Monday, 18 April 2011

Still Life

The last part of 1:3 is to draw a still life of objects of one colour ( mainly)

My charcoal drawing has begun like this.

The jug is the wrong shape and in real life I have rectified that on the drawing. I have begun to add a colour wash onto the background. I am using my Dads watercolour paints and I am pleased to report that he has a complete spectrum of the six paints we were advised to use to make your basic set. I am also using brand new brushes which he had bought to use at an art class he and mum were attending together. I am sure he would be pleased they were being used. I dedicate this still life piece to my Dad.

Hopefully I will have time to add the colour tomorrow. I shall keep you posted. Got to get some White watercolour paint, no mean feat in our town with a pushchair in tow. Luckily I might have a boy or two on hand to help as they are still on the Easter holidays!

Colours :3

The next episode of the coloured pages was to add a textured coloured piece in the same colour tones as the original. They could be any texture but no more than 4 inches all round. They were to form an intense focal point.

This intense collection of flower shapes was created by needle felt which, if you read my blog a lot you will know I use this method a lot.

The colours are from the "Rich" piece and attempt to add a focal area.

I think it worked best in the second picture when it is just dipping into the already focal centre piece. It draws your eye slightly right which I like in this otherwise distracting piece.

At the other end of the scale is the calm piece where I have made a little appliquéd square in the style of the brush strokes and in similar calm colours. I have used a variety of textures such a felt, linen, webbing, and cotton. It is all machine stitched on. I really like this piece and feel that the focal point adds an interesting dimension.

In the bold/ space piece I have added a piece of green felt whose colour is midway between the two greens already in use. I have then attempted to machine embroider similar style stitches to the piece of felt and I have stitched vertically in grey to add in the newsprint.

I like the effect of this piece and I really love machine embroidery. My favourite machine embroidery artist is Linda Miller. Her work is very colourful and inspirational. I was lucky enough to see some of her work at the Smile exhibition and it always brightens your day!

For the warm squares I made a smaller square in lines of the colours in pastel. This is probably my favourite medium to draw with and I adore the colours created. The trouble with this piece being so bright was to pin down an image to use. I also made another in pastel to see what other shapes would look like.

I must say I prefer the first one but I do like this one too for an alternative shape style!

Needle felt adventures

My needle felt ladies are taking off! I have had orders for them which I am trying to complete and finished one this morning for a birthday present for Donna. This means this blog will be posted late but hey ho.

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This is she. I have called them collectively All the Better to See you With.

The needle felt horse now has a sturdy rump and middle. So this is a long on going project but that's ok as the rest of the little kingdom that she will live in is shaping up nicely in paper mâché and on paper in my sketch book.

In fact since writing this post she is now finished so Ladies and Gentlemen this is Ivy. She is going to be a kind of Nigella Lawson of the horse world....

For someone so static she is remarkably hard to photograph as she is compact and dark. I hope you can get an idea of her. I am keeping the rest of the plan under wraps for now.........

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Colours module 3:1 and Elephants never Forget

The third colour sheet I decided to make was calm. I am such a big fan of colour I thought it would be a good exercise to make myself use pale neutral colours. I particularly like blue as a colour. And so that was my starting point, I began with a pale blue acrylic paint and added white acrylic and then gradually built up the layers adding a little black to make a grey colour at times. I let it dry between layers and used a large household brush to paint. The final layer was added with a thinner artists brush of small strokes of White paint.

It was unintentional but it does remind me of water, I suppose this is a fairly usual conclusion when painting "calm" but I like the look of it all the same.

Following on from this I decided to tackle "Rich" and so created a paper mâché board of mounds on card.

These took 24 hours to dry out and then I applied a coating of acryli. Paint in circles to contradict the lines of the raised mounds. For me, the word "rich" in this capacity implies all encompassing and of many shapes, colours& forms, in fact the opposite to calm.

The final piece that I created is "warm". As I have said I love colour, I find putting colours together very satisfying and I would say that I look for colour first in everything and if that is pleasing to the eye I will look at what objects the view holds!

When getting dressed I am governed by colour first and depending on what the mood is will depend on the colour combination. Nearly always contains blue somewhere which is my favourite and a colour I find uplifting and positive, like the sky or my children's eyes. So my warm palate contains blue , in fact it was my starting colour. It isn't even a purple/ blue really but I find that alongside the other colours the overall effect is warm. For me the word warm also means comfort or familiar or cheerful and I would say that even though I have Neots painted it before this picture is all of those things.

It is slightly reminiscent of Elmo the Elephant which is a story that all my boys adored but it was by no means a starting point. Maybe just maybe though as Elephants never forget it was somewhere in the back of my mind what with my eldest about to take his GCSE'S and my youngest suddenly talking 19 to the dozen and suddenly not a baby but a little girl..........

Monday, 11 April 2011

Colour. Module 3:1

Hurrah! Our next assignment has arrived and it is called colour. Colour is one of my favourite things in life. I am deeply affected and moved by it. I really enjoy it and I love putting colours together. So I am determined that I will enjoy this assignment.

First of all we are asked to express some words such as "calm" "bold" "merge" "rich" "sombre" in colour form. We are to use a wide decorators brush, large sheets of paper and can incorporate other mediums such as papers or studies or wax crayon.

My first picture was going to use the word "reflect" and to a certain extent it does but it also represents the word "merge" so there you have it. Breaking the rules already!

The picture started out life as some wax crayons grated on to a sheet of A2 cartridge paper.

I then placed another sheet on top and placed a hot iron on top of the two sheets.

They looked really greasy through the paper and I was really worried as they had looked so beautiful before. I was also aware of the reason I was trying to create a reflective piece which is that sadly a friend of mine, who I have known since primary school died of a brain tumour recently and all the while I was making this piece I was thinking of her and remembering happy times such as learning to horse ride together, or the fact that she was always thoughtful and kind and bright and sunny.

So you can imagine I was really upset when they peeled apart to reveal this horrible mess. There were unsightly lumps of wax sticking to one half and bare patches on the other half. The colours were not what I would choose for reflection either. It was so sad, not least because I had grated my daughters wax crayons it seemed in vain!

I thought about chucking the pages in the bin, painting over them or adding another medium. But something told me that this Should have worked. so I added a little more wax crayon and ironed it all again. And then left it for about 3 hours.

The results were fantastic! Very reflective with tree like shapes in front of dappled colours - all very thought provoking. I felt close to tears and felt I had made a fitting reflective piece for my friend.

Some areas, such as the one above are still a bit murky but for me that is where the "merge" comes in. So it depends really which area you look at as to which word or mood you can take.

The next piece I started was going to be "space" the holes sewn by sewing machine without thread, the different areas with the newspaper and purple stitches at the top. This was spacious indeed. I then added some bright green stripes of paint. I love green. It makes me think of spacious fields and countryside and gives a feeling of space and freedom. It is an uplifting colour and I think the feeling of having enough space is uplifting too.

Once I had added the green paint however I was undecided as to whether it should be "space" or "bold". I think it is quite bold to use just one colour on a piece of work. You have to be confident about the colour and even though I have used different tones there is no mistaking that the overriding image of this picture is green. The holes and stitches and newspaper that I had so carefully planned and separated and laid out had all but been swallowed up by the vivid green! But I like it. So "Bold Space" it is!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Miles and miles for Smiles

This week I have been fortunate enough to travel around the midlands and visiting two textile exhibitions. The first was in Stafford at the Shire Hall Gallery. This beautiful building is in the Market square and houses a museum and gallery as well as a sensory room and cafe. We had come ostensibly to view works by Caroline Kirton

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Caroline uses mixed media, appliqué and machine embroidery to create scenes with narrative based around phrases and events in her teenage daughters lives. They are enchanting and much bigger than I had imagined them. Henry, 14 on Monday, and Elliott, almost 9, were fascinated too. Henry has since imagined what situations he has been in would look like in Caroline Kirton style pictures, such as today when he was hanging out by the canal with his friends " Because we are cool!"

The other artist I had particularly wanted to see was Debbie Smyth. On this blog I have already devoted a whole post to Debbies thread and pins work so I won't devote too much time here suffice to say she had created a wonderful installation on a wall of a street scene and then had smaller framed works for sale.

The other artists at the exhibition included Morwenna Catt who makes weird and wonderful creatures and 3 D pictures with birds heads protruding out and strange looking rabbits. I was interested in looking at her work and I like the turns of phrase but I wasn't drawn to it and wouldn't want it hanging on my wall!!

Another artist we saw work by was Cas Holmes. I have recently bought her book The Found Object which I have found to be a very interesting and useful tool. I liked her work of mixed media, fabrics, paper, found objects with embroidery.

I also enjoyed the work by Rosie James. She works in the " drawing" style of machine embroidery that I like to do and she also "draws" figures as I have done. I really liked her work and the way she incorporates other fabrics as backgrounds and builds up crowds with her people.

We were fortunate then to visit some friends in Leek and to take a bracing walk/ hike/ climb along the Roaches and stay overnight before driving across the very foggy Peak District bright and early the next morning.

The second exhibition we went to was at the Harley Gallery in Welbeck, Nottonghamshire and it was the Smile exhibition.

There were a great many pieces by artists whose work I adore such as Julie arkell

Janet Bolton and her wonderful naive appliqué pictures. These were among my favourite pieces of the day.

The wonderful work of Lucy Casson whose tin creatures and found objects are simply Devine.

I think her pieces were my favourite. Closely followed by Abbott and Ellwood who work with similar materials. And in a not dissimilar fashion and yet both are unique!

The lost adults tent was one of my favourite pieces in the show.

Another artist whose work I have admired for years was Linda Miller with her machine embroidery. These are the pieces that first inspired me to colour in pictures with thread and so it was such a treat to see Lindas latest work here.

The exhibition was enjoyed by Henry, Elliott and Anna and afterwards we had a delicious lunch in the cafe and then journeyed home. I was so glad I had made the journey for these very interesting and stimulating shows. I was also glad I had taken the boys. For Anna, I want her to think it's completely normal to go to galleries all the time(!) and for the boys it provoked lively discussions and have got their creative minds ticking over now too.