Making our mark in the park

Outdoor Art School and the Big Draw, 2019

In addition to the drawing activities at The Artistry House, I devised and led a series of group walking activities for The Big Draw and Preston Arts Festivals, in association with The Friends of Winckley Square. These walks meandered through Avenham and Miller Parks in the centre of Preston, during October 2019. On each walk a sequence of perceptual exercises took place at different locations and introduced creative techniques to tune in to and be inspired by the surroundings, particularly ephemeral atmosphere and sensory qualities.

creative kit 2Walkers’ creative ‘kit':  containing A5 notebook/sketchbook, pencil, graphite stick, wooden peg … and in this case, a horse chestnut seed. Each kit contained a seed from a different species of tree.

IMG_0607Some moments recorded on the walks, shown below.

Walk in the park frame

Slowing down and getting into the right state of mind and body… 

IMG_0678Perceiving  connections, sensing and ‘drawing’ lines…

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IMG_0835 (1)We used the flights of 17 x stone steps, to make a somatic, rhythmic link to the  17 x syllable format of traditional haiku poetry (three lines, made up of 5, 7 and 5 syllables)

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The haiku writing exercise continued at different locations: at the cut grass circle, along the river, around the fountain and in the bandstand.

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Above: distilling the essence of moments. Examples of our draft haiku descriptive writing, pegged in situ ( click on images to expand them and click back to return).

Bringing awareness to the present moment has been shown to improve mental health and physical wellbeing. It can be especially helpful for those feeling weighed down by the past, or fearful of the future. Becoming more in touch with surroundings can aid feelings of calm, connection and balance.

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IMG_0773On each walk we made  collaborative artworks and placed them midway across the old railway bridge over the river Ribble, as material reminders of the benefits to mind and body of creativity and being fully present in the moment.

We interpreted the perpetually flowing river as a metaphor for time passing and the midway crossing point on the bridge as neither past or future: a site at which to celebrate our communal NOW moment.


IMG_0785On one of the walks we made graphite drawings, rubbings and interpretations of atmosphere, using pre-prepared templates to stimulate creative approaches to composition.

We then compiled all the drawings using magnets onto the side of the old iron bridge:

IMG_0856On a separate walk, we collected yellow as we moved through the park, then sorted into shifting autumnal shades to create a vibrant  circle.

As an ancient symbol of holism and unity, our circle seemed both enduring and ephemeral.

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Thanks to

You BDThank you to all the walkers for their generous creative participation and also to Manda Johnson-Holme and Glennis Hulme for their encouragement and support.

And a special thanks to Tony Lewis, Park Warden for Avenham and Miller Parks and Friend of Winckley Square,  for his support and creative input to The Big Draw activities.

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At the end of one of the walks, I recorded this synchronistic moment, from the middle of the old iron railway bridge.

 

See our event on The Big Draw’s website here

References:

Some touchstones in the development of these creative walks have been

Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) Klee’s highly individual art style was influenced by Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism. He was a natural draftsman who also deeply explored colour theory. He taught at the Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. https://www.paulklee.net

Hannah Tuuliki is a Finnish/Scottish contemporary artist working in the landscape, with voice, drawing and gesture. https://www.hannatuulikki.org

Richard Long – one of Britain’s best-known land artists. http://www.richardlong.org

Nancy Holt (1938-2014) An american artist who pioneered a unique aesthetic of perception, as a key member of the Earth, Land and Conceptual art movements. http://www.nancyholt.com

Hamish Fulton – English artist who translates his walking into a variety of media. http://www.hamish-fulton.com

Andy Goldsworthy OBE is a British artist known for his site-specific installations involving natural materials and the passage of time. Andy studied art at Preston Polytechnic. Watch a recent film about his work here: https://www.leaningintothewind.com

C.G. Jung (1875 –1961) Swiss born founder of analytical psychology, Jung was also an artist, craftsman and builder as well as a prolific writer. He cited an intense period of art making as hugely influential in the development of his theories of the unconscious. Suggest his last book, an autobiography ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ as a starting point.

‘The Spell of the Sensuous. perception and language in a more-than-human-world.’ David Abram. Vintage Books. David Abram is an American philosopher, cultural ecologist, and performance artist, best known for his work bridging the philosophical tradition of phenomenology with environmental and ecological issues. https://wildethics.org

‘Presence’ is a leading British Haiku journal. www.haikupresence.org

Schumacher College is an internationally renowned learning community in Devon, offering ecology-centred masters programmes and short courses.   https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk

A WALK IN THE PARK

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Join us for a companionable, creative group walk through Avenham and Miller Parks, for the Big Draw and Preston Arts Festivals.

During the walk we will introduce simple ways to tune in to and be inspired by our surroundings: the atmosphere and sensory qualities.  We will draw, write and make, as we trace our movement through the park, working together to experience and experiment, using materials provided.

Each walk lasts about 2 hours. Places are limited.

Walk 1

The Big Draw event info is here for Saturday October 5th 2019, 14:00 – 16:00  and book at Eventbrite here: here

Walk 2

The Big Draw event info is here for Sunday October 13th, 10:00 – 12:00 and book at Eventbrite here:

A series of other guided walks on a range of topics, organised by the Friends of Winckley Square, will wander and weave through the centre of Preston, during the first three weeks of October 2019 as part of Preston Arts Festival.

More information about all of these walks here

“An active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal. A walk for walk’s sake.” 

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 Image above, from:  ‘Memory of a walk’ © Fiona Candy, September 2019

 Quotation by Paul Klee, from his Pedagogical Sketchbook, first published in 1925.

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 Examples of pages from Paul Klee’s pedagogical sketchbook, above.

 Recently I’ve been drawing in response to experiences of walking through Preston’s city centre parks. On these walks I made my way intuitively, without any plan and sketched out routes and perceptual aspects as I moved along, using pencil line at first. I added to these very rough drawings later and made others from memory. I then combined elements and developed the drawings digitally.

I developed my own form of walking notation  – (see earlier blog posts for more detail) and use it to trace and transcribe the walking activities.

As well as the work of Paul Klee, music and dance notation have been strong influences.


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Above: small sections of walk ‘notation’ from my sketchbook

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Above; John Cage music score

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Above: a ‘Hornpipe’, an example of Baroque dance notation

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Above: ‘Wednesday walk’ © Fiona Candy, September 2019.

These drawings are not conceived as ‘maps’ or diagrams in a conventional sense: no relationship  to compass points or  the relative scale of pathways or other features encountered in the park were considered. Rather, the drawings are expressions  of spatial, embodied memories, of sensing and moving through ephemeral qualities of landscape.


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Google Earth view of Avenham and Miller Parks

Equal & Opposite – the laws of motion

Newton’s 3rd Law of motion: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion

The video above is a  raw edit of serendipitous moments captured via my iPhone when I attended an Instameet at ‘PEOPLE’,  a temporary,  ground level art installation by artists Low Profile. The PEOPLE artwork is part of celebrations to mark 50 years of Preston’s Bus Station, which was built in 1969 in the Brutalist architectural style.

The Instameet was organised by local curatorial partnership, In Certain Places. An exhibition called ‘Beautiful and Brutal: 50 Years in the life of the Bus Station’ will take place in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, in Preston, Lancashire,  later in the year.

Captured in Motion

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Image: taken from ‘Moving in Colour’ 2014. Special thanks to Feixa Yu.

Walking in Circles

Mindful walking: revealing embodied, grounded geometries, in the Motion Capture Studio, at University of Central Lancashire.

We used motion capture technology to transcribe walking movements,  as steps were overlaid in time and space. In this case, multiple reflective markers were attached to each foot.

The delicate qualities of the spiral form made visible in this way, appear as though ‘stitched’ in to, or ‘woven’ on to the ground, with each footstep.

Once  the palimpsest spiral is completed,  the other ‘end’ of it begins to unravel…

The first mo-cap sequence zooms in from various angles. And in the sequence below, the walking is seen from one side only:

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Standing at the centre: connective geometries.

In Mo-cap studio: multiple camera views converging.

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Toeing The Line

“A journey implies a destination, so many miles to be consumed, while a walk is its own measure, complete at every point along the way.” Francis Alÿs.

One of a sequence of video stories I’ve made about walking along life’s path…

Often my work has related to clothing in action –  being worn – and its relationship to the human body moving in space, through time and place. In this sequence I am looking at feet and shoes, the signs and metaphysical messages on the surface of the ‘ground’ and the rhythm of embodied time as it is paced, lived and experienced.

This sequence was filmed in Preston, Lancashire, UK and in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Mandvi in Gujarat in India, during February and March 2013.

‘”Dolna” sung by Shreya Ghoshal, from the Bollywood movie ‘Morning Walk’ (2009)