JMW Turner, Worcester Cathedral from the River Severn, c1834
Flashback Monday and today I relistened to this podcast I was invited to make for the National Gallery back in 2010.
I was recorded while working on a central London beach, using ink and watercolour, paper and the moving waters of the tidal Thames. It makes me realise I’ve been returning to the same places for a long time now, hand in hand with paper, ink, watercolour, but it never feels like a repeat. Each encounter with a day and the water always feels new, and looking around the studio at how the work has evolved bears testament to this.
Some gestures have become habit, almost ritual, like the search for clean pebbles, broken bricks or stones on arrival, which will hold down the drying paper and prevent it from blowing back into the river.
Another habit has become the joy of listening to the water, a sound I miss if I am away from it for too long. It’s a wonderful noise. The mention on the podcast of pipettes reminds me how so much of my work starts and results from just one drop of ink, usually from a stick nowadays. With ink and watercolour less is always more.
I was recently in Tate Britain looking at some of Turners’ watercolours, and as always in that place, there was a discovery to be made, one I had never seen before. A watercolour of Worcester Cathedral, or rather, the sky above Worcester Cathedral. A beautiful thing made in the place I lived for 11 years as a child.