I have been reading a book by Peter London called Drawing Closer to Nature: Making Art in Dialogue with the Natural World. Although it takes a lot of words to get at some basic principles I am finding it helpful in establishing my own approach to working in the natural environment. A few words I wrote down today as notes were: authenticity, slow, quiet and listening. He says: 'We do not transform nature by our efforts; Nature transforms us by our efforts.' I don't think this is always true, but I think it is something to aim for.
I have decided that the subject area I will explore for my 'Practice in Context' presentation will be 'A Sense of Place'. I am extremely grateful to India Flint for putting a link on her blog to an essay entitled Place Making: some reflections on Western Australian art Practice. I am intrigued by the concept of 'sense of place', which seems to combine a lot of the ideas I have been exploring. Central is the idea that a place is not a geographical location; place implies mental, physical or spiritual involvement. In other words somewhere becomes a place to us through active association; culture.
All this has made me realise that I need to understand the places I want to investigate in much more depth. I need to understand the cultural inheritance and history but even more importantly I must become actively involved in the landscape to fully immerse myself in it. There is so much more I could write about this subject...
Lastly I have come to realise the reason I feel so connected to the woodland near Bingley is because it is mainly beech woods, which are also characteristic of the part of the Chiltern Hill where I grew-up. Consequently I would like to try working in both places to see what I come up with.
One absolutely final thing; I have re-discovered John Wolseley's work and was fascinated to read his website - well worth a read.