Suffering for art’s sake

Container ships being worked at sunrise

Felixstowe from Shotley Gate

Today, I’m reminded of why I choose to make most of my landscape work during the Winter months. I was up and out at an ungodly hour yesterday to catch the weeping darkness turn to light. This was an unnecessary but necessary quest. Last August Bank Holiday Monday I was up and out at a similar time as part of commissioned work for the the refurbished Atrium building on the University of Suffolk’s campus.

I have never surpassed that shoot but events conspired against me in that all the original files from that shoot were the only files I lost when we suffered a burglary. What remains of them are three test prints (now framed and in limited editions of 1 of 1) and a huge print at 8.1 metres wide in the Atrium building. The print itself bears no resemblance to the original file, it being too red compared to the yellow of the file I submitted to the printing firm, but causal or even regulars viewers of that image don’t know that.

This was a quest to see what I could capture on the anniversary of that shoot using similar equipment but obviously at the whim of atmospherics. Luckily we have had a superbly stable high sitting over the South Eastern corner with three consecutive days of normal heat and sunshine for this time of year. These blessings had to be countered somehow and sure enough, despite the warm 18 degrees at 0500 on location, I was covered from head to toes with just face and hands bare to the elements. Despite this I was aware that unseen flying things had bitten me on at least my right hand.

Back home I applied the hot teabag remedy I was advised of at Lambden Gallery in Ipswich – it does work a treat but I missed the index finger of my left hand and this morning it was twice the size of the right index finger. Liberal amounts of tea have been consumed in my quest to apply this poultice (I’m loathe to waste the tea or the hot water), so much so that I have to keep going to the dunny. Always a downside to medication and indeed making art.

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