Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tree trials

In the last month or so, I've been playing with various ideas involving all those black and white tree images. These here are small snippets cropped to size using the age-old method - with a cardboard window carefully positioned over inkjet printed paper to get the image and pattern I want, and then cut out with scissors.

Somehow, I don't find the crop function in Adobe Photoshop as flexible as this method when I'm trying to find small pieces of interest in my photos. It seems to take control of my decisions too much and it doesn't seem so personal and immediate.

Once cut to size, I did some extended drawing with a Pitt pen, remaking selected branches and reinventing the interplay of shapes. I also worked on achieving a variety of line and mark to correspond with the original photo. It's a free drawing and abstraction technique I really enjoy.





Then I found four small photo extracts that seemed to relate to one another, stuck them onto paper together and repeated the technique, working on developing and rejoining the images. There's more to play with here, I think.












Last of all, I cropped one extended image - this time in Photoshop so I could play with rotation and contrast and ended up with two options. This first one gave detail.






And in the last, after rotating through 90º, I found a tiny landscape, perhaps ...









I quite like the results, but as it's a technique I haven't transferred to stitch before, I now have to work out how to make that translation and whether to use a cloth or soft paper ground and whether to mix with other printing ideas.

16 comments:

  1. These photos are beautiful and I see amazing potential ... I'll keep checking back in for further developments, again beautiful!

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    1. VMT - I think you're right about potential - just hope I can realise it. I see so much in them, I hardly know where to start, so I'm playing with ideas in pen and stitch as they come to mind to see where it all goes ...

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  2. I love the landscape, also your entire process. How satisfying. And you haven't even begun to stitch yet! I'm sure you've seen or have Gwen Hedley's Drawn to Stitch. I have the book and I love it...might get started on some stitchery eventually. I love all your recent work!

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    1. Gwen Hedley's book is a great favourite of mine - as is Kay Greenlees' book Creating Sketchbooks. Do you know it too? ... so many ways to make a sketchbook. Must try a few more of them one day!

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  3. Beautiful images, really catch the essence of trees.

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    1. The process I've described so far with pen or pencil is a familiar road for me. I have yet to work out how to develop it successfully in stitch and maintain that link to the essence ... but I'm trying some ideas and will post when any seem ready to be shown.

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  4. I really like the first two images of your trees.
    It is indeed quite tricky developing visuals which still need stitching. I think that initially the instinct is to make the image as complete as possible. I have so oft developed visual ideas for which stitch would be a step too far. But trees definitely seem to be catching your imagination right now.

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    1. Not for the first time, Olga, you've pinpointed accurately a dilemma for me, in this case with these and similar photos. The thought that my black and white images are complete in themselves has been flitting vaguely in the back of my mind for a long time, but it's not till someone else says it that it becomes totally obvious.
      I really like the images too ... but do they need stitch as they are here? I think probably not. If I'm honest, I seem to do this with so many images. Maybe it's about abstracting further or just perhaps about simplifying and editing out detail to leave space for the stitch or even about cropping and extending in a quite different way. Lots to try out. Thank you so much for your really helpful comment!

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  5. One thing that you could try out on screen is to place an image which you would like to stitch, say in black and white, and then draw in stitches - in a grey if necessary in order to distinguish them. Or if you are familiar with using layers, draw in stitches on one layer so that you can compare the image with and without stitches.
    I have not actually tried this myself. My own stitching I think of as an addition of texture to the surface. I think it all depends on what is envisaged for the final manifestation.

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    1. I will certainly give this suggestion for working on my images a try, both with and without layers. It looks very useful.
      As to my stitching, I usually have several intentions for it, depending on what I'm doing at the time - though I can see that being more overtly conscious about what those intentions are could be a great step forward.
      In 3D pieces, the stitching is structural although it may also be part of the image and add texture as well. In flat pieces, it's most often an important facet of the overall image, if not the main part of it. Maybe just aiming to add texture could become part of my approach with complex 2D images ... interesting thought ... another one to try. Very many thanks once again, Olga.

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  6. Whatever the process and final outcome ... these are beautiful !

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    1. Thank you Sharron ... as you can see from all these comments and replies, there's lots of thought going on right now ... interesting to see where it all leads!

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  7. l'arbre ..me rend sensible ...c'est beau!

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    1. L'arbe ... tant à faire que, presque, je ne sais pas où commençer ...

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  8. Looking at your beautiful images and reading the comments, it does set one's mind spinning with possibilities. Yes, where will it all lead??? 2D, 3D, structures, textures, layers....oh my!

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    1. Fortunately, I don't know where it's all leading ... as that really is the joy of all this, isn't it? The surprise and delight when interesting things happen and new lines of thought develop from the old ...

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