Friday 13 January 2012

The Garden of my Mind (and how things are grown)

The Garden of my Mind 2011 (sold) (click for close-up of image)

This lovely picture is one I made in early 2011. The face is painted in oil then embellished all around with textiles and embroidery.

The weekend will be upon us tomorrow! I have been thinking about starting a new artwork and are still intrigued with working on the theme of "plumage". Have been referencing some pictures of birds, wings and feathers and thinking about colours.

The way I usually work is very spontaneously, very intuitively. I seldom do sketches or much planning in advance. The composition always starts on a prepainted canvas with the positioning of the figure which is then blocked in with acrylic paint. The face gets painted next, sometimes entirely with acrylic or oil paint over acrylic. The second technique is better for soft tonal shadings. Acrylic is better for strong sculptural renderings.

The background is then painted. The final stage is to embellish the "body" with textiles and stitching. For this, my approach generally is to spread out on a large work table the fabrics I've selected from my collection of textiles plus fragments of textiles I've made from layering/stitching along with any other things I want to incorporate like braids, laces, beads, etc. These are moved around at random over the canvas until something excites me in the composition. The pieces are gradually collaged together in this way - stitched, embroidered or stuck down as necessary to build up the surface. I don't usually work out the whole area at once, for example, I might do just an arm, the neckline, the left hip, etc, and work outwards from there.

I hope to begin work on the new art... perhaps tomorrow!... and in my future blog postings, for however long it takes, I'd like to explain and show step by step how I construct an image.

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