Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Poppies Galore

So sorry this is late but here goes.

Back this summer there were several wonderful fields of bright red poppies in our area.  This one was a few miles away and I took several photos - climbing over gates and fences and getting thoroughly covered in seeds and weeds!  All worth the hassle.  My piece is a combination of a couple of photos because I loved the Queen Anne's Lace in the foreground ere but in another I was in amongst the red poppies.

Now, I have done a silly thing (too many projects on my mind) and made my piece 20" x 16"!  I am 'fessing up'.  Here's the full piece...
Poppies Galore

And here's my submission...
Poppies Galore - square

I am  mostly happy with it and maybe after Christmas I will play some more with it to accentuate the QA Lace heads.  I did think of adding the plants using white acrylic paint on the edge of a credit card - very slightly smudged to create that van Rensburg look of his animal heads.  I will try this on a another piece.  The stems are cord couched down.


Sunday, 1 December 2019

First of a new series 

My choice for the first quilt of the new series is: windows

I am taking advantage of the fact that I already have an idea, which has  something that I have been wanting to make for the last ten years, and this will actually make me do it!


   We spent our summer holiday in a village at 900m (almost 3000ft) near Le Puy en Velay in Auvergne. Every morning as we went along the road, we had a clear view of the mountains receding in the distance, with a thick mist in the valleys. I loved the contrast of the soft greys and the white of the mist, blending into each other, and wanted to try to reproduce the atmosphere by using monoprint when I got home. These two photographs were taken at a different time of day, so the colours are not  right, but give an idea of the landscape.

   When I saw the hills in Derric van Rensberg's paintings, I thought that perhaps I could try to interpret the Auvergne mountains in a quilt. I love the bright colours used by the artist and I am particulary attracted to the  contrast of orange and blue, but these colours really are not so suited to our more northern climate, and definitely not for the image I had in mind. First of all I tried making several prints at a couple of monoprint workshops that I went to. The first one turned out too dark, but the ghost print, to which I tried to add a more interesting sky (didn't really work), was a bit better. At the second session I had some much better prints, but I still have to collect them, as I left them to dry at the studio.

   In the end I decided not to monoprint my quilts. Instead I used  a torn newspaper stencil, as I like the organic edge it gives, and which worked well for the hills. I did several, as I wasn't sure how well they would come out, intending to choose the best one. I got a little bit carried away, ending up with nine, of which only two were not satisfactory. It was difficult to choose which one to use, as I wasn't entirely satisfied with any of them: I preferred the composition of some, but there  wasn't enough contrast between the hills and the mist, but the others had good contrast, but the composition wasn't quite as pleasing. Finally I settled on three,and still have difficulty in choosing between them. I had originally intended to quilt  the hills and sky more intensely, but I found that the quilting introduced hard lines that distacted from the effect I wanted to achieve, so they are very sparsely quilted. They were not very easy to photograph. I will probably use the two unsatisfactory ones for freemotion quilting practice, and just have to decide what to do with the other four afterwards!

Saturday, 30 November 2019

St John river, NB

I enjoyed the colours in Derric's paintings so it was easy to use him as inspiration. 

At the end of September I went to New Brunswick, a province in eastern Canada, to take a week long course with Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant.  Freeman's other "home" is in South Africa, in Namaqualand so some of you may have heard of him.  In fact it was during my time in SA that I did learn about him and his courses - a good 20 years ago! 

He has a property on Shamper's Bluff which overlooks the St John river and we spent a day roaming around taking pictures there. 

This is my original picture, and then the one I enhanced in Photoshop to resemble Derric's colours. 

and this is what I made but I haven't bound  it.  I can't decide whether to face it or bind it.  Always a dilemma. 

Gathering Storm

Derric Van Rensberg

Gathering Storm
A moment captured in this scene of wheat fields in the Western Cape where the still, drowsy, late afternoon is suddenly disturbed by distant thunder rumbling in the mountains. On cue, the day begins to cool and the sun bathes the surrounding country side in an eerie lingering brightness before it finally sinks into the crags on the horizon and the curtain slowly falls on another day in Africa.

Derric Van Reenen is a well known South African painter.
I was not familiar with his work until another artist I know, suggested Derric as my choice of artist for the 12 bythedozen blog. I looked up his paintings on the net, but it was when I visited a cousin in a distant town who had one of Derric’s paintings on his wall and a signed book of most of his paintings that I was really happy with my choice. Visiting a gallery in this town, I fortuitously came across an exhibition of a dozen paintings by Derric. I was then sure I had chosen the right artist!



South Island

I took a photo somewhere on South Island in New Zealand on our 2015 trip, but the colours were washed out and grey.  Interpreting the photo in the colours from Derric Van Rensburg's work seemed a way of bringing the subject to life.  So I looked at a number of images of his paintings, pulled various fabrics from my stash, then didn't look at his work again until I had finished. 

I tried doing fused applique slightly differently from normal, applying the Steam a Seam to the background, then gradually adding the fabrics.  I now know why this is not a good way of working,  as the Steam a Seam didn't reach the edges of all the pieces of fabric I had lots of problems with the edges fraying.  I tried it in an effort to be more improvisational in the placing of the fabrics, rather than having the entire picture meticulously drawn out beforehand. Back to the old way of working  I guess.

When I travelled over to the UK in September I had made my daughter a very big wall hanging depicting three elephants and bordered by an Ndbele (a South African African tribe who decorate and paint their homes with wonderful graphic designs) design.  So I guess you could say that at that time I was totally into elephants.  I must add that they are notoriously difficult to draw - they look so easy but this is not the case.  However I decided to use the idea of an elephant which is completely different to the ones I made for my daughter and tried to depict Derric's style and colours.  I used a lot of paint and very little stitching, which was a fun exercise for me.  I attach his works as well as my own.  I must say that initially I thought this would be a breeze but when I actually got down to it, it was not as easy as I thought it would be and I am not altogether happy with what I have produced.

The artist's work below.

My interpretation/inspiration.


Initially my thoughts were great, when I read who Allison had given us for this last challenge in the series. The bold, rich colours should suit those of use who live south of the equator. As the months, weeks and days past me by, I realized this was taking me into a colour palette that I was not too comfortable with, but, as you are told growing up and developing in the creative field, don't limit yourself by staying in your comfort zone!

Living in a household which has a love of birds and as Derric tends to hide a little white heron somewhere in his landscapes /animal pics I decided to use one of his landscapes as a painted whole cloth and then brought in our national bird, the blue crane, in silhouette  form.  

This was his landscape.

...... and this is the result.

Painted whole cloth and Machine embroidered/quilted.  This was not what my initial vision was and I found myself moving in a very different route with a very different result.  The large ratio of bold orange is definitely a first for me and overall I am quite pleased with the result. The binding  stumped me initially and then I remembered my small stash of local schwe schwe fabric and found two perfect options.

Dreamscape inspired by Derric Van Rensburg

As Hilary explained yesterday, this is my last posting as a member of 12 by the Dozen. It has been a wonderful adventure from the very start of the group, and it has been a joy (for the most part!), especially the opportunity to meet as a group in Birmingham a few years ago, and to spend time together in Shropshire. I feel that I can't devote enough time and energy to the group now, as I feel under the gun to prepare work for a solo show next year. And I have also started an intensive yoga teacher training program which I love! I may not become a teacher, but I am certainly learning a lot. And that is my intention.
So I wish you all well and will certainly keep a close eye on developments in the future as you all strive to interpret new architectural challenges. All the very best, Helena

Friday, 29 November 2019

Hello everyone ,
Just to let you all know that the Auckland Quilt Symposium committee refunded me for all the costs incurred in setting up the 'Blog It 'exhibition . Thanks to everyone who suggested helping me out with the costs . Everything has been paid for .
Derric van Rensburg appealed to me mainly because I enjoyed his use of certain colours . I also liked the way he portrayed the animals in his pieces , slightly hidden but again with similar colours in his backgrounds . Many of his pieces are landscapes so I ended up doing 2 pieces in the end ( as I often seem to do !!)
These are the pieces I interpreted :

Here are my interpretations :

With the eagles head I first painted the background and then thread painted over it . Then I appliqued the eagles head on . The darker areas on the feathers was done with Derwent Inktense Pencils but I have not added moisture to the intense because I liked it as it is .
Hello all,
To start the next series, I nominate Ginnie Robbison from my hat draw.