Gallery of past work

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Miniatures in Bloom

A final selection here, this time of small works by Carolyn Sibbald (the first two) and Carla Mines (the third), before Brunel Broderers' exhibition at The Arts Centre at The Meeting House in Ilminster, Somerset, closes on Saturday.


The Arts Centre offers a very pleasant small gallery, well-lit and with plenty of display space for small installation work as well as good wall space. 

Footfall has been good and comments encouraging! The very good coffee shop makes it a really pleasant day out. We will be sorry to leave on Saturday. 

If you live locally and have not yet been, general opening times for the gallery are given on the Art Centre website via link above or by clicking on the poster in the side bar of this blog. 

Please note: Closing time for the Gallery this coming Saturday (31 October) will be at 12 noon because our exhibition is ending and our work has to be taken down ready for the next exhibition. 

Sunday, 18 October 2020

The Brunel Broderers' exhibition in The Arts Centre at the Meeting House in Ilminster in Somerset, is now open to view.

As keen-eyed observers will notice, much of the work I am showing with the group this time has again been developed following a visit to the Chateau at Chenonceau in the Loire region of France in July 2019. 

There are several new pieces. I have developed further the layering and the opacity of the images to give depth. I have layered several repeating images each with different levels of opacity and have explored the shapes (both positive and negative) generated by the overlapping of these images. 

I have also extended my thoughts to give a fresh look at the use of colour to suggest further the complex history of Catherine de Medici's life - of political machinations and dark deeds and perhaps blood spilt. 

In all this work, it is a strange fact that this historic theme of evil deeds contrasts strongly in my memory with the formal beauty and apparent peace of the gardens when I saw them. I have hoped to suggest this conflict in my work. 

Throughout, I have developed my response through Adobe Photoshop Elements from the photographs I took during my visit. The imagery which resulted was discussed at length (here and here). 

A snapshot of each of the members of the group is to be found on the Brunel Broderers' blog. Each artist is featured in a separate post with brief details of their work. 

Covid restrictions notwithstanding, the exhibition runs in the gallery until Saturday 31 October 2020. If you are able to come, you will find a warm welcome in the gallery and in the café which is open during the centre's opening hours. 

In view of current restrictions, it would be wise to consult the Art Centre's website before visiting to check the opening times of the gallery.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Exhibition in Ilminster

Covid restrictions notwithstanding, I will be exhiting work in October with the Brunel Broderers in Bloom, at the Arts Centre at the Meeting House in Ilminster, Somerset. This is a new venue for the group and we are very much looking forward to seeing our work in a different setting. 

The exhibition runs from Tuesday 13th to Saturday 31st October and will show a mixture of new work and pieces from the exhbition of the same name held in Cheltenham last September. As well, we hope, as attracting new visitors, this will provide another opportunity to see pieces we showed last year together with further work developed on the same theme. 

The work explores growth and flowering and gardens and each member has approached the subject from their own perspective. The exhibition will show the wide variety of approaches and outcomes developed by the members of the group.

                                         Carla Mines                                                               Liz Harding                                                                      Carolyn Sibbald

Carla Mines has considered further issues of polution and the environment using machine embroidery on disolvable fabric. She has focused particularly on the effects of our casual use of plastic and on the problem of the dense masses of algae or algal blooms which can occur in both marine and fresh water. Liz Harding's work explores colour and growth through machine embroidery enhanced with hand stitched marks on painted organdie. Carolyn Sibbald's folded and cut books and structures, often incorporating delicate stitch, provide a fascinating miniaturised perspective.     

                      Corinne Renow-Clarke                                            Margaret Robbie                                                             Linda Babb

Corinne Renow-Clarke will be showing a series of richly coloured turned-edge appliqués in work that looks afresh at plants we bring close to home. I have continued to explore shape and pattern in landscape, this time through more representational work particularly exploring imagery in the gardens at Chenonceau in France. Linda Babb has based her work on the traditional flower motifs found in the buildings of Marrekesh, seen there on frequent visits.

**A word of warning: because of the inevitable impact of Covid 19, this gallery is operating curtailed opening hours - 10 am till 2 pm and will only be open from Tuesday to Saturday. The café will be serving teas / coffees and a limited selection of sandwiches and cakes during Gallery opening hours. 

Monday, 4 May 2020

Printing and painting

As I said in my previous post, I've been painting and roller printing white fabric with acrylic paint and Liquitex permanent inks, often in combination. This time, I've used a range of cotton and linen fabrics to see how they react to the addition of colour. 

Above and below, various accidental motifs seem to be appearing. Irregular vertical and horizontal lines of ink develop from the roller and circles or near-circles from a brush with both the ink or the acrylic paint.

The accidental nature of this sort of work is what particularly appeals to me. Although it's difficult to see in these photos, the light linen produced especially delicate results. 

In each case, the rollering of paint was chosen particularly to suggest reflections in high rise buildings. I plan to select and cut out sections from these fabrics for small appliqué pieces. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Left Overs

Playing as I do, I took small left over cropped pieces from larger abstracted photgraphic images and rolled acrylic paint over them selectively with a narrow paint roller (brayer). As I was finishing, I rolled the remains of the colour onto strips of an old white cotton bedsheet from my mother's house - this was all about using up left overs, after all! I then experimented.

I stitched a small square from the pile of painted croppings onto the cotton sheeting and added some other rows of stitching to add extra texture. It was interesting how much the parallel stripes of rolled ink suggested the high rise buildings from which the small photographic image had come. They seemed to have come full-circle.

Then, I assembled small croppings from the abstracted photographs. 

In this, it was interesting how strongly the black elements in the photos came through the ink creating depth and a quite different and less static effect which I may explore further.

It's always encouraging when idle experiments and 'what ifs' generate thoughts for what may come next.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Making marks

I found this card in my stash of images yesterday afternoon when I was searching for intriguing images by other artists to include in my current sketchbook.

It is called The Quilt, which seemed appropriate, and is an original wood engraving by Fiona Hope. Further examples of her work and that by other members of the Society of Wood Engravers are to be found here. I think I bought the card when I was in Scotland and paid several visits to the studios of artists in Aberdeenshire who were exhibiting in North East Open Studios a few years ago - but that may not be the case as I'm not organised enough to annotate my cards when I buy them!

The card has a decidedly textile feel to it and I was fascinated by the range of marks so I set about recreating them with a black Uniball Signo roller ballpen on white paper (thereby inverting the images). I dotted, cross hatched and created thick and thin vertical and diagonal lines and arcs within a hand-drawn grid.

An excellent, idle occupation for a rather chilly afternoon in Coronavirus lockdown. 

Monday, 30 March 2020

Ancient and Modern

I'm working on a larger piece of work combining images of modern high rise buildings with suggestions of what existed before. There is explanation in the last post of what is in my mind.

Here, I've used heavily abstracted and very much enlarged croppings from photos of high rise buildings in Sydney, Australia, taken on a trip a few years ago. I've made marks over and around these images with a fine black Uni marker pen using circles and dots.

These marks suggest possible stitching once the main images are printed onto cloth. Alternatively, I may want to incorporate images printed onto photographic paper into the final piece as this better suggests the shiny surface of plate glass.

I know from past experience that this will give me problems if I want to stitch. It is extremely hard work to stitch through good quality photographic paper and stitches have to be quite far apart so that they don't create perforations or merge into one another and create undesirable holes!

Much to think about then.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Ancient circles

I've been stitching circles.

Circles (usually signifying meeting place, campsite or water hole) and dots (indicating the presence of sacred information not to be shared) are extremely common in the art of Australia's Aborigines as they explore their heritage in a modern context. The simple symbols such as dots and circles, were originally used for sand paintings, to explain things, and in cave paintings or on tools. Often these symbols have different meanings depending on context and local tradition.

I've been exploring and then experimenting to find ways that these symbols can be represented in stitch for work I am developing. I've included here a sample of the pieces. In each case, I've grouped and interpreted them to suit my own purpose.

Below, this whole grouping of circles means star. Again, I've interpreted the image to suit my own ends.

Before the arrival of Europeans, Australia's Aboriginal languages were purely spoken and there was no cultural history of writing. Instead, there was huge reliance on complex oral histories and rich 'dreamtime' recountings to pass on their culture. Now their modern artwork, often on a large scale and using acrylics, uses these symbols to represent their rich spiritual life and their beliefs, their ways of living, their surroundings and the animals and birds that live in their lands.

Kay Tuncun: Kipara (Wild Turdey Dreaming)  1986-87

I find their work fascinating and dramatic - and like nothing else I have ever seen.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Tate St Ives

We had a trip to west Cornwall last week, before we learnt first hand the full implications of social distancing and isolation and the frightening need for it.

We visited Tate St Ives - something we had been wanting to do for some time. The gallery is not large but there was so much to admire. For someone who enjoys modern abstract art as I do, it was fascinating.

What made this collection particularly interesting for me was the strong connection between the place of St Ives and its artists and their work. Most had close direct connections to the town and to West Cornwall and either worked with or were friends of Ben and Winifred Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth.

The work in the gallery is drawn from the Tate's own collection and highlights the national and international significance of the historic artist community that continues to thrive in and around the town. There was work to be seen by many well-known 20th century names - Terry Frost, Henry Moore, Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko, Bridget Riley, Naum Gabo (more of him in another post) and, of course Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. There were also a pleasing number of new-to-me names whose works were also shown.

I've chosen a slightly random selection of works of both kinds that caught my attention and appealed to me for one reason or another. For some pieces, I enjoyed the pleasure of coming close to previously unseen work by favourite well-known artists. For others I've posted, I was attracted from across the room to work by an artist I couldn't give a name to but yet felt a strong impulse to consider more closely.

Firstly, some internationally known names:

Henry Moore: Maquette for Standing Figure

This lovely, delicate little maquette by Henry Moore was made in 1950. It was a model for a much larger bronze sculpture made for Glen Kiln Sculpture Park in Dumfries and Galloway till its theft in 2013. This has very special memories for me as I visited this lovely place with my mother as a teenager in the early 1960s and we saw this and other impressive sculptures. It is a very vivid memory for me and I was delighted to relive the visit through this maquette.

Sir Terry Frost: Black, White and Yellow

Sir Terry Frost's abstracts always appeal to me. It's so often the black and white and the simplicity of the images that call me in and this one was no exception.

Mark Rothco: Untiled 1950-52

Here, an early work by Mark Rothco. His use of luminous layers of colour always fascinates me,

Ben Nicholson: 1934 (relief)
Dame Barbara Hepworth: Curved Form: Trevalgan                                                                                                         

And now, a pair of works by Dame Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson who worked together for almost 20 years, and were married for 13 years. It seemed appropriate to post their work side by side.

And lastly, a small selection of works by new-to-me artists or those whose work I knew of but had rarely seen. Each of these called to me from a distance as I walked around the galleries.

Roger Hilton: 1954                       Kenneth Armitage: People in the Wind        Alberto Burri: Sacco e Rossi 

      Peter Lanyon: Construction                                   William Scott: Berlin Blues                                           Paul Lanyon: Levant Mine Ruins

It seems we just managed our visit to Tate St Ives in time. The gallery closed yesterday because of  the Coronavirus.

Such crazy and worrying times! I hope these images will bring you some cheer in a very small way.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Stitching geometry

Very careful stitching involving counting threads and keeping to straight lines along the weave of the cloth are all most unusual for me.

But it seemed a good way through stitch to explore the geometry of modern high rise buildings.

This page from my art journal explores elements of the strips shown above the stitching. These strips were found in photos of office blocks taken in Sydney and Vancouver which were manipulated and cropped to bring out line and shape in the reflections.

This time, I was most interested to exploit what I saw using black and white thread.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Hand stitch

A welcome break from my computer has resulted in this stitched sample made in spontaneous response to the strip of white cotton, the small area of appliquéd silk and to the growing stitch on the ground cloth. There was no pre-thinking or planning. I just grabbed some small pieces of fabric, found some suitable threads and off I went.

But of course, as I stitched, things crept into my mind. I couldn't avoid hints of the shapes I've been finding within the reflective glass walls of modern buildings and of the colour palette seen there.

Nothing ever happens in isolation ... even when you think it does!

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Cropping and Compiling

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to abstract images, especially if they increase the chance of a random result. I'm a great believer in the power of serendipity!

Here, I played again with images from high rise buildings. I cropped out small sections from the A3 size image in the last post and combined them into strips using the Smart Objects feature in Photoshop Elements that I find so useful. After much playing, I generated a large number of these rectangular images and recombined a selection into one A4 document ready for printing.

I used a new-to-me idea involving a sheet of computer address labels (size not specified) recommended in Shelley Rhodes' lovely book, Sketchbook Explorations for mixed-media and textile artists. The details are given hereThe cover gives just a taster of the inspiration and delight that lurks inside! (From reading it, I have a whole raft of other new ideas to try out.)

This time, the idea was to print out the images onto the labels from the PC, peel them off the backing and reassemble them in a different order and see what results. As I had hoped, with little control over where the labels would cut the images and because the labels on the sheets were separated by narrow spacers, there was a satisfying element of the random in the end results which greatly appealed to me. The strips shown above give a sample.

I then decided to reassemble pairs of labels that seemed to work well together or provide contrast with one another, spacing them about half a centimetre apart on a white mount.

This whole process of abstraction is so much one of trial and discard and I save only a small proportion of the early images I generate - but that's what it's all about - edging gently towards a viable larger image that satisfies me and that I can work with.

This time, there are some small selections I especially like - generally the simpler ones - and which I will develop further.