2 Vyvyan Rd,
Bristol, BS8 3AD
December 14th, 2022
I took up residence at the Garage for two weeks in December 2022, with the anticipation of a regenerative and refreshing break from my studio routine. Different environments and spaces have a tendency to influence and feed into my work, and after a period of quite intense production in my studio, the residency presented itself as an opportunity to shift gears toward a slowness of reflection on painting and discovery of a new locale.
The biggest challenge with moving workspace is figuring out what to take, and what to leave behind. After a few years working in my studio, processes have, to a certain degree, become about what is practical and possible within those four walls. The Garage is a much larger, flexible and spacious studio filled with the potential to unpack different strands of work and ideas, and to become energised to try new things. But what were those ideas, and how might I begin to orient myself in this space?
Unable to fully figure this out in situ, I spent the first few days walking back and forth between my studio and the garage, transporting enough objects, works in progress and tools to make me feel in some way prepared for whatever it was I was about to do – direct evidence of how I’ve embedded myself in my studio, and have great difficulty prising myself out, and venturing toward a new space.
Part of the appeal of the Garage is its location and proximity to nature. As I began to detach from familiarity, I started taking morning walks around Stokeleigh Camp in Leigh Woods, with a sketchbook and bag for collecting samples of lichens, leaves and sticks to take back to the studio for further study. I’d spend several hours sketching and thinking whilst walking amongst trees, and then return to the Garage in the afternoon to sift through my findings and continue the dialogue between my drawings and ongoing paintings bought from the studio. What began to emerge sat somewhere between a meditation on landscape and intuitive mark marking using the local environment of Leigh Woods as a collaborative force.
Being able to settle in a space with a small selection of works, and gradually introduce the immediate environment, was both helpful for me to resolve some things and to explore a clearer lineage between environment and painting. The end of the residency offered an opportunity to open the doors to a small group of friends to enter the space, and experience a tactile, sensory environment of my experiences up close.