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    Michele Marcoux : Abandoned Cottage Diary

    In April 2021 Michele Marcoux undertook a month-long artist’s residency at MERZ Gallery in Sanquhar for the research and development of new work and the opportunity to build relationships with the artists and community at MERZ. While there she developed creative ideas to re-centre her practice working on small observational paintings and drawings to develop gesture, composition and colour. She revisited 5 key places in the countryside around Sanquhar, Sanquhar Castle, The Euchan Water, The Pamphy Linns, The River Nith and an abandoned farm cottage outside the village. Experimenting with observational and automatic techniques such as stencilling, frottage, collage Michele used a limited pallet of paint and brushes, working quickly often on 3-4 paintings at once. The intention was to build gesture and response but also to uncover new ways of seeing and interpreting nature. Michele used photography and video to document this process also using time-lapse specifically to explore how time and light unfolds in the landscape. She also created a glass painting installation at the Glass House at MERZ interpreting the grove of Ash trees next to the gallery using wax and mirror spray paint. Michele spent a day mentoring local artist Kaela White discussing creative ideas and how to sustain a professional art career as a working parent. She was delighted to meet a number of other local artists while on residency and had an exhibition WHAT IS HIDDEN WHAT IS SEEN at MERZ on the 25th of April which was well attended (and socially distanced). Michele would like to thank both MERZ and Creative Scotland for supporting her residency.

Clouds in my coffee… I spent the day at the abandoned cottage outside Sanquhar making collages. Strange to spend so much time inside such a completely abandoned place. It’s filled with detritus and dead animals (birds and even a dead sheep and lamb which block the front door). Filthy. I had gloves and anti bacterial wipes.

I thought of different frames – windows – doors – the collage – my camera eye. Often a view with clouds is nostalgic. This place is not. And not easy. Eventually I went outside, glad to sit in the wind and sun. Away from the decay. Which in reality is not romantic but feels inevitable, something to do with the choices people make and a bit sad….

A rainy afternoon spent working inside the abandoned cottage. The wind through the broken window rustles the butterfly wings that lie everywhere.

Up at the abandoned cottage again today working on three large paintings at once. Keeping it fast and loose like the sheep in the background…

 Today: a disused (abandoned) cottage, fenced, empty. Used as a slate. Amazing how large scale feels suddenly free, and the place is now the frame. Just like that.
No ghosts, just wonderful quiet until the midgies sent me scurrying…