Monday, 12 January 2015

New Year - something different ... some playtime!!

 Like most of us I suspect, I am forever saying I will make time to play and experiment, but then work that needs doing and has deadlines attached takes over, and it never happens. So this year I am determined to make some time to try out some new things and mess about. It is important for health and I am certain helps you grow as an artist. So ... I watched a DVD featuring collage artist Jane Davies last week,  and I was fascinated with one of her processes for making an abstract piece. She started with an under painting and then used both papers and paint to produce her work. I really fancied giving that a go, so yesterday afternoon, I made myself stop 'proper' work and have an hour or so to play.

Hadn't got time to wait for a canvas to dry, so I found one I had wiped some old yellow and green paint from a roller on to (very much like I do in my sketchbooks - blank canvas can be just as intimidating). Horrid colours, but I just filled in the gaps with some blue and white - which gave me this (below).

Then I chose a few painted and dyed papers and started collaging them down with matt medium.

 Typically for me I worked with rectangles, squares and line in a fairly grid-ish pattern 

 As per Jane's advice I simply tried to focus on values and contrasts and 'go with the flow' .. probably should have broken out the gin ... I am no more comfy with that kind of instruction than I imagine most of you are - but I was on my own, no-one could see and my materials were cheap and abundant - so I just tried to imagine being 5years old and got on with it

I also followed the movement of the under painting - which was very up and down in straight lines - very logical - so I threw both a couple of doughnuts and some high contrast black at things

Jane suggests getting the paint out before you finish the collage - so like a good girl I did. I chose colours already in the piece and filled in spaces a bit. Firstly deepening and brightening the blue at the bottom and covering some of that awful green

Covering the awful green seemed like a good plan - so I did some more of that top right and then got out some glorious red and splobbed it about

I wanted some pure white back - and my brushes were all contaminated .. so fingers in and some nice white fingerprints and rubbings

I liked the softening with my fingers - so did some more and then printed  a few red circles with the matt medium lid

dipped end of paintbrush in red paint and put a line of small dots top to bottom

thought I had reached some sort of stopping point .. so I stopped - here is the piece so far ..

Interestingly it looks different, but still OK in all four orientations ..

I put these images on to facebook yesterday and asked what (if anything) these collages suggested to others. By this stage - they were definitely suggesting something to me. I was fascinated by peoples thoughts - how they differed and yet I could see the germ of all of them in my mind on the day it was done. Some saw Paris/France - in the light of the weekends awful events there - not my intention or in my conscious mind - but like most, I was appalled by what occurred, so maybe my seemingly random choice of colours was not so random after all? Someone else suggested bustle and play .. not conscious but almost certainly ever present with me. Transport and trains was another suggestion - which I can see, although hadn't ... but I am very drawn to 1950's poster art and have a couple of books of transport posters - so maybe an influence there? City Life and a bicycle in the city - I can see both and love them .. although not what I found. What I love is all the different things seen. I have always felt a bit inadequate viewing abstract art, as I so often just don't see what the artist sees and feel I am letting them down by seeing something different. This has made me feel quite differently. I love that people all see what means something to them .. and as I had nothing in mind when I started - that's fine. If everyone saw it the same - then maybe I would have been veering back towards representational art? Interesting isn't it?

I saw boats - specifically fishing boats at Whitby- some glossy and new ... some peeling and battered.. maybe predictably as that theme is on my mind. Although I had determined in my mind that this would NOT be a coast piece - as that would add pressure and stop it being play ... it obviously felt differently.

I don't think it is finished yet - and I am intrigued with trying to work forwards with all four orientations ..

More about that another time - for now - this is the way up it was assembled ... with a nice clean mat surround. I hope I've encouraged some of you to do something similar - just have a go at something you fancy and see where it takes you. As long as you enjoy the time and process - you can;t lose  - Hilary xx

Monday, 5 January 2015

Happy New Year, Moving House and some more gelli printing from Harrogate

So firstly, a very Happy New Year ... 2014 shot past at a very scary, but frequently exciting pace .. I am hoping to hold 2015 back a little .. hmmmm. This piece (below) was made a couple of years ago for the CQ journal quilt challenge - but it is such a January and New Year quilt, I wanted to share it again. I really hope 2015 brings everything you hope for and let's all  make it one that counts shall we?

So - back to work. Funny Christmas break here, as we finally got confirmation about Stephens new job - which is going to be on the South Coast of Wales. To all you travelling bods, that won't seem too far - but for a home loving creature like me - that is another country and quite scary. Luckily many friends on face-book turn out to be from around there and have assured me it is not only safe, but stunningly beautiful. We will be based around Bridgend - which is close to the coast .. and that couldn't be better . I love the sea with a passion and simply can't believe I am going to be able to live so nearby a beautiful coastline. So we are all ready for Wales - I just hope poor Wales is ready for me!!

No doubt you will hear more on this subject(!) - but right now I wanted to share these prints done at Harrogate with you.I was demonstrating with my gelli plates (yes - I now have a few!) and promoting the new book. I was using leaves from a specially purchased (and transported all the way to the show) potted palm tree, in conjunction with some of my stencils.

The palm generously provided different leaf sizes, which together with different sized gelli plates (3 x 5; 6 x 6; 7 x 5 and 8 x 10) gave me a lovely selection of prints like these below

I was also using a variety of materials to print on: plain copy paper; deli paper; khadi paper and two thicknesses of fabric - giving even more variety for me


I've kept some prints with white backgrounds, but most got overdyed to produce this gloriousness ... if that doesn't inspire you to want to get creating .. you are a harder to please beast than me!!I want to eat them.

The smaller plates are also great as you can pick them up and apply them like a stamp to paper - which is what I have done here, on light weight khadi paper

It was a great show and I met many old and made many new friends. I am not sure how I will manage the shows once in Wales - especially one as far away as Harrogate  ... but I shall definitely try and find a way ... I just love them and Harrogate always has that special place in my heart, as I grew up there - and Jo and I need to live in Bettys again!. 

I will be at the NEC in March at ICHF 'Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch'. For those who don't come as they feel this is not a very textile arty show - do come and see. It has grown enormously and now has all your favourite names - Art van Go, Kim Thittachai, Stephanie Redfern, Colouriscious, Oliver Twists and many many more will be there. Fabulous galleries and displays and wonderful shopping opportunities. I am showing a new exhibition called 'Coast'. Poignantly, this will be a chance to celebrate the lovely north eastern coast I have loved, before moving to a new coastline. I'll tell you more about that next time - but please note it in your diary - 19th - 22nd March 2015. 

I'll leave you with a bit more colour!! - Hilary xx