Gage and Tompsett

Gage and Tompsett

Wigley and Nicolle

Wigley and Nicolle

I often find my research leads me all over the place and, through this meandering, images come together and ideas start to sprout. I’ve been considering the skyline and looking at various artists including John Gage and Michael Tompsett who have both used the Birmingham skyline in their work.

I have been considering the artistic processes of Maria Wigley and Florian Nicolle and their juxtaposition of text and image as a means of brainstorming the potential use of text within the skyline. All very inspiring and exciting.

But the research that has shaped the piece the most so far is the research into sackcloth and ashes. One of the methods I use in the majority of my work is to split the canvas, tear it, and then re-stitch it back together again. For me, and especially this piece, it helps the composition to have a strip of blank colour at the base of the work, but symbolically the importance is much greater. I use this technique to just put my hands up and acknowledge that every piece I lay before Him will never be perfect, cannot be perfect because I am not perfect. God has taught me so much through my flaws. Many of my landscapes consider the way we so often pick at ourselves and get frustrated over our imperfections rather than seeing ourselves as a whole. We focus on the negative rather than that we do well. Through these lessons God has helped me acknowledge and own that not only am I imperfect but that despite that He can still speak through me and the artwork we create together.

SackclothNehemiah, when starting to consider the task ahead of him, does not start by leaning on his own strength and capabilities but wears sackcloth and ashes and fasts for four months. As Simon Bateson said, he started in a place of prayer. Sackcloth was made out of coarse goat hair. It was incredibly uncomfortable and rough to wear. The modern equivalent is burlap (hessian) or jute which I plan to use over the canvas at the base of each piece, acknowledging that we start this task with Him, not leaning on ourselves. It starts in a place of prayer.

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