The Kinds of White series grew from a combination of daily walks along a particular stretch of the Lincolnshire coastline and experimentation with materials and print. This was a slow development – from 2009 onwards, this place and extensions of its path spawned lots of pieces of work, in- particular self-portraits. My tentative journey into Kinds of White began in 2014, through gathering specimens to research.
Part of my route is a formal pathway along which many walk, play, cycle and run, at all times of year and in many weather conditions. Depending on who you are, it is a place for leisure, for air, for exercise, and for being close to the ‘sea’, which in this instance is the mouth of the Humber Estuary into the North Sea. A SSSI reserve, this place is also a major migration route and habitat for many birds and through the salt marshes, mud flats and dunes supports a wealth of wildlife.
However, my own increasing notice of the plant-life lining the path was concurrent with realising how little notice so many seemed to take of what was accompanying them on their route. Yes, many of these plants in a garden setting may be considered ‘weeds’. Indeed, the chamomile, lady’s bedstraw, yarrow and others are still not often paid attention despite the abundance, the scent, the attendant butterflies and moths, their stories through history.
Kinds of White became a ‘white-on-white’ series of work playing with ideas of ‘what we see’ or don’t see; the white gouache applied in layers over the printed black ink is a subtle visual contrast against the creamy-white of the embossed paper silhouettes of the plant specimens. During the process, I was thinking of this gouache application also as the painting of ‘air’/oxygen/CO2 …
I considered several titles. When, in 2016 composer David Power commissioned me to create a film for his song, Kinds of White (see Music & Films), I adopted this title, and the film and 2d work have been shown in combination.
There are more pieces in this series than shown here, and I still continue to create these works in my studio from time to time.