The dye paintings being considered inappropriate for the exhibition, I took a Field Maple leaf collected from outside Dartmoor prison and, in Photoshop, superimposed it on the paintings to make one per season. See also my website

Spring botanical dye painting. Anna Goodchild 2019
Field maple leaf. Anna Goodchild 2019
Spring emblem from dye paint + Field Maple leaf. Anna Goodchild 2019

I could have chosen this alternative but it would not have been as effective on the lace drape:

Spring emblem from dye paint mk2. Anna Goodchild 2019

In the event, the 4 seasons’ prints changed from this:

The 4 seasons dye paintings. Anna Goodchild 2019

to this for the exhibition:

The 4 seasons’ representations for the exhibition and book. Anna Goodchild 2019.

How do I display the botanical paintings?

I had considered having 4 wall hangings of the seasonal dye paintings on which I would attach the relevant diptychs for the season:

Winter dye painting with the relevant diptychs. Anna Goodchild 2019
Summer dye painting with relevant diptychs. Anna goodchild2019
Spring dye paintings with relevant diptychs. Anna Goodchild 2019
Autumn dye painting with relevant diptychs. Anna Goodchild 2019

So I would have had just 4 main images in the gallery. There was nothing wrong with the idea. In practice, they looked cluttered and confusing and did not reference the letters directly at all.

The dye paintings created confusion and referred obliquely to the time / place binary concept of the project.

The last botanical dye painting for 2019

The collection is now complete: I have the Spring collection of botanicals which closes the circle of the seasons for my prison project “One Year”. 

I collected the plant samples last Tuesday outside HMP Dartmoor, put them in plastic bags and then photographed all the different plants:

Spring botanicals collected. Anna Goodchild 2019.

Initially, I photographed them against a black backdrop which was quite dramatic:

Fir cone and dried leaf. Anna Goodchild. 2019

Then I realised it would not be in keeping with the other seasons’ images so I had to replace the black with white:

Fir cone and dried leaf on black background. Anna Goodchild 2019

They both have their charms. It took for ever to change all the backgrounds.

Then came the stewing which I was dreading because the last time I did this in the Winter, the whole house had the foul smell of forest-floor brews for days. This time, however, there was a really lovely, fresh smell emanating from the kitchen & I realised that the only remarkable difference was that this time there were stinging nettle branches in the mix. It has made me go & forage for some more samples & see if I can make some freshly-brewed tea!

The mix boiled for ages, partly because I had forgotten about it, and then I let it go cold so that I could blend it & make my traditional blobs with it and then photograph them.

When I was blending the mix, I realised that the pine cones would not oblige so I had to pull them out:

Cooked cones.

The resulting blobs, made with my smartphone, threw up a pretty consistent dye colour on cartridge paper:

I love the sculptural qualities of this one which for me assumes mythical properties.
I used kitchen towel to dry the blobs I had put on a transparency sheet to photograph it on my scanner. When I saw that the pattern of the paper had transferred to the cartridge paper, I sprinkled black pepper over it to capture the pattern, which I quite liked as it reminded me of the work of Catherine Pickop which we saw at the London Art Fair in January.


I am glad I have now finished the seasonal blobs and that they have turned out so well. The blobs too have come out quite well in terms of changing colours brought about by the different botanicals available at different times of the year.

Winter botanical dye painting. Anna Goodchild 2019
Spring botanical dye painting. Anna Goodchild. 2019
Summer botanical dye painting. Anna Goodchild 2019
Autumn botanical dye painting. Anna Goodchild 2019

I am always surprised that I try to make sense of my photographed blobs rather than just accept them as photographic evidence of my research into a place in time / time in a place. For example, the image below to me looks remarkably like a rabbit. I have very primitive print-making skills which means that my visual perception does not allow me to imaging how to put down a ‘blob’ so that when it is seen on a printed surface, it is a back-to-front version of the blob. For that reason, and because, as a result of my experience with printed rather than a digital photograph, I love print making, I am starting a printmaking course in Cornwall in October!!

Spring Rabbit.

Playing with natural elements

October 2018:

These experiments lead on from an OCA study weekend in London at Phytology and the SLBI reported here.

Tracing the passage of time through natural elements is part of my One Year project.  In the first iteration of the project , time through leaves was not connecting to the letter content in that the letters were written at specific times in the year but the leaf/bract material accompanying them was static.  In experimenting with natural materials found at different times of the year, I am trying to give the project content more coherence and cohesion.

Figure 1: Feather and chestnut: juxtapositioning different elements still designating a time of year.  © A.Goodchild 2018.
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Figure 2: Handkerchief tree: changing times.© A.Goodchild 2018.
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Figure 2a: Would keeping it in its original vase be more effective?  Would the meaning be different? © A.Goodchild 2018.
Figure 3: Stones and a feather: a sense of place and time.  © A.Goodchild 2018.

The singular leaf or feather or chestnut or seed pod  images underline the experience of being an individual going through time in prison.  The combination stresses the idea that you are an individual amongst others doing time.

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Figure 5: A single Handkerchief tree leaf. October. © A.Goodchild 2018.
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Figure 6: A different October Handkerchief tree leaf.© A.Goodchild 2018.