30 Jun Newsletter: June 2020
Hi Everyone and welcome to my Newsletter for June 2020!
So this month has seen the loosening of lockdown, which for me has meant that I’ve been able to get out walking a little further from home, but not quite yet to the wild places I miss. I am very conscious though how lucky I am to have countryside close by, with every opportunity to get out in the air, and to watch the changing wildlife and scenery.
By way of a catch up of what’s been going on; North Yorkshire Open Studios happened throughout the first and second weekends of June, with tons happening in the run-up and quite a lot of work for the week afterwards, so all in all not a month when I’ve had much time in the studio! Still, and much to everybody’s relief it was a huge success with many thousands of viewers, and surprisingly from all over the World- people were watching from the USA, Canada, Australia and across Europe, and we were all taken aback by the positive reaction and buzz the whole thing created. It was so much work though…definitely needed a break afterwards! If you missed seeing my video and those of the other 60+ artists, do go to the North Yorkshire Open Studios Website: https://www.nyos.org.uk/ and click ‘watch now’- grab a cup of tea/coffee and pull up a chair for some fabulous insights into artists and their work!
Anyway, I have managed to get down to some painting; including these three 41cm x 41cm canvases, which are literally just done (see the first above)…in fact they are currently drying as I’ve just finished sealing them and adding a final coat of cold wax which gives a nice subtle sheen rather than a high gloss finish.
Now all I need to do is tidy up the edges with a final coat of paint, label the backs and work out what I should call them. Actually naming pictures can be tricky; although mine are often pretty abstract they always come from a particular experience of a very specific place…they also often refer to a sense of what might have gone on before, history, industry or even geological layers in time. In this case this little mini series, or triptych comes from walks up near Greenhow, which is high up and on the boundary between Nidderdale and Wharfedale- beneath the surface lie traces of the lead mining that used to happen in this area…in fact there is still a large working quarry nearby.
I think they make an interesting series; working well either individually or together. The idea behind them is fragments and layers; some are surface layers and some represent unseen structures deep below.
I’ve also started work on some landscape studies- these are an important part of my everyday working process; they’re loose and free, and they make great starting points to work out composition ideas for new work. The ones shown here are made using a very minimal palette of materials, so they can be done in the studio or outside- in these I used just three key materials; Payne’s Grey Acrylic, a Derwent dark tone sketching pencil and some white acrylic. Apart from that I used some brushes and water, that’s it! The reason I like the Derwent sketching pencil so much is that it is water-soluble and therefore creates wonderful soft washes when you wet the paper, combined with very rich dark marks.
I’m playing with the rhythm of shapes in the landscape, combined with mark-making and a suggestion of tone, and that’s all I need as an initial starting point for a painting. Incidentally, these are on A2 Somerset Watercolour paper, which has a lovely heavy weight and body to it, so I can scratch into my work without it all falling to pieces!
*You can see I really try to make these instinctive, responding to the landscapes I’m in or just returned from. The lines are often done more or less as one continuous line, but with a changing weight to create emphasis.
I’m hoping to have much more painting time next month and to start to work these up onto canvas, so watch this space!
I think that’s all for this month, but I’ll be adding the new Greenhow paintings to the website soon…meanwhile keep in touch and follow me on Instagram and Facebook where I can be found as Jo York Art.
Take care, and bye for now, Jo x
*All text and images copyright Jo York 2020