The Snake Amongst Rubbish.

Art work - Snake painting

Watercolour and Gouache on handmade paper, with bed springs and litter.

This beast has just successfully got to America, much to my relief. I could see the authorities objecting to rusting bed springs in a package arriving from across the continent, but it got there safely. It is one of my earliest experiments in embedding and painting on handmade paper. It is an incredibly lengthy process with a high possibility of it going wrong at any stage – the paper-making, the drying, the embedding, and when it comes to the image, well you can’t rub out on handmade paper! The error possibilities are enormous, quite crazy in fact, but it is very rewarding once finished. There is also the curious thing that because it’s created from recycled materials the materials and the making process play a role in how the final image turns out, almost tell their story by influencing my decisions as I make it.

I found the bed springs in my garden, when I was trying to build a pond. An entire mattress is buried under the ground, rotten away so that it is just a huge bunch of strings and wire. I thought I saw a snake slithering amongst the strings, but it was probably my eyes playing tricks on me again.

The snake is a fascinating animal. The word snake comes from the term “to creep”. The forked tongue smells as well as tastes, and is constantly in motion sampling particles from the air. Many snakes also have¬†infrared-sensitive receptors to detect the heat given off by warm blooded creatures. Most impressive, from a visual point of view, is their ¬†jointed skull and highly mobile jaw which enables them to eat prey far larger then their heads, and often live.