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Friday, March 18, 2011

Going Floral...

in a big way. I didn't think that was my style, but there is a story behind the images. I went out to take photographs in the local graveyard, intending mostly to take lichens and moss, that kind of thing, for another purpose entirely, when I came across three tulips. I suspect that they had been placed on a particular grave, but then kicked or thrown apart, and left where they landed. One was tucked into a tree trunk, so perhaps they were placed in a more deliberate fashion, but either way, I was struck by their beauty. They were obviously dying; no water for a couple of days, and it has been cold around here. Nonetheless, they looked amazing, so I took some close up images of them, which I then manipulated in Paint Shop Pro. Yesterday, I printed the two images above out on Big Bertha, and I'm just about to go upstairs to spend the afternoon stitching them. Although I don't usually, I might even enter them into a show, if I feel they're good enough. I used canvas which had been prepared for inkjet printing; whilst it is firmer than the cloth I would usually use, the results are good, and there doesn't seem to be any reason why stitch would not be successful. We'll soon see...

I see these images as a logical extension of my abstract and non representational work in both paint and cloth. In some ways, they relate quite closely to the painting I showed you yesterday. I don't really see myself stitching into straightforward, unaltered photographs, or including them in my work. If it's a good photograph, then it's a good photograph, and should be shown as such. If, however, I can express a feeling or an idea by taking a photograph, manipulating the image and then stitching or painting into it, Iwill. That feels like a legitimate use of photography in my work. That said, the series of portraits I'm making don't seem to require stitch, and may well be presented as photographs, pure and simple. It's important to understand when to stitch, and when not to. Just because I can, is not a good enough reason; the stitch has to add to the meaning of the piece, or it should not be there.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


may be as close as we get to 'Spring at the moment, although it is much warmer than it was a couple of days ago. Looking at the paintings I submitted to the art fair, which were of summer gardens, I thought it was time that a spring garden found its way to the easel...and so it has. I like this painting a lot, it has an energy about it that encourages thoughts of new growth and change, at least for me.

I popped into the gallery and framed a small painting last night, perfectly well, and then managed to screw up today with another... clearly this is a long, long learning curve. Sigh. Still, whilst I might never make a framer, at least I can frame my own work, and am doing so, for Open Studios in May. I'm opening my own studios this time, unlike last year, when I was showing at the Gallery. I prefer showing in my own environment, and I'll be working steadily throughout the time I'm open. Check out this year's Norfolk Open Studios here.

I'm working with Bertha today, printing out large scale images for stitch... more of that later.
What are you up to today? Hope it's something creative.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Quietly Confused...

I've applied to take part in an Art Fair in London this May; the closing date was yesterday. 'Send (images of) your best work', they said. I struggled with this for a long time. My immediate thought was, 'I haven't done it yet...' but of course, that's not what they meant. In the end, I chose eight pieces, which seemed to relate to each other, and which I'm proud of. I'm not sure that it's my 'best' work...but perhaps that's just subjective. The one I'm proudest of... actually, there are several, so one of them, 'Losing My Religion', is shown here. I think the thing that all these paintings have in common, is their energy. This is a fierce painting, about a difficult time in my life, when I burned out (aka The Breakdown From Hell). The eight aren't all fierce, they have different moods, different feels to them, but the amount of energy in each is similar. Different, but similar amounts.

What truly interested me is that although textiles is the area I'm known for (if I'm known for anything...), but there isn't a textile among them. I hope the textiles I make in the next year or so will be as powerful as the paintings. At present, they aren't, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is the medium itself, but I doubt it. I think this is a process thing, and I need to work it out for myself. I seem to start textiles in a different place entirely from where I start a painting. One of my textile friends, Jane, commented yesterday that the paintings would have benefited from having stitch added. I'm not sure I agree, but I could see where she was coming from. I don't feel my textiles have the power that my paintings do. That is going to change... but for today, I'm going to make a painting. I haven't painted for some time, and I realised, as Haydn was photographing the work, that I wanted to paint some more. I know, for once, exactly what I'm going to paint, and I'm off to the Little Green Shed, now that the heaters have been on for a while, and I'm going to paint it...a spring garden. Hope and rebirth...strong ideas, strong images, I hope.