Friday 31 October 2008
Monday 20 October 2008
" Me and Melanie Swimming" Michael Andrews
I haven't posted for a couple of weeks because I've been struggling for a while in both work and creative arenas to keep afloat. I've been seeking advice to help me cope and correct for an overly negative view of life but until I get that support it's proving difficult to focus. The house has never looked so clean - normally household chores get put off for more interesting things like sewing and painting but it's good to do something where I don't need to think too much, I've even caught up with the ironing!
What I've got pinned up on my notice board at the moment, waiting for inspiration to strike, are several studies of waves based on photos and sketches in Greece. This mixed media sketch is in watercolour, acrylic ink ,'inktense' pencils and 'neocolour' crayons, trying to capture the different colours and the movement of the water.
I printed out a photo on fabric and quilted with different machine stitches with this splashy 60's print cotton as the backing.
I painted over this backing with acrylic paint. There are still glimpses of the pink showing through which I like but overall the effect is too realistic and photographic - this textile sample shows some skill but no soul!
What I'm after is the excitement of this detail from the initial mixed media sketch - how to maintain that on a larger scale?
Tuesday 7 October 2008
Most evening classes cater mainly for beginners ( which I'm not) but luckily there was a space on one of the workshop evenings run at Kew Studio, an artists co-operative. I'm getting to grips with still life for the first time since painting masses of them in oils for A Level art ( many years ago). It's proving an enjoyable challenge! Started off with doing several drawings in pencil and in my case watercolour to get a feel for composition
I then moved onto colour studies, using acrylic like oil paint on canvas papers. This was fun! I liked the vigorous nature of the brush strokes and the swoops of colour. I already found some of the limitations in my Liquitex acrylic paints - that some are transparent rather than opaque. This doesn't matter when using them like watercolours but it does when using them like oils! I'll need to construct some colour charts with my paints to get a feel for their properties.
I've been taking photos at different stages to identify what needs more attention and also to capture areas I'm pleased with. The trouble with having to work all over the picture is that you sometimes have to paint over areas that you like and of course they're never as good again. For instance I liked the folds in the fabric in the early stages above but lost the plot afterwards!
The tuition has been just what I want - mainly leaving me to get on but with helpful suggestions ( eg removing the sugar bowl from the painting) and when to leave alone ( I'm a terrible fiddler). We've had some interesting discussions about art and exhibitions eg Peter Doig at the Tate earlier in the year.
For the first attempt at still life in years I'm reasonably pleased ( especially with the fruit in both paintings even if the pear was switched for a lemon this week - can you tell?!) More attention is definately needed in drawing ( teapot handles in particular) and in painting folds in fabric. You'd think as a textile artist I should know better! Next week we're concentrating (at my request) on a restricted palette.
Sunday 5 October 2008
This was the subject of my very first post on this blog, written when I was about to move from a much loved space in a partially converted loft ( 2 photos below) and wondering how it would work out in my new home. This loft space had 2 Velux windows and was the full width of the house with built-in storage and work surfaces. Access was by a ladder which had its advantages in detaching myself from the world while I was up there and shutting the hatch on the mess when I'd finished.
Over a year later after we moved in , I've pretty well sorted out my working space - the 'master bedroom', the largest room in the house (except for the kitchen). As compensation, Ian got the bedroom with the best view overlooking the garden as his study ( and we can wave at each other across the landing)
The main difference is the loss of a design wall but this hasn't caused as many problems as I thought it would - I've hung a sheet from the back of the door but mainly use A1 size cork boards which are easy to move around.
In theory this is the guest bedroom ( a single fold-up bed) but they'd have to put up with the pins - Ian has a sofa bed in his study which is probably the safer option. The bed unfolded is quite useful for propping up the design boards.
I used my previous studio space for both stitching and painting, which meant being meticulous in clearing up between different activities and carrying buckets of water up ladders. Now, I've taken over the conservatory (more of a lean -to) for painting and printing. The light is fantastic even on a dull day (although it can get very hot). Money ran out before we could replace the lino - probably just as well - I trod on some monoprints that I'd left to dry on the floor and left a trail of glittery footprints. What is also different from my previous workspace is that it also houses my computer and printer. When I work from home on scientific papers etc, the cutting table is handy for laying documents out. The computer can of course be a terrible time waster but the benefits of being able to print fabric out or work directly in Photoshop means I'm much more productive ( and not having to shin up a ladder everytime I feel creative)