I spent a lot of time in the Summer of 2012 beach-combing at Port-la-Nouvelle (which is very close to where I live). There was a lot of driftwood on the beach, and I soon realised that it had considerable artistic potential.
On looking closely at the various piles of washed-up wood (and other stuff) I began to see faces of what I have called 'Sea Monsters' which I have taken lots of photos of. A selection of these is in the Sea Monsters section. An exhibition of these photos was held in conjunction with my Danish photography friend, Henrik Bronsted, in Copenhagen in 2013.
I also started collecting and working on interesting pieces of driftwood - well pieces that I could carry as some of them weighed hundreds of kilos. I brought these home and painted them in bright colours in a very simple, quasi-Aboriginal-style, mainly using just dots and lines. The flow, lines and texture of each piece of driftwood generally dictated the way that I approached it.
I have imposed on myself a series of 'rules' for my Beach and Driftwood Art:
- only under exceptional circumstances - such as making an assemblage - can pieces of wood be grouped together. The basic principle is one piece equals one Sea Monster, and one piece equals a work of Driftwood Art. And I take them as I find them.
- the driftwood cannot be cut, broken re-shaped etc. It is what it is.
- it is permitted to add things to the Sea Monsters (such as a frisby or a toy wheel), providing that whatever it is is found on the beach in close proximity to the Monster.
- Sea Monsters can be moved - upended, downended even, placed in or close to the sea, regrouped, etc - as long as this does not impinge on their basic 'monsterish' nature.
The latest evolution in my Beach Art adventures is Stone Art. This involves painting simple, 'ethnic' patterns on stones collected from the beaches of Brittany, France.