Colour Study
Argentière Glacier, Mont-Blanc Massif, French Alps, March 2010

Introduction

A significant aspect of my time spent living in the Alps was a constant pre-occupation with the Argentière glacier and the colour of the ice. Over time, the glacier exhibited a range of blue hues – some nuanced others clearly defined. The colour of the ice appeared responsive to light conditions, cloud cover and seasonal variation. There was an ethereal quality to the glacial blue, a sublety of colour – solid and heavy, translucent and weightless.

A month-long colour observation was made of the Argentière glacier during March 2010. The study draws on remote observation – the appearance of the glacier from the valley floor, and the colour of glacial ice in the context of the mountain landscape. Observations of the glacier were made in the changing lights of the day, in the pale morning air, after snowfall, surrounded by cloud, before dusk, illuminated by storm light, under the crisp blue sky of the winter sun.

Alongside painted swatch references, notes were written to describe the sky conditions over the glacier. Through detailed daily observations this concentrated study captures and documents a series of glacial blues. This personal archive of colour reference has been used to inform a new series of printed works that look beyond surface colour. These experimental prints investigate the depth, intensity and mass of colour.

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Observation Point: Argentière Glacier

From a single viewing point daily colour observations of the Argentière Glacier were made throughout March 2010.

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Colour Reference: Argentière Glacier

Each day swatch references and detailed written notes were made. This collection of research material was used to inform Glacial Blue: Series Two (screenprints that build depth through semi-transparent coloured tints and overlays).

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Glacial Blue: series two

Using the written notes and swatches one colour was made for each day of March. Twenty seven* colours were individually mixed and printed.

* On four days in March, the glacier was not visible due to cloud cover and snowy weather conditions.

After the folio of twenty-seven glacial blues had been editioned, an equal quantity of each ink was measured then mixed together to create glacial blue hue 1. This median hue was used to print experimental density studies and constructions.

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Artist Residency: New Creative Dialogues

Residency Proposal

The mountain landscape is a wholly dynamic and energising place to live and work, a place that offers constant inspiration and a rich source of visual research material for my practice. New printworks will reference an in-depth study of glacial blue inspired by daily observations of the Argentière Glacier in the French Alps.

Inspired by nature

Colour, light and form, and the correlation between these three elements, provide the central preoccupations of my work. I am developing a visual language through printmaking to communicate aspects of nature that interest and fascinate me. The work investigates a range of ideas about colour and its relationship to form – printmaking facilitates the sequential construct of the work and provides a rich medium to explore ideas of layering, process and structure.

Key ideas and concepts that will be explored in the prints:

  • colour formations, structures and masses
  • the emergence of colour on a white surface – at what point does colour inhabit its own space and form?
  • the convergence and divergence of colour within a printed construction

This work forms part of colour research undertaken within a major study of glaciers, snow and ice.

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Works


Colour Observation
Inspired by daily colour observations of the Argentière Glacier in March 2010, twenty seven unique colours were individually printed. Each print in the folio has been referenced and dated.

Density 1–8
Printed layers are built sequentially from lines of translucent colour.

Construction IV, V
Printed layers are built sequentially using translucent colour. This pair of printed forms are constructed from the same modular units, they are differentiated by the position of the colour mass – this shifts from the apex to the base between the two.

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