Minimum

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beachskin_dodge_72

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I’m working on some new collages at the moment. There are so many decisions to make – how much to include, what works with what, how everything you add creates an extra layer of meaning – does that layer add interest or distraction? Too many choices!

Then sometimes I come back to the original, paired right down, and I like it with no alteration. This is the base that I am working with, an image from a few years ago. After exploring the thousands of possibilities, I’ve ended up now quite enjoying its space. I often come back this way, a confusion of noise, settled down to a few quiet lines.

I’ll post up the layered versions next time, would be good to hear what you think!

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Memories of Cows and Bulls.

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1034_COws_72.

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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1035_cows2_72

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© C.E. Rennie, 2013

Apart

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Well, the rain has been bucketing down all this week, so I am back working indoors again..

This is a collage of a self portrait taken when I was 18. I went everywhere with my camera then, and vividly remember taking the original picture to this, on black and white film, in a park, on a timer, balanced on something..

I found this image quite interesting to work with, for many reasons.

At first I started with the original black and white photograph, hung it on a wall, and photographed it at night with a yellow electric light, creating a slightly blurred and coloured effect:

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I wasn’t sure if I liked the blur at first, but I warmed to it. I think that it adds to the feeling of age and distance that I was hoping for, and I like that the blur is mainly contained to the back..

To me, this image, alone, the subject staring into nothing, has a totally different impact to the final work. The expression to me seems very lonely, inward, and somehow more bleak..maybe this is just my personal reaction as it is a photograph of myself, so it’s hard to separate enough to view it without my attached memories and emotions.

The stretched ear somehow becomes more apparent to me in this singular image, almost as a central focal point, although I am also drawn to the eyes..

I decided to arrange this image to work as two facing ones, and so blended them together, keeping a hint of the separation in the centre, with a sharp open line.

(Click to enlarge)

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 I find it really interesting how much the energy in the picture changes when the images are facing each other. Viewed together, I find that the expression becomes somehow defiant, assertive..though there is a sense of kindness too..are these two faces fighting each other or supporting each other? Are they identical? Do they have separate characters? Do they hold onto each other or are they pulling apart? Sometimes I see one as more dominant than the other. I have lots of questions, and my answers keep changing.

Having a point of focus, you can see the expression somehow more as something directed outwards, it more easily seems to reflect the subjects outlook on the world, there is a new tension there, it seems a less inward gaze..although having identical images also isolates..they are wrapped up in themselves. Another image also appears in the centre to me..can you see it too?

As I said, I feel differently about these every time I look at them. Writing now, the two figures represent to me the feeling of two inner worlds and conflicts –  of somehow separating from yourself and becoming something else, and how different that feels, and yet still being one body..To me there is also a sense of disconnection to the world, of holding on, of self reliance, somehow revealed in these blank expressions..or maybe these are just my emotional and personal responses..?

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River light

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The first signs of Spring light almost always fill me with a fizz…pulled out gently from my sleepy, introspective daze, I feel looser, lighter, brighter, a little braver.

I want to be moving, moving anywhere, when Spring comes. It happens every year. Itchy toes. I long for journeys, new sights, new life, beginnings. I feel younger and more able to breathe.

I’m fond of Autumn, for its slow wind down and gentle curves. I am accepting of Winter too, for its reminders, and settling and grounding of the spirit.

But Spring is my absolute favourite time of all.

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