wandering mind


Cooking dinner one evening last week, waiting for the pot to boil:

The condensation forming on the lid was developing into this fabulous leopardskin effect. Too good to miss. I love the ephemeral beauty in the everyday. It’s everywhere, once you start to look.

So I took this photo and shared it on social media in the circles who see abstract art more than the crazed doings of some weirdo who takes photos of her dinner before it’s even made 😉

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And it made me think. 

How far can I chase this one idea?
Where could it go?
How far can it evolve?

So today (following the theme – waiting for dinner to cook) I tweaked the colour a bit and printed it out.

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And then I began to play: Doodles, re-photographed… leopard spots are evolving into seashells…

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more doodles, different camera angle, slight colour tweaks…

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more doodles, new camera angle, colours inverted…. I love the way the pen lines seem to sit on top of the photo, they’re in a different dimension of contrast.

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Or shape shift: add dimension with concertina folds and photographed from every which way.

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I’m sure given more time I could play with light and shadows for more drama. You get the idea, the possibilities go on… I hope this might spark some ideas for you too.

 

Water in Parallel: Bring in the Deities


The two Water paintings have been progressing along since I last showed you. The biggest development has been that they are now populated with deities.

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I’ve invited in the spirits of some gods and goddesses from all parts of our history and mythology.

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In keeping with the themes, these are rulers of water and creativity.

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Over the last couple of weeks they’ve merged into the swirls. As they become part of their environment and with the water theme very much established I’ve released the color rule of only blues. And zing doesn’t the blue become suddenly so much bluer!

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As soon as I can coordinate some good lighting with the camera and paintings in the same place at the same time I’ll show you the finished pieces.

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Water In Parallel (part 4)


The story so far, has lead us to this point

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Now, if you know me at all, you’ll understand that I need colour like I need coffee, sleep and oxygen.

So while the peeling back process had restored some of the original brightness, it’s not enough for me. I’m getting hungry for colour and there’s only one remedy there: throw some ink at it:

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Swished with water as well (yeh – Water theme – Water literally. It’s the method acting school of artistry)

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Plus some black for more contrast, and some lime green and chartreuse for good measure (and for the fact they’re colours I adore)

If I were to try and define my process as a shape, it would be zig-zag: No sooner had I reinstated the brightness, I felt a call to white a load of it out. I know – don’t ask – I’ve stopped trying to second guess where I’m going, I’m just hanging on for the ride now. So I feel like wavy shapes will bring in more Water-y feeling (that I just can’t see now it’s ink drenched). I neeed more wateryness!

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This is a 50-50 mix of white acrylic and matt medium for a semi-transparency. painted on and dabbed about with a cloth for a dabbled bubbly sea wave froth look.

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Yeh? maybe not so, but I still like the effect. On a roll with the wave shapes, along came some more collaging from scraps that got in the path of the flying ink a few days earlier. (No paper ever goes to waste here!)IMG_4014

I’ll leave you here for now. Next post coming soon……….

Water In Parallel (part 5)


The ongoing story of the two paintings about Water bumbles on… collage on top of painting on top of collage.

Next? Next came more painting!

I love the stuff that going on here, it’s expressing the watery vibe I want it too. But there’s a lot of it with no central focus. It’s uncoordinated jazz that needs summoning together into something more melodious.

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Blocking out bigger areas in white was the best way I could find to start this stage of the process.

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Then I got thinking about ripples….

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I’m really nearly done on this now. I’ve got some more pulling together to do – and I know just what (I’ll show you next post). This came to me in place of sleep last night. Insomnia is a double edged phenomena: it leads to tiredness and inconvenience, but it also provides the space for thoughts that just don’t seem to have room to surface in the bustle of daytime.

Water In Parallel (part 3)


Having left off at this point, the next question inevitably is: where next?

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Well. Now it’s dried the hasty haphazard approach to the initial gluing has resulted in a bumpy bubbled surface. Which kinda appeals, not least as a literal interpretation of the Water theme. But it doesn’t give the substrate the integrity we all know it needs, given I’m just into week two of a six week projected plan, and I’m not gentle with my art. It’s gotta be tough to survive.

So some surgery is required:

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Delicately lifting the blisters and… oh who am I trying to kid?

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Stabbing and slashing with a palette knife! pulling up anything not firmly adhered….

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preserving the torn scraps in water to replace and patch with later.

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Part way through the slash and patch process, I’m loving the way splashes of colors emerge back to life in places. And there’s almost  a suggestion of composition beginning to emerge as well! Lordy whatever next!!

Water In Parallel (part 2)


Last post I had just constructed these thick papery substrates on which I had not the foggiest idea what was to happen.

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Which is a really exciting place to be!

When in doubt, I like to make a big move: a doing or an undoing, doesn’t really matter which. Time to make a change: lose the colors.

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They were there to serve a purpose: get focused on the theme of Water. Now move along! IMG_3959

Diluted white gesso on scrumpled paperis just lush – all those lovely rivulets and wrinkles were already there, but they needed shining up and showing off!

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Next installment coming soon….!

every last ounce of goodness


I’ve been dying fabric for the quilt lately. I’ve been dying fabric for years. It got me thinking: The only stage I don’t like is towards the end when the residue dye – as it’s no longer active – has to be poured away. Why? it’s mostly water. But something inside me winces, it’s beautifully colored water and I don’t want to waste a drop of color.

In my perpetual quest for ways to wring every last ounce of goodness out of every stage in a process, last week I had one of those why did I never think of this before epiphanies.

rolled paper in a jam jar of dye dregs It’s no good to dye fabric with now, but it will dye paper!

Decanting the dye dregs into jam jars, rolling up scrap paper and standing them in the jar.

Then just let science take over: the water soaks in and climbs up the dry paper bringing the remaining pigment in its wake.

When they’re soaked through, or the water in the jar has dried up, or when I just need to clear some space I empty the lot into a bucket to finish intermingling and eventually dry.


dye dreg paper dying

It’s satisfying on so many levels: using up color, repurposing scrap paper, creating patterns for future collages and art works. It does it’s own thing when left to its own devices. It’s messy and unpredictable (just like me) And it’s effectively better than free!

More variations on the theme:

  • Dry paper, water-splashed paper, soaked paper (hot & cold water)
  • Letting the liquid soak part way up, then up-ending the paper so it runs down and creeps up at the same time
  • Pouring more color down the inside of the paper rolls
  • Using paper that’s been part printed on the inkjet so the colors merge and dribble into each other
  • Coffee dregs instead of / mixed with colored water
  • Just water + inkjet printed paper (but not laser printed – that ink won’t run)
  • Scrumpled paper for a veiny effect
  • Glossy photo paper (make good use of those expensive printer mistakes!)

day last-but-one


While I was playing with my new inks last week, I developed some of these experiments on Thursday’s and Friday’s pages

the milky opacity of white ink dripped in transparent colored ink details the runs of the liquid

With a thick coating of white gesso on part of the page, scribed with pencil for deep furrows of swirl, the inks had routes to wander around

ink on wet white gesso reduces the saturation of blending colors

and new routes made with small watercolor brush, trying the page together as a whole.

swirls an spirals painted into the ink before it dries

The ‘day last-but-one’ thing – well, I’ll explain that bit later…. 😉

never say never (ever)


If there’s one thing that will motivate me into action, it’s being told that I can’t do something. Even (or especially) when the person doing the telling is me.

In reaction to a phrase in my last post “When space limits me to work on just one project at time…” Uha, really? I went on “… working within the parameters of my living/painting space, I have to exercise a little more self discipline…” I have to what? Says who??

ink drips on handmade paper

Working on small (8″ x 10″ and smaller … often scraps) scale, there’s really no excuse, there’s no ‘no space’ that can’t be remedied with a small amount of putting stuff away!

Opaque white ink dropped into puddles of transparent colored inks, left to flow.

Settled with a selection of old doodles on watercolor paper, some bottles of ink and water; and the giddy enthusiasm of new colors, I soon had a small dripping/drying/oozing/dribbling production line set up.

Aided greatly by the way I work – splashy and messy – no harm can come from cross contamination and minor spillages.

In fact, I ended up using the least soggy works to mop up some of the more puddly over waterings

drips of ink, then water, then ink…etc, wet on wet + wet on dry

Release from these self imposed boundaries!

inks dripped onto wet threads draws up the pigment leaving outlines. Highlighted with stitching (recycling that thread!)

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Two pages in one post,


Playing with ink never tires, never gets samey, never ceases to amuse me.

Alternating between transparent, opaque, and water in drips and runs, watching the pigments flow and merge;
Pulling at the puddle edges with a brush or pen or stick… imprinting in wet ink…

Big love for ink!