|All images © Lesley Birch 2007-2013|
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** LATEST NEWS ** Two works shortlisted for Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2013
"The Red Beret", mixed media - 22 x 17 cms - on the shortlist
I made this piece using inks, collage and oil pastel on acid free paper and it developed over several months in response to a chosen theme entitled "Fog". I like to work to a theme, using my sketchbooks to explore ideas. "The Red Beret" will be part of a body of work in mixed media exploring the idea of nostalgia - attachment to the past - and this 'washed-out' look is what I am aiming for in the texture and colour choices I made.
I choose acid-free paper and I use matt varnish to seal the image because I want my pieces to last hundreds of years. By mounting the paper onto card and then protecting it in a box frame behind glass, I am then ensuring it will last, but also this little nostalgic image becomes a sort of specimen in a case.
The idea of "Fog" comes from my memories of my dad and my blurred understanding of his history before I was born. The little boy in the painting is, for me, reminiscent of the innocence of my dad. He is walking perhaps to the library, with a book under his arm. It could be winter with snow on the ground. The wall behind him is not quite taking up the whole space - a hint of sky and a steeple or building peeps through. This suggests the world outside. Really, I don't know why I made the beret red -- I just liked the vibrant oil pastel red against the muted, washed-out feeling, like an old photograph. It's a narrative which the viewer can take further - the main point is there is some sort of story in the journey.