Thursday, 19 September 2013

Reelin I and II revisited

In a previous post I showed the two cotton reel pieces that I stitched. A friend of mine suggested, in the nicest possible way, that they needed to some more stitching to indicate shading and as is often the case, it all seemed so obvious when it was pointed out.

After that I was never going to be happy with them until I had added some shading to both pieces but little did I know just how much additional work this would be. It may not look like it but it took hours of additional stitching but I do think they look better for it. I hope you agree.

They are only about 4 inches square and they are mounted on a 6 inch square canvas. It was a really dark wet day when I wanted to photograph them and so I decided that I would photograph them in the light tent that I bought earlier in the year.

As you can see the light tent is quite large! I think it did help a little and certainly helped cut out some of the distractions that might otherwise have been in the background. Maybe it was lacking some side light? Perhaps I'll try that next time. 
I am planning on exhibiting them in our Taking Textiles Further Exhibition, which is going to be held at Art Van go from 2nd-30th November. See the flyer at on the top left of this post for more info.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

My iPad Drawings

Last Friday, I went on a course to learn to paint on an iPad using the Brushes software. The course was held at V&A and was led by Nadja Ryzhakova. In the morning we started to learn about the Brushes software and it's potential and in the afternoon we set about drawing in the museum on the iPad. I decided to stick to my landscape theme as I thought that would be the most useful to me. Here are my first two iPad drawings. You may (if you squint!) see a resemblance to recent images I posted. 

The image above is the first image I created after exploring the tools in Brushes. Everyone on the course had previously explored the Brushes application with varying degrees of success. Everyone, except me that is because I don't even have an iPad! Maybe with Christmas coming up that might change? Anyone that has an iPad seems to love it but they always seem quite expensive to me, for what they do. Would this be the tool that would lead me to get one? Fortunately the V&A will lend you an iPad for the duration of the course but I might have struggled, if I hadn't previously used Photoshop. 
In this second picture, I really tried to simplify the image so that I could explore how this technique could be used to inspire future textile work and it was really quick to create (and it probably shows!).

Most of the course participants had been inspired by David Hockney's iPad images and everyone wanted to know how to create their own version. We were told that these images were good to print size A4...maybe A3 but as David Hockney's images were significantly larger than that he must have another trick up his sleeve. Not something for me to worry about just yet, I'll leave that until I have an image good enough to want to print it out large! 

If you would like to see how these digital images can be created, then I recommend that you have  a look at Nadja's YouTube channel. Here you can see how she has built up the images and you can see the potential of the tool much more than you can from my work.

One thing I really like about this method of painting is that when you get to the end of the painting session, there's no cleaning up to do and no paint splashes on you or your clothes. That's definitely worth something. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Gearing up for my next landscape piece

Now that my Italian lake quilt is finished, I have started to consider my next landscape piece. I decided that my album of local landscapes needed updating so one nice evening I set off in my car, camera on the passenger seat, looking for some inspiring landscapes and I was not disappointed. The pinks and golden yellows in the fields in the early evening light were lovely. The only problem was that I had left my camera battery at home in the charger! So yet again I was relying on the camera in my phone. 

I started to work in sketchbook to investigate how I could simplify them and use them to as inspiration for my next piece. I started using markal sticks and wash as I had in my recent post but just couldn't get anything I was pleased with.
I did try very hard but I wasn't happy with what I produced and just put my previous success down to beginners luck and decided to try out another technique. This time I painted the page with gesso, added colour and then cut the page up into similar shapes I could see in the field and I quite liked this effect.

This is pretty small, so I decided to repeat the method but to make the design larger but again beginners luck seemed to have left me and I couldn't produce anything that I was as pleased with. 

Maybe it's not beginners luck but rather that more pleasing things come from being more spontaneous? Or maybe it's just that the first time you try a technique it will always have the element of surprise and interest that subsequent pieces can never replicate? Anyway, it does seem that in writing this post I am more pleased with them now than I was earlier, perhaps just because it's been a few days since I created them and I'm looking at them with fresh eyes. I'm off to Committed to Cloth next Saturday and whether I like the designs or not, it has given me a number of ideas of where to start with the piece which can only be good. Like the Italian lake piece, I know it's going to take lots of time layering the colours to get it anywhere near where I want it to be.