Reference photo for tapestry

Stitch A Long #1

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.

You may know my art work ~ watercolour, sewing on paper, oil pastels etc. If you would like to see more you can jump over to my Etsy shop, or get a closer look at a watercolour tree that is for sale.

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.

Embroidery ~ free form landscape

Or this one from the outback landscape around Menindee, NSW. Very few trees in that environment!

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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.

Reference photo for tapestry

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.

Anne Lawson Art

 

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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.

Anne Lawson Art textile artist

Much happier.

Anne Lawson Art Textile artist

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

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.

solo exhibition of Anne Lawson Art

I was blown away to see my work hanging and felt so proud.

solo exhibition, the Old Auction House Gallery

 

Anne Lawson Art

solo exhibition The Old Auction House

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.

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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.

 

Anne Lawson Art tree painting

The other painting was one of the oil pastel trees. Maybe it was this one?

Anne Lawson Art

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.

Pity we can’t do that today.

 

Reflecting on July

I like to do a reflection at the end of each month, thinking about what I have achieved. Most months there are about 8 to 10 things that I look back on as worth celebrating. In July I had 3:

  • I helped see the Fella through a difficult time in hospital, so that now he is well and getting on with things.
  • I helped my Mum recuperate from her pneumonia. She is now in rehab, and while frail, is much better within herself.
  • I got ready for my first solo exhibition.

So, only three, but what mighty big achievements they were! No wonder there has been little time for anything else. And no wonder I am well over hospitals.

The other day I took my paintings up to the Old Auction House in Kyneton. There are 20 of works, all trees in some form. You know of my fascination, some may say obsession, with trees. This is some of them laid out, ready to be packed up for travel. (The orange labels are my cataloguing process, and are removable.)

Tree paintings

A selection of some of the individual trees.

and the Tangled Trees series ~ watercolour and then embellished with machine sewing.

Then there are some others.

I thought you might like to read my statement that will hang with the paintings.

Trees have always been a part of me. My grandfather worked in the forests of the Dandenong Ranges and Dad took us camping in the bush, off the beaten track. I remember learning the word ‘silhouette’ when Mum pointed out the shapes of the trees outlined against the sunset.

It was during an artist in residence at Mountain Seas Resort on Flinders Island that I first noticed the shapes of the melaleucas and their wonderfully twisted trunks. I was further inspired by a trip across the Nullarbor Plain, where the trees glistened and swayed. A recent artist in residence at Police Point in Portsea, organised by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, opened my eyes to the coastal moonah habitat. 

It is the shapes and rhythms of the canopies and the twisted branches and trunks that inspire me. I have explored them with many different media ~ watercolours, oil pastels, ink, sometimes embellishing the watercolours with machine sewing. I have created tapestries of trees and landscapes. 

In this exhibition there are individual trees and dense, tangled thickets of trees. No matter what the medium with each work I want to capture the feeling of air moving through the branches and then contrast the twisted trunks. There is a joyous freedom in exploring these ideas.

As well, each piece is a reminder of precious, fragile habitats that need us to treasure and protect.

The details of the exhibition:

8th August to 2nd September

The Old Auction House 

Mollison St

Kyneton, Victoria

 

So July has gone and August has many things to look forward too, especially being able to take Mum to Kyneton to see my work hanging. What are you looking forward to?

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(If there are any glitches with this sign up form, please let me know….I am wondering whether it works as it should.)

Anne Lawson Art

A solo exhibition!

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.

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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.

tree painting

Then a couple of single trees, watercolour canopies and stitched branches and trunks.

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The last group are a couple of works created only in watercolour.

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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.

8th August to 2nd September

The Old Auction House

52 – 56 Mollison St

Kyneton

Beckler’s Botanical Bounty: The flora of Menindee

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This is the very elegant hero image for our exhibition Beckler’s Botanical Bounty: The flora of Menindee.

The Art Gallery of Ballarat

Saturday 24th February to Sunday May 27th

Yes, it opens in just over a week……I am so excited! I can promise you photos galore.

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On a different note, my newsletter goes out today. This time I am writing about making art on commission, as well as links to other things going on around the place. So click here if you would like to read it (if that link doesn’t work you might be a little early, and have clicked before the newsletter goes out) and click here if you would like to subscribe.

And lastly here, Would you like a free drawing? to find out more about the newsletter.

A workshop and a nest

Way back in May I did a workshop at Bendigo Art Gallery with Mark Dober.

Bendigo is a regional Victorian town, with a very good gallery. I had only been up there for special exhibitions, so I was pleased to have time to wander. I thought I had taken more photos, however, this one shows how spacious and pleasing the rooms are.

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Mark is a landscape artist who works en plein air. He uses a mix of watercolour and oil pastel, and is soon to have an exhibition of his work created in the You Yangs at the Geelong Art Gallery. [The You Yangs are mountains between Melbourne and Geelong, that rise up from the flat volcanic plains around them.] He says of the work he is exhibiting:

This body of new work made at the You Yangs consists of 6 multi-sheet watercolours. Four of these are 112 x 380 cm. These were made at Fawcett’s Gully, around the back of the You Yangs, accessible by the unsealed circuit road.

His exhibition is running from 12th to 16th October. It will be alongside an exhibition by Fred Williams, one of Australia’s foremost landscape artists.

So, you can imagine my interest in his workshop to learn to work with watercolour and oil pastels!

We set up in one of the galleries, and had the choice of two paintings to work with ~ a Fred Williams:

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Fred Williams: The Yarra at Kew 11 (1972)

or a traditional watercolour by Ernest Waterlow’s ‘Gathering fuel, Cornish Coast’, c.1887. You can see the painting in the photo below.

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My first step was to loosely draw in the figures and landscape features. Then I had to lay in large watercolour washes over the main features. I think this was the most difficult thing for me. I am not a confident colour mixer, and often don’t mix enough paint to cover the area which is a problem when working on such large areas. Even with enough paint I have trouble manipulating the paint over large areas. It dries before I can work into it. Washes in botanic art work are little things, the size of a leaf or a petal, not vast areas of sky or beach!

I tried to suppress my panic, to just let it flow. After all, it was purely for my pleasure. Embrace the wonky!

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Then there was the fun part of going over the (dried) wash with oil pastel.

Some areas worked, some didn’t. I think I put too much oil pastel on some areas, and didn’t have time to get to others. Of course, I thought I would finish it off at home……

My drawing strengths are tone and fabrics, so I was very happy with the work I did on the woman’s dress.

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And a closer look….

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It was quite a complex painting to work on over a day, but I enjoyed the challenge and it has given me a new way of working.

 

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The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sketchbook has left the States and arrived in Greece. Now it is not only international, but global! How cool is that?!

It is a while since I have written about it, but I have just updated my Sisterhood page. It gives you an overview of the contributions all the Sisters have made, as well as the background to the Sketchbook, and who the Sisters are.

Our blog The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is another way to keep up with what the Sketchbook looks like. Simply follow the blog and you will receive posts as they are published. Here the Sisters make links to their own blogs too. The blog even has a natty interactive map. 🙂

It is an amazing project. So many walls are going up, so it is lovely to know that the Sketchbook can just fly over the top of them!

 

 

In my studio, December 2016

What’s happening in my studio?

Well, not much painting-wise. Like you, I have been busy with other interesting things that this time of the year throws up, including a very interesting talk by Dr. Tom May, who spoke about “From mushrooms to the mycobiome”. But that’s not what this post is about…..

My Cullen painting is at the same stage as last month. It’s not going to be finished in 2016. 😦

I have sent off my #stitchingsanta parcels. It is a fun idea organised by Sheila at Sewchet. Back in October she sent out an invitation to play along this year. I love making connections around the world, so I was in. I asked for two people ~ a sewing and a knitting/crocheting secret santa. Then Sheila’s email arrived telling me who I was going to collect for. I had so much fun collecting things. But challenged too. They need to be things the present-opener would like, as well as having an Australian theme and flat enough to go through the post as a letter. I think I did well, but, as it is a secret, all I can show you is this…..

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In my studio I have some new treasures……

I can never go far without picking up something to bring home. These caught my eye on the path near the Botanic Gardens. I love how the weighty seedpods contrasts with the delicate wings, the smooth and the finely textured, the green and the pink, the shadow and the light ~ all this in one little miraculous package.

The other treasure is a print from my very talented friend Melanie Lazarow. I saw her recent exhibition and enjoyed her abstracts. Some are large and a wild mixture of vivid colours, some are small with detailed geometric shapes. She is also a wonderful photographer and her passion is recording how people fight against injustice. However, it was this print that cried out to go home with me.

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Image copyright: Melanie Lazarow

I love the colours in it, its moodiness, and of course the plants.

While my Cullen painting has been languishing, I have made progress with my embroidery.

It is such a different process to my botanic art. When painting I know exactly how I want the final image to be. The point of botanic art is to replicate the plant in fine detail. Many of the decisions about composition, colour, tone, the process and so on are made before I start. Major problems I encounter during the painting process have usually arisen because I haven’t thought through issues at the beginning. The colour may be wrong or I haven’t really considered how I am going to paint those fine hairs or realise that the original drawing was incorrect.

The embroidery is so different. I have an idea of how it is going to be at the end, as I often work from a photo, but that only gives me the broad outlines, the shape of the tree or where the sky is going to be. I am always problem solving as I go. What stitch is best to make this look like grass? How am I going to show the highlight? Is my yarn giving me the tones that I want? Why don’t I try this thread? So many ‘What if….?’ questions. And I love that about it. It’s playful.

So….what’s happening in 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!

Leave a comment below with a link to your blog post, Instagram photo, Facebook entry….whatever.

 

More Senna painting

A couple of posts ago I showed you the plant that I am going to paint from my time in Menindee. It is Senna artemisioides subspecies filifolia. While I haven’t begun to paint it yet, I thought I would show you a little more of the preparation process, and some of the information I needed to collect before I came home.

This is the specimen I am painting

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and this is the finished drawing, done on tracing paper.

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Drawing on tracing paper (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2106)

A close up of the drawing. (Yes, I am also wondering how I am going to paint it!)

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(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

As we collect specimens for the Herbarium we have to have very detailed notes about the environment of the plant. That information is recorded on a label that accompanies the plant to the Herbarium. You can see that precise information is needed. Beckler’s original collecting notes were often quite vague, with locality being something general like Lake Pamamaroo. Smart phones and GPS means that we can pin point our position.

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(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

This senna has the most wonderful seed pods. The mature ones are rich mahogany and twist and curl as they open to spill their seeds. I am going to add a row of them below the plant.

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(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
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(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

 

A key aspect of the plant is, of course, colour. It was important that I worked out the right colour (and recorded the mix!) before the colours of the plant faded.  Sometime I am confident that I have nailed the colour only to find when I start painting that it isn’t right. These look pretty good now, so fingers crossed.

So, I have all the information I need to start the painting. All I have to do is clear off my very messy table and finish off a few other works in progress………

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The very messy work table! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

 

You and me

Lots of things have been bubbling away in my mind lately. You know some of my creative thoughts, but  also I have been pondering about the rhythm of my blog ~ what I want to post and how often. I think I have come up with a sustainable rhythm. It involves posting twice a week, with posts that I am describing as Me posts and You posts.

My Me posts will be the story of my life, mainly my creative life ~ the sorts of things that I have been rambling on about for the last five or so years! They will probably be published on the weekend.

The You posts will be ones that I think you will find interesting ~ links to other blogs, stories of others’ creative lives, quirky stories, environmental news. I have lots of ideas, but let me know if there is anything you would be interested in reading.

So today is my first official You post…..

Botanical art traditionally has been created with watercolours, but sometimes I come across an artist who achieves wonderfully detailed works using different media. Mary Delany is such an artist.

Mary Granville Delany (1700-1788) bloomed in her 70s, when she embarked on her life’s work—creating 985 life-size, three-dimensional, scientifically-correct botanical prints now held by the British Museum.

Her art work is created by cutting and gluing paper. Her life was quite remarkable, as you can read in parts 1 and 2 from laterbloomer.com

Mary Delany’s life Part 1

Mary Delany’s life Part 2

Enjoy!