Monday 23 February 2009

Petra Returned and Weir Auditions

After a couple of years touring and being on display at Kingston Hospital ( pictured 5th from the right on the NNA website) I've finally got my Poetry In Stitches 'Petra' piece back. I've just been unpicking the velcro strip and attaching a hanging sleeve so that Ian can have it in his office (he's been nagging me for its return for the last year!) It's a piece that I finished and sent off with little time to live with it so it's an interesting snapshot of my direction at the time - I'd probably do it differently now. I was just beginning to experiment with incorporating photographs printed on organza and there's just a tiny piece of acrylic paint on it. Still like it though, and it brings back memories of my visit there and the magic of glimpsing the Treasury after walking throught the darkness of the 'Siq'.
Meanwhile I've been experimenting further with my 'Weir' samples, stitching the outline of some dried seedheads in the foreground to unite the different sections

And I've started auditioning fabrics for a larger piece - some fabrics such as the Heide Stoll-Weber dyed fabric at the bottom have potential on this scale ( approximately 60 x 120 cm) that they didn't in smaller samples. Just goes to show that however much you plan, there comes a point when you just have to plunge in and see what happens. Which is the joy of process for me.

Monday 16 February 2009

Weir(d) Experiments

From my pile of auditioned fabrics, I have constructed 4 samples based on a detail of my photos of the weir on the Grand Union Canal near my home. The one below, while not perfect, is in my opinion the best of the bunch and I'll now be working out how to scale it up into a much larger piece ( this one is 15 x 30 cm). Sue had some very helpful comments to make about having some vertical lines connecting the different areas and I agree that there's too much white. My excuse is that when painting on such a small scale, it's more difficult to control the paint and not go overboard. Below are the 'before and after' photos of each sample ( machine stitched and hand quilted with perle thread then painted with acrylics and acrylic inks) From each experiment, in the words of Charles Dickens in regard to the Circumlocution Office in 'Little Dorrit' (which I have just finished listening to on my i-pod), I have learnt "How NOT to do it."

Sunday 8 February 2009

Weir(d) Observations

Following on from my comments about prefering to work from my own images, I have also been developing ideas from subjects that are local , that I can go back and observe under different lights and conditions. On Boxing day, Ian and I walked along the Grand Union Canal from Brentford to the 'Fox Stop' ( a delightful real ale establishment which has the feel of a country pub). It was a lovely sunny day (if cold) and we both took lots of photos. I was particularly struck by the reflections of trees in the weir (below) and over the next few days did several quite large acrylic paintings on canvas and board ( best one above).

It's amazing what a difference light makes. We did the same walk on New Years Day (below) and apart from the ice on some sections, it was far less photogenic as it was overcast, with no shadows. I think if I'd seen it like this the first time , I'd probably have walked straight past!

This weekend I've been thinking how I can develop this subject further (it has a lot of potential for both stitch and paint) and have been raiding my stash to audition base fabrics. I can see that I will have to do several sample pieces ( CQ Journal Quilts at 6 x 12 inch are the perfect size) to find the right combination - so many possibilities.

Thank you very much for all your contributions and advice about the trials with my 'Pearl,Pearls ,Pearls' themed piece. I have decided not to proceed any further with this , partly as the deadline is too near and also as I'm still not inspired by the subject. But there's some great ideas from your comments I may pursue further.
From Idaho Beauty " You may not want to go back to that same format, but what if you created similar blocks, but with the inserts being your painted or transferred pearls? Your color scheme could mimic that of the sea and this could be a very abstract landscape/seascape."
And from Olga: "I've just remembered that the word Baroque originally meant a distorted pearl, and that someone once described the Baroque building as a Renaissance building seen reflected in moving water . As you prefer to work from your own developments, perhaps you could play about with distortions of your photo of pearls"
I should seek your opinions more often!

Monday 2 February 2009

Snow in Brentford

Snow always catches us unaware in the UK ( especially in London) - there's always the outcry of services grinding to a halt under winter conditions that for most of Northern Europe and America is normal. But then it happens so rarely that there would be bitter complaints about investments in snow ploughs that are only used every 10 years! With such infrequent snow, when it does arrive it tends to bring back memories of previous occasions - like when I was at University , walking into college then stupidly giving blood and passing out or wheeling my bike home from work in a blizzard , a journey of 2 hours!
Pleasanter memories are of taking pictures of the snow settling on the trees at the back of my previous property. It formed the basis of my first experiments using Photoshop to manipulate the images and my very first Journal Quilt in January 2003! I used the ideas to make a larger piece ( detail above) which it is hung in our dining room. I like the restricted , restrained palette.
Snow on trees still fascinates me and I 've taken lots more photos I ventured out on a shopping expedition to the High Street , well bundled up in my waterproof and walking boots with trekking pole. The gaiters were a bit of a struggle to get into as I don't use them very often - purchased after a snowy walking holiday in the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus when I got fed up of snow getting into my boots. Worth it tho'!
I took my camera and went on a slight detour down by the canal and dock( seen here in warmer times ) - there's one of the last working boatyards along this stretch of river, repairing canal boats and barges.

Our next door neighbour Myra gave us a Xmas card with a very similar view - where the Grand Union Canal joins the Thames (in the distance on the far bank is Kew Palace).