I am currently studying on the Turps studio painting programme. I’ll be rethinking the way I work and experimenting with new media over the next year. I’ll be updating my instagram account with new work throughout the year.
Drawing hills on a residency at the Pignano estate in Tuscany. Part of the Royal Drawing School Alumni programme.
A while ago I started a project to team up with individual writers who would each like to write a piece of work, using one of my artworks as a starting point. I wanted them to write from any angle and in any style they would like. I am happy the share this first piece of writing with you.
Hollow by Dorcas Pelling
The boatman waits, unseen but I feel him. I know he is there, drifting around the deepest part of the lake. If I am still at night I can hear his oars scooping through the waters, his small craft has an empty space reserved for my body. Sometimes he hums, sometimes he whistles, sometimes he simply shouts out’ As long as it takes!’. His voice is calm, honeyed, he misses me, but I fear being desired in such a way. There is little left here, but I am not ready for an infinite commitment. I am holding on. I am ignoring the inevitable. I am pretending I am still swollen and vital with life.Tiny ripples spiral out from depth to shore as a carp raises it’s whiskers through the surface to sense what it misses from the night, from the land. The boatman considers grabbing at it, pulling it as it flails for breath to his vessel to keep him company till he carries me to the ether.
I came here years ago. Broken. Splintered. I tumbled down the banks of the hollow. I lay at the spiky point of a wooden heart and had to choose which path to take. Crawling along the central match-stick bridge upon hands and knees, my fingernails scratching a weak imprint, making my mark on a bridge after I had failed to make any marks upon life.
When I reached the shack, empty, forgotten and rotted my jaw slackened and a terrible swell of sounds came. Voices spewed that were not my own, they were my ancestors all rushing out upon my tongue and lips, racing for freedom in the air before me; reverberating against the chalk banks, collecting in the moss and judging. ‘So this is what becomes of us’. Their illustrious names all ended with me, barren and broken. ‘You had promise’ they continued. ‘Jump’ a solitary voice. ‘Finish it, you embarrassment’. The first night I slept in a ball by the window to the left of the door that was drunk on its hinges. I covered myself in a thin viel of despair and I dreamt of the colour I had once fooled myself into believing had shaded my days. Dreams came – torrential, smashed down over me, snapped my bones and mangled my heart. I saw my mother craddling me, a scent of pine, a half blind fairy in a tattered cream dress winking ludely impaled atop a christmas tree. My brothers and sisters pawed at me, kissed my head whispered of gold, frankfurters and mirth as they tickled at my jazz-trumpeter cheeks .I am cooing. I am all rolls of fat and gurgles. I am wide, limpet pools of hazel and the subtle fug of milk. My father rasped, black old lungs like a cave of coal spitting globules of viscous gunge against the fireplace.
I am an infant, I am afraid! I am terrified! I am lying in a heap of leaves as a dark figure and a straining, snarling dog pass over me in the enchanted forest where the light falls through branches in an amber tangle. I am bereft, I am joyous, I am in agony as in my infancy I imagine the universe and death and the pain of others and I realise I have no control.
I am a lopsided teenager pretending I am enjoying being groped by a rower, pretending I like kissing him, his fat tongue in my mouth, the taste of taramasalata making me want to gag. My body responds perfunctionally but I am repulsed, I am a lie, I am filled with an emptiness and it is growing in me, ripening and shifting my organs to parts of my body where they should not be. My heart is stuck in my ankles, my brain in my lower back, my liver has shifted behind the nail of my right thumb, it throbs. I am holding a gun, it is trained on her. She is bent over digging up weeds. I watch her through the sight. My finger caressing the trigger, so easy just to squeeze, pay her back for the secrets she makes me keep. I am teenage angst. I am grief, I am in agony. I want her to be blasted open. I let her off.
We are shouting, flecks of spit striking one another, she has a look of despair, she is not winning, I am bigger, I no longer care, my respect has gone, I laugh at her as she cries, I relish her agony. I push her, she breaks down, her resolve disintegrates in salt and water. As she runs from me, face in hands, sobbing, my smile fades, the victory is hollow. I am hollow.
I pull back the covers from my fathers body, he is naked from the waist down. I stand and stare at my fathers cock. This is the last thing I shall see of him. My guts are elasticated, knotted and taut, fraying at the edges. I writhe by a hissing fire as petals of dog-roses spiral down upon me, their sweet scent engulfs me and roots me to the spot. I can see my grandmother smiling widely, enjoying outliving the bastard who spawned me.
I am in a room, underneath a blonde woman, too afraid to remove my jeans, believing that the world is filled with promise, that she is something spectacular that if I am inside of her I too shall become spectacular. We undulate against one another. I smell Chinese oranges. I feed her ginger wine and old blues. She flickers in the candle light on a squalid mattress in the basement of a hell-hole where magic seems briefly possible. There is a corridor where no one enters and if they do they can never return. There is a roof where it seems all the curious elements of life can be joyously observed from a safe distance and there are voices that call each of us to the edge and dare us to fly. “Jump”! “You can fly” . Old sneakers shuffle forward, balance unsteady, Icarus get’s closer to the sun. Wings, silky and loud above the pavement shufflers are singeing and catching light, an acrid whiff of burning feathers causes the sky to protest and heavy rains to fall as a blur plummets past windows of smart apartments. I watched helpless from the roof as the blur crashed full force and dashed brains against bonnet and windshield of a passing Mercedes by Holborn. I thought I watched. It was all a blur. The darkness came. Then all was hollow.
Dorcas Pelling has been a freelance writer for over a decade contributing features, reviews, columns and interviews for magazines including The Erotic Review, LOTL, Grove Magazine, Canary (Conde Naste), The Evening Standard, Time Out Sydney amongst others. She is also the author of How To Be Irresistible: A Guide to Seduction (Pavilion Publishing) and The Dark Arts (Pigeon Hole Publishing)
I am looking for writers from different backgrounds and who have a range of different writing styles to each write a piece that is influenced by one of my drawings. Each participating writer will be sent an A3 Giclée print of the drawing about which they have been chosen to write. Each print would be the first of a limited edition of 20.
I would like to work with writers who find that my work sparks their imagination. www.elbedlow.co.uk
I am interested in how my work can be interpreted by different writers and how art can be written about with a new and unique approach. The piece of writing can be in any style and of any length. The collaboration will be published on my website and publicised on social media websites with a hope of starting a dialogue with other artists and writers.
Once I have compiled a collection of pieces by different writers I would like to l develop the project further, with the possibility of getting the compiled material published as a book and to present the work as an exhibition.
For any interested writers please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I travelled down to Devon to deliver a workshop and talk at the White Moose Gallery as part of The Griffin Art Prize exhibition.
8 Students from Goodleigh Primary School took on the challenge to build a city to then draw from it in two hours. They used their imagination to create buildings out of cardboard, empty containers and paper to then be put together to create a larger installation. They then used viewfinders to identify the composition they wanted to draw. They used charcoal and pencil and started to suggest areas of light and dark in their work.
It was brilliant to have the opportunity to work with local students, engage them in the exhibition and show them a new approach to creating a drawing. The students did their own write up ontheir blog: http://goodleighprimary.primaryblogger.co.uk/category/art/
We covered a wide variety of subjects in the evening from the process involved in creating my drawings to whether the languages you speak can change the way you view and describe the world. The conversation was led around these different topics by White Moose Gallery partner Julie Gavin and the audience. I truly enjoyed the experience.
I have three pieces on display at White Moose Gallery until 29th March
As part of The Griffin Art Prize exhibition at White Moose Gallery I will be doing a talk about my work on 5th March as well as a workshop earlier in the day with students from Goodleigh Primary School.
Eleanor Bedlow in Conversation
Wednesday 5 March 5 – 6 pm
Eleanor will talk about the detailed pencil drawings of imaginary cities and landscapes she produces as art installations
Arts wave Devon workshops
A collaboration between Daisi, Devon and GAP artists and White Moose
Eleanor Bedlow: Drawing Workshop with Goodleigh School.
In this 2 hour workshop, Eleanor will help the group assemble small ‘cities’ from containers, card and boxes. From these built ‘cities’ drawings can then be made of them.
Full listings of talks and workshops can be found on The White Moose Gallery website: www.whitemoose.co.uk/site/events-at-white-moose-gallery-north-devon/
I am looking forward to traveling down to the High House Gallery this weekend to see The Griffin Art Prize short list exhibition. The Griffin Art Prize is selected by Zavier Ellis, Andrew Grassie, Jessica Lack and Jenny Lindén Urnes and is supported by the world’s leading fine art brands, Winsor & Newton, Liquitex and Conté à Paris. http://www.highhousegallery.com
As part of our residency we would be teaching at the International Institute of fine Arts in Modinagar. We mainly taught in the large foundation department and BA painting. We also established an open class that students from all departments could attend.
Here are some of the classes we taught.
We taught our first foundation class in the lecture theater. The aim of the class was to get the students used to identifying the main shapes when drawing a group of figures. The idea was for them to try and capture the group as one main shape. It was also great to get the students modeling for each other.
Working with multiple references to compose a picture. The students gathered information from plants outside the school. They experimented with ink, using a rang of tools. The ideas were then composed onto a page before figures were added. (Spot the monkey that thinks ink is a tasty treat).
IIFA is located in part of the old textile factory and is surrounded by abandoned factory buildings that are slowly crumbling and overtaken by nature. The area directly outside the Institute is utilised by the students to draw and paint from, including this exploded chimney.
We left Delhi after a few days for Modinagar. It took 2 hours to reach the town that would be our base for the next 2 months.
We would be staying on the ancestral home of the Modi family who developed Modinagar from a sugar and textile factory. The center of the town is the main busy road road. Large trucks, auto rickshaws, bicycles, and carts pulled by buffalo and horses all weaving in and out of each other. The beeping of horns would never stop.
The house we were staying in was more like a hotel. Built in the 1930’s the house had been extended to accommodate the large family. Covered in petal leaf concrete wall blocks which had become a playground for monkeys and squirrels. There was also a great view of the Sugar factory next door.
We where lucky enough to be in Modinagar for Diwali. The whole town was lit up with lights hanging down from buildings and fireworks going off down every street. I could see why people were warning us not to go out onto the streets. Firecrackers were being thrown in different directions including under cars. It was a brilliant atmosphere, everyone had come together with there families to celebrate. We watched from the roof which the monkeys seamed to have vacated for the evening.
The Monkeys took a while to get used to. We were warned not to make eye contact or to go out into the garden without a stick. This is the guard Monkey. He is a different species from the other monkeys with massive teeth. He travels around to different houses on the back of a bicycle to scare of the other monkeys. The monkeys were intimidating at first but after a while you just learnt to ignore them so they would ignore you. I still made sure I had a stick on me when drawing on the roof just in case.
Before I got to India I was thinking about whether I would be inspired to start using colour in my work. When I reached Modinagar however I was met by countless industrial structures to fire my imagination. The muted colours and silhouetted structures were ideal source material for my drawings.
Modi Bahwan, compressed charcoal on somerset paper, 2013