Well I didn't get work into the Woolgather Art Prize but they asked the 400 people who entered to send in an image showing how they spent the day of Sunday 25 March and they are going to include these in a book to go with the exhibition.
For me it was a day of seeing family and friends, taking my mother and Hattie out for a late Mother's Day lunch and travelling across the Fens to see Elizabeth Ikin, a photographer, and her exhibition at the Old Fire Engine House, Ely. The creativity was perhaps in being with people, conversation and noticing things on the journey. The black fields of the fens, set against fresh green growth and a magnificent blue sky - everywhere you looked it dominated - 90% of the view being sky against the remaining 10% small strip of land. The blue of the sky, the uncommon heat of the sun in March and the fact that we had just moved into British Summertime made its blueness even more striking.
The colour reminds me of Giotto's Arena Chapel in Padua - saturated in blue, and other Italian painters such as Piero della Francesca and Giovanni Bellini, who use a particular kind of blue. This gets me thinking about pigment - ultramarine, azurite, cobalt blue, cerulean and Prussian blue. Last year I went to a conference on Alchemy in Cambridge and heard a lecture by Spike Bucklow about lapis lazulae which was fascinating - not only in the alchemical process that is used to extract the ultramarine pigment from the rock, but also that it comes from Afghanistan which on the medieval map the 'Mappa Mundi' is just to the right of heaven and so derives its heavenly associations!
I have been working with some ideas using neon paint and imitation gold leaf. The gold leaf I have had since doing a medieval material and techniques course some time ago. I wanted to get a sense of layers and looking through - so the paintings have gesso, neon acrylic and the gold leaf on top - I also wanted imperfections - though using gilders size, I don't think I could have had anything other - it is so sticky! In the past I've used egg white which is much easier.
The paintings made me think about what was underneath them - more paint, alterations, trials and errors. Recent field walking with the 'Making a Masterpiece' project in the Stour Valley reminded me of my first job working for an Archaeological Unit in Lincolnshire - fieldwalking, digging, surveying and drawing finds for publication. The hopes that we would go out with and the finds that we would bring back - all fascinating in their own way, layers of history, although not always living up to our expectations!
These paintings too - wanting them to be rather bare and minimal, but with a sense of something more perhaps - like scratchcards - all promise?! 'As good as gold' usually a term used for well-behaved children - well here the neon pink and orange is peeping through - so possibly not so well-behaved? Anyway I am pleased that they have been selected for the show 'Fool's Gold' at Cultivate, Vyner Street, London opening on 29 March.