Finding Inspiration …

Most days I walk along the beach – I call it “Beachcombing” but it is just noticing what is around me and picking up any items that “speak” to me (as well as litter and marine debris).  I don’t necessarily know how I will use the pieces that I collect but there will be something about the colour, shape and most often, texture, that draws my attention.  The object might be metal, wood, plastic, cloth, rubber or any manner of material but there is usually a common thread.  This is that the item will have started out as useful – mass produced, neat and tidy.  By the time I find out, when the sea has done it’s work, the once pristine, utilitarian thing has become a unique piece – worn and tattered and no longer of any use to anyone – except me and others who appreciate this kind of thing.  Here are some items from this morning’s walk from Climping to Littlehampton.

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Back home, my finds are all “filed” according to material but only after I have photographed them and added them to the appropriate folder on the computer.  Thus I have two ways of looking for items that I think will work together although I am pretty good at remembering what I have.

Holy Island

Whilst on holiday we made our second visit to the wonderful Holy Island otherwise known as Lindisfarne.

Lindisfarne Castle
September 2018

It’s a busy place, even out of season as we were, but a very special one.  Visits are determined by the tide and many people head straight for the castle and priory missing the incredible beach.

Nobody much on the beach
Love Lindisfarne

I knew from a brief visit last year that the old boathouses were very photogenic

The pink boat house Lindisfarne
Pretty in pink

But this trip I found some lovely close up shots which provide great inspiration for some textile or other work

 

And some others for work in paint or mixed media.  I usually work in earth colours so these will make a nice change.

 

Playing with Scale

I have recently attended a couple of Alumi days at West Dean College.  They have been excellent – two tutors Kate Boucher and Mark Anstee have guided, assisted and otherwise inspire a group of us whilst we work on our own projects.  The day starts with a statement of intention and closes with a look at how each of us have got on achieving those objectives – a great opportunity to work with a group of like minded people all working on different projects in different ways.  I hope that we have many more opportunities to do this at West Dean.

I have already posted about the first of these days.  On the second day, I wanted to explore gesso so started by preparing a host of postcards by adding gesso.  This was either left to dry or was scratched and scraped into first.  Once day, I added ink and wax and scraped and scratched some more.  Here is an example of the outcome:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the end of the day, I was set two challenges – firstly, to try (for the first time) working with oil paint and the other was to think about working both very small and very large.

I decided to start with very small and an idea was borne!  Next year my husband and I will exhibit at the Oxmarket Gallery in Chichester.  As he is a photographer, I decided to set about creating a body of work responding to his photography by working in my own way using mixed media but utilising photographic equipment.  To date, I have acquired two ancient cameras (the box brownie brings back childhood memories!), a hundred plastic slides, several hundred slide holders and some lovely vintage spools.  Paper slide cases are on order and I shall have fun deciding how best to work with all of these.  Whilst the objects are not found, I like the ethos of re-using vintage items in a new way.  Here is a taster of what I have in mind:

I am creating a quantity of similar pieces to display in groups.

The next challenge – oils.  I have just three tubes of oil paint and some cold wax medium. Should be fun!

I plan to experiment with working big at College in July.

From Trash to Treasure

Well I think so anyway!  I fully appreciate that these pieces will appeal to a minority audience but I have enjoyed using my found pieces in a way that pleases me.  Here are two of the three final objects in their original state – an anorak cuff and a rolled up piece of rubber, original purpose unknown:

I knew that I could see potential in both of these items – lots of lovely texture – but knew also that they needed more.  I decided to construct a third piece using some found black plastic, made interesting by the sea.  I then played about with different additions until I found what I wanted, and added stitch.

I wanted to make each piece interesting on the outside and the inside and felt that they worked best as a trio.  I plan to sit them on a piece of found wood (yet to be retrieved from my stash in a nearby garage!) and hope to source something like a vintage taxidermist glass dome to go over the top.  Here are the three pieces now:

Black cream and rust trio

These images do not show what is going inside the three vessels – you’ll just have to come along and see them during the Chichester Art Trail to see the full effect – Chichester Art Trail 2018

 

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?