Felicity Truscott

This residency has transformed my art practise and it has also transformed me, anyone who moves on in their work and pushes into new places cannot do so unless they are changed too. Aspects of my change in attitude include bigger thinking, the receding of self censorship, discovering I still self  limit and keep myself small even when I believe I have got past that. I have been able to do this by being placed in a situation that is unique, 6 artists were chosen who would be able to work together and who demonstrated a need and a desire to use a dedicated and larger work space. As individuals we were able to keep working with each other around.  Supporting each other as and when we needed it, and the great thing now the residency has ended is that that relationship remains as a legacy. Finding groups of artists that gel together is not easy and the residency has given us a common experience and empathy for each others situation. I have been influenced by my  colleagues work, their attitude to work, their work processes and materials and the manner in which they deal with issues as they come up, I think when you are used to dealing with young children all the time it’s probably called ‘being in adult company’ but I find that each artist is a role model for me and this is just as important as making new work because it’s all linked together with how I feel, the relationships affect my thinking just as much as the space does – just as much as reading about or seeing other artists work does, all these external influences make for a wider art practice and a more fully present person.
Its tricky to say what has been the best bit of the residency for me as its affected so many parts of my life. I have learned very practical things like that when shooting a film I need to think about a whole new raft of issues like angles, logistics, sound, what flows, technical stuff like how do I edit anything – I have edited film for the first time this week, I have been able to view it on a big screen in a big space and see the difference between one clip and another. For uniformity and to define it as an artwork I wanted to wear black so that I was anonymous and the drawing was the main focus, however looking back at clips of tests they are the ones that give a more honest and immediate account of the process – so I realise that for me that still the process of making the drawing is the most exciting and not the video, the video records the act of drawing but is not the art work. I need the crunch of charcoal or ash beneath the blade, the sound of pencil moving across paper. Someone said to me yesterday they thought that even just the sound of drawing was drawing, which is fascinating because I am convinced the senses are very much all part of the drawing process. It is a multi dimensional process and if I want to do it I must throw myself into it fully being mindful of what is being felt, heard, seen, smelt and even tasted. I have literally had ash dust in my nose for a fortnight and the ash cloud that was rising when I was clearing up -even sucking it up with the hoover- was larger than I expected but so has everything been that I’ve done and I love working big. 
Regarding my work I have pretty much tried all the ideas out that I wanted to – they have raised new ideas and thoughts and I think that short of getting a lot of paint out and throwing it at paper I have done as much as I could have done in the time and space of the residency. I am feeling lighter because all these ideas that have been stored away in my head have become reality and that is cathartic! 
IMG_2600[1] IMG_2604[1] IMG_2616[1]
I have always used a sketch book but working full time on scaled up ideas has injected new life into it. working on it simultaneously with larger work, drawing that larger work and then using paper to sketch more ideas up and try out the pigment 
 3 taped to the floor is great rather one at a time in a lovely but small shed!
the memory lives on 

Yesterday I spent all day making the biggest drawing of my life – what an amazing opportunity and thanks to my fellow artists for being so accommodating to my persistent spreading across every floor, beam and wall available

in-line drawing

big inline drawing floor view IMG_2512

3m x 7.5m  IMG_2525 IMG_2536 IMG_2561 IMG_2573 IMG_2581 IMG_2587

after the action drawing I began working on the idea more in my sketch booksIMG_2602 IMG_2603 IMG_2604

IMG_2556 IMG_2555

and finally the visual joke of the day…90p

I seem to have lost track of what day it is – like when you’re on holiday and the second week takes you beyond the baggage tying you down and holding you back. Having gotten over my Bad Monday I got down to moving things around again…

but here I’m going to show you a video of me making my one of my first in-line drawings – a moment of risk, excitement and exhilaration despite it looking quite calm.



day 6 a torturous day

the studio was unbelievably hot… try action drawing in airless heat! more like floppy drawing…however I reached a bit of a plateau today and struggled on through just ‘doing’ stuff not really know what I was doing or where I was going with any particular piece – I do have a real tendency to make a plan and then by the short time it’s taken to reach the paper from the sketch book at the side of the studio (est distance…3 ft) I have changed my mind plus I keep changing my mind during what I’m doing. Which is all fine in terms of keeping creativity open and in the moment but as I mentioned previously it can be a struggle internally between the left and right brain which equals a confused state of mind…and here I am now trying to rationalize it all…time to stop and show you the progress today.


This is a shot of the reflection of the work on the floor in a computer monitor the sun was so intense..i loved the black screen and this square of light.


this turned into thisIMG_2468

vermilion red pigment has made an appearance


and this turned into this




IMG_2455 IMG_2458 IMG_2462 IMG_2465

I tried crushing the ash/pigment mix under two pieces of paper and roller blading over them with some lightly dangerous results as I hit the lumps (note to self try sieving it next time).


 brushing the ash pigment mix off  and brushing pigment back on again – work in progress…



Five days in and it seems like I’ve been at the Blue Monkey shared space residency for ever but also wierdly only just for a few minutes…work today was surprising and satisfying. There was a buzz in the studios as we all seemed to have a strong idea to work on.

..having run out of paper and gesso in 4 days yesterday I scoured the flat and found one last piece of a big roll of fabriano and an ash circle. So I taped them down… procrastinated for a bit and then brushed them with ash, swept it off, lay on them drew along my body lines, painted gesso over the top, brushed with more ash and then added a mix of pigment and varnish and another layer of gesso. They are work in progress building on the abstract figurative and layering legacy of my landscape drawing. I love the way that ash and charcoal still show through the gesso veiling the lines.



I decided on an impulse to create a brushed black square over a previous in-line drawing that I had painted gesso over


Whilst waiting quite literally for paint to dry I went back to the in-line drawings from yesterday there are 4 of them which make a nice group – on two of them I tried selecting particular lines and darkening them with charcoal.

IMG_2392[1] IMG_2404[1]








I’m focussing on my interest in working with the surface and what marks appear as and when they appear a completely free way of making work not inhibited by external influences. The influence is from me and following the marks in the moment.

Looking at Fran O’Neil’s work has helped me today because she stays in the moment with confidence and actively pursues it. Gestural marks with no apparent references made and explored on the surface for their own sake. Staying in the present moment is a life skill that our society drags us away from with all it’s hype and promise for what we can have or become. I like to use my practise to underpin my philosophy on life which is to be present in the now and not blocked or inhibited by what ‘has’ happened or what ‘might’ happen – it’s not easy but it is the only way to be more myself.

Fran O'Neill



10/07/2014. BITS AND PIECES accidental – leaving the phone on the radiator… IMG_2261IMG_2256intervention – cuts into ash trace drawings on pigment IMG_2321IMG_2320ash mixed with white spirit IMG_2325IMG_2327IMG_2330floor marks from ash/pigment in-line drawing IMG_2361ash/pigment lineIMG_2373 10/07/2014. OFF THE EDGE The ideas I have been working through so far have shown loads of interesting marks, most of them off the page… IMG_2335yesterdays late afternoon sunlight in the studio reflected the lines I have been drawing with roller blades through ash and pigment. 20140710-194251-70971692.jpg20140710-194254-70974404.jpg20140710-193125-70285990.jpg20140710-193122-70282877.jpg..capturing the accidental marks off the paper – meanwhile I have a few other ideas in progress 20140710-194523-71123698.jpgIn this piece I have brushed pigment across the floor, this is a series I want to explore with abstracted landscape and figurative images made from intuitive gestural marks whilst close to the floor so that I can’t see the whole form as I draw. IMG_2378The shingle circle made an appearance for the first time today …I had previously though it might not be possible to do it on paper but as a temporary work it was very successful. IMG_2346IMG_2352     09/07/2014. OCCUPYING SPACE 2014-07-07 11.43.292014-07-08 13.55.04I’m loving having so much space to occupy at Blue Monkey Shared Space residency in the Casson Art School studios, Eastbourne. I find myself moving around all 3 studios and setting up work in one which feeds into the next – there is space to do something and then stop – go do something else and then stop. I have Roni Horn’s work in the back of my mind both whilst working in adjacent spaces http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/roni-horn-2402  and with experimentation with cutting into ash trace drawings as direct intervention. I love her pigment drawings. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/horn-were-12-t12602/text-summary Moving from one physical space to another enables work to stay fresh and experimental. Initially I am working through a list of things I have always wanted to do in a bigger space – today I taped several large pieces of paper to the floor (and it still feels like they should be bigger). I took my socks off and used my feet to draw in the ash, practiced rollerblading again (much to the amusement of my fellow artists) and drew whilst blading across the paper videoing it at the same time. You can’t do that in an 8x8ft shed! 2014-07-07 16.50.282014-07-08 14.28.412014-07-08 16.31.332014-07-08 17.50.25


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