallels between what subjects and compositions draw me here and what has gone before. Water is still very much a part of it, but I can now see that certain patterns and complexities speak to me in other subject matter. They seem to hold echoes of the mark making of sunlight on water that I was exploring on the River Dove.

A term I loosely used yesterday in an online conversation with a friend has come back to me this morning and seems to fit this attempt to pair up the two so that they feed each other, and perhaps at some point in the future integrate. So here is paint and print pair Cross Pollination No.1 where I've made my marks alternately in paint and photographic print.

It seems only fair to mention that my friend, artist Lin Cheung, has further developed her art course Directions in Abstraction and you can find details here.

I should also thank photographer Deborah Hughes for saying that she viewed her other artwork as cross-training, which prompted me to say that I'd thought of mine as cross-pollination, and in turn has fed this post.

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