Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Hudson Artists Spring Show

Though fewer artists than usual entered work in the AHA Spring show, 28 compared to an average of 33 or so, there was lots of energy at the opening night on Friday. I find that usually I can't take photos at the vernissage, because I am so busy chatting with visitors and other artists.

I went back at a quieter time to get these pix:

Heather's colour studies, acrylic paint on paper, mounted on birch cradleboard, 10" x 10"
and four mini-collages, 6" x 6"
My work was displayed back-to-back with Michele's:

Michele Meredith's compositions in raw silk,
the larger three framed under glass, the smaller on 6" x 6" stretched canvas
The event was well-attended, and Michele and I each sold a piece. A total of 18 works were sold, with net sales approaching $5000.

The group plans to paint the boards a dark grey for the next show, with the hope that the holes in the boards will visually recede, giving more prominence to the works on display. It seems that most community art groups have less than ideal venues to display their work: lighting, floorspace and methods of hanging are often compromised. Still, these local shows do add to the cultural life of the community.

Friday, 3 June 2016


  Ad Parnassum is one of my favourite paintings, so I had no difficulty making my choice. The more I looked at the painting, the more complex it seemed. What I find fascinating is the layering, first the coloured squares, then the white dots, followed by a second layer of diluted colour over the dots. I wanted to try to give an impression of complex layers of colour and  I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to approach it. I decided to overlay my fabric scraps with a sheer fabric and then add dots with  white markal which were then overstitched with stranded cotton. I was not sure whether it would work and found it difficult working out what colours of thread to put where as I could not see the overall picture until it was finished. The stitching shrank the piece rather more than I had anticipated and when it was finished it was less than 15 inches square. However I am going to solve this problem by mounting it on a sqaure of black felt (I do not have any at the moment so a square of ordinary black fabric has had to be a stand in in the photograph!). I actually prefer it with the black 'frame' as it makes it stand out and finishes it off better.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A blast from the past!

In looking at the pictures under 'images' for Pierneef a couple stuck out that reminded me of a piece I have in the back of my cupboard.

The medium used is dyed tissue paper glued onto a board, paint added and then sealed with a water based varnish. This is the result from a workshop I did many years ago called 'Mark Making' run by Sue Physick, a local textile artist.  It was 2 days a month over nearly 6 months and took me to places I had never been before and also boosted my confidence into making 'marks' on my cloth in ways I would never of dreamt of. Hence this piece takes me back and reminds me of where I have been and come from. It does one good to look back every now and again !!

Paul Klee - 'Inventions'

Paul's work during his Weimar period often depicted the serene, light-hearted side of his nature. The title 'Inventions' was given to these drawings, which are often purely of a graphic quality.

The twittering machine, 1922.

The invention of its themes and figures always start from an idea of a technical or compositive kind: from elements that produce forms.

This is the one i used for my inspiration / interpretation and I think it is called 'The tight-rope walker'.  Sorry everyone, hope this gives some info behind my piece.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

And our next artist is...

Pier Neef

I'm glad I waited until after the first reveal to make my decision of an artist because I wanted to see the kind of results that came in.  Klee used a wide variety of styles and techniques over his life time but many were abstract/abstracted.    

I wanted to introduce you to an artist most of you may not have come across and have chosen a very different painter - his style is pictorial, South African and distinctive.   I hope this provides enough of a challenge to inspire you all.  Good luck.  Reveal date:  31st August.


At Sea

At Sea I was for a while as I had changed my idea of what to do and found it very hard to come up with something that I was happy with .  Why does Inspiration always ride on the coattails of Procrastination!! 

Before this started I didn't know much about Klee, but now I know his work better and more fully enjoy it's complexity.  So thank you for choosing him - it was a lot of fun to work with.

I came up with the idea of using Ad Parnassum and using a "sea" theme background fairly quickly.  One of my daughters was sailing across the Pacific (she works for Jubilee Sailing Trust which has 2 tall ships and is equipped to handle all sorts of disabilities) and was at sea for almost 3 months.  They landed at a few islands that were quite mountainous and so I had a sense that I wanted to put something about that in too.  Of course the sunrises and sunsets could be quite glorious. 

So this is what I finally finished (an hour ago!!) and I am reasonably pleased with it.  It helped when my husband recognised that these were jib sails.  The background squares are covered in dyed cheesecloth.  It was my way of replicating Klee's tiny grid. 

Coincidentally this also was a good piece (one of two) that I am using for my Elizabeth Barton masterclass whose theme for May was layers. 

Below was my first attempt - just thought I'd show you how I had moved on! 

Kwela Africa




This painting of Paul Klee caught my attention and I kept going back to it so I guess this was the one I felt I wanted to put my own interpretation onto.  I liked the colours and the shapes but decided I wanted to put an African twist into my piece.  Klee loved music and painting in equal parts and was in fact an accomplished violinist and when creating a lot of his work he interpreted pieces of music into his work.  He is quoted as saying, that “It’s terrible to marry when you are wildly in love with someone else.  That’s the truth.  My mistress is and was music, and I embrace the goddess of the paintbrush, smelling of oil, who is also my wife.’

I have called my piece:


I wanted the shapes to dance, in homage to his love of music, and therefore have called this piece as above.  For those of you who don’t know what Kwela is I suggest you go onto Youtube and listen to some of Africa’s greatest musicians who play this and where this music originated, back in the day.  When listening to African music you can hear this theme running through some of their modern music even today.  In the shaded areas above the tiangles I used masking tape and oil paint sticks and I also used the paint sticks to give the 'shadows' on the left of the shapes.

Mystic Rose

I dithered for so long and changed my mind so often because much of his work can be expressed in textiles.  Too much choice.  In the end I have gone for a piece that has hints of several pieces.

Mystic Rose
I read that Klee added lots of mythological symbols and numbers to some of his paintings.  I kept the bird but because of the format I had to limit the number of other symbols.
Flower Myth, Paul Klee
My version has the four triangles pointing inwards that you see in Ad Parnassum. It also has the coloured dots which are outlined in black (I couldn't resist having some of the dots)..
Ad Parnassum, Paul Klee
The trees are influenced by the simple shapes in The Red Bridge.
Die Rote Bruecke, Paul Klee
I have thoroughly enjoyed this first challenge in the new series.  The background is a beautiful hand-dye from South Africa.  The tree shapes are fused.  The dots are acrylic paint.  The bird was machine embroidered (my experiment with a mono print failed!).  The rose is a thermofax I already had with a bit of touch-up paint.  Grey texture is also a thermofax.


Riff on Senecio

Patchwork, pieced, made of hand-dyed cotton, 16" x 16"
I chose the Klee painting Senecio as my starting point. I always assumed it represented a child, but then I learned that the title can be translated as "Old Man", from the Latin, "senescere", or "to grow old". Still, I find the colours suggest youth and light-heartedness. From this painting, I chose my palette, and I also used some of its simple curves and shapes.

Senecio, Paul Klee, oil paint on gauze, 1922

As the final assignment for the Jane Davies course Beyond the Colour Wheel, participants were asked to take the small, 3-colour collages we had made and "tile" them together. In other words, to take those 3" squares or rectangles and put them onto a grid, with no spaces between, just to see what they looked like arranged as a group. So my response to the 12 by the dozen challenge also met the criteria for the last assignment of my on-line course.

Many of Klee's paintings suggest a patchwork or a mosaic, with small square-ish shapes "tiled" to form a kind of loose grid, so my use of a grid is also a reference to Klee. I tried to use the colours in more or less the same proportion that Klee used them in Senecio.

In summary, I'd say that I like the original painting, I like the colours, I like the shapes, and I like the idea of a grid. But somehow the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  In fact it's a hot mess: Klee's image put through a blender. I think that without the organizational structure of a recognizable face, the piece has no unity. Klee's painting has a variety of small, medium and large shapes. My patchwork has only small and smaller. It's one thing to fulfill the requirements of a class assignment or a group challenge, but it's another thing to make good work.

Puppets on a string !

This certainly created a lot more thought & procrastination. Well done Patricia on choosing an artist who used many styles & techniques throughout his career.

Although I love colour and there were a number of pieces of work that jumped out at me I decided to go with his 'inventions' style.  The sketchy drawings and the sometimes quirky/ abstract nature of these pieces allowed me to use the mediums that I enjoy most - paint and thread.

In his paintings of this style, the themes or figures often only occupy a third or slightly more of the space with the rest carrying simple marks of some form.  This large open area frightened me a bit so I reversed the scale - my puppets occupy just more than half of the space. I was a lot more comfortable with this.

I brush dyed the fabric and then worked in thread and fabric oil pastels. No new techniques for me but ...... I have only put in 2 puppets.  Even numbers do my head in so I have stretched myself here.  Before quilting I nearly put in an outline of a third one in the background, but I resisted!!

Klee - House on the Water

There was no way I was just going to copy a painting, why would I do that? Why not just cut out a photo of the painting? Where was the creativity? What would I learn?  But in the end that's just what I did:

And here's the painting I (Almost!) copied

Paul Klee - House on the Water 1930

All the time that I was looking at Klee's faces that I intended to work from I kept coming back to this painting. Whilst I like the colour palette I find the use of light and dark quite disturbing, although the light areas create movement they also split the painting. I started to mask different areas of the painting to try to understand why it was having this effect on me and fell in love with the section that I re-created.
It isn't obvious from the photo's but the proportions of the selected area felt a bit 'off' when I used them on their own so I slightly changed the balance of light and dark.
Original this is not - and I apologise for that, but I love it and I did l learn quite a bit about balance and proportion too!

Klee goes Down UNder

My inspiration piece was Klee's 'Moonlight' piece, as I loved the colours and composition.

I was already working on a design based on the Sydney Opera house, and wondered how Klee might have depicted this had he ever had the chance to see it.  I used an embellisher to recreate the feel of crayons on paper, which was reasonably successful, but I wish I had allowed myself more time to work on the design.  I feel I could have improved the layout of the piece, rather than working in an improvisational way as I had chosen to do.