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DAY 1 Yamdrok Tso, Oil on Linen, 20x12 inches

I have decided to start with this piece because it has had a big influence on the direction of my work. The piece is named after Yamdrok Lake (‘Tso’ in Tibetan), one of Tibet's four sacred lakes, north of the Himalayas.


When I visited, this lake was in the process of being partially drained to create hydroelectric power - with repercussions for the wildlife and those who lived and subsisted on the lake. My decision to not paint the lake (which is famously turquoise in colour) was based on the idea of it being ‘missing’ and to illustrate the effects of our human choices. I chose to work on raw linen; it is a neutral ground that I felt suitably reflected both the colour and identity of the surrounding environment but it has led to a series of future work of similar technique. I did the below charcoal sketch on-site, working very fast in sub-zero conditions.




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Polly Townsend

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