Driftwood inspiration

One area that I am very keen to explore in 2013 is the recycling of materials to form new pieces of artwork. With much of the world still affected by recession and the search continuing for alternative energy sources, there is rightly a lot of emphasis being put on the need to cut down on waste. This is very much at the root of the Ecoarts project and I can’t wait to get started.

In starting my blog in association with Bigvyor, I am hoping to encourage other artists to join our recycling crusade! Everything is so expensive these days and yet so much is cast aside as soon as it no longer “fit for purpose”. One thing that you will notice about Bigvyor is that it caters for all areas of artwork. There are categories for everything from global folk art to poetry. So, whether your particular interest is street art or garden ornaments, oil paintings or clothes, there is something for you on Bigvyor! I am looking forward to exchanging ideas and opinions with artists from across the world.

One of the most inspirational forms of art that I have come across in a very long time is the use of driftwood as a material for sculpture. If you have not yet come across the work of Heather Jansch, then I can strongly recommend that you do so. She has created some amazing life-size sculptures of horses by fixing together pieces of driftwood and they are truly stunning. Much as I try to do with my equestrian paintings and drawings, she has managed to combine her passion for horses with her artistic talents.

I live on the coast of south west Scotland and have access to a readymade supply of driftwood. I am told that there are rules and restrictions on what you can and cannot take so will be sure to do my homework before I go “foraging”. I was reading through the very useful Q&A section of Heather’s site and she basically advises anyone to “have a go”. There are no hard and fast rules for working with recycled materials so it should be both challenging and enjoyable at the same time.

We are all subjected to outside influence in our work but of course there is much more to it than simply trying to emulate the source of your inspiration. There is much to admire in Heather’s work, from the raw energy in her sculptures to their sheer physical presence as they stand proudly in the countryside. I hope that I can use her work as an inspirational starting point to create something half as good! My surrounding area is mostly farmland and hills with an abundance of wildlife. I’m going to attempt to use the Scottish countryside as another source of inspiration in my work this year.

A few years ago I was able to dedicate a few months to painting and drawing the landscape in order to fulfil a commitment to stage a small local exhibition. Among the subjects chosen was the nearby Torhouse Stone Circle, thought to date from the Bronze Age and one of the best of its kind in Britain. When I first visited the site I was instantly reminded of Stonehenge except this is on a much smaller scale. It consists of nineteen boulders with the diameter of the circle being approximately 66 feet. I produced a painting and a pastel drawing from the site and these have already attracted some interest on Bigvyor. Torhouse appears to be a little-known jewel tucked away here in Dumfries & Galloway!

Torhouse Stone Circle

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