Saturday, 4 December 2010

Burnham Festival of Light

Thursday 2nd December
Burnham High Street
Festival of Light

In seriously sub-zero temperatures thousands of people attended the late night opening and Festival of Light in Burnham this week.

In conjunction with Flux Gallery, Mona Lisa Arts & Media and Outdoor Culture
and with a lot of help from Tim Hand Production we projected large scale images of the ancient trees of Burnham Beeches on to the walls of buildings in the High Street at 4 different locations in a project called

The Beeches come to Burnham.

The project was sponsored by Awards for All, part of the Big Lottery Fund.

Working with Transformers Youth Group in Burnham, we visited the Beeches where we drew and photographed the pollarded and ancient trees, some of which have grown into wonderfully weird shapes. Viewing some of these from unusual angles gave interesting perspectives...
The character of the trees has been formed over hundreds of years - the oldest tree in the forest is The Druid, over 800 years old. And it wasn't just trees that the group took photographs of!

Working with computer software I transformed these trees into even more colourful images and put together a show of everchanging shapes and colours.

We visited the Beeches at night - there was an almost full moon and as we walked through the forest we stopped to listen to the sounds of the woods at night. We heard owls and unknown creatures moving through the undergrowth, and our own loud heartbeats.

The youth group made paper trees in the shapes they had seen in the forest and we collaged these into their own forest on canvas, then the children painted over them to create this colourful silhouette.

The photographs taken at night were an inspiration to work with negative images and create a spooky night forest....

During the evening Flux Gallery was open with the current exhibition of images of Burnham Beeches by Andy Barnard and myself.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Have a look at this artist's blog...

I think you might like this blog by James Aldridge, it gives his view of the launch of Hide!

Monday, 8 November 2010

And now to Burnham Beeches...

I have been commisioned to run a community art project with local children/young people living in and around Burnham village. The project will bring the trees of the nearby ancient forest into the town on the night of 2 December for the Burnham Festival of Light.

On Saturday I led a group of young people through Burnham Beeches - drawing and photographing the ancient pollarded trees, and anything else that caught their imagination. Students from Burnham Grammar School will also join in the project, which aims to forge stronger links between the inhabitants of the forest and the village.

Images of the Beeches will be manipulated and the resulting 'characters' projected on to the walls of buildings in the High Street, and smaller scale works will be displayed at Flux Gallery during and after the Festival.

A few more images of my installation for Hide!

The film is installed and here are just a couple more images...
Visitors stopped at the hide and were intrigued to know the background - you'll have to look back over previous posts for that!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

New project at Burnham

I've started working on a new project at Burnham Village in South Bucks, where we plan to bring the trees from the ancient local forest at Burnham Beeches into the village for the annual Festival of Light on Friday 3 December. I was asked to make some work for this event because of my interest in colour/light and light installations.

Local children are helping me create several pieces for display in and around the village and the Flux Gallery. We aim to make several large-scale projections on to the buildings in the High Street which will be supported by an exhibition to be shown at Flux Gallery from 3 December for several weeks.

We are making several excursions into Burnham Beeches - one of them a night hike - to view the 'characters' who live there. The children will draw and photograph the trees, then manipulate them digitally to create a shifting forest of light.

More details to follow as we get going with the project, but here are a couple of my photographs to give you the idea...

Launch of 'Hide!' at College Lake

Please join us at ‘Hide!’ at College Lake Nature Reserve, HP23 5QG, from Tuesday 16 November onwards. Open from 9.30 - 4pm, last entry 3pm.

Four artists and two hundred children have transformed the interiors of four bird hides into works of art that reflect and enhance their setting and purpose. This is functioning environmental art re-imagined for the 2010s.

James Aldridge brings together found objects, historical data, vintage luggage and manipulated maps to explore bird migration and industrial heritage.

Martin Prothero creates new work by enabling the plants and animals of the reserve to draw directly in the soil and represent themselves as art.

Lynda Cornwell illuminates the ultraviolet markings of local birds and insects with shifting rainbows of white light diffracted from the sun.

Stu McLellan plays with the format of the graphic novel to portray his hide as a portal to a surreal and surprising universe.

Children from Ashmead School and Bierton School in Aylesbury Vale have worked with James and Martin as part of the creative process. Whenever you visit please come prepared for bad weather and mud, just in case. You’ll be able to wander around the lake, visit the bird hide installations and meet the artists.

College Lake is managed for wildlife and people by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust:
Here’s a map to help you find us: This project was made possible by a grant from the Aylesbury Vale Community Chest.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Back at the Hide

At the hide again today for just an hour in the late afternoon - captured some sun - and some visitors!

Almost done there now - need to clean the windows and finish applying the film this week. Response from those I met has been good - it helps when they know the reasoning behind it - ultraviolet spectrum and bird's superior vision - see earlier posts....

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Finishing the Drawings...

After many days in Tump Hide I am almost finished with the drawings. There hasn't been much sun recently when I've been there, so I haven't any new photos of the prisms.

The drawings are in white so that when the sun shines through the prismatic film they will take on the hue of the rainbow.

It is known that feathers of all colours have a biologically significant UV reflectance but that the least likely to fluoresce are black, brown and possibly red. In birds thought to have similar plumage for male/female we now know they are different - the difference shows up in the ultraviolet spectrum - this different colours of the sexes is known as dichromatism.

Because there has not been conclusive research done I have chosen to highlight those that I imagine fluoresce in ultraviolet light, and those whose feathers are iridescent, such as kingfishers.

I have used the species that are commonly found at College Lake amongst them lapwing, plover, red admiral and comma butterflies, and many kinds of dragon and damselflies.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Starting to draw on the walls

So the sun finally shone at College Lake and this is how beautiful it looked yesterday...

There's something fantastic about drawing on walls - it's a freedom of sorts, and a thumbed nose to those who tell you as a child not to draw on the walls - I've washed pencil drawings off the walls when my children were little too - but I think how they must have enjoyed the act...
I've started adding the drawings to the inside of Tump Hide now - it's slow work because some of them are quite intricate and I want to cover the side and back walls - luckily it's not huge!
And when the sun shone I could see a rainbow!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Painting the Bird Hide at College Lake

I have started refurbishing the bird hide now - I chose The Tump - it's very well camouflaged from outside, but hopefully there will be a surprise inside.

I'm busy painting the walls first - a warm grey - then the plan is to draw/paint markings of the species of birds, butterflies and dragonflies that are seen at the lake. In my mind's eye these markings - just the ones that are visible in UV light - will form a kind of delicate web.

Then when the sun shines (if ever!) the prismatic film at the windows will highlght the markings in full rainbow colour. Well that's the idea anyway...

Here are a few photos of the hide, the long walk I take to reach it, working on the inside...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Prismatic Effects - Our field of vision

I've been thinking again about the difference between human vision and that of birds/insects. Our visible spectrum comprises the rainbow colours as shown here. These photos were taken of a very small holographic diffraction grating film - when it is placed in direct sunlight the white light is split into its constituent parts. Birds are tetrachromats and so can see ultraviolet in addition to these colours. Snakes see infrared. If we could only see what the animals see these images would appear very different.

This light installation is by Peter Erskine - he achieved this amazing prismatic light effect by using heliostats and prismatic film. I've been thinking that I could use a prismatic film to coat the windows on one of the hides - the rainbow display is only visible in the shadows of the interior - all that is needed is sunlight! The heliostat is used to track the sun - I'd have to make do without that.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Refurbishing a Bird Hide

College Lake, Tring

I'm in the planning stages of a project to refurbish a bird hide to include artwork relevant to the Wildlife Sanctuary at College Lake.

Listening to bird song led to thinking about how birds see, and how their vision differs from ours. We have 3 cones in the retina: red, green and blue, which allow us to distinguish one million different colours. Most birds have 4 cones: red, green, blue plus ultraviolet, which means they can distinguish 100 million different colours - these birds are tetrachromats. Pigeons are believed to be petrachromats, they see an even greater range of colour.

Bees can also see the shorter light waves in the near ultraviolet spectrum, but they cannot see red, at the other end of our band of visible light. So to bees the colour red appears black, whilst they are very attracted to blue/purples.

What does this mean? It's hard for us to imagine exactly what birds and insects see, because our imagination is limited by our experience. Colour is not an absolute - it varies depending upon who is observing it. The impression of colour is given by our brain's reaction to the different length light waves. So we can never truly know what others see. Taking photographs with a UV sensitive camera results in images that are coloured by the filters that the photographer chooses to use.

What is clear is that birds and insects see different patterns of colour in ordinary objects, eg flowers, that are hidden to us, and they see these in addition to the colours we perceive.

Here are some images of flowers and bird plummage that give an interpretation of uv markings...

So the artwork that I am thinking of making for the Bird Hide is along the lines of.... what might the birds, bees, butterflies and dragonflies at College Lake see?

The details of this are hazy as yet, but I'm working on it....

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bucks Open Studios

It's half way through the annual Open Studios in Bucks - here are a few photos of my studio at Commercial Square...

It's never been tidier!!!
We are open 11 to 5pm on 17, 18, 19 ,20, 26 and 27 June - the address is:

Commercial Square Studios
Block C
Leigh Court
Leigh Street
High Wycombe
HP11 2RH