Sunday, 30 November 2014

Stitching bridges

In the last week or so, I've been trying out stitching on a bridge shadows photo I took in the US in September. This time my aim was to accentuate and develop the graphic qualities of the image - black and white contrast, shape and simplicity - rather than to interrupt it and mask it a little as I've tried before.

Small sections are shown here.



I'm planning to do something larger - perhaps a composite piece - once I've tried out a few more ideas. Maybe it will contain both approaches or something different again. Time will tell ...


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Blind drawing and talking

Last night, I talked to a local art group about the keeping of sketch books. It was a most enjoyable evening ... and I gleaned some useful information on the use of Adobe Photoshop into the bargain. It just shows how you can learn information as well as imparting it when you give a talk. There is also something about standing up and talking in front of an audience to sort out what you really think about a subject.

Towards the end of the evening, I demonstrated the use of blind drawing, a technique I always enjoy, and then cropped the resulting images with various windows to show some possibilities. Because of the need to talk and explain what I was doing while I worked, I found this surprisingly tricky. Still there were some interesting results (for me at least!) and I've added these to this post.

It has to be said that I'm not sure I convinced all my audience that this was a useful drawing technique but three people asked for full details of the book I recommended (Drawing Projects by Nick Maslin and Jack Southern - mentioned here before) so I count this as a definite success!



The whole still life I set up with some overlaying ...


A snippet cropped from the image ...


And another turned through 90* ...


And a seed head done with sneaky peeks ...


That second one may generate a small print block, perhaps. Time will tell ...




Monday, 24 November 2014

Autumn's Paradox

I came across a quote about autumn the other day on Donna Watson's blog, Layers (always lots to think about there).

"All through autumn we hear a double voice: one says everything is ripe; the other says everything is dying. The paradox is exquisite." Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces.

The fruits of autumn - black grapes on a vine in the garden of Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire.

The quote brought a hint of the positive on a chilly grey November afternoon when the mind seems to be so focused on the end of the year and the natural world in these latitudes going into the long brown unproductive sleep.

Last week, the (Wiltshire) River Avon near Malmesbury lined with trees in the last throes of autumn and not yet quite brown.

I might now be more positive about the last days of autumn.




Friday, 21 November 2014

Travelling to find brown

This month's Roy post features the colour brown. I have seen so much of this colour in all its guises in recent months.  

In September, there were the myriad browns of the American Canyonlands. Then looking through my photos from more local visits, I find lots of example taken in the past few weeks. Looking out of my window as I write, there are the varied browns of late autumn in our garden and in the fields and hedgerows around us. It has been very mild here in  the UK. We've had no snow nor even much frost yet and so autumn colour has stayed late.

Though limited by a very nasty virus infestation on my PC (and no sign yet of the technician who is due to come and fix it), I've posted below what I can from my iPad. 

First there is a view of The Grand Canyon with its extraordinary range of warm russet browns in the evening light.


... and an example in muted dusty earth browns - a wall painting by Hopi artist Frank Kaboti inside the Desert View Watchtower, about 100 metres from the first photo ....


... and redundant machinery in a rich brown on the Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Arizona ...


Closer to home, the next photo shows rows of sand-coloured chairs on the wonderful patterned floor in Liverpool Cathedral ...


Then there were these fantastic old bikes found in a National Trust property at Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire ...


And last of all, that hint of local autumn colour - a russet beech tree near our closest town of Malmesbury.


If you're new to Roy's adventures, further explanation can be found over on Julie Booth's blog here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Liverpool Cathedral 2

I promised further photos of our visit to Liverpool Cathedral the week before last. I'm still having significant problems with my PC and am limited to my iPad ... so no fancy stuff with my photos for this post. However, buying a small gadget that plugs straight into my iPad and let's me upload photos directly from my camera card is some progress and has allowed me to get these images on screen.

One thing that really caught my eye as we walked round the cathedral was the great range of tile patterns in the floor of the nave - black and white so really not a surprise that I've included them just now! Here is a small sample ...








That last motif extends right down the length of the nave. The perspective was amazing. ( Excuse that ghostly shadow .... )


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Disrupting Shadows

Whilst I was away in Scotland, I had time to play with bridge shadow photos taken when I was in Pennsylvania recently.

I had printed them out onto paper before I left and taken black backing paper and a glue stick - all very low-tech.

On a rainy afternoon, I set to work tearing each photo into haphazard strips and sticking them onto the black backing paper leaving spaces as I went. The aim was to insert irregular black lines into the image to disrupt it and increase the level of abstraction.


Both images all very busy and lots more ideas to play with ... but a beginning ...

Friday, 14 November 2014

Liverpool Cathedral 1

I've been away and so silent for the last week - because I have only today worked out how to post photos using my iPad and photos from my phone. Ah, the wonders of technology! Here are my meagre efforts. (Just wish I was a faster learner...)

On our way to Scotland recently, we spent time with friends near Liverpool and visited the extraordinary Liverpool Cathedral.


What an amazing space it was - vast and vaulted - the largest cathedral in Britain ... and another surprise, built in the 20th century, starting in 1902 and not completed until 1978.

Much more when I'm home ...


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Exhibiting in Stroud

I spent Monday in the George Room, Stroud, putting up Great Western Embroiderers' exhibition Stitching A Cotswold Art, with members Ruth Hayman and Margaret Griffiths, and with our husbands giving much needed technical assistance. Very, very many thanks to all.

Fifteen members of the group exhibited in all and a small selection of the work can be seen below. From all the photos I took, I've mostly chosen some corners to show you. It's funny how corners seem to show off work so well. Perhaps it's something about gentle shadows or the implied intimacy of pieces facing and interacting with one another. More general views will appear shortly on our group blog here. Attributions are generally from left to right in the photos.


First of all above, there is work by Ruth Hayman (that glorious coat and the large Arboretum panel) and Pat Roberts' Winter Sun. Ruth's coat contains boiled wool from sweaters my husband and I donated to her for the purpose - hence its title of Friendship and Old Jumpers. Then there is some work of mine that you may recognise - the Stone Wall Group and Tree Sections.


Here, there is work by Maggie Harris (the lovely loosely gathered Colour Studies 3 panel and the three black and white pieces To Stitch or Not to Stitch) and Ruth Hayman's vivid Autumn Approaching - and also the Cotswold geology panel I called Beneath our Feet ...


And above is a rich blue corner with work by Debbie Turner (a batik hanging called Willows  and the large Good Luck Quilt), by Margaret Griffiths (her Sun setting on Cricklade Meadow series) and by Pat Roberts (River Bed Fantasy  and Winter Cheer) ...

Last of all below is a general view of a visitor enjoying work by Anita Barratt, Margaret Griffiths, Judy Joiner and Margaret Sadler... May there be many more visitors like her!


If you should wish to visit and are near enough to able to do so, details can be found in the thumb-nail to the right and on the Subscription Rooms website here.

Since the room may occasionally be closed during our exhibition, visitors are advised to contact the Subscription Rooms before planning a special visit.