All that glitters must surely be from Essex

All that glitters must surely be from Essex
Oil and glitter on canvas

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Over 2000 years in one painting!!!!!

I'm not sure if I'm setting myself up for one massive creative headache here, but this is exactly what I'm setting out to do with the painting that i'm in the planning stages of now.
I'm turning my attentions to Colchester, for my next piece and want to show reflect in the painting the sheer amount of history that surrounds this place.  Although it might seem pretty impossible, I'm going to do my best.

Yesterday I visited Firstsite, a visual arts centre which opened here in 2011.  The centre is so named as Colchester was the first site of the Roman occupation (correct me if I'm wrong).  As you walk towards the exhibition spaces you walk over a glass panel in the floor under which is a beautiful mosaic floor in the position it was found in by someone gardening (again, correct me if I've remembered this wrong!).  It was taken and  put in Colchester Castle for quite a number of decades, but then finally was relocated back to it's original position when Firstsite was built.  Originally it was the wonderful floor of some rich Roman's dining room.

The corner is missing as it was dug through in medieval times, when a far less grand person than it's original owner was digging out a rubbish pit!  It all helped to cement in my mind how I was going to approach this painting.  I've decided to layer collaged images, materials and paintings.  Showing glimpses of what is now and was once was.  Landscape paintings show what is around us as it appears to us, even abstract landscapes are still showing what surrounds us as it appears.  I want to create a contemporary landscape which shows how we all walk within the remnants of the old, even older and the completely unseen.

(this is not Richard III by the way, but an image I'll be using to represent those that died when Boudica laid waste to Colchester)
Take for example Richard III, who could have known when parking their car that they were doing so on a King of England's head!
The unknown person from the middle ages who obliterated the corner of a fine Roman mosaic to create a rubbish pit; I wonder if he/she (most probably a he!) knew what they were digging through...possibly and didn't care/know what it was, but more than likely it was completely unseen to them.

So, for a place built on layer upon layer of yesterdays I hope to create a landscape which shows both the vibrancy and rich history of this glorious old settlement!


  1. This sounds an interesting project you are planning. I live in Colchester too, and have been inspired by Boudicca and by firstsite in a couple of my knit designs. I have written about them in my blog ( if you are interested. There is so much here of historical value that I'm sure more designs will follow. I love the coin image you have here, as well.

  2. You're so right, we moved here a a few years ago from Romford, and I've found endless inspiration for my work in the landscape itself and the history behind it. I love the design for the hat that you created from the lines and form of Firstsite, very clever - I'm in awe of those who knit, I have tried on a number of occasions but it is a skill that eludes me! May I put a link to your blog in my next post? As the work progresses I post updates on here and would love to show how the history of where we live influences such a variety of creative processes.

  3. Oooh, yes please do! That would be great. Please let me know when you publish it. :)