Friday, 18 July 2014

A holiday and back to front and violet

Stitching and blogging have been eclipsed recently for me by family and holidays and other pleasures and I doubt it will change much till the middle of September. Still that means lots to look forward to ... and it's a good life!

Meanwhile then, as my contribution to the latest Roy G Biv rainbow challenge, I'm posting a different take on some recent stitch work and a small holiday offering . 

First of all, comes that stitching. I often think that the back of work is as interesting as the front. For me, it's something about the record of the journey, its evolution, the start and the finish and all the effort and thought in between. 

This back view, fortunately for now, has violet (or purple, its more intense cousin) along with the black and the white. You may remember that I posted a photo of the front here.
Then, there is a quite different offering coming from all that holidaying, a photo of Quimperlé in western France taken recently with my daughter and her lovely family and with lucky hints of violet in the flower planting.


I'm not sure when I'll next post ... it's not easy in Scotland, my next port of call ... but I'll be looking out for pink, ready for the August challenge!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Gaugin and grandchildren

We've returned now after a lovely week in Brittany with the family - weather slightly dodgy but we played and talked lots with the grandchildren and spent time on the beach building the promised sand castles and seeking out shells and sea creatures - time with a very special quality.

We stayed in the pretty little village of Le Pouldu in South Finistère, popular at the end of the 19th century with Gaugin and his circle of artists. He stayed in the village intermittently for about 18 months from the autumn of 1889, having come there from Pont Aven in search of a simpler life and cheaper lodgings.

There is now an excellent little museum that's been set up in the house where he stayed in the village. It has been cleverly assembled on a small budget with simple furniture of the period and reproductions of his work on the walls. There was also a tape playing throughout the house (at times slightly spookily) to capture the atmosphere of the times.

The museum details Gaugin's life there - including the room where he painted looking out over the garden with its northern light. He worked in that room before he left for Tahiti in 1891 and the work he completed in Le Pouldu was intensely colourful and increasingly influenced by the folk and primitive art that was to inspire his later work.

He and the other members of the group pioneered the new Synthetism. This style emphasized two dimensional flat patterns where the purity of line, colour and form were paramount. Perspective was distorted and images were simplified.

More details and commentary on Gaugin's work can be found on The National Gallery and The Tate websites and, of course, by entering his name into Google.

This was a fascinating visit - Synthetism was a new concept for me. Somehow it hadn't figured in my brief study of art history. In the simplification of images and the emphasis of pattern, I felt a definite affinity. I will pursue the idea further.


Friday, 4 July 2014

A glimpse of stitch

Before I go off on holiday to France ... a little glimpse of my current stitch experiment, still very much work in progress ...


It's going with me to France but I don't expect to find much time to work on it!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Drawing trees

I've been drawing small groups of trees recently, trying to be selective with detail and points of focus and to push myself to work in a variety of ways.

Here, I've posted three drawings done using different media and a different approach each time - all shown exactly how they occur in my sketch book, uncropped and with contrast as is. Adobe Photoshop is playing me up right now, but I've no time to reload.

For the first, a drawing of pine trees, I used black oil pastel, focusing my attention on distances and negative spaces and exploiting the length of trunk and the dead lower branches so typical of these trees.


For the second, I used my favourite medium - pencil - and drew only the outlines of trunks, branches and leaves, again exploiting negative spaces but this time also working on overlap and pattern.


On the third, I got out my watercolours, always a medium where I lack confidence. It's so easy for everything to become overworked and for the colours to turn to mud. Here, I was concentrating on the relationship between two alder trees beside a stream ... more practice needed, I feel, especially on the foreground, but there is something that appeals to me in the shapes of the trunks.


At the weekend, I'm off to France for a week in a mobile home on a campsite in Brittany with my daughter and her family. I'm taking my drawing things but doubt very much that I'll find a great deal of time to use them. I should however, have lots of opportunity to take photographs. And the trees will be of a very different character to those I see so much of in Scotland.

I wonder what that will provoke ...?