West Dean College near Chichester Blacksmithing Course

April 22, 2009

I have just returned from West Dean College, near Chichester, Sussex. I have been on another Blacksmithing course.  I always have such an inspiring time at West Dean. I have been working hard, and have learnt a lot. I have done lots of research in the West Dean College library. As usual, I gather more than I have any hope of being able to put to use, but never mind. I have some wonderful examples of German Expressionistic painting, some amazing Italian drawings which will feed my mind and eye for a long time. I have a new insight into the draughtsmanship of Van Gogh which I would not have been able to appreciate from looking only at his paintings. I have a good few sketches… I am making sketching more of a priority and trying out different media in the process. I had an excellent time in the forge and learnt some more things about manipulating metal. I will post some images once I have processed them. It is a great sadness to me that I can only have the opportunity to work with metal in such a restricted way… once a year for a few days is not enough, but with limited money and time, and all the domestic chores which constantly surround me, that is just the way it is. One just has to be content with what one has in the end.

It is an unspeakably beautiful experience gazing into a fire and being involved in the process of moving metal around. Though it is very unlike painting I feel very strongly about it.  My great great grandfather was a blacksmith I recently discovered.  Maybe it’s in the blood!

I also visited Pallant House on my visit to Sussex. I wanted mainly to see some of Ivon Hitchen’s paintings in the flesh, and it was great to see a few, though too few for me really. I was VERY struck by some “language art” I saw. I found it very inspiring. Here is a link to some information on the artist Charles Sandison;
http://www.designboom.com/portrait/sandison.html

I like where he is coming from and found his work simply amazing. I am quite interested in the relationship between text and image, and ways of both working together, and I found him and his work, spot on!

Sketch, Willow Charcoal, compressed charcoal, pastel by Jenny Meehan

Sketch, Willow Charcoal, compressed charcoal, pastel by Jenny Meehan

The whole image, this time.  I hope this has worked and you may see it.

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