© Copyright Ellen Mulcrone

Lying on floors


I woke up today feeling totally overwhelmed and like the amount of ideas I had for creation didn't match that amount of time I had left on the residency. To realise even a fraction of the ideas felt an impossible task. I lay on the floor in the living room, I went upstairs. I lay on the floor of my bedroom. I spread my arms, my legs, like a star, and lay there. I looked at the ceiling, I looked beyond the ceiling. I stopped looking and felt, my presence there, the overwhelm of my ambitious mind, the solid woven floor beneath my body, the warmth of the heating and the coolness of the outside air whistling in, the buzzing of wasps on the grape vines, the montage of tweets and chirps of life outdoors. In some way this stillness helped. I took deep breaths and realised that I was alive. And I needed to go for a walk.







I stepped in to my boots, popped a map in my bag and set off. I ended up walking for 3 hours. It was a crisp icy autumn morning, I bumped in to some people I vaguely knew, and many I didn't. Everyone had a dog.' Were the dogs walking them?' I wondered. I enjoyed the friendly, short interactions as I marched on, through the woods, along the river, up on to the fields high in the gold light, warming my cheeks.





I picked horse-field mushrooms and on arriving home cooked these with spinach and leeks. Fresh. I then rolled out my yoga mat and stretched my limbs and drank a lot of water. Now I was ready to create.


That morning before leaving the house I had prepped some thick A3 papers by water washing them and taping them to a surface, to stop them from crinkling up too much when I applied paint later on. This meant when I returned I was able to dive in to creating studies of the tithe barn roof which yesterday morning had occupied my curiosity so.






I began by pulling out any colours I had observed in the roof; rusty browns, mouldy purples, deep electric blues. I mixed up the colour then began applying them in washes to the stretched papers.





I left this to dry then add layers on top, working from the same pallet, using both brushes and knives to scratch and scrape across the surface.



On top of this, once dry, I began to add some of the details of the roof. The mathematical yet organic feel of the tiles was something I was keen to replicate. I pulled out the two shapes I had noticed. The curved slim tiles and the long rectuangular ones. I worked with overlaying this pattern using pen, pencil, graphite, ballpoint, acrylic, pastel, and chalk. Using a mix of mediums allowed for the build-up of texture, much like the roof had. 




Once finished I peeled back the masking tape around the edge of the paper, creating a clean, crisp border which contrasted well with the fluidity of the marks. 





This was a great introductory practice to my week of mark-making. It is important for me to recognise my creative blocks, in this case feeling overwhelmed, and rather than ignore or run away from it, sit with it and let it fully engulf me. From this place I can then use appropriate interventions to move through the block, for example walking, stretching, drinking water. The change in envrionment allowed for a fresh perspective, the exercise got my blood pumping and released endorphins, and the hydration allowed my blood cells to pump up to their fullest, moving me in to a more balanced, focused state both mentally and physically. 




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Ellen Mulcrone
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