'Two weeks being in the residency away from our lives meant that for 14 days I’d wake up and continue with ideas that I’d had the day before, that lessons learned about media could be put into practice.
As Sam and I were both committed to working outdoors in the light we used the hours of darkness to talk and reflect. We set up an Instagram live channel where we talked with artists about landscape art and place. I really wanted to know how radical and revelatory making marks about being in a place could be. Pamela Petro, an American author who has examined and reflected on her relationship with Wales, told us how in Welsh language you didn’t own things you were with them. This certainly feeds into my feelings about landscape, I can't chop a rectangle out of ‘reality’ stick it on a board and hang it over the fireplace ( I’ll leave that to a post-modernist ,). I just want you to know that I was with a place at a point in time.
In order for the Mawddach to be special I had to ‘not’ think of it as being special place . I had to strip back preconceptions and look again. Observational drawing rewires your connection with a place and helps you get closer to it. It lets the place into you instead of you projecting on to the place.
It is so easy to say that the Mawddach Estuary is a beautiful place. You could so easily be subsumed into world of clichés. Misty mountains sweeping down to the sea, noble raptors perched on crags pondering nature’s magnificence. The sort of place that a landscape artist would want to visit, a place they would try to capture the deep longings of a sensitive soul.
Everywhere in the world can be special, everywhere means something, there is no where on this planet that has a greater connection to nature than another place. When I first started doing landscape drawings I really wanted to make images that came out of being in a place. A fortnight of drawing outdoors every day was a way of removing my filters and going as deeply into the spaces around Mawddach Crescent as I could. I drew as fast and as large as I could using media and surfaces that would be responsive. I would explore working from heights then going right down to sea level to look up. When I draw as illustrator (my other job) I very often attempt to imagine scenes, create points of view that serve a story. When I draw landscapes I want to throw away pre planned scripts, circumnavigate ‘imagination’ and find something that I wasn’t aware of before.'
- Francis Martin