Coal Not Dole…

As I’ve previously mentioned, I had been working on some paintings over my summer break, and these ideas have spilled into the Autumn term. The ideas I originally had have developed quite a lot, and the project has become quite an important in terms of linking my interests together to make something that is actually tangible, and relevant to what I’d like to do in the future.
Whilst staying at my grandma’s house for a week in August, I became intrigued by some of the place names in her surrounding area. She lives in Craghead; in County Durham, in the North East of England… (a pretty unusual name in itself actually) and although it is always pleasurable to visit her; weeks filled with warm nostaligia, the surrounding areas are bleak to say the least. This has become more and more so since the recession. So I was looking at and illustrating literally some of these little place names, for example ‘Black House’, really conveys the melancholy of this sturggling area.

My favourite painting was the one I did for ‘Burnhope’, a tiny area 5 minutes from my grandma’s house. I decided to look deeper into the history of the place, and found its bleak feel largely to do with the miners strikes of 1984-5. I looked into this more, with the idea of taking the narrative f these events and animating them. I was keen to capture the feel of these places, so watched Ken Loache’s classic ‘KES’. Here is a water colour I did of one of my favourite shots of the film below.

I started to story board a narrative to show how the place was affected during this time, and how the effects can still be felt today. I experimented using felt tips loosely to show the movement of these miners working together to stand up for their cause…

and continued with the painting for this study of a protesting miner…

This has all culminated into an A1 storyboard that is currently being exhibited as part of an exhibition of work in progress at my univercity. I am enjoying working with looser line, and a clear, interesting narrative. I am still working on it, so we shall see where it goes from here.


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