Sue J Blake

The Studio
Rote Hahn Hof

Lüneburg Residency

Delighted to have been awarded an Uwe Lüders Art Foundation Award, allowing me to be resident in Lüneburg, Germany during the first three months of 2023.

The award provided  funding for an uninterrupted three month period, in which a new body of work could begin to evolve for exhibition. A studio space and accommodation were also provided, at the historic Rote Hahn in this beautiful Hanseatic town.

Recipients of the award, [which is for two-dimensional drawing and painting], are encouraged to immerse themselves in a new environment, be freer to experiment and possibly to take their work in new directions.

        

    Departure. Watercolour 80x60cm

The starting point for this new work is the concept of  “Departures”. This seems appropriate on a personal level, given the fact I have spent three months working away from all that’s familiar. It’s  also perhaps more generally relevant as we “re-launch” after the pandemic and live in times when too many are displaced through no fault of their own. Railway stations and airports passed through on travels seemed were an ideal place to start – and the many sketches already made whilst waiting around on journeys are  finally being put to use!

             graphite drawings, each 80x60cm

Using photos – as opposed to copying directly from them – can be helpful. Photoshop rapidly allows for the adjusting, collaging, layering, rotating and repeating of images to explore ideas. Taking photos of sketches and paintings in progress, then manipulating them, can take the original composition in new, more imaginative directions. These “digital sketches” are mostly source material rather than ends in themselves.

    digital sketches                                                                       

The sketchbook is of course a place to record observations but also to experiment with techniques and ideas. False starts and explorations on other papers/materials are collated too, so that it evolves into a journal of the project.

    

                                                      sketchbook pages

The aim for the exhibition will be a collection of work depicting people in transit. The challenge will be to represent how we feel when on the move. How can the transitory nature be portrayed? When on the move we occupy a kind of no man’s land; somewhere that is alien, but at the same time somewhere to which we all, at least temporarily, belong. We dissolve into the environment as we pass through it.

    works in progress

How to represent this idea?
1. most of the drawings and paintings will be composed of  back views – it’s important that the figures are general representations and not portraits.
2.The winter months during which the residency is taking place means further anonymity can be given by the clothing; hoods and thick coats help to disguise specific features.
3. The finished works will be inspired by locations where the sketches were made, BUT, only suggestions of architectural or other settings will be included. The aim is to allow the viewer to interpret the image as they wish. Who are these people, where are they going and why are they on the move?
 
           For details of the following images please see the relevant portfolio in the “Paintings” gallery.