Landscape and Memory

This charcoal drawing is a view of the River Trent in Nottinghamshire. Riversides such as this are part of the landscape I was familiar with before I left Lincolnshire to live in Sheffield and then London.

Nearness and distance, line and textured areas and evoking silence or at least a calmness. These are elements which are attractive to me. When this image is placed against other unrelated drawings there is an emerging narrative that can go in many directions. How exciting that is! Imaginings coming from memory and going back to memory once more. See www.instagram.com/charker2001

Still Standing — Neil Elder Poetry

Yes, Elton John comes from Pinner, but Michael Rosen is also one of the best known people to have grown up here, and he is now a patron of the Heath Robinson Museum. The museum honours the artist and illustrator, who was a Pinner resident for a number of years. I was delighted then, to […]

Still Standing — Neil Elder Poetry

Lincolnshire

pencil crayon landscape june 2020

I am aclimatised to isolation and the prospect of the lifting of lockdown makes me nervous. Drawing this image of a tree in a field in Lincolnshire reminded me of the space and the quiet of the Lincolnshire landscape, and of course any rural landscape if you choose your location carefully. I spent my childhood as often as I could in this landscape and enjoyed the space and freedom it implied. I am in no hurry now to be amongst strangers in the suburban streets around my home in North West London. I think we all could benefit from quiet and appreciate the truth of nature.

 

Poppies

This is a drypoint from a drawing of Poppies which are located in a room dedicated to Soldiers who died in the First World War. The room is located in West House in the Pinner Memorial Park, the place that was the subject of an earlier post And The House Watches On – Notes on the drawings and prints and recent book of poems I illustrated called ‘And The House Watches On’ (see https://neilelderpoetry.wordpress.com/and-the-house-watches-on/

poppies

The image of the poppies is included in the book but the above print is different to the one in the book because it incorporates a process called Chine Colle which is in effect the result of combining collage and drypoint printmaking.

When I was working on a developing this image of the poppies from my drawings I was thinking alot about the work of Rachel Ruysch, a painter from the Netherlands working in the late 17th and early 18th Century whose specialism was flower painting ( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Ruysch#Works )

I thought of her paintings because some of them show the flowers in a container and omit any detail of the setting. As I see it this is effective because the paintings then become a study of the flowers and all our attention is brought to the carefully rendered detail. Including elements of the setting would be distracting.

Isokon Flats

isokon house I WORDPRESS

This drypoint print is of Isokon Flats, also known as Lawn Road Flats, which is on Lawn Road, Hampstead, London NW3. It is a reinforced concrete block of  flats, designed by Canadian engineer Wells Coates for Molly and Jack Pritchard.

The designs for the flats were developed between 1929–1932 and opened on 9 July 1934. The building originally included 24 studio flats, eight one-bedroom flats, staff quarters, a kitchen and a large garage. The Pritchards lived in a one-bedroom penthouse flat at the top. Plywood was used extensively in the fittings of the apartments. Jack Pritchard was the Marketing Manager for the Estonian plywood company Venesta between 1926 and 1936, while he also operated the Isokon Furniture Company, originally in partnership with Wells Coates.

Residents also included Bauhaus émigrés Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and László Moholy-Nagy, architects Egon Riss and Arthur Korn, Agatha Christie (between 1941 and 1947) and her husband Max Mallowan, art historian Adrian Stokes, the author Nicholas Monsarrat, the archaeologist V. Gordon Childe, modernist architect Jacques Groag and his wife textile designer Jacqueline Groag. The communal kitchen was converted into the Isobar restaurant in 1937, to a design by Marcel Breuer and F.R.S. Yorke. The flats and the Isobar became known as a centre for socialist intellectual and artistic life in Hampstead and regular visitors to the Isobar included nearby residents Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.

With the outbreak of World War II, the Isokon furniture company ceased trading but was restarted in 1963. In 1969 the building was sold to the New Statesman magazine and the Isobar converted into flats.  The building was sold to Camden London Borough Council in 1972 and gradually deteriorated until the 1990s when it was abandoned and lay derelict for several years.

Avanti Architects, a practice which specialises in the refurbishment of Modernist buildings, refurbished the building in 2003 for the Notting Hill Housing Association (NHHA) who purchased it from Camden. During the restoration, the services were completely renewed, heating and insulation upgraded and the later overcoat of render removed from the exterior. The building was designated a Grade I listed structure, placing it amongst the most significant historic buildings in the UK.

In my drawing, from which the drypoint was produced, I included the soft forms of the trees to contrast with the lines of this modernist architecture.

Projects and Artwork

The link below is to a Contemporary Artist Website I joined in 2001. It shows some of the projects I have been involved in since 2001 and also examples of drawings, paintings, and prints and other creative  production since then. There is also a resume too. In the late 1990s I went to a talk by Artist, Bridget Riley, at Tate Britain. In her talk, and I may not remember word for word, I recall she said that an Artists development is not necessarily linear, but is a constant refinement of a concept or technique or a combination of them. It reminds me of the notion that an artist grows as an individual grows, hopefully emotionally and technically over time and this process is a refinement and a growing appreciation of nuance .

The website below has become an inventory and archive for my artistic practice and I do think of Bridget Rileys comments. For me it is also a diary, so a particular series of artwork is most definitely connected with time and place, and reminds me that my work is an autobiography.

Here in 2020 I continue to add to the content.

https://www.axisweb.org/p/charlotteharker/

And The House Watches On – Notes on the drawings and prints

I have written about ‘And The House Watches On’ in this blog previously. It is a recently published book that came about through a collaboration between poet Neil Elder and myself. It tells the story of West House, a former manor house in Pinner, Middlesex over almost 200 years through poems by Neil Elder and Drawings and prints by myself. A creative response to the story of the house which is now a cafe, exhibition and event space next to a Museum housing a collection of the work of William Heath Robinson. During the course of research for my drawings and prints for the book I referred to a number of sources which I used to inspire my work and the resulting drawings and prints became my response to Neils poetry and the history of West House and its grounds. Here are some of my notes next to the images. In his blog  www.neilelderpoetry.wordpress.com  Neil has also written about the background and detail of our project and a copy of the book can be purchased there.

kEEPING WATCH IMAGE CHARLOTTE HARKER FINAL SENT TO CATHY COX 2 MARCH

Keeping watch

This is a drypoint print* which is developed from an archive photograph in the public domain. I intended that the print had a very fragmentary appearance which appeals to the sense of history of the book. It also depicts the lake because of the house reflection. The House is printed almost in ‘white’ silhouette, with only hint of windows and architectural detail, with the lake in the foreground.

…. the empty house in silhouette stands sentry

a silent house drawing charlotte harker

A silent house

This is a pencil drawing developed from research of images of male figures from the late Georgian period in period clothing. Also it is the product of research into the shape and design of the blunderbuss  ………  the master of the house has been gone all day

           took his gun and went to meet a man;

Horatia's Stillness Drawing Charlotte Harker

Horatia’s stillness

This is a pencil drawing developed from researching images of Victorian women in mourning. I was thinking of the novel by Susan Hill, ‘The Woman in Black’ ( a ghost story in the 19th century tradition) and its Victorian sensibility. I wanted to show the Victorian austere and melancholic approach to mourning and draw upon the sense of a ghost like figure as inspired by Susan Hills ghost story.

            Everybody knows the lady in black

 

Away Day at Home Drawing Charlotte Harker

 

Away day at home

This is a Drypoint print from an archive photograph of the house and staff. It’s a very poignant image but also shows the rigidity and formality of pose even though they are supposed to be relaxing. The drypoint gives a more degraded and fragmented image as a sort of memory, a documentation of a passed event, a photograph degraded by age

With their people away

         the girls have been lording it up

Dreaming the Impossible Drawing Charlotte Harker

Dreaming the impossible

This is a pencil drawing of the Heath Robinson museum developed from my own sketches and photographs. The Museum was built in 2016 and I was the inaugural artist in residence at the museum and absorbed myself in the extensive collection of William Heath Robinsons work. The abstraction of the lines in the sloping roof and the geometry of the walls are attended to in my drawing. Through drawing these aesthetics are brought to the fore.

….beneath the sloping roof

              of a temperature controlled museum

Memorial Drawing Charlotte Harker

 

Memorial

This is a drypoint print of the poppies in the War memorial in the quiet room of Daisy’s café on the ground floor of West House. This is based on my own on site sketches, observations and photographs. The poppies are the memorial symbol of lives lost in war. ‘the book’ referred to in Neil’s Poem is housed in a glass case next to the poppies  which are depicted in the drawing

On Ice Drawing Charlotte Harker

On Ice

This is a pencil drawing of the lake next to West House iced over many winters ago probably in the early 2000s. I also made a drypoint print of this image which is in the book.

This image is based on my own photographs of the lake when it was iced over. I chose not to draw the figures of the schoolboys referred to in Neil’s poem. My drawing is the setting and Neils work evokes the action, which is consistent with the idea that my drawings are not illustrations of Neils work but that they act as prompts to my own depictions and memories and responses to this place. It gives our work a specific and universal feel at the same time.

                  On Ice

Jasons Witness Drawing Charlotte Harker

 

Jasons Witness

This is an ink drawing of a derelict West House developed from a photograph I took sometime in the 1990s. It depicts blacked out windows, and a peopleless empty silent setting and the cypress casting a shadow across the empty building. Neils poem evokes an empty boarded up building gradually degrading. The building in my depiction is the vacant and derelict west house which was so for much of the 1990s.

Priya and Pamela Drawing Charlotte Harker

Priya and Pamela

This is a drypoint print made from a photograph of an Anderson shelter in a book on Pinner. There is some evidence of there being an Anderson shelter at the now junction of the memorial park car park entrance. I am unsure whether there was one in the Pinner Memorial park itself.

                    inside the Anderson

Cynthias Vision Drawiing Charlotte Harker

Cynthia’s Vision

This is a pencil drawing of West House in 2020 from my own on site sketches and photographs. To the right in the drawing is part of the Museum.

                 in the shade of a cypress tree

                  that stands like a sentry

                  outside a memorial reborn

 

‘And The House Watches On’ can be purchased at

www.neilelderpoetry.wordpress.com

The images are the copyright of Charlotte Harker

 

*drypoint printmaking – A drypoint is a form of intaglio printing where the image is incised into a surface and the incisions hold the ink. The image is then transferred to the paper when the inked plate is passed through an etching press. Other forms of intaglio include Etching and Engraving

Path

dubrovnik version II

The path is a route. A route that leads somewhere or to a dead end. In terms of the built environment it is of course a man made structure, to direct on a certain route around an obstacle or natural land form for example. There is a tendency to read the path in terms of a destination. Or at least there was. Perhaps now our thinking will be more in terms of the now rather than the future. When you think of a path in terms of a destination then of course you are instantly thinking of the future. What is around that next corner? Beyond those trees I cannot see so I walk the path to find out. We know that no one truly knows what kind of path they are on, and it occurs to me that they never really did. I went to Croatia many years ago and this drawing in ink depicts a coastal path near Dubrovnik.