Gallery of past work

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.

Tuesday 25 February 2020


A double page spread from my current sketchbook / journal working further into the photographs of Sydney's high rise building which was previously posted here

On these two pages, I've been looking again at the shapes and patterns in the curved glass wall of the building, cutting out and mounting alongside one another (but with a small space between) each of the columns of coloured glass that I had noticed, and investigating possible stitch patterns (still on-going). 

I find mounting things separately with a space between each unit in this way is very helpful in seeing pattern and form in things. I helps with ultimate abstraction as it takes me further away from the original image. 

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I begin work in large a Seawhite A3 ring bound sketchbooks like this one for every new body of work I undertake. These books are really journals in which I record  my thinking process, influences or other artists I may come across, my experiments and comments on the results, and also where I think I may take the ideas next. 

I find recording my thoughts very helpful in working out what is going on, any problems I notice and where I might go next. I also write down such details aabout what was used - whether a photo from my archive, a particular paper, thread or fabric, or any other point I think I may want to revisit in the future - but may forget. 

Wednesday 19 February 2020

White stitches

Just because I felt like it, I stitched some small samples, white on white (with the occasional help of some black), exploring type of stitch and thread weight on coarser cloth, sometimes stitching regularly and on other samples more randomly.

Shown here, darning, running stitch, blanket stitch, and cross and satin stitch, sometimes needlewoven with the same or different thread - all surprisingly relaxing!

Monday 17 February 2020

Finding shapes within

Recent detailed observation of photographs of Sydney, Australia, has led me to complete these two pages of  closely-drawn shapes (a pleasure to make and photograph during an extremely wet winter weekend).

In the first example, I worked mainly from the second of the two photographs shown in the post as it seemed to have a particularly detailed and interesting set of shapes and effects made by its internal lights, its occupants and the reflections from surrounding buildings and the ever-changing sky. 

The second drawing turned out to be rather different, though still drawn in black and white. Much less of a grid pattern emerged and there were some different structures to reproduce.

I'm hoping that several small images from each of these studies will prove useful in my planned work. Next, I will make up simple print blocks using the ones that seem to promise the most and then see what happens.

Saturday 15 February 2020

On another tack

On different tack to nowhere in particular, except a wish to play with shapes and wanting amusement on a wet Saturday afternoon with the wind howling outside, these appeared in my small sketch book.

This ...
came from this ...
via this ...

You never can tell what's going to happen when you set out with a fibre tipped pen, a pencil some Koh-i-noor paints and the feeling that anything is possible.

Monday 10 February 2020

Rethinking things

I haven't always been a very regular blogger over the last year or so. Much got in the way - often textile and exhibition related. I was heavily committed and found as a result that I was too busy to sit down and find something (hopefully) interesting to say or indeed even to think too deeply about how I was approaching things.

Thankfully, I have fewer demands on my time this year with spring 2021 being the next deadline date for a significant amount of new work for either of the groups I belong to. This feels very liberating and is giving me time to evaluate where I am overall. First of all, I intend that my next body of work will not be quite so closely tied to my photographs, though I'm sure they will still play a big part in my process, especially at the start of new work.

I have begun here in security while I work out the way to proceed with two striking photographs taken in Sydney, Australia, a few years ago. The first of these, an extraordinary building, stayed in my mind long after I left Australia and I have been wanting to do work in relation to it for some time. In the second photo, those long thin vertical bands of light and dark and reflection mimic the surrounding buildings and hint at a possible approach to work.

As I start, I've beeen drawing shapes within the first building with black gel pen and Koh-i-noor paints. The latter produce lovely, vibrant colours which I find very satisfying. These small drawings are taken from the pages of my current sketch book.

They are part of my first, tentative steps forward (tentative is good - it allows for moving in all sorts of different directions!) on Brunel Broderers' new theme of Inhabit for 2021. This is a lovely broad theme, encouraging consideration of buildings, structure, culture, our effects on our environment - and much, much more that will no doubt come to mind as the year goes by. It will also allow me to continue to develop my exploration of pattern, structure and form in (this time) the urban landscape and to develop further towards abstraction.

There was definitely a lesson in last year for me. I think, as a result of my lack of time to consider things, I got stuck in a rut. This didn't make for growth in my work and my process nor, indeed, give an interesting variety of blog posts! As a result, I approached each new challenge in the same way. Hopefully, 2020 will be different ...