Reference photo for tapestry

SAL#2 ~ Portsea cliff

Well, I am now officially part of the Stitch-A-Long group. Thank you Avis for hosting it. There are a quite a few people who show their personal stitching, so do have a look at their lovely work. The links are at the end of the post.

Last time I was mulling over the cloud in my tapestry.

Anne Lawson Art Textile artist

I was happy with how it turned out. Time to work out the next section, the bushes on the cliff in the background.

Using the photo as a guide ~ that’s the feature photo at the top of this post ~ my stitching interpretation needed to include:

  • the dark mass behind the tree. The tree is the focal point needs the dark tones to make it stand out. However, the mass is not a uniform darkness, it has different tones within in it.
  • some of the sky showing between the bushes, especially at the top of the cliff.
  • a suggestion of individual trees and bushes, without too much detail.
  • a density

These were the yarns I selected from my stash. The big browny/green ball is the main colour. My notes tell me I got it from Swish Yarns, but nothing more than that. It is quite a wiry yarn, which may be linen, and I think it works well.

Anne Lawson textile artist

The others I used as highlights and extra tonal contrast, which you can sort of see in this photo.

Anne Lawson textile artist

The stitching is very random, although I tried to show the direction of some of the canopy; trying to give the impression of individual trees rather than stitching each individual one.

Anne Lawson textile artist

This is where I am at the moment.

Anne Lawson textile artist

And the overall view

Anne Lawson textile artist

I think it works. I know from my other art works that a work in progress is very hard to judge. Although I can compare what I see in my mind and how I want it to look, in reality this section can only be compared to the sky. How will it blend in with the other elements, especially the focal tree? If it doesn’t work I will remove it and try something different.

Many of the yarns I use, like the sky and the shadow area, are merino wool from Fibreworks. They are a delight to stitch with. However I have found that the moths find them delightful too, munching holes in the balls. Fortunately I use shorter lengths, rather than needing the continuous yarn for knitting or crocheting. Any thoughts on how to keep the critters away?

Anne Lawson textile artist

More stitching adventures can be found below. We post on the 22nd of the month, so, depending on your time zone, some posts may not be up. Drop back later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Clare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonSusanAnne

In My Studio….

Don’t you love having a peek into the creative spaces of others? It’s like having a glimpse into their creative process.

This morning I went on a studio crawl and visited three studios that were open as part of the Alphington Open Studio weekend ~ Anne Warren, Beatrice Magalotti and Sharon Madder. Three very different artists but each welcoming and interesting. [There were other studios to visit, but my time was limited. Follow this link for the full list and artist profiles.]

For many months I have been planning In My Studio as a monthly feature on this blog.This morning was the impetus to set it up. It is based on two ideas.

Firstly, I know I am not the only one who loves to look into the creative spaces of others ~ you do too, I’m sure.

Secondly, I also know that creative types are very generous with their knowledge, and suspect that most of us love to share what we have been up to.

So….I am inviting you to let us have a peek into your creative space. You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

How will it work? Many of you join in with Celia’s In My Kitchen feature and you will know that I have taken that idea and given it my own slant. Each month I will put up an In My Studio post. I would encourage you to post one on your blog and then link to it in the comments of my my blog. Clear? As mud! Maybe this will help:

  1. Each month you write about something happening in your creative space.
  2. Come to my blog and find my In My Studio post.
  3. Leave a link to your post in my comments section. Then others can follow the link to have a peek into your space. [Sorry, I am not as clever as Celia, and it may take me some time to get the blog roll down the side.]
  4. You don’t have a blog? Put something on Facebook or Twitter or wherever and give us a link to that.

I am going to post my first In My Studio on Wednesday of this week then you will be able to tell us what is happening in your creative life.

Shells

It is a little while since I have posted anything about my art work, but I have been busy painting. I am intending to put a painting into an exhibition coming up in October. It has the title “From forest to foreshore”, and I was inspired by my recent get away in  Portarlington. The beach was a treasure trove for a beachcomber like me, so my painting is to be called ‘Portarlington Treasures’.

However, I have lots to learn about painting the treasures I want to include — so lots of studies. Unlike writing on the computer, there is no delete button on a lovely piece of watercolour paper. And no way to paint over it as you can with oils and acrylics. I didn’t want to be working on the final piece, panicking because I didn’t know how to go about painting seaweed or shells.

Before I start to paint something I look at it closely. Where does the light fall? Where are the shadows? Is there a hint of shadow there? Reflected light? What colours can I see?

But the most important question is what attracts me to this? I try to keep this in my mind as work.

Firstly I studied shell fragments. Scallop fishing is a big industry in Port Phillip Bay and the beach was littered with them. I did some quick studies while I was in the caravan. They helped me to realise the importance of the shadows.

(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)
(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)

sc00a8336f01At home I set up the shells, having decided on the front and back of the two halves. Then thought about my approach.  I loved the rich colours, and the shadows. I played about with different mixes, settling on Olive Green and Windsor Red. Adding Naples Yellow at times would give me the opaque look some parts needed.

The quick study also told me that the growth lines of the shells were really important to give shape and structure.

This is the finished work.

(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)
(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)

And the two halves

(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)
(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)
(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)
(Photo and art work: Copyright Anne Lawson, 2013)

I was very happy with the work. (It sold within a few hours in my Etsy shop!) However, I have noted things that I have to be careful of when doing the good one. I know I haven’t really resolved the area where the ridges of the shells meet at the bottom. The shadow is not right in places; neither is the white line in on the left hand one.

Also, I wanted to try a different method, using masking fluid. More of that next time.

Astounding exhibition — Louise Saxton

'Last Gasp' by Louise Saxton
‘Last Gasp’ by Louise Saxton

Louise Saxton’s exhibition at the Gould Galleries, South Yarra was mind blowing. She pins reclaimed/recycled material onto tulle to create these stunning works. The close up shows more. If you look very closely you can see the pins. On some works she used a pin with a white end to create the flash of highlight in the eye of the bird.

Close up of 'Last Gasp', Louise Saxton
Close up of ‘Last Gasp’, Louise Saxton
'Black Prince' by Louise Saxton
‘Black Prince’ by Louise Saxton

Look how cleverly she uses the colour and tone of the lace and material to create the highlight on the back of the insect, and so makes us believe it is 3D.

Close up of 'Black Prince'
Close up of ‘Black Prince’

But Saxton’s creativity goes beyond the beauty of her works. They all reference work of other great naturalist painters. ‘Last Gasp’ was after Maria Sibylla Merian’s painting, as was ‘Maria’s Saturn’. Maria Sibylla Merian lived in the 1600s and travelled to Surinam to paint. Her story deserves a blog post of its own. Saxton has faithfully reconstructed some of John James Audubon’s paintings, as well as John and Elizabeth Gould‘s.

‘Ellis’ Paradise’  was in response to a bird of paradise painting by Ellis Rowan, an Australian botanic artist, who also deserves her own post. Look at the sumptuousness that Saxton achieves. This was my favourite, and I marvelled at the detail she created with just the perfect piece of lace and embroidery. By the way, this work was huge!

'Ellis' Paradise' by Louise Saxton
‘Ellis’ Paradise’ by Louise Saxton
Close up of 'Ellis' Paradise'
Close up of ‘Ellis’ Paradise’

These are only a small selection of her work on display. This site has a gallery of her work, including images of her pinning the lace onto the tulle. Her exhibition is on until May 31. If you can get to South Yarra in Melbourne you are in for a treat. Louise Saxton’s blog link is here. As she says on her post, none of her birds and insects will be coming home with her after the show, as they all sold! How wonderful for her to have a sell out show, especially in this climate.

(Apologies for the rather ordinary photos. And yes, I was given permission to take them. :))