Landscape artist of the year My Experiences
In my defence I am not a landscape artist, I made one landscape as part of a project, I entered with it because I did think it was quite good and it got me on the show. If It hadn’t been a print I don’t think I would have got on, each program has an alternative to a painter just to make it more interesting.
I did two days of practice landscapes in the print studio, the first was quite successful and I though I had a methodology. The second I tried out colour and it was disastrous. So I had a plan for the day, foreground mid ground and background, 3 layers of information arranged aesthetically. And 3 techniques, A dry-point plate for the details, a collagraph plate for texture and a mono-print on top to add some point of interest. All seems fine and I wasn’t worried at all. And then I got there and everything went out of the window.
In a blind panic I left my list in the van and forgot everything I was going to do. I had visited the beach the day before and knew it’s colour was amazing and to represent it in black and white was never going to do it justice. It was during the hot summer, when it felt like we lived in a Mediterranean country. There was a patch of sea that was the most beautiful pale turquoise and young bright things splashed and laughed. I sat there dumbfounded, not knowing how I was going to deal with the scene, there was so much of it it was overwhelming.
So with no list and full of blind panic I had the bright idea of doing a triptych, it made sense at the time, enabling me to work bigger, which is what I like to do and pulling out 3 parts of the scene instead of just choosing a small part of such a large amount of information. We had been told we had 4 hours over 6 hours, so if we worked through our breaks and lunch we could use the whole 6 hours, I felt confident, then the time started ticking away, once they have made you repeat things a few times or wait for a camera or presenter it’s more like two hours.
My biggest mistake, well one of them, was in rushing the drawing, and not using a scalpel to get a beautiful fine line. The first print was a mess. But I couldn’t think straight, I don’t think my brain works so well when it’s hot, or maybe it was just under the pressure.
I had decided to go for a blue instead of black but in retrospect I could have mixed the pale turquoise colour of the sea and made the whole print that colour.
The second mess I made was in printing from the seaweed, instead of choosing a fine delicate piece I used a big chunky lump that looked more like a swamp monster.
The collagraph plates turned out beautiful and I could have gone for an abstract sea print but I layered them up with the bad drawings and blobby seaweed.
As the time was almost up I looked at my final choice and I was pleased that I had managed to do three prints, from a distance they looked good especially if you forgot they were supposed to represent the hot bright blue day, full of people.
The prints were given to me wrapped up at the end of the day and I went on some days out in Margate and Rye, it wasn’t until a week later that I finally decided to have a look at the print again only to find out that it was absolutely awful.
But on the bright side I had a lovely holiday in the sun, meeting the team was lovely, Joan Bakewell was a treat. Steven and I had a laugh and Kate was very helpful. I was asked in the lunch hour if there was any presenter that I particularly would like to meet and I regret that I didn’t ask for Tai, I’m not a confident person and to get around my worries that I might say something stupid was to tell myself that I wasn’t going to watch it when it comes on TV, I was double worried about saying something stupid to Tai as I admire him so much as a portrait painter. I left it to fate and I didn’t get to have a chat with him.
Having just watched it, I shouldn’t have worried, I looked ok and they didn’t show me saying anything stupid.
It was a great holiday but I don’t know if I would do it again.