Fire and Rust or “The remains of the day”

Dell Quay 3 - 26/08/16
Rusty Staples from the bonfire

 

I have long been fascinated by decay, distress and general wear and tear in surfaces.  My eyes are drawn over and over again to rock, stone, wood, paper or any material where the worn and battered winks at me and asks for further inspection.  I love torn edges and scruffiness.

Taking up more and more room in the house, I have an embarrassingly large collection of found objects that reflect my preferences and I am still struggling to find a clear way forward to use these within my art.  I am unable to pigeon hole myself as a “painter”, “printmaker”, “textile artist” or some other moniker – I like all manner of techniques and media. The saving grace is that there is a common need –  to make use of the found and to conform to my idea of what is aesthetically pleasing as outlined above.  I realise that to some/many my taste is bizarre and that anything I produce will have a limited market with the majority doubtless seeing only “rubbish.” I also need to distinguish myself from what I see as twee – sculptures and assemblages made from pieces of driftwood for example.  They are just not me – not dirty enough, not raw enough, not scuffed and damaged.

Some of what I produce will be fragile (I have some beautiful charred paper from an incinerator); some will have a shorter life than “traditional” art because it will continue to erode and spoil over time.  But I will persevere with my ideas that involve the found, the rusty and the burnt.  I have workshops coming up in 2018 with the inspiring Debbie Lyddon whose textile work I simply love and also with Elaine Bolt who I hope will take me down a new route considering ceramics and they can help me display my found objects.  I was delighted to discover her although a little sad to see that my ideas are not entirely new – ideas rarely are! – and that she is producing far lovelier work than I am sure I will manage.

I am currently thinking about my collection of found brushes (some are shown above) – I have already started to experiment with embossing and “printing” with the handles and would like to try making ceramic handles in the form of these found brushes.  I have a collection of “bristles” that can be fastened to the handles and yesterday rescued a whole pile of lovely rusty, “been through the bonfire” bendy metal from which I can form ferrules to adjoin the handles to the bristles.

Here are a collection of my other “from the fire” objects which I hope to use in future work.  I’d love to know if anyone else “get’s it”!!

Adding Texture … and being brave

I have a need for texture in my work and have been experimenting with different ways of adding depth and texture to my work on paper.  This week I have revisited collage and started to explore a new medium – cold wax.  Treading gently at first, I have added a little wax to my watercolour paper based pieces and am liking the effect.  Here are some of the collage images started recently at West Dean College:

West Dean Collage 3

This next piece was completed in one go – acrylic ink, wax, charcoal and a little collage material from my trusty drawer of bits

Distant cliffs collageAnd finally, this one, compiled from three pieces which I did whilst on holiday in Scotland last year.  I had quickly dashed off a series of three sketches – I liked the immediacy and vibrancy of the marks but each felt incomplete.  Remembering what I had been told by Cas Holmes last year, I threw caution to the wind, tore the pieces up and reassembled them – there they are before and after:

 

Scottish collage

I’d love to know what you think – I won’t be offended so do shout!  Thanks

Light and Shadow

Abstract shapes original

I am almost exclusively interested in landscape in my art work although my outlook is a little broader with photography.  I recently came across the original images that I took whilst on a short holiday in Lanzarote in 2014 and, as I am now further along my artistic path, saw them with fresh eyes.  I was particularly drawn to the shots that I took which considered the strong light and shade of that November in the Canaries where the shadows cast were so different to those that we see here in the UK.  I began to instinctively want to crop them to emphasise the abstract shapes created on the walls around our villa.  I played with photoshop a little, altering light and dark, shadow and contrast and saw that a single starting point could yield a vast range of images by using different crops and treatment.  The next step will be to recreate what is seen here using paper and various mixed media – primarily ink, gels, charcoal and my latest find, cold wax.

There may be a lesson here to show that it is always worth re-visiting work years later and seeing it anew – you may be surprised at the potential in what you had discarded.

Abstract shapes 1

Light and dark 1.jpg

Light and dark 3.jpg

More Walls 3More Walls 4.jpg

Walls Crop II 3.jpg

Here are just a few examples – I love the simplicity of form yet opportunity to play with texture that exist here – what do you think?