Emily Ketteringham ‘Colour Walking’ Blog (part 1)

Emily Ketteringham Blog (part 1) 6

(from Emily’s blog)

Colour Walking 1

Today should have been the first day of my residency in Tarset, Northumberland. As part of VARC‘s (Visual Arts in Rural Communities) two-year programme ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art, I was due to be partnered with Unison Colour, makers of hand-made artists’ pastels.

With all that is going on in the World, a postponed residency is a little thing, but I am still deeply disappointed. I was looking forward to the coming month as a great challenge, both personally and professionally. The colours of Northumberland were calling, filled with the promise of a new outlook providing new ideas. I was both excited and trepidatious about the challenge of living on my own for a month.

With the Covid 19 lock down, Bristol has become a new, quieter place. The death of a friend has taken away the motivation to make or create.

With the start of May, I have decided to reframe the ideas I was going to explore in Tarset, to see how I can approach them in Bristol. The starting points of my explorations in Northumberland were to be walking and colour. My basic plan is to go for walks through Bristol, photographing colour as I go. I will then use these photographs to create a colour representation of the walks, and to create a colour palette of Bristol.

May 1st

Today I used my 30 minute walk to my studio as a test walk. This first attempt has taught me that I need parameters. Just walking and taking random photographs didn’t feel satisfying. Too much choice ended in paralysis. I need some rules.

I found myself having an internal argument about the type of photographs I wanted to take – is it enough to record colour, or does each photograph need to be beautiful?

The first image shows the grid composed of a tiny close up section of each photo, with the simplified colour version underneath. The third image uses the whole photo, again with the simplified colours underneath. I think I prefer the second experiment, but I am not sure about the mixture of depths. Would an image composed of all flat surfaces be more pleasing, or just dull?

The next grid needs to be composed of more images to give me more pixels.

Colour Walking 2
May 4th

A circular walk beginning and ending at my house. Learning from my first experiment, this time I had rules. I took two photos every two minutes, the first a close up of the most colourful thing near me, the second a wider view of something nearby. Not too restrictive, and it gave me more of a structure than on my previous walk. The first colour grid shows the colours resulting from computer manipulation of the photos, the second are the colours I feel best represent each photo. As a lover of the muted colour palette, I think the computer has made the better choices.

Colour Walking 3

May 9th

Walking South, taking a photograph facing West every five minutes – a journey through Bristol housing stock. What amazed me was just how suddenly urban Bristol stopped, and rural greenness began. There was no slow transition, one moment you are in a housing estate, the next on a lane enclosed on both sides with impenetrable green hedges.

Walking with a kitchen timer clipped to my belt slicing the walk into five minute segments. Odd looks from the few people I met.

My mobile phone getting hotter and hotter in my pocket as I track my walk on an App. Half way through the battery gives out, meaning I have to plug it into a battery pack. Now my pocket is extremely hot and very heavy.

Constant swapping between glasses and sunglasses to read the map, read the compass, look at camera controls etc. I forget if my glasses are on my head, clipped into my T-shirt or in a pocket.

Camera swinging round my neck.