Saturday, 30 July 2011

Starting Point

I look at this page in one of my sketchbooks  from time to time and think I must take it further - nothing comes to mind and there are always easier options for me to work on so away goes the sketchbook until the image haunts me again.  It contains everything that speaks to me - colour, texture, form, depth etc.  A couple of weeks ago  I caught a glimpse of it in a corner of my mind as a really big piece of work and as soon as I had mentally scaled it up I knew what it was all about and what I wanted it to say.

 Drawing for this project is essential and suddenly becomes something I'm looking forward to.
My workroom is full of luggage that leaves along with my son and his wife early tomorrow morning and I'm really going to need this distraction to deal with it all.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Clearing the Decks

I'm finishing off a  lot of small pieces of work for a couple of exhibitions - pieces that have been laying about for some time, just waiting for a binding or resolution in some form or another. When the finishing mood is upon me it is usually a prelude to starting something new. I know that I've promised to start resolving my Ullapool pieces at the start of next month but I think I will do another project at the same time. I need to get an idea onto canvas before it slips away.

I finished this piece yesterday, it is much more vibrant than the picture suggests - rubbish light levels today. Another difficult to sew piece because I had backed it before I finished stitching the front. In future I will leave the backing off until the front is completely resolved.

One thing I can't seem to complete is my altered book that I made on a Friday night work along with the Kemshall ladies, It started off at great speed  but has since languished amongst  my unfinished pieces stash. I think it's because I did not feel passionate enough about the subject I chose (Ode to a Nightingale - Shelley) a pity because I can see it has potential.

It really needs drawing into to bring it alive, but drawing takes a lot of time and energy for me. Maybe I will complete it at some time or abandon the subject and do something that appeals to me more. The beauty of altered books is that they can be painted over with gesso and restarted easily when something doesn't work.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

After the party

Party is over - work recommences. My son and his wife leave for two years in China on Sunday so I expect a great outpouring of work is in the offing. What a solace any creative work can be. It used to be that my garden would provide comfort during sad times but I have come to realise that it was the making of a garden that did the trick for me. I still 'make' but on a smaller scale.

I'm currently working on a couple of Art quilts that involve hand dyed and printed fabrics which I am embroidering into with great difficulty.When I originally made these pieces I didn't  anticipate that I would stitch into them so I backed them with a really heavy canvas. It was only when I added the embroidery that they came alive - so I am stitching through three layers which I will re back when I'm finished. Needless to say my fingers are quite sore. Note to self  -  do not repeat this project in the near future. 

A quick look at my inspiration wall before I take it down and replace it with work for my upcoming exhibition in Ullapool - I repeat my vow that I will knuckle down to some serious work commencing August 2nd.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Thinking of good things to come.

I've been stitching like mad for the past two days - actually working on some pieces to show in October at Thurlby church for the 'Calico' group of stitchers I belong to. The piece above has nothing to do with what I am currently stitching but the coloured palette I was using today took me back to some work I did for my lovely step-daughter. She lives in Ullapool - yes the place I'm always banging on about and definitely my favourite place in all the world. I'm so looking forward to our visit in September. These series of marine inspired pieces live in one of her and her husbands beautiful letting cottages. 

The shell and driftwood are part of my collectibles from the seafront in Ullapool - nothing nicer in a howling gale than beach combing along the loch towards the sea.

The more vibrant pieces are inspired by the occasional but magical summer days that add sparkle and intense colour to the loch and sea. Sometimes it's too bright to look at with the naked eye.

Oh well not long now before I'm walking along empty beaches again. In the meantime Art in action beckons next week,   two whole days of bliss. I'll post current stitching when I've done enough worth looking at. 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

My Husband ; the artist.

He: - What shall we do with these old slates?

Me: - (slightly preoccupied) Oh I don't know  - Do Something creative 

He: - I don't do creative.

Me: - Well...... build a helix in that space in the bottom border.

Two days later

It looks like a very expensive piece of garden sculpture set on a stone plinth and I have a double helix that looks wonderful.
Clever man - good mathematical mind!

It's all about colour combinations in the garden at the moment. I call these my mucky poppies. I have been culling any reds out of the borders for the past eight years and still the odd one crops up, I love their tissue paper appearence especially when the sun shines through them - they are my first sight in the morning when I walk out of my workroom.

Orange, blue and dark, dark red I repeat this combo.all the time

I like to consider paint colour to show off my plants.

Everything is responding to the rain - that wonderful mass planting effect that I like is starting late this year because of the drought, but if this weather keeps up everything should knit together in a fortnight (just in time for my party).


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Making Plans

When all the craziness of this month is over (parties, goodbyes and other sadnesses) I should like to see the Anthony Gormley installation Flare II at Salisbury Cathedral. His work  always stays in my mind and makes me think about what it is to be human. I remember a cold day in May in Liverpool in 2010 waiting for his figures to emerge from the receding tide.on Crosby beach. Awesome!!  Figures appearing as far as the eye could see, crusted and barnacled from their daily immersion in the Mersey estuary. Bare foot and freezing in the icy water my need to touch and somehow link with each figure is quite overwhelming and quietly  moving.

The sun came out later that day and thawed me out a bit. I think that is why my journal of the visit suddenly broke out into much warmer colours without me consciously deciding on a colour palette.

I'm glad that this installation will stay put, until that is the dreaded Health and Safety ministry deems it too dangerous. The idea of the slow decay into the sea is strangely comforting and thought provoking.

Well worth a long drive to see, especially if you time your arrival at high tide and allow enough time to watch the full performance of the figures emerge - alternatively if you are feeling particularly nihilistic you can watch the figures 'drown' as the tide comes in.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Delaying Tactics

This is not what I should be doing - I think I will call it 'Procrastination'. What I should really be doing is clearing away all the ongoing stuff in the workroom. This started as a sample and has ended up almost a finished piece. It is a quilt as you go background with a swarm of cross stitch. I'm thinking of  a larger  piece based on high rise building with a swathe of embroidery across it inspired by the imagery of the huge starling flocks that are so prevalent these days. 

However - this is what I should be sorting out and the reason why I should is that I have been invited along with three  artists to exhibit my work at Antalla Solais, Ullapool Visual Arts from the beginning of October this year. I made a good start  a couple of months ago and then stalled and prevaricated ever since. There have been family life changing events going on in the background that I could use as an excuse but the truth is that I hate doing anything arts wise that I have to do.  So - the deal is - after the party for 60 in the garden on the 23rd of July and my son and his wife have departed to live in Shanghai for two years I am going to buckle down to finish producing a little body of work that I will feel proud of.
In the meantime I need my raggy to stitch into and keep me serene and calm.