Memories of Cows and Bulls.

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Memories of Cows and Bulls:

Small. Exploring in a field by the reservoir, fascinated by wild flowers, worms, humming flies, long wet grass. Unseen, a crowd of young bulls in the distance. Sudden! thunder in the floor – chasing, bulky firm inquisitive hooves, wet noses, towards me, a crowd, my tiny frame. Tumble back to fence, forwards not behind, breath high, wet face, fall through long wet grass, wind in my ears, scramble over. Safe. Hate cows.

Ireland. Young adult. Green, rolling lane, early evening. Scent of retreating sunlight and seasalt. Hand in hand. A small field, cow and calf. Calf walks to mother, nose touch. Tenderness close to melancholy. Mother licks side of calf with small strokes. Silence in their circle. Moment without breath.

Mid-Adult. Sudden illness. Walking, pain, reduced to shadows of steps. Daily therapeutic up and downs with embarrassing stick along the lane under the curve of Ditchling Beacon. Flanked by animals, left to right, sheep, cows, horses. Scent of flowers and green. Pain, up and down, side to side. Forward step by step. Look right to see large, stolid body of cow standing in buttercup field. Stop to gaze. Lean. Breathe. Such a large, firm body, she stretches, curves backwards and sideways to lick flank. Such a tender motion, such grace. Delicacy in large, sinuous frame so touching. So quiet. A small light of sun on my back.

Adult. Cornwall. Small house only just inland. Take tea out to garden. Whole hand of sun comforts head, a memory, stroking to face. Wild, young bulls by wall at end of garden. I’m larger now, less afraid. Though glad of the wall. They munch garden flowers, almost skid down wall, nudge and budge, feckless hooves, snort, puff, naughty eyes. Energy of children.

Present. Daily walks up to top of lane. So glad of it. Walk up to hill. Long view over valley and distant cars spiral. Lean on gate, catch breath. Cows rest quietly, moon filled eyes. Proud horns down in the muscle man arm shape. Tearing at hay through the bars with tender lips and teeth like stones. Heavy, weighted bodies lump down to soil. Stare. Ears flick. Flies land, bounce off. Mud and earth. Something sure.

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© C.E. Rennie, 2013

Play

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you might remember this experiment. I was playing with light, shining objects in darkness and capturing them. I was mainly interested in the black and white ones, like this, but now I’m wondering if they work in colour too. In the black and white images, I added extra layers, but these are just as they were captured..I may work into them more..really you need to see these big, but this is as big as I seem to be able to fit them here.

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30 second sketches

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I’ve finally got round to trying some 30 second gesture drawing, after being inspired by a post on Notes to The Milkman . 

The idea is to put on some kind of sports programme – a cricket match, football, whatever, pause it frame by frame, set a timer and give yourself 30 seconds each pause to record a short, quick sketch of a players movement.

I meant to do this with the tennis, but I got engrossed in watching it instead! There was no sport on yesterday, so I dug out an old Chi Kung video and used that.

Here are a couple of my efforts..!

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They are not the best, I am rusty..but I loved doing it, so relaxing and great for focus. It’s also really useful for helping you to notice the “important” lines..good practice for both art and photography I’d imagine.

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Untitled.

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One more piece that I have been working on.

I have made collages since I was first making artwork – I began with magazine papers and other found materials, but over the years I think I’ve used just about everything in a collage at some point; dried beans, bike chains, coffee granules, sandpaper and mud! Now, I often combine digital imagery with the handmade. Really, I’d like to try and make as much of the work off screen as I can, and am trying to make sure that my photographs are made as much in camera as possible..this one required a fair amount of computer work to assemble however..

This is made from film photographs, scanned illustrations, and found digital images.The black and white photograph was taken years ago, during my first film experiments.

I am endlessly intrigued by layers, lights and colour combinations..here I’ve tried all three at once…

I don’t like calling work “Untitled” but nothing is springing to mind..so for now it is this..recently I seem to have lost all capacity for words..

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Winter Weather Work

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One dubious benefit about having a rubbish Summer weather wise is that I do more work!

I’ve been working on layered and digitally collaged images again over the past few months.

This is made almost entirely of photographs, some from my earlier work with shadows, some from photographs taken throughout the year.

I am pleased with how it looks somehow like a painting. Sadly I am terrible at painting, this is the closest I will ever get, painting with light and capture..

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I Hold On To You – Collage work.

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Taking part in my postcard exchange with Stephen MacInnis the other week really reminded me how much I love to make work by hand, away from a screen. There are many things that I enjoy about working digitally – lack of mess, and the ability to undo mistakes are two big bonuses! But there is something so real and immediate about working with your hands, and I am always very happy to be drawn back.

I was lucky enough to be given a whole collection of books recently that belonged to my Gran and Grandad. Some feel special, and nice to remember, and I have kept them safely. Others are old and disintegrated and not really of use now as actual books, but I really wanted to do something with them. I felt that the elements of them would work fantastically in collage work. The print for a start is so beautiful, and the pages have aged in a wonderful way that imbues something earthy and real to the printed words. I love the connection to their owners that I feel with these books too, it makes me want to slow down and make something carefully that honours them as precious possessions.

As always, scanning these takes something away from them,  but I thought I’d show you something of the work I am making. Here is one that I finished today..

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Bodied Blue

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This is work continuing on my exploration of shadows and light. I am completely mesmerised by the effects that can be created with both.

I am playing here with light on a wall, shining through objects and glass to create different effects. I was really excited to see how this one appears in the shape of a womans body, almost like an x-ray, and I think that the other shadows that fall bring more feminine lines.

I’m trying to find ways to create unusual images without too much post editing – I only accentuated the blue hues and deepened the blacks a little here, everything else was simply with experimentation of the objects, light direction, and different exposures.

I’m thinking of trying the same thing whilst recording with my super 8 camera..

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A Charlottetown/Exeter postcard exchange

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Stephen MacInnis

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I was thrilled this morning to receive this beautiful handmade postcard from visual artist Stephen MacInnis.

A few weeks ago we agreed on an exchange, and now we both have a little piece of each others artwork in our homes!

I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen’s work since finding his blog here on WordPress, so it was a real joy to do this swap with him.

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My card to Stephen

This is the one that I sent in exchange – I wanted to make something handmade, and had great fun with this, both in the making and in the wrapping up, knowing that it was going on a long journey!

(clicking on the image should bring up a clearer one)

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Stephen’s card was wrapped and folded, making it really intriguing to open..

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It opened out to a great design and little handwritten note inside. I love to see handwriting!

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Stephen MacInnis

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And on the other side – this!!

It is oh so beautiful and full of life, and has all the elements of movement, colour, precision and energy that I really admire in Stephen’s work. I can’t stop smiling to look at it, and I will treasure it.

If you haven’t already, visit Stephen’s fantastic blog Painter’s Progress. You can read his post on receiving my card here.

I highly recommend exchanging work in this way – whether it is a piece of art, writing, or a photograph, it’s great to make something in this spirit. It’s also rare to receive something interesting through the post these days! You just can’t beat the real thing.

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Wonder

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 A collage made from some of the parts in the last post, and a few other pieces. It looks a bit better printed out, in matte – something of it is lost on screen here – but you’ll have to take my word for that..!

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Sunlight and Rain

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I’ve been fascinated recently by the light, shadow and depth of colour that can be found in reflections of water on the ground.

I took these pictures in some long, deep filled puddles that I came across when driving home through a lane near to my house. For some reason this lane has a really great light – I’m not sure why but it falls very warmly there, and any rain water that collects is deep brown and silky from the clay soils. There are also some really exotic looking trees that line the lane, which reflect brilliantly, and further along are some great industrial silhouettes, as you can see in the first picture.

My favourite thing in both artwork and music is to play with layers, and to explore how each affects the other, and so I want to try and combine some of the shots that I took to create a few different collages. I would like to do some digitally and some handmade.

The sun came out yesterday and I couldn’t wait to get out and see what I could capture..water and sunlight, a favourite combination..

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