"What Lies Beneath" 2011 Tracey Hewitt
Last year, Sarah Larsen came to our little town to teach a great workshop...I finally put some finishing touches to this piece started there. This was the first time I'd used gesso and charcoal together - and it was fun - I especially love the way the charcoal can be worked in to the white gesso, and the resulting shades of grey that offers up. Not to mention the black of the charcoal all mooshed into your fingertips and under your nails...such a tactile experience!
We started out having a great time making all sorts of random marks on cartridge paper - as many different marks as possible, all over the sheet.
Next came the brown paper....a huge piece, with instructions to 'write your name across the page - and use the whole page' - Can you see it underneath everything? With our names in place, it was time to begin to tear up the cartridge paper, choose areas and pieces to collage down over our names on the brown paper... and then let loose with charcoal and black and white gesso and transform our names into something else.
There's a little touch of red tissue here and there...it seemed to end up at the 'heart' of things in many cases.
This process included something of an emotional element....working so freely, with no expectation of it being anything special; then contemplating the results - in my case the stark contrast of the strong, hard way I'd written my name, and the swirly, soft gentle marks that went over the top...a bit deep and meaningful and somewhat revealing!
That was about twelve months ago....I dug the piece out a while back, and did a little more with it - not too much - though adding some touches of metallic gold paint was a fun part that I think gave it some 'pop'. I doubt it's destined for any museum wall or great fame or anything...but there's something about it that I really respond to. So I had it framed, which I'm thrilled I've done.
And, on Sarah's suggestion, I've begun series of works jumping off from here....the word underneath seemed an important launch point to me...so the next piece began with a word .
Not anyone's favourite word, by any means....but that's the word I needed to put there. The past year has been quite a journey; and fear and anxiety (perhaps the word for the next piece?) have been an impactful part if it. I'm happy to say that these days it's more gratitude and delight....but it's time to explore those darker things in the studio - perhaps I can transform them on the canvas into something lovelier? Time will tell.
"Fear" is on the easel now...can't wait to share it with you when it's cooked!