Saturday, May 16, 2009

Making decisions

The beginning of a new series is always a challenge for me because there are so many decisions to be made before beginning. I'm sure other artists may go about things slightly differently. Once I make these framework decisions, I loosen up totally and the content and composition takes on a mind of its own.

After my return from Birr Castle Demesne last July, my mind was overstimulated with visual information from my two week stay and it took me almost a month to calm down and begin work. Since I was creating the work with an exhibition in mind, I wanted some consistency in the appearance / size of the work; I also wanted the format to have some connection to my experiences in the garden. I'd like to take you on the thinking journey that resulted in my choice of support size and orientation.

My first glimpse of the garden was through a doorway that led from where we stayed in The Bothy directly into the Millennium Garden. I approached that door with a great deal of anticipation.

What was on the other side as I walked through

So my first view was a limited one through a doorway. As I spent time on the property, I realized that many of my views were through contained openings that only allowed what I termed as "controlled viewing" that revealed different slices of the garden.

I decided that was a good thing because I was not accustomed to the expanse of geometric grids that organized the garden. This viewing direction helped me pay attention to what I was seeing and really focus on what was framed. I realized that my viewing was organized by someone else, just a I manipulate the picture plane for viewer interaction when I compose.

Many other impressions were snatched through closed gates which brought me back to my first view of a cultivated garden as a child. My grandmother's garden was fenced and gated. I looked longingly through the slats in the fence to the world of riotous colour inside. I coveted that space very much, but I was not allowed inside because I had a penchant for picking flowers.

Mom and I , Keels Garden, 1954

It was the focused glance of rectangular openings that led me to adopt a vertical orientation for my work in this series. After much fiddling with dimensions I decided to work on cradled panels, 10 x 24 inches., not quite doorway proportions but definitely referencing them. I decided that I would direct the viewer of my work just as my gaze was directed in the gardens.
And then I had to choose a suitable technique for the work that allowed me to respond to my reading of the garden.


Sherwood Harrington said...

Great choice, Margaret. I'm really looking forward to this!

TheDecoDetective said...

This is very interesting, Margaret. I think we're always intrigued by doors and openings, wanting to see what's on the other side. I always photograph doors when I'm on holiday. The doors are closed, and I photograph them because they're beautiful, but I always wonder what's on the inside! And gates/openings that you can get glimpses through are just as fascinating.

Ram Bansal, The Theosoph said...

Thanks dear for giving me an idea to redesign my garden pathway, which is, at the moment, not very pleasing.
Ram Bansal