Hawkwood day #3

Settling in now, lots of thinking, some drawing, some walking along the wonderful local greenways. The writing is coming along as I do battle with the shape if it. How can I create a layout that works with the content and the 'both sides' theme? It's important that is isn't a timeline and doesn't have a beginning and an end. It must flow in and out, like the tides do. I feel like I am revisiting my thoughts about 'notness' – the condition of being unsure how to name something, so resorting to defining it by using words for things that is NOT. For example, it's not a timeline; a travel journal; a walking book; a history book or a novel.

The drawings are progressing slowly, partly because the light has been very variable today, and I need light to see subtle nuances of my mark making. And, if I am to be horribly honest, I have got a little frustrated by mapping out the drawings because they are the only ones that are heavily architectural. They are based on photos underneath the Severn Bridge at each end. I love a rich, expressive mark-making process, a gesture, a smear. Highly engineered objects, like this bridge, need straight lines, right angles, parallel sides. Oh how I struggle with these things. So I'm sharing this with you, just to prove that every artwork has blood or tears shed because of it. Nothing is ever easy.

I'm never very sure about the edge between being relaxed and being sleepy. Wherever the edge lies, I am reclining on it, swinging my foot nonchalantly, a dreamy look on my face, next to a smudge of charcoal. I think I could get to like this life.

Tomorrow the battle will begin again. Only two days left, all good so far.

Arriving at Hawkwood, opening doors to the mind. Many doors to choose from.

The action of driving from one side of the Severn to the other has sparked off many thoughts to inform my brief residency at Hawkwood College. I’m very thankful for this opportunity, brushing the dust off my suitcase made me realise I’ve not been away for some time. I’ve been here only two hours and have already written extensively and prepared the wall for drawing. It is such a privilege to come here to think.

First thing I did was take some photos, following my thinking pattern. Looking at both sides and the  inside and out. People move quietly and calmly, in and out of the framed garden, fetching water from the spring.

I’m on the threshold and it feels thrilling. Water, bridges, connections. You may have to carry me back to Newnham like this:

ferryman carrying woman copyrighted to Ian Pope

 (C) Ian Pope



Thanks to Hawkwood College residency award, I have dedicated time to draw & write. Bliss.

I'm delighted to share that I have been allocated 4 days and nights, fully funded, at the beautiful Hawkwood College near Stroud. Whilst it is not far geographically for me, it will allow me to escape from daily distractions and commit completely to my practice, better than any summer holiday for me.

So I'm busy packing my bags and sorting out things to work with. Books, computers and materials. Walking things, music, headphones and a head full of thoughts about the Severn River. Hopefully I shall return refreshed and fulfilled with sufficient work to move onto the next phase of the Severn project – that of producing a publication. The research and drawing development has been made possible thanks to a grant from Arts Council England.

I have a number of original drawings and prints available for sale at various venues, see here. The sale of artworks goes towards funding the publication. Contact me directly if you prefer – carolyn@hybrideyes.com – the majority of works for sale are on this website.

So back to packing, I will try and update with my progress, when I come up for air occasionally.

Thank you Hawkwood.

This residency has been funded by Hawkwood, Strike a Light, Arts Council England and The Reckitt Arts Trust.

both sides image file for website

Empathy and both sides – thinking about how we can bridge thinking, drawings to inspire

Three days left to see my exhibition in The George Cafe in Newnham. Open 9.30-3.30 today, tomorrow and Saturday. I’d really love feedback from you – comment on here or on my Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone local who came, and those who have crossed the river to see the drawings. What interesting conversations we’ve had. I’ve had discussions with a Chinese woman about white space in Chinese art; with people who suddenly realise that they may know the river close to their homes, but have never ventured onto the other bank, and others that found the drawings calming and relaxing in a deep way.

Since the show opened, I’ve walked under the Severn bridge on both sides. How odd that whilst I have driven over it, and walked across it, it had never occurred to me to go underneath it. Bob Dylan went there in 1966.

I now find myself immersed in this return to practice, not in isolation from my work as a visual arts producer, but an extension of it.  All I have learnt from producing projects in unusual locations transfers directly back into my practice. And vice-versa. Ironically, one reason I ceased to create site-specific video installations is that they were non-transferable to other locations. How peculiar, then, that I end up making drawings which are so site-sensitive it feels they must always be seen one one bank, or the other, of the Severn.

The deeper thinking behind them is a universal issue – do we ever spend enough time considering the other side of anywhere/anything?

Can we dedicate some moments when we deliberately take ourselves physically, or intellectually, to the other side of any given situation? Empathy is impossible without understanding both sides.

Once we get our heads around understanding the other side, we can also explore impact. What happens on this side effects the other side.

Ripples travel, bores rush, tides turn.

I’ll be showing the drawings in Purton over the Bank Holiday weekend of 26th and 27th of August. Spending time over there again (I used to live nearby) will feed my thinking about these things.  I’ll also be heading up a walk down to the beached boats, to talk with others river crossings.  Check back on www.hybrideyes.com for details nearer the time.


Building bridges

In these divisive times


The Severn divides the county

But we must not forget

That it also connects us




The George – a venue near the Severn

Here are a few photos of the drawings in situ. It is important to me that these works are shown on both sides of the river. If you have any suggestions about where they could be hung, or wish to host one or more, get in touch. Ideally they need to be seen near one of the places depicted.

For example, a very kind friend who lives on the Sharpness Canal at Purton has offered to host a pop-up in her home. We’re aiming for the August Bank Holiday weekend, so do note that in your diary. Details to follow.
I’ve always created work and produced projects in non-gallery locations, so am keen to use unusual locations as well as white walls!

There’s two weeks left in The George. Here’re are a few pics of them there.

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