Saturday, 2 January 2021
Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Hope you're all keeping well...is it just me or is time flying by? It's hard to comprehend in a way, you'd think time would drag whilst going through these lockdown periods wouldn't you?
Speaking of 'flying by' I thought I'd share the inspiration for my latest picture.At first, the owl hadn’t really come into it...it was all about the big ‘ole moon.
I keep a little book where I jot down things I hear, such as lines of poetry or song lyrics that just make my ears prick up. A line of a song can conjure up an image in my head and that can sometimes manifest as a title for a picture, or as the image itself. Often what I write down doesn’t become anything...I just love the words! I have music playing a lot when I’m in the house...my most common playlist is one with artists such as David Gray and Ray Lamontagne who have GREAT lyrics (in my humble opinion!). One line I had written down was from David Gray’s ‘Shine’ :
‘Through the window of midnight, a Moon Full of Silver...’
These few words just brought to mind those nights where the moon is big and bright and you can easily go for a walk and see perfectly well without a torch. I’ve had a few late night dog walks where that’s been the case...there are no street lights where I live so it’s almost other worldly; that strange, silvery light illuminating the landscape.
The magic of being outside at night when it’s so quiet and still and moonlit...you almost feel smaller and a little insignificant (which of course, in the bigger scheme of things, we are).
I used this inspiration as a starting point and chose a limited colour palette...green, turquoise and gold with black and white. I blended these colours so that the overall look was harmonious...the turquoise is mixed with black for the sky and is also blended into the greens and gold of the fields.
I created prefelts with these colours to use in the layout for the piece which worked well. I also used a resist for the moon and snipped a circle out of the sky to reveal it after felting.
Once I had the landscape laid out, I could see that maybe it needed a story...this could be the thing that stops my work becoming more abstract, because I generally end up putting in a bird, or too much detail in order for it to ‘say something’! However, I went with it...
I have been lucky enough to encounter a barn owl...I don’t think it will matter how many times I see one, it will always be a magical thing.
To catch sight of a barn owl in flight, it just makes you hold your breath. To see the ghostly shape of this beautiful bird gliding from a tree on silent wings and across a field has just stopped me in my tracks and, just for a moment, I have felt like the luckiest person alive.
And so my felted landscape seemed the perfect setting for a barn owl, which I needle felted in together with the foreground.
So what title to use...’A Moon Full of Silver’ or ‘On Silent Wings’ (isn’t that a song title too!?). I think I’m going to go with my original inspiration and call it ‘Beneath a Moon Full of Silver’...I’ll bank the other title for another time! It’s tricky to capture, but the moon does actually have silver angelina fibres felted in, so there is a subtle sparkle.
Do you get inspired by poems or songs? I’d love to hear what helps you start a new piece of work...
Monday, 26 October 2020
I had the perfect frame for ‘Hydrangeas and Stripes’ and I’m very pleased to say that it sold fairly quickly which is amazing.
Or maybe it goes this way around...
Monday, 24 August 2020
How are you doing? I can hardly believe we're marching towards the end of August...and the end of summer!
If you follow me on social media, you will see that I've been finishing off some pieces and getting them framed so that they can go out into the world. Framing always takes more time than I bargain for, but it's worth it as often a piece can be transformed just with a well placed mount and a nice frame.
Although I don't have many 'new' things to share, I have been spending more time in an exploratory way...trying new things within felting (new for me anyway!). I've also been reading a lot of 'art' books to try to help me with use of colour, line and composition - sometimes great things happen intuitively, but other times I really need some starting points to get me going. The book I seem to be referring to most is the following...it’s not too big or overly wordy, has lots of pictures and is laid out well and personally I’m finding it really useful. Have you got any favourites to share?
I can be guilty of throwing too much of everything into a picture, so I need to exercise a little more self control, no matter how seductive all those textures and colours might be!
I guess not having what might be described as an educated art background, I do sometimes need to be reminded of basics - other than that I've always felt that rules are there to be bent a bit in exploration and learning.
I've been having a good rummage in my stash and trying different materials within felting to see what works well and what effects they might give...I absolutely love surface textures, so it's a great exercise to have a record of what can be achieved before diving straight into a main piece of work.
I even dug out my embellishing machine, which I hardly ever use. It was one of those purchases that I researched at the time and thought I would utilise a lot, but as it turns out it has been collecting dust on the shelf. I always seem to favour working by hand rather than machine, however it was time to remind myself of some of the effects that can be achieved so I dusted her off, switched her on and revved her up!
In short, my embellisher needle felts with 5 needles, so mashes away at layers of fabric, wool...or whatever you dare use...to embed the fibres and create a ‘new’ piece of material. There are a number of models on the market...mine’s a Janome and if it’s something you are interested in finding out about, there are lots of tutorials on YouTube. It will do the job quickly, thoroughly..and noisily (I’m in an upstairs room and it seems to reverberate through the house, ha)! However I don’t have as much as control as I do when needle felting by hand.
After doing a few samples using fabrics that wouldn’t easily be usable in wet felting, I quite liked the backside of the fabric where the little loops and subtle shading occurred...here are a few photos of the just some of the results of using the embellisher and wet felting.
The scraps of fabric were laid on top of some white prefelt and then put under the embellisher, which basically ravages the surface slightly but meshes the two layers together. You can needle just from one side, or from both...different effects are achieved each way. I like the little loops that appear...I can see how this could be effective in a landscape picture. The top picture is a shot silk, and you can see how the different colours are revealed.
The top blue picture was wet felted first...I attached it to the prefelt with wool stitches and then felted it which worked quite well - a way of incorporating ‘tricky’ fabrics within wet felting - the wool stitches felted in and gathered the fabric.
Different effects viewed from the top and bottom.
The top blue fabric wet felted in quite well, but I then partly put it through the embellisher as well once dry...I like the subtle blue shades that appear underneath. The pink yarn wet felted in just fine as it was...the mohair type fibres were good for felting.
I also tried wet felting with different sorts of paper...paper and water and agitation don’t really go together, but there was some success depending on the paper type and this opened up the possibility of printing/writing/painting on top...hmm, imagine the possibilities! More trials needed to perfect that one though...and a fair amount of patience!
I’ll keep these little samples to refer to...one of those might be just the effect I’m looking for in a future picture.
So that’s some of what I’ve been up to...moving on to a new piece I’m always inspired by the beautiful flowers I’ve been bringing in to the house from our garden to enjoy, particularly the hydrangeas. I’m using this photo as a starting point and will aim to use some good composition and colour mixing without getting too carried away...fingers crossed!
If I’m feeling a bit down, these blooms always bring some cheer...in fact just being out in the garden has proved a great antidote to what’s going on in the world. What have you found to bring you some calm amongst the chaos?
I’ll see you in September...hopefully with a new finished piece to share!
Take care and best wishes
Monday, 27 July 2020
That’s my lovely mum in the picture above...probably thinking we’d gone a bit mad!
The whole border is buzzing, humming and fluttering constantly with bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths.
Tuesday, 5 May 2020
Gardening for the soul...
Areas of the garden are starting to bloom...
Just before lockdown, I did make a rather apt sale of 'Home to Roost' - I was due to meet up with the new owner to give it to her in person, but that didn't quite work out. So I'm keeping it safe and hope to deliver it as soon as local travel restrictions are relaxed a little...never has a title of a picture been so fitting!
|'Home to Roost' - now sold x|
Hello all, just thought I drop a little post about a project I'm taking part in - 'St Ives in Stitches'. Last year a locally b...
January was a time for experimenting... Playing with layers... Playing with paint... Sketchbook explorations... ...
I’ve already shared some pictures of this piece of work on social media, but thought I’d write a post about where I got the inspiration from...