Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Stitching and Colouring

Since the workshop on Asemic Text I attended last month (posted here), I've been playing with text-like stitch over marks suggesting bridge forms. Here I'm posting some samples that I've manipulated in Photoshop, cropping, enhancing contrast, and adding and intensifying colour.




Stitching as freely as this was fun and something I will repeat but in order to use the idea in work, I will need to think some more.

Strangely, as I look at the colours that crept in from Photoshop, I think I was heavily influenced by the previous post - not my usual colour palette at all!



Monday, 27 April 2015

Drawing Movement with light

My daughter introduced me to these extraordinary photographs recently.

They were taken by Stephen Orlando, an Ontario-based photographer who is fascinated with human movement.  He attaches LED light sticks to kayak and canoe paddles and other objects and uses long-exposure photography to record the movement.

With an exposure of 20 to 30 seconds, the kayak becomes invisible. By this method, his photographs record only the arcing movements of the paddle in the hands of the canoeist. I find the resulting light paintings quite beautiful.






Further images are available here and here.

... A new form of drawing - drawing with light ...?


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Metamorphose - International Biennial for Paper & Fibre Art

In passing in a previous post (here), I mentioned the Water -Fibre - Paper - Metamorphosis exhibition currently to be seen in Cirencester at New Brewery Arts.  This exhibition is part of the International Biennial for Paper & Fibre Art and will travel to several other international venues later in the year.

I finally found the time to go and see the work again yesterday afternoon, this time with my camera. Previous attempts to photograph the work with my phone had not been satisfactory.

This lovely exhibition provides a sample of current work in paper and other fibres by artists from the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan and features different fibres from across the world.

I have here a selection of my favourite pieces that photographed well. I hope they show the wide range of media, subject matter and approach to be found in the exhibition.

First there is Eeny-Meeny by Minnamarina Tammi from Finland, which is described as a tableau in newspaper, magazines and paper. The delicate piece was extraordinarly beautiful as well as dramatic.


Then I liked Sunset III by Paula Jiun No from Germany in handmade papers,


And Memoire by Marie-Claire Meier from Switzerland.


I was also fascinated by the precision of News of the Day by Helen Tschacher from Germany.


Three very different pieces complete my selection. First there is the beautifully delicate Babel by Catherine Bernard from France. This is an installation in Kozo cellulose and thread.


Then there is White Water by Marjorie Tomchuk from the USA. This grid of pressed designs was made in cotton fibre paper which was airbrush coloured. 


And last of all, is Graven Images 6 by Cherilyn Martin from the Netherlands. This paper and mixed media piece which is on the wall in the photo that began this post is shown here in close up. I'd love to know the story behind the work.


Metamorphosis can be seen at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester until 31 May and, for those who live close enough, is an exhibition which is not to be missed.



Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Exploring translucency

I so liked the effect in the candle wax resist that I posted last week that I've been trying out several more resists in my daily mark making.

Here I'm posting one using olive oil and painted over with black acrylic which, because it made the paper translucent, had more impact when photographed up against a window so the light glowed through ...


and this, the reverse, perhaps even more interesting because of its subtlety when the paper was turned over and held against the light ...


I liked the beading of the paint on the surface of the oil which this technique produced and which didn't appear with other resists. The drawback was that the surface took a long time to dry and I had to be careful not to touch it for a few hours or I would have lost the more delicate marks.

I suspect that many of these resist ideas are much easier to achieve on paper's crisp and more rigid surface. Transferring them to fabric could then be done with digital photography and an image manipulation package - but I will try some directly on fabric and see what happens.



Monday, 20 April 2015

Fritillaries at Cricklade North Meadow


I've posted several times before (for instance here) about Cricklade North Meadow in Wiltshire, near where we live. We visit the site regularly and it is always a pleasure. We visited again last Saturday afternoon in warm spring sunshine.

The site, over 100 acres (24.6 hectares) of traditionally maintained hay meadow, is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In all, Cricklade North Meadow is home to more than 250 different species which flower throughout the spring and summer. Many of these are very rare.

The meadow is perhaps best known for its wonderful (and certainly rare) display of snakes head fritillaries that bloom in most years from mid to late April. The fritillary, along with many other uncommon species, flourishes in the protected and incomparably special habitat with its seasonal flooding of the upper Thames. Indeed, the Meadow has 80% of the Fritillary meleagris in the UK.

This year, following two years of dramatic and almost overwhelming flooding, the fritillaries have been particularly spectacular. It is estimated that, in a good year, around 500.000 blooms carpet the meadow with a gentle purple glaze. This I can well believe. On this lovely spring afternoon, the Meadow was full of blooms and was looking truly beautiful.

There were also many more common species in full flower. These included the bright yellow king cup or marsh marigold. As its common names suggests, it is a marsh-loving member of the same family of plants as the buttercup (ranunculaceae). For me, it is a reminder of happy childhood spring holidays with my grandmother in Hampshire.

Then there was the lady's smock or cuckoo flower, so called because its flowering coincides with the arrival of the first cuckoo of spring, and there were many thousands of bright yellow dandelions which intermingled with the fritillaries.

As we walked, we heard sky larks. willow warblers and chiff-chaffs and saw a peacock butterfly sunning itself on vegetation - hints of the fauna also flourishing in the Meadow.
















Last Saturday afternoon, there were lots of other visitors enjoying these delights. Most of us on this occasion, I suspect, were drawn by the fritillaries - but also, perhaps, by the special Fritillary Tearoom that opens at weekends in April and which promises excellent home made cakes and a good cup of tea after a walk in the meadow.

Maintenance of these disappearing hay meadows is becoming critical. It is estimated that we have lost around 97% of our traditionally maintained meadows to drainage, fertilisers and the plough. With this loss has come the endangering of the many wild flowers that used to flourish in them. Long may the Meadow continue. We feel privileged to live so close and to be able to visit so regularly.

Further information about Cricklade North Meadow can be found here on the official website.


Friday, 17 April 2015

English Green from the garden and beyond

This time for Roy, I have a sample of English country greens as spring is at last bursting into life in the lovely warm spring sunshine in every garden, wood, field and hedgerow here in the UK. How I love this time of year - the release from winter, the increasing warmth, the strengthening light levels, the new growth and the promise of a warm summer to come (one can always hope). It's my favourite season of all, I think, and I'm going to celebrate it this time with photos of some of our British trees. There are both native and introduced examples, but every species shows its own particular variation on green as it come to life after the winter.

The photos were all taken in my garden and in hedgerows within walking distance of my house. I'm sure there are no surprises here at all for British visitors to this blog and that all around you things are looking just the same. I hope you will forgive my self-indulgence.

First comes a great favourite of mine (and of our grandchildren), the horse chestnut or conker tree with its buds which are delightfully sticky before opening, its large leaves that unfurl so dramatically. and its distinctive stacked flower heads (not yet open in this photo).


Then there is a small hazel bush which grows in a hedgerow along the edge of our garden. I love its delicate leaves and its nuts that are much enjoyed by the squirrels that visit us through the winter.


Now, to some trees and their flowers. First of all there are the delicately green catkins of the silver birch tree with its tiny unfurling leaves which follow the catkins. They can just be seen on the twigs in this photo between the catkins.


Then comes an ornamental cherry whose leaves have a delicate orange tinge when they first appear.


And last of all, the inconspicuous orange flowers on one of the yew trees that give our house its name. ...

As I looked through a preview of this post just now, I was struck again by the range of greens that accompany the trees I've featured. What an excellent choice of colour green is for the April instalment of the rainbow challenge! There is really no way of escaping it wherever you look.




Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Making a mark every day

I've recently begun trying to do some mark making every day, in a square sketch book bought for the purpose. Here are some of the most recent results, using conventional media in a way I've not used before.

First of all, I applied Liquitex ink to cartridge paper and spread it out with a palette knife over candle wax resist. In the second, I used a 2 inch fibre-marker filled with black fountain pen ink and twisted the marker as I made a diagonal sweep across the page.


And last of all, I printed with the 2 inch fibre-marker, now almost run out and producing a very dry mark,


I must do more of this, but sometime soon, I really will have to get some colour going ...


Saturday, 11 April 2015

Between the lines in Cirencester

At the end of last week, I spent a most pleasurable afternoon visiting exhibitions in the two excellent gallery spaces that we have in Cirencester.

The first I went to was Between the Lines, an exhibition of stitched textiles by East Anglia Textile Artists (EAST) in the Corinium Museum. The second was the International Biennial for Paper and Fibre Art touring exhibition which has found its way to New Brewery Arts where it will be staying for two months until the end of May. I'm going to post about the first today and will save the second until I have had time to visit for a second time and to take some better photos.

The work showing in Between the Lines was inspired by the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the 1st World War. It can be seen until 19 April. It samples many aspects of the conflict, including the lives of the women left behind and of the soldiers on their return. Much of it was very moving and thought-provoking.

The lighting, however, was very difficult for photography so I am limited in what I can successfully show from my own photographs. I have therefore included a few taken from the EAST website to give a wider taste of the exhibition.

In fact, I begin with a photo which shows two of the pieces I particularly liked in another location and shown on their Facebook page. It shows The Thorny Fence by June Carroll and I include a detail I took myself. The latter shows the piece in its true colours.



I also very much liked the two 'broken vases' by Anne Norton, shown on the shelf on the right in the top photo and called 'Devastation'. I include a detail of one of the vases that I was able to take successfully together with the explanation of the work provided alongside.


I was more successful in photographing the last two pieces of work. The first is The Passage of Time by Lorna Rand. I found this very personal piece particularly touching.


The second shows one of two exquisite pieces of hand embroidery by Delia Pusey called The Language of Flowers. These were based on her own collection of World War 1 embroidered post cards. One can hardly begin to imagine the feelings of the wives and girlfriends at home who received the originals. 


As a footnote, I include a photo I took of some of the lovely sketchbooks which were shown, and which it was possible to look through at leisure. As a keen maker of such records of my own experiments, I so enjoy this kind of opportunity. This time was no exception, though my photo does not really do the generously laden table justice. 


For those who live close, this is certainly an exhibition to savour. I hope, if you visit, you enjoy it as much as I did. 



Saturday, 4 April 2015

Bullfinches in the garden

He is a true joy, this wonderful bullfinch. He is perhaps our most brightly coloured bird here in southern England and he is probably my favourite along with his much more somberly coloured mate.


We have several who visit our bird feeders every day. Sometimes in the winter there are as many as six or eight at a time. I believe they mate for life and certainly seem to be loyal to their partners, usually visiting in pairs. The bird books describe them as shy birds but here they seem fearless and frequent in their visits.

I can't claim credit for this excellent photo. It was taken by a friend visiting for the weekend and bringing his telephoto lens and superior expertise. Thank you Austin.