(video) Exploring landscape edgelands with a concertina sketchbook

During the last year I have been exploring the landscapes that surround me here in Saddleworth. I will be sharing the work in an exhibition at Gallery Oldham in spring 2022. Therefore, I have been using a variety of different drawing, painting and mark making approaches to gather the information on location for subsequent paintings. You can read more about them here. One area of interest is the field and path edges and margins. I have been exploring the edgelands with a collaged concertina sketchbook. Edgelands are the places where the stone walls and rickety fences and wires are found. They sit alongside a mix of wild planting. I am fascinated by the shapes and lines and how the two interact.

Edgelands concertina sketchbook

Exploring edgelands with a collaged concertina sketchbook

In this blog, I share 3 videos that show how I have first created a collaged background. I then go out into the landscape to explore the edges and margins. I work over the collaged pages with various mark making tools. In the final video I share the completed collage sketchbook.

Using a small A6 concertina sketchbook to create a mixed media collage background:

Out and about in the landscape working over the prepared background. I edit and modify the pages back in the studio:

This final video shares a talk through of my finished sketchbook. I share thoughts and approaches that I took in creating and completing the pages:

I will use these studies alongside other drawings and mark making, as inspiration for paintings back in the studio.

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Containment vs. expansion – it’s all about differences

Since lockdown containment vs. expansion have been on my mind. I have been working from a small room at home instead of a large studio in an old mill.  I talked about some of the changes I was making as a result of lockdown in my last blog: Taking Stock and Forging New Approaches.   Of course, when our world changes, to be smaller, more contained and restricted, you would expect the things we create to somehow reflect that change….maybe.  This blog talks about what I have found in my work and how I see it progressing.

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Breathing Space….Is that even a thing?!

Breathing space pembrokeshire

My selected word/phrase for the year is Breathing Space. This idea of a word or phrase for your year, was part of the Juiced up Best Art Year 2020 discussions. You can see my plans for 2020 in my January blog here.  Now, for those of you that know me, it will probably make you laugh out loud!!  Because, I’m not that good at this ‘taking a breather’ notion.  In fact, I’m really hopeless at it.  So, why choose Breathing space and what do I think it’s going to mean for me this year-both in my life and my art?

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A market hall exhibition: My About Ashton Series

These days there are all sorts of places for exhibiting art, outside of the traditional gallery. Pop up Galleries, Art Fairs, Open Studios, Pubs and cafes etc are all possibilities. But it’s not always easy to know what is going to work best for your work. There are definitely pros and cons, and often there appear to be positive and less positive experiences for any one of these! Therefore, I am taking the approach of keeping an open mind and just going with what feels right.

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Collage Creation 1: In the beginning…


Over the last 12 months I have started my journey into collage creation.   It has not been without its ups and downs.    I am used to drawing from life, using pens, ink and watercolour.  However,  I also crave texture in my visual work.  The materiality of things, their physical form and the feel of their surfaces  fascinates me. I am interested in how that materiality is connected with creating a sense of place.   In addition, composition and colour are important aspects of my visual studies.  Mixed media and collage in particular, are therefore obvious media for my exploration.   Moreover, they enable individuality and an opportunity for endless experimentation!  

 In this series of 3 blogs, I’m going to share some of the inspirations and approaches I’ve taken so far.  I will also discuss some of the techniques and media that I’ve started to explore more recently.  The aim is that these additional approaches will help support a particular uniqueness and ‘own voice’ to my work. 

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