BY HANNAH MCDONALD
I have been in love with Whitstable ever since I first visited many years ago. To me it has the perfect balance of history and creativity, calm and bustle, stormy skies and cosy corners. I have many treasured memories attached to this place, so much so, one of the comics in my book was inspired by my visits here.
I find there is something slightly spooky at times about Whitstable, particularly off season, when the place is quiet from tourists. It's as though the true soul of the town can be found in these sepia-toned, empty moments and I would like to explore this inspiration further with this project.
My first residency visit was in late October last year and in some ways this was a bit of a research trip to get to know the space, meet the lovely team here and to find out what would be the best way to schedule my time during these visits.
During the week, I wrote a daily journal to log my day, ideas and thoughts, and took photos on my phone, a polaroid camera and an old Olympus trip. These photographs may contribute towards the final exhibition in some way, but at the very least I will use them as reference for my artwork. I tried to work on a few drawings a day in my sketchbook mostly focusing on colours and textures and I also took many walks to absorb as much of the local energy as possible.
Once I arrived back in Amsterdam I used the notes, photographs and sketches to start work on some more detailed drawings of what had inspired me the most. This process also allowed me to begin to visualise what my final exhibition could look like.
As of writing this blog post, I am close to finishing a plot for my exhibition - as I hope to tell a story through text and illustrations. Once I have this completed I will plan out what images I need to tell this story in an interesting way.
My hope is that once these parts are completed, for the rest of the year I will be working on the final pieces of artwork. I will then use my following visits to collect more photographs and sketches of particular buildings, plants or views that I want to capture in more detail.
Lots of work to go - but I'm very excited about it!