River Reflections: Painting, prints and Photobook

The River Cam where I walk nearly every day has been a constant theme in my work. My approach has so far been a rather conventional landscape art approach, conveying some of the beauty of the river in response to project briefs focusing on expressive drawing, painting and printmaking.

Drawing and painting

For an OCA Certificate in Painting I had produced a number of Watercolour and Acrylic paintings and drawings in different media, particularly oil pastel. I really enjoy sketching and painting from life outside – the meditative reflections in the water and shapes of the trees. I also enjoy drawing the wind – some of my old paintings also got spattered with rain.

Some of the collages and photographs of the Railway Bridge were used in a book cover design for Illustration 1 ‘Faces in the Water’ – evoking fears of mental illness and my mother’s depression and growing dementia.

Printmaking 2 Natural landscapes

For Printmaking modules I used sketches as the basis for natural landscape prints in a range of media. The briefs were largely technical in nature, to explore the expressive process and different effects that could be achieved in different media. Rather than really attending to meaning and content. From that perspective I think they succeeded quite well. For more prints and detailed discussion see:


Etchings and stone lithography

Stone lithography

It was only in reviewing this stone lithography print for Printmaking 2 Assessment that I started to think about meaning, and whether there was any message beyond ‘moody aesthetics’.

Landscape Photography

In my OCA Landscape Photography course – taken as a leisure student in parallel to VisCom courses, and not submitted for assessment – and my personal photography I have dealt much more explicitly with social and political issues along the River. Particularly in a Photobook called ‘Bench’, looking not only at the natural environment, but the interactions of people and place. It charted the ‘life of 7 benches’ along the river and the traces people left behind, with suggestions of the stories behind discarded black dresses that slowly decayed, shirts and toys left on benches as well as all the beer cans from different countries thrown in the brook behind.