Fran White Out of the Shadows illustration
Fran White

Fran White

Out of the Shadows

Artists and scientists both think outside the box. They’ve got to come with genius experiments or ideas to expose the most interesting phenomena.

Cornelia Parker

As mentioned in my recent final reflections on lockdown blog, I have pursued a number of purposeful activities during lockdown, including an experimental project called ‘While the kettle boils’. I enjoyed that project so much that I have recently taken up a new experimental project observing and responding creatively to shadows.

In the spirit of Cornelia Parker, I have found experimenting with the everyday and familiar garners the most interesting creative outcomes, and this motivates me to continue the journey further with no particular outcome in mind except creativity itself.

Back in July of this year, Lesley Samms of PURE Arts Group encouraged me to take a break from the #Whilethekettleboils project, to give myself some time to reflect and to enjoy the summer with my family. She encouraged me to honour the quiet moments and to notice what I notice. During this period of quiet rest and reflection, I began to notice shadows popping up wherever I looked, especially in my immediate surrounds. These shadows captivated my imagination and I started recording them on my phone and then posting them on Instagram.

I found the experience of looking and recording the shadows both Immersive and compelling which are usually signs to me that I’m on to something!

This period of quiet reflection also gave me the opportunity to look with fresh eyes at what I am surrounded by every day, and what I discovered, hidden in plain sight, was both magical and inspirational. One of the big bonuses of happening upon this new project has been in its adaptability. I can follow it whenever and wherever I am, so it is neither positively or negatively affected by the uncertainty or the times we are currently living through. During the summer/early autumn for example I recorded shadows at social events and when staying with my mother in Norfolk, and in more recent times when travel has been somewhat restricted, I have focused inward on my own home and immediate surroundings.

As the Summer days have passed and we have gradually moved toward Autumn and then Winter, I have taken the many shadow photographs I have now accumulated back into my studio and started experimenting and playing with the images – being open to whatever develops. I have experimented with photographing, drawing, painting, and collage. Recently I re-worked one of my new shadow paintings into different genres/styles as suggested by the Pure Foundation Back to Basics course Module 2 – Making. I used previously worked canvases and painted over them, inspired by the styles of artists past, including Picasso and Frida Kahlo. This reworking of the canvas gives the completed pieces a pleasing richness and depth, and to my great delight, I have recently sold one of these experimental pieces to a fellow artist via the Hungry Artist Facebook Group.   

I intend to continue playing with this shadows project throughout the Winter months until the next inspiration appears and takes me on the next journey of discovery through experimentation…

Follow @franwhiteartist on Instagram

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