Notes from the Labyrinth

An experiment in non-linear time

Today it rained…

by Caroline on May 27, 2014, no comments

…but I wanted to make work, so I made a cyanotype of the falling rain.

Rain during exposuredark areas are where raindrops have hit the paper

A section of Rain during exposure
Dark areas are where raindrops have hit the paper

A close up of Rain after developmentIt will darken overnight as the cyanotype oxidizes

A close up of Rain after development
It will darken overnight as the cyanotype oxidizes

Experiments in Cyanotype

by Caroline on May 1, 2014, no comments

28 ways, Cyanotype and mixed media on watercolor paper, ©2014 Caroline Roberts

28 ways, Cyanotype and mixed media on watercolor paper, ©2014 Caroline Roberts

A series of “what if…” questions led to this piece:
What if I add ink to cyanotype and then expose the paper?
What if expose the cyanotype solution when wet?
What if a cyanotype was made with no object and no negative, would it just be blue?

And the results have led to more questions, which is an indicator of success in my work.

Seeds on a cloudy day

by Caroline on December 10, 2013, no comments

Chive seed heads on an overcast day, cyanotype on watercolor paper

Chive seed heads on an overcast day

Since I let my chives go to seed I’d may as well make art from them. I love how ghostly the photograms are on a cloudy day.

An experimental documentary about a landscape

by Caroline on December 9, 2013, no comments

A little something I wrote and animated based on old (and new) photographs of Shetland.

What does it mean for us to encounter something that exists according to its own rules and that does not acknowledge us? Does the land need us? Do we have a role to play in its rules? Yet we affect each other. Landscapes give us other ways of seeing, other ways of thinking. They are thresholds to other worlds.
What is the relationship between the evolutional experiment in self-awareness that is mankind and the unaware neutrality of nature?
I’m not a Romantic. If there is the sublime out there in nature it is in the lack of internal dialogue, in the lack of control and rationalizations, in the tension of not belonging.

Kelly Sears

by Caroline on October 23, 2013, no comments

Still from Once it Started it Could Not End Otherwise

Still from Once it Started it Could Not End Otherwise

Some previews of Kelly Sears’ video work can be found on her website. I am especially enjoying Once it Started it Could Not End Otherwise, which can be viewed in full on short of the week. She uses old photographs, hand coloration and video, layered together to create disturbing narratives.

Separating a person from a place is a hard thing to do, where does a soul begin and the land end?
Kelly Sears, in interview with Culturemap about her short film The Rancher

Why paint?

by Caroline on October 22, 2013, no comments


Detail of current painting

Isn’t painting dead after all? Isn’t it a bit old-fashioned? Aren’t other art forms where it’s at nowadays?

These, and other questions, are posed, either by others, or by myself when I’ve wandered around one too many art fairs.

So, why paint? And more specifically, why paint or draw from life?

I paint because it is a way of paying attention to something, and a way of thinking about that something. And being present and paying attention to anything that you choose, that does not demand your attention, is rare. So I choose to look at things in nature and see if the language of painting has anything to say about them that might be interesting or informative or simply beautiful. Paintings are often slow affairs, this is the Slow Looking movement if you like. Like Slow Food or Slow Homes. That attention and time marks something out as special, as worth the effort, in a kind of ritual. Once we would have noticed and celebrated the full moon, or the longest day, or the equinox, or the harvest. Now, some of us paint.

The cyanotype before rinsing

by Caroline on October 2, 2013, no comments

Cyanotype of Chive flowers before rinsing

Cyanotype of Chive flowers before rinsing

The cyanotype solution is light yellow before exposure to the sun, an live green afterwards. For all the slight difference in color between the shaded areas and the exposed areas before rinsing, the final image was highly contrasted.

Rauschenberg on photographs

by Caroline on September 30, 2013, no comments

Boston, Massachusetts Robert Rauschenberg

Boston, Massachusetts
Robert Rauschenberg

I was interested to learn that Rauschenberg was a photographer before he was a painter and continued to make photographs, finding that it was a way to pay more attention to light and shadow as they change. His photographs seem to be, in general, more about black and white, rather than about capturing the greys; and pattern, form and composition seem of higher concern than people or place.

I noticed a long time ago, when I went to a strange country, that I had the best time and the greatest experiences when I thought I was lost, because when you are lost you look so much harder.
Robert Rauschenberg, Rauschenberg: Photographs