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Tales and Temporality II: An Artist’s Response to St Nicholas Priory

A sunny Saturday in the garden saw me happily sponging and splattering paint onto paper and slates, experimenting with using real moss as a sponge as I attempted to capture the glorious colours and textures of the stones of St Nicholas Priory. It was a messy affair- a wonderful reminder of the joy and freedom creativity can bring, and the thrill that comes as new ideas quickly take physical shape.

I found that a combination of materials and techniques best captures the weathered textures of the stones. A base layer of paint, applied with brushes, is followed by layer after layer of sponged colour. With each layer, it feels as if I am marking the passage of time. The use of natural materials- the slate, the moss- is intended to evoke the materiality of the priory, and to emphasise that, in several ways, man and nature combine in this fascinating building.

Now that I have settled on technique and materials, the next developmental stage is to identify the narrative and visual link which will cohesively tie the images together. I have sourced several large slates on which to paint the project outcome, and, rather serendipitously, these are fragmented to varying degrees. The final installation will comprise four close-up sections from different aspects of the building’s exterior: the walls, the tower and the roof. As the slates gradually fragment, the paintings will become increasingly abstracted to reflect the natural processes and deterioration that occur with the passing of time. I am yet to devise how the works will be hung (an inevitable challenge!) but it is exciting that the project is shaping up.

Follow my progress on Facebook and Instagram @sarah_spencers_artwork.

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