Thursday, 23 April 2009

Layers in the Landscape

For my birthday present this year from Ian and his parents, I chose to have a 2 day workshop with Amanda Hislop at Art Van Go . I'd only seen her work on websites but I like her approach to landscapes. 'In the flesh' her pieces recently displayed at the 'Prism' exhibition are even more interesting and textured.

During the workshop we tried 3 different approaches:dyeing different papers and tissues then layering them on muslin; painting a calico surface with acrylics then stitching into it and building up layers; tearing a variety of papers into strips and assembling them with PVA. It was interesting with this latter technique to see how differently the papers absorbed the dyes, especially the torn edges. Dyes (procion but without soda and salt)were painted on afterwards. I loved how intensely a torn Colour Catcher (below) absorbed the dye - I'm glad I wasn't too neat with the PVA as it acted as a resist!

I concentrated on dyeing and layering papers as acrylic painting was something I'm more familar with while I don't readily have access to dyes

Art work and dyed papers drying
For inspiration I used a painting from the Dales that I did last year on a course with Katherine Holmes. Katherine also incorporates papers, grasses and leaves into her paintings.

After a morning dyeing papers (and fingers- guess who forgot her Marigolds!), these were torn up when dry(ish) and applied to a backing of scrim muslin with lavish amounts of cellulose paste, with a final layer of conservation tissue and then left to dry overnight.
I'd tried a similar technique on workshop with Cas Holmes at Cowslip workshops a couple of years ago. Whether it was the strength of the glue, the openness of the backing or that it was just papers topped off with tissue rather than a mixture of papers and fabrics , but it seemed to hold together better. The downside was the initial disapointment in the toning down of the bright colours because of the top tissue layer (above left). I'm glad a took a photo then before I started spoiling it by digging out bits with a scalpel and applying acrylic paint too heavily in attempt to recover some of the more intensely coloured areas. I was able to retrieve it in some measure by glueing further layers over the top (above right) and then giving it a layer of acrylic medium to seal it.

I now need to get the croppers out and select the best bits for further work and stitching. It's in two halves at the moment - a more traditional landscape (above) and a more abstract area at the bottom with fibres and kozo (below). I particularly like the sky area which is crumpled dyed Indian rag paper with some white acrylic paint scraped across. I really must complete my notes before I forget what I did !
The back also looks rather interesting.

We finished off with a review session of everyones work - such a delightful mix of people and variety of styles. I'm looking forward now to the CQ Summer School.


Chrissie said...

Looks like you had a fascinating time - lots of ideas to play with now!


What an interesting workshop. I'm quite envious. In some ways I prefer dyes on paper to acrylics just because of the intensity or vibrancy of colour. I've tried to do paintings with dye, but it hasn't been wonderfully successful thus far! I have a few ideas up my sleeve though, so who knows. Glad you had such a productive time and what a wonderful idea for a present!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure how I came upon your blog (I think it was through Jude of Cariad in Crete, but am SO GLAD that I did - for it is an inspiration. I love the work of Amanda Hislop and would love to go on one of her workshops or even visit her open day during Oxfordshire Art Week (both out of the question) but funnily enough have a 'screen grab' of one of her works on my desktop right now. Art Van Go is a treasure trove and Cas Holmes' work is also a favourite of mine. I did get to one of her workshops. I will be following your blog with great interest from now onwards.

jeanne herself said...

not being a painter or a dyer, i'm not exactly fluent, but i love what you created here. oh yes.