Each year we feature an artist with a connection to Essex, on all our printed material, website and social media. We are thrilled that Luke Elwes agreed to be our 2014 Festival Artist. Cobbold and Judd Fine Art mounted a special Festival Exhibition of Luke’s work, alongside sculpture by Stephen Henderson and paintings by Dina Southwell, and Luke gave a talk about his work and the Essex landscapes that inspire it.
For over a decade now Luke Elwes has been recording his experience of the natural world on paper, a project that began on Osea Island in the River Blackwater and continues today at Landermere in the Walton Backwaters. The resulting images conjure up a particular space where land and water meet, where the shifting light radiates across the salt marshes and where the tides move back and forth through the delicate maze of creeks and channels. They reveal chance encounters with a myriad of visual stimuli: passing birds, rolling mist, scattered flora, wind blown leaves or drifting shapes, floating on, reflected in, the passing streams.
Each one was made under the open sky on a single day, often at dawn or dusk and sometimes in the rain or late at night, and the prevailing conditions are mirrored in the drawing, in the way it succumbs to a sea breeze, an enveloping mist, or a sudden downpour. Pigment dissolves, runs and dries in unforeseen ways (and with unexpected results) as the paper’s surface becomes rain spattered, mud flecked, or softened by the rising waters. And each time the resulting image belongs as much to the elements as to the artist who began it.