It’s all about light. That’s where this body of work began and has been my focus for the past year.
Chelsea Davine - Come into the light
I’m often asked about my inspiration, where does it come from, how do I know what to paint? My subject matter remains the same, the material itself, the coast, the sea, lines of desire that criss-cross the landscape, time and its corrosive effect on materials and finding the beauty in what we see around us. The world filters into my studio: colour, light, politics, religion, people. Conversations remain with me, maps mesmerize me.
Chelsea Davine - Coast
It’s something I live every day. I see compositions, spaces, textures all around. I collect them in my head, photograph them, store them away and let the ideas germinate, grow and come into the light, one day. It’s not as much about recreating faithfully an image or texture but more trying to express a sense of what it felt like at the time or evoke or prompt a response from the viewer.
In the studio I surround myself with various materials. I think most artists are inquisitive, collectors, hoarders. The rag’n’bone man passes every week and asks if I have anything to give him. He now laughs because he knows that those old bits of steel, random pieces of wood, copper, paper or whatever I have lying around are my tools or I swap with him some rusty old bar. I use them to remind me of something I’ve seen, a fleeting idea or a memory, a place, to lie on the canvas or steel, creating patterns, leaving a mark. The steel paintings lie on top of each other overnight and when I come in, in the morning they reveal the alchemy of water on steel, acid on copper, varnish on paint, water separating from oil.
Chelsea Davine - Silver watermark
Last winter I flew into the UK, along the coast from France. As I looked out of the window down below was a snow-covered Britain. The green patchwork replaced by white. The ancient white isle: Albion. Hills, valleys, vales, hollows, copses and woods all crisscrossed by liquorice black roads in the snow. From the air the waterways and Thames glistened gold in the brilliant sunlight. It was breathtaking. The perspective from above seeing the outline of the coast as we flew in remained with me. Over the months I worked on capturing the light of that trip.
The leaves of a tree in autumn as they begin to turn, then fall. The warmth and glow of a fire in a hoar frosted winter. Dappled light creating abstract patterns and a deep rich carpet of colours on the ground. The coast around Lyme Regis with its cliff falls revealing hidden strata, changing the outline on the island. Corrosion and erosion, water leaving its mark on the earth, moss on stone, drift wood gnarled, bleached and ageing. Through the seasons and weather, after the storm moves westwards it reveals the pale light behind across the horizon out to the inky, slick black sea.
Chelsea Davine - Strata
When you believe spring will never come the first verdant green shoots appear and the light gets warmer when you can lie on the grass looking up through the canopy. Then summer arrives and the golden light that glows warm late into midsummer when the full moons, Hunters, Harvest, Peligree hang heavy over the land. Those twilight witching hours between dusk and dawn when the light is never truly black but shades of blue, mustard yellow, pink and grey and mottled by a sprinkling of stars and far of galaxies.
This exhibition and body of work is a celebration of the things I see around me and live and try to capture or recreate those feelings and fleeting moments of beauty in my studio.
Chelsea Davine - Under the canopy