Many apologies for this late Stitch-A-Long post…I think I must have inadvertently deleted Avis’s reminder email…..which also had the current links to others who are joining in. So, I will link back to my SAL post from last time. Your other option is to go to Avis’ post. As well as getting an up-to-date list, you can look at the lovely highlands landscape she is sewing. Do go and see what delightful personal stitching the other group members are doing.
And more apologies…there is not really a lot of progress in my work. The weather here has been very humid, which doesn’t make for easy sewing. And life has been busy.
And I was a bit stuck with how to deal with the bottom of the work, which meant I wasn’t sure how far down to take the couching, and what shape to make it. More of that in a moment.
I think I know how I am going to deal with the bottom of the work. I knew this texture couldn’t continue to the bottom. Firstly because I want to create some idea of trees in a forest, and secondly because the work needed variety of stitch and colour.
I played around with some thoughts in my sketchbook, and will do an approximation of this idea. Tree trunks, probably in white/cream against a mottled darkish background to simulate undergrowth. It will trail off to the bottom right to provide another diagonal. Well, that’s the idea! I haven’t investigated the thread stash to see what I have that will work. Maybe next time…..
Apologies again for not having the list of other members to link to. Again, here’s Avis’ blog.
I am a little late in getting this post out, but I have just picked up my computer.
I did a very silly thing. A friend supposedly sent me a message, via Messenger, about a video I was in. I am usually very wary about clicking links and I am far more likely to delete a message/email/link than click on it. The message didn’t seem my friend’s style, and I couldn’t image that she would have a video I would be in, but instead of the warning bells going off, I thought “Oh well, let’s see what it is”. Click!
Of course, her Facebook account had been hacked and the message sent to everyone. So, caution finally kicked in, and I took my laptop to the computer shop…just to be safe. Everything is okay. Phew! I am a couple of days older, much wiser and far more cautious, and a little bit poorer, as peace of mind costs money.
So, I haven’t had the computer for a few days and this Stitch-a-long post is a day or two late.
I have been working. My wild, freeform work is progressing well.
As you can see I have worked on the bushes in the foreground. (The photo I am basing it on is the feature photo at the top of the post.) I used the same yarn, a variegated merino wool, as I used for the tree canopy. The stitches are random cross stitches. I wanted to keep them small to look like the small leafed foliage, and to make them different to the canopy. I enjoy the challenge of working the tones with the variegated yarn. Often the effects are quite serendipitous.
I left parts around the trunk. I can fill them in after I work on the trunk, as then I will be able to tell where the tones need to be.
I am moving on to the sand and cliff face next, and am really looking forward to working all those nooks and crannies in the face.
Thanks to everyone for your very encouraging comments on the last couple of SAL posts. I am part of a supportive group of embroiderers who regularly post about their personal stitching work. Do have a look at the others involved in the group, hosted by Avis, and be prepared to be amazed by their beautiful work! A welcome back to Connie.
Well, I have been beavering away on the background undergrowth. I wanted to create the rounded shape of the bushes without being too detailed. The lighter yarn helps to add the illusion of highlights on the tops of the bushes.
The overall view shows me just working my way around the background, either using random stitches or a very loose form of cross stitch.
I am happy so far. However, I am not sure what to do with the next elements. The tree (the blobby space in the centre) is the focal point, and so it need to be quite a contrast to the rest of the foliage. At the same time while the foliage on the right side of the tree is lighter than the background I have done, I don’t want it to compete with the tree. (The header photo on the post is the photo I am working from. Looking at that might make more sense!) I think I will have to work my way around the areas, looking to see what looks right and what doesn’t.
Thank you to everyone who left such supportive comments on my last SAL post. I got the feeling that some people would like to give freeform embroidery a go, but were not quite sure of where and how to start. A way to dip your toe in is by creating samplers.
Jean encourages the stitcher to play with different stitches ~ exaggerating, layering, using different yarns and threads. So I did.
Sampler inspired by the arid areas of inland Australia
Sampler inspired by all the water we saw on our trip
They are a small 10 x 10 cm square. Easy to play, without feeling daunted by filling a larger size. Little samplers that don’t have to be anything but experiments.
I love to use tapestry canvas, as it handles the bigger yarns, and I can work boldly and quickly. However, you could do exactly the same with linen or any other backing. Draw out a small square and see what your favourite stitch can do.
Which has made me think…maybe the trunk of the tree would work well if I couched it? Hmmm…..
A big thank you to Avis, who organises this stitch-a-long. We post on the third Sunday of the month, local time. I think, like me, you will be blown away by the beautiful work that the other stitchers create. Jump over and have a look, but remember, the time zone may be different.
I am gatecrashing a monthly get together that Kate at Tall Tales of Chiconia hosts. Edited correction ~ apparently I not only gatecrashed the party, but got the address completely wrong! It’s not at Kate’s house, although she does write a mighty fine blog, but rather at Avis’. She blogs at Sewing Beside the Sea and hosts the Stitch Along where each month a group of stitchers post progress on their stitching, work that is purely for pleasure.
However, you may not know that I create tapestries, where I interpret a photo with yarn. They are landscapes, and, of course, usually include a tree or too. Like this one from my time as artist in residence in Flinders Island. I loved the weather beaten landscape and the coastal heathlands.
Or this one from the outback landscape around Menindee, NSW. Very few trees in that environment!
Winter is a great season to create these as Summer is too hot to work with wools and the the canvas crumples.
So time to get going on a new one, from a photo taken at Portsea during my artist in residence at Police Point.
There are strong diagonals in this photo, which lead the eye to the focal point of the tree and there are darks to give contrast. As well I loved the texture of the cliff face, and my fingers are itching to work there, and the twisty trunk of the moonah tree, is a joy.
I set up the tapestry canvas with minimal guide lines, and began with the sky, using variegated blue wool and tent stitch.
The clouds were trickier. I thought a beautiful silk thread I had would be right, but it didn’t work. A hunt in my stash gave me the perfect wool ~ white with a slight roughness, which gave the cloud the fluffiness I was looking for. The beginnings of it are at the bottom of the cloud. I used a cross stitch to give it more bulk.
You can see why I was dissatisfied with the silk. I had to carefully unstitch the silk thread, which is handprinted and expensive. No way was I going to chop it up.
I am looking forward to selecting the yarns, and stitches, for the next part, which will probably be the background foliage. I am excited to see what emerges!
Next time I hope to include a link to others who are taking part in the Stitch-A-Long.
My exhibition at the Old Auction House has finished. Many of you were unable to make it, so I would like to offer you the opportunity to have a closer look at the individual pieces. This is the first one, and it is for sale.
Paper size: 26 x 36 cm, A3
Paper: Arches watercolour paper
I used a slightly glittery paint on the tops fo the tree. You can see it a little in the photos.
If you are interested in knowing more, contact me:
Let me show you my work in a moment, because we need a catch-up.
My Patients are both home, and both doing well. I am gradually getting some time to do things I need to do, pulling my life a little back towards me. Thank you everyone who commented on the last couple of posts; sorry I didn’t get to reply individually.
We are not out of it yet as there are a whole list of hospital appointments and follow-ups in the next couple of months, and I will be involved in those. I need to be involved, as Terry’s extra pairs of ears (and even with the hearing aids his don’t work so well 😉); I want to be involved, as his support crew; and I have to be involved, as he is not allowed to drive!
Along side of the hospital dramas, was my exhibition in Kyneton. You know that it was my first solo exhibition, and I was very excited. Just to refresh your memory, Kyneton is a regional town about an hour from Melbourne. I managed to get there a few times, including the Meet the Artist session.
I was blown away to see my work hanging and felt so proud.
A big shout out to Rhain at the Old Auction House. Along with Jo, she has been such a positive support for me. It has all gone so smoothly. She is building a vibrant, creative space ~ musicians play together on Sundays, a studio space house a costume maker, the gallery walls are full of interesting art and the gift shop is a treat. All things for sale are hand made, and if not local then from Victoria and Australia.
I was delighted too by the number of friends who were able to get to see it. If you were one of them, big hugs! It’s a lovely feeling to know that so many people, even those of you who couldn’t make it, are interested in my art and cheering me on.
And the sales? Well, as of a week ago, I know that 2 have sold. There may have been a big rush in the last week of the exhibition! 🤞🏼
This is one that is off to a new home.
The other painting was one of the oil pastel trees. Maybe it was this one?
On Wednesday I will head to Kyneton to pick up the remaining ones.
Was there one that you fancied? Over the next few months I am going to ‘advertise’ the paintings. A weekly blog post, Instagram and Facebook posts and my newsletter will give you details and close-up photos of one of the trees. If you would like to buy it just let me know.
I have been so inspired by everyone’s positivity that I have applied for another exhibition at the Beadle Hall Community Gallery, at the Incinerator Gallery* here in Moonee Ponds. I’ll find out if I have been accepted in early November.
*Why is it called the Incinerator Gallery? An incinerator, designed by world renown architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony, has been repurposed into an arts hub. Read more about it.
The story of the Incinerator highlights a proud moment in Australia’s history, when our country developed an innovative, economical and technologically advanced solution to waste disposal that was envied worldwide.
Well, in between getting the Fella home from hospital (he is doing very well; thank you for your positive thoughts) and my Mum going into hospital (she is also doing well, but still in hospital and being looked after so well by the nursing staff) I had an offer of a solo exhibition at the Old Auction House in Kyneton.
If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that a solo exhibition has been a goal for a long time. I researched galleries, googled “ways to approach galleries”, worked on a body of work, but was held back by the fear of rejection. What if the gallery said “No. Not good enough”?
Then, as often happens, my fear was bypassed when Rhain, at the Old Auction House, approached me. Her previous booking had fallen through, and had a gap for August. She had seen my work at the recent group show ‘Not your usual canvas’, and popped the question ~ Would I be interested? Would I? You bet!
So in between hospital visits I sorted through my art works, and surprised myself by finding about 17 pieces that I would be happy to show. All trees, so no surprise there!
About half of the pieces are oil pastel trees.
I have often shown the smaller, A4 versions of these trees, and some are still available in my Etsy shop. You might remember me telling you about my fascination for trees after my trip over the Nullabor Plain. The ones for the exhibition are larger ~ A3 and one is even bigger. I haven’t shown these before as they are too large to send through the post successfully. Lucky, because they are perfect for the exhibition.
Another group are the watercolour landscapes embellished with sewing. (I call them landscapes because I don’t know where they fit.) Some you have seen before, but they haven’t had wide exposure.
Then a couple of single trees, watercolour canopies and stitched branches and trunks.
The last group are a couple of works created only in watercolour.
I think they will hang well together, with a consistency of shape, media and certainly theme.
I won’t have time to create anything large from my Police Point residency. Whatever comes from that might be in my next exhibition!!
However, I would like to find time to create some of the panoramas that I began down there. They should be a nice little addition to the collection. Along with the cards I have already made, they will give people a chance to buy something at a lower price.
So, work to do before the beginning of August, but quite do-able, and yes, I have made a list.
If you are going to be around Victoria in August I would love you to be able to see my work in person.
Some of you have been following the progress of Beckler’s Botanical Bounty for years, from the first visits to the outback town of Menindee, through my paintings of the plants I found there, to working on things for the Exhibition of our work at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. For those of you who are newer to my blog I will give you a couple of links to bring you up to speed.
Our Opening was Saturday of last week, and I didn’t stop smiling for the whole day!
I was moved to tears when I first walked into the room of our exhibition. It looked so beautiful! Someone said later that it was like walking into a science book. Another said it was like the environment of the Menindee area ~ you were encouraged to look closer to see the treasures that were hidden in plain sight.
My first glimpse, and then with lots of people from the Opening…..
Photos don’t do justice to the paintings. Botanic art requires fine details, often microscopic, to be shown, as these can be the identifying feature. However, the following gallery of photos will give you a taste of what a selection of the 40 paintings are like. (Apologies for the poorly cropped photos.)
But let me be a real show off and give a full photo to my three paintings! (Well, it is my blog!!)
The Project has had four themes going through it ~ Art, Country, History and Science. We wanted to reflect those themes in the display too. There are four plinths in the centre of the room, each showing artefacts to illustrate the theme.
The actual Opening was great fun. There were about 300 people there, all excited about the Exhibition (but probably not as excited as me!). So many people that our speakers, including Prof. Tim Entwisle, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria and opening speaker, were just heads above the crowd.
As well as the Welcome to Country we had a Smoking Ceremony that cleansed all who laid a gum leaf on the smouldering fire. I felt very blessed to have been involved.
The catalogue of the Project had taken a lot of time from a lot of people. It was worth it, because now we have a very elegant record of the Project and the paintings in the Exhibition. They sold like hot cakes at the Opening.
Over 20 artists have been involved since 2010, the beginning of all of this. There has been a range of artistic abilities but it was always our intention that each artist would have the chance to have at least one painting exhibited, and every exhibiting artist is included in the catalogue. So, let me show off some more and post my spread!
And finally…..one of the joys of the Opening was that my Mum was able to be there. (You can spot her in a few of the photos!) And my regret that my Dad wasn’t there. Mum is 91 and has always been my strongest supporter, in everything I have done. She has followed my travels to Menindee and all my art that has flowed from the trips. Today I opened a card she had sent me, and what she wrote shows you why she is such a special person.
What an amazing time we all had last week at Ballarat! How proud we are of you! This has been a great journey for you, and we hope, that whatever art road you choose to travel, you have much enjoyment and adventure.
Who knows where your many talents are going to lead you ~ but you do know that your family is behind you always!
Much, much fond love, dearest Anne
So, if you are any where near to Ballarat, or know of someone who is, the details are
On the blog I do mention my Etsy shop. However, I try to show you behind the scenes of my creative process ~ how I go about making the things that end up there (as well as a lot of other blathering of course!) But today I want to be more blatant.
If you are planning to buy any of my paintings and drawings for Christmas presents, and they do make unique gifts for people, then you will need to do so before the middle of next week. If you are not in Australia that is. I don’t want you anxiously waiting at the letter box for the parcel, so I am giving you a more comfortable buffer.
Let me explain. Usually I allow 10 days to reach somewhere overseas. If I set a deadline of 7th December, given a good run it should reach you by 17th December. But we know that postage will not run smoothly during December, so it may take a few more days. That will take it to the week before Christmas. Of course I make no guarantees even if I post it then, but if I post it later I can almost guarantee that you won’t get it in time.
And just so I don’t feel that this is totally blatant advertising, let me say that it will be same for most online deliveries!
Now to show you a small selection of possible gifts from the shop. All shown here are originals; there are a few prints in the shop.
Click on the photo to be taken to the listing.
(The paper they are painted and drawn on is actually creamy white, not the blue grey that seems to show up in these photos.)
A big, warm thank you to those who responded to my last post about my brain taking time off. I am fine, but am artistically working at a slower pace. And I am so pleased to be back blogging again.
I know that I want to blog because I am hearing that blogging voice in my head again. Not a scary voice in my head, just me composing blogs about the things I come across during the day. Most of them never get written, much less published, but I enjoy them, sort of a diary of my life. For example, as I was driving to my hairdresser, about a 20 minute trip, I was musing about how contemplative I find driving and I started to mentally write a blog post about it. I hasten to add that I was still driving very competently. In fact what I was thinking was how doing the routine driving tasks ~ changing gears, monitoring the traffic, etc ~ freed up a part of my brain to think about other things.
Do you have that blogging voice too?
In that last post, where I was wondering about my creativity at the moment, I mentioned something that had fired my creative juices.
I have always loved yarns and textiles. They have been more of a constant in my life than paints. At school I did Craft rather than Art and I remember the delight of learning how to smock and embroider, and even basket weave. So while I don’t talk about much about these projects, I usually have something involving threads on the go. I made bags for a few years and used embroidery and beading to decorate them.
You will also remember how fascinated I became with the melaleucas on Flinders Island. EllaDee mentioned that from the photos she “could see the potential for a textural approach.” Gradually that thought about using the photos as a reference, moved from the back of my mind to the front, and I started working on representations. This is one of the photos I used as inspiration
One of the early tapestries
This is the latest in the series of about four tapestries. You can see how I am much more adventurous with the stitching, and how it helps me to create texture and depth. I think it makes a more vibrant and interesting work.
Detail of the stitching (Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)
Finished tapestry (Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)
About a month ago I was trawling Pinterest and saw a weaving loom that I just had to buy. I followed the link to the Etsy shop of the Unusual Pear and bought a simple loom about A4 size.
I immediately knew how I was going to combine some weaving with the tapestry. It was the answer to that excellent creativity question “What if…..I created a rock with weaving and added that to a tapestry?” After a short practice I had a woven rock intended to be the massive rock face that was at the entrance to a valley in the national park. And I had a little feeling of creative excitement.
This is where I up to at the moment.
The white stuff are the threads for the weaving that I am binding into the back of the tapestry. It’s not quite how I envisaged it, and I think it is too tonally similar. Next time I will try for a lighter grey for the rock, and try to work more variation in it. It is very much a work in progress ~ I have to add the waterfall and the other side of the valley and the background, and I am gong to work into the rock some more. That said, I think the idea is an interesting one, and worth considering for other works.
So something satisfying has emerged from the “holiday” I have been having lately.