Cradle River Valley near Bulguksa

As indicated in the title, this image was created onsite in a river valley near Bulguksa, (in South Korea). It began as an ink drawing in a semi-traditional style, which took about 8 hours and then later was affixed and sealed on to a backing to receive treatments that were finalized with oil washes.

With the use of ranges of blacks I have attempted to maintain the qualities inherent in the inks of the initial drawing whilst pushing the image forward and simplifying it with the studio processing...

I think one of the aspects of good images constitutes a series of marks, which are a fairly equal combination of the carefree and the careful.

Also, for an image to consistently please the viewer there should be opportunities remaining for the audience to continually complete the image. This is an Asian idea, which considers the empty or ‘negative’ space as equally important.

Each medium used by artist be it acrylic, goache, watercolors, oils or any of a myriad of other choices, offers it’s own specific methodology, and indeed, it’s own specific challenge.

If we discuss ink, as is the case for the initialization of this work then we can look at two major points. They are how to load a brush properly according to the required mark to be made, and familiarity with the range of marks possible by variations in how the brush is loaded, how it is held, applied to the surface, and of course, the selection from a range of brush types.

Although it is perhaps fair enough to revere the mastery of such skills as we would for masters of other creative forms – for example great musicians or composers, it is not right to place visual artists into some elevated category that is beyond the individual or for want of a better term, layman.

In fact artistic skills are the same as those belonging to any other trade, and may be learned and practiced. This means that artists are on a par with carpenters or any other craft or tradesmen, who simply have practiced and understood a range of skills and tools towards arriving at a kind of grace. I hold no truck with those who would elevate the visual arts above the reach of all people and make claims to some magical or ephemeral metaphysical understanding of the nature or things.

So, as an “artist” I am just a simple craftsman and practitioner and here I’ve tried to combine a range of learnable and accessible skills to create an image that is aesthetically pleasing and hopefully instructive and progressive.

River Valley near Bulguksa 2008-2011

460mm H x 1035mm W

Oil, Ink and Mixed Media on sealed paper

River Valley Near Bulguksa (detail)

River Valley Near Bulguksa (detail)

River Valley Near Bulguksia (detail)

River Valley Near Bulguksia (detail)