• Claire Burke

The First Step

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

I've been hatching an idea since our Cornish escape in August, and today I took the plunge.

We stayed in a holiday home on the Rame peninsula with a stunning view over the tidal estuary from Southdown to the Edgecumbe Estate, and although the weather wasn't particularly kind to us the view never let me down.

With the water obligingly making literal and striking changes to the landscape in front of my eyes, and the unpredictable British summer playing rapidly with the sky I was in artistic paradise. Honestly if artistic inspiration worked like a bank account I was making a lot of deposits!

From day one I took in as much of the detail as I could, improving my eye and interrogating the feelings of calm and balance and tranquillity. As usual I took about a zillion photographs and this time knew they would be part of a project not just holiday snaps. I took some time lapse videos and bored the family with happy sighs and appreciative comments and made some sketchbook references and wished I had all my materials with me!

Sad to return home (always the sign of a great break) I was almost overwhelmed with ideas and, frustratingly, had other non-artistic distractions to deal with.

A hiatus.

The other tasks I had to sort out took concentration and time. I couldn't get stuck into anything substantial creatively until one particular job was sorted and by the time it was I was mentally exhausted (physically too for a few days). And many artists will confirm that you can't just "switch it all back on" when its convenient, by then I was feeling the project I'd started to hatch was just too ambitious and the scale of it was too intimidating.

But it turns out I just needed to crystallise some key components:

- just how many canvases would I need?

- what colour paints was I going to require in volume

- what will be the first step?

Because it is just the first step that starts the journey.

Oh yes, and The Plan (as it stands) is to make a body of work on assorted square canvases starting with underlayers of the same mark-making, colours and application methods to form a composite abstracted image of the view we enjoyed. This will give them cohesion and like properties. Then I can work on them individually or in pairs or threes, adding varied depths of colour or tone or detail. I don't know how much the end result will reflect the actual view down in Cornwall but I anticipate at the very least that the work will have landscape qualities and feel like members of a family. Only time will tell...

14 canvases, pots of of Titanium White, Ultramarine and Paynes Grey in stock and a pastel pencil sketch of the composite landscape to break up all the white ..... today I took the first step, Yay!!

For those interested I'll be posting update and process videos like the one below on my Instagram account (search Instagram @claire_burke_art) - follow me or subscribe to my blog / newsletter.

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