Yesterday I went up to Southwold to see Susan and Caroline and set up a new joint blog for our lighthouse project Eastern Light - we are using this as a working sketchbook/discussion platform between ourselves - think it will provide a useful way of working in between meeting up. Susan has been recording lighthouses on the Norfolk coast. My work has focused on Harwich as there is an overlap with another project I'm working on which is about the River Stour.
On the Stour Valley project I will be retracing many of John Constable's steps, as well as those of my father, who in the 1950's worked surveying and looking after the Stour for the local river authority. The River Stour flows into the estuary at Manningtree - but following the estuary to the sea takes you to Harwich - so the natural place to start the work.
I also came across this postcard view of the Low Lighthouse at Harwich from Huelse http://www.unc.edu~rowlett/lighthouse/engse.htn
Yesterday I went over to Harwich and had access to the Buoy Yard at Trinity House, where they refit buoys from all along the East Coast, as far afield as the North of Scotland down to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Equipped with reflective jacket and hard hat I was able to record all the different shapes and sizes of buoys, in varying stages of refit. They are also refitting a Light Vessel at the moment with solar panels - the Sandette, which is usually to be found off the French coast near Le Touquet. It was a fascinating place and I found lots that might form the base of a series of paintings.
Harwich too is an interesting town, with a lot of history and many fabulous Georgian buildings as well as the Electric Palace, built in 1911 and now beautifully restored, about to be able to show digital films as well as maintaining their traditional film projectors. Harwich's long naval history was evident, with plaques to the Mayflower and Samuel Pepys as well as boards documenting all the Man o' Wars that were built there together with RNLI rescues.
Later I found I had been selected for the Parallax Art Fair, to be held in London in February 2012 and recently the exhibition submission by a group of us, 'Future Perfect', has been accepted by the Cut, Halesworth for 2013. Must get painting!
Putting the flags out
Light Vessel LV18
In April I visited a lightship LV21 in Kent that was being used for an Artists Residency by Figure Ground. I was intrigued by the ship, its materials, sense of space and place as well as its history and associations. I recorded it at the time, thinking that it may form the source of some future work.
Today I went to Orford to look at the possibility of doing some collaborative work with photographers Susan Barrett-Kelly and Caroline Munn, who I met on the MA Fine Art course at NUCA, based on the Orfordness lighthouse, still owned by Trinity House, which have a base in Harwich, but about to become decommisioned. It was a bleak grey November day, the lighthouse barely discernible through the mist and its red and white form muted towards invisibility, but it certainly has promise. Now I need to get permission to visit it from Trinity House and also find a boat to get across to the Ness, a strange land of pagoda'd buildings used by the Ministry of Defence for testing various weapons of mass destruction during the Cold War and now deserted and desolate. The Butley Orford Oysterage provided a welcoming and warm place to discuss ideas and eat delicious shellfish!