Friday 24 February 2012

where its at

Dusky, end day3
As at this afternoon this is the figure cut from the canvas and adhered to a backing board. Tomorrow, Rodney will construct the timber frame with an MDF surface (thanks darling!!! hugs and kisses, mmmmhhhmm) and I'll be able to attach the figure to the rigid background. At the moment the textile is only pinned over the body, see the pearl headed pins at the shoulders. I have to wait until its attached to the background before I can saturate the cloth with Paverpol and arrange the fabric folds so they set rock hard.

You will observe that the left arm is cut off in a straight line. When mounted this will lie along the left edge of the frame. The hem line of the skirt will be the bottom edge of the frame. The finished board will be narrow and tall = 35 cm wide by 80cm tall.

In my next blog I'll explain how texture and colour will be applied to the background....

And now for something completely different...

OK! - "completely different" I'll admit is a slight exaggeration. I'm excited because the new work started 2 days ago is developing somewhat outside of the aesthetic that has been predominant in the last few months. It is still within my paradigm of "female form with textile/mixed media surface embellishment" but has moved away significantly from strong use of colour and decorative stitching....thats how its coming together at this point anyway!

Here are some pictures showing the first day, firstly my sketch of the head and shoulders to the left being transferred onto a small piece of prepared canvas. Because I want texture a strong element I then did a streaky layer of texture gel and let that dry before working over it the next day with more texture medium and paint (it looks opaque white before drying)

The reason I have used the small piece of canvas, approx 25x40cm, is that the intention is to cut out the figure and adhere it to a backing about 6mm thick which then gets pasted onto a hard surface. The backing behind this separately created figure will be MDF board which forms the top of the framed work. I used this method with the work "Tribute to Frida" which I showed on a blog about a month ago.

The purpose of this is so that I can easily manipulate the figure to stitch into by machine or hand. However I need the background to be firm, rather than the flexibility of canvas, to be able to create and attach some very heavy elements to, such as paper clay and fabrics stiffened with mediums such as gesso or Paverpol. With the Frida work I used a gritty background texture medium with thick gesso because I wanted to simulate the look of the plastered garden wall that she was standing in front of when the photo was taken. Obviously I couldn't have stitched into, or rolled and folded the canvas in the way I need to when machine embroidering if the background had been prepared like that in advance of putting the figure into it. I was very pleased with the way the final composition worked out; the way the figure was separate from and slightly distended from the background, so I knew I would eventually use this method again.

Dusky, painting at end day 2

This is where the painting was finished as of yesterday afternoon. Some open weave cotton has been pleated and stitched along with a piece of very open lace work that will likely form the surface.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Up and away!

Plumage, complete but not on stretcher

Finally, after nearly a month of restriction, my broken ankle has healed sufficiently that I can hobble around without crutches. I've been able to get down the back yard to my studio and resumed work on Plumage about 3 days ago. Fortunately the work was at the stage where most of the work was embroidery while sitting at the machine rather than standing and painting at the easel. This afternoon I sewed the last stitch and called it finished! Here is a picture of the unframed canvas which presently measures 63x 91cm. It will be approximately 50x 78cm when stretched.

Here are some more pictures which show more closely the surface detail

I still have possibly another 3 weeks off work until the doctor considers me fully recovered enough from the injury to be able to start work again. So it is great to have some relative mobility and be able to anticipate quite a bit more time for working uninterrupted on some more art. It would be fantastic to do perhaps 2 or even 3 more completed works! A canvas on the scale of Plumage generally takes 40-60 hours from concept, research, working drawings to completion.

I have an idea for the next work. Have done some preliminary drawings, though I seldom spend a lot of time  plotting things out in a very organised way. I have a concept visualised for the face and stance of the figure. The figure contained within the canvas will be the face, right shoulder and torso to the waist. I want to work in an "earthy" palette of colour; browns, cream, ochres and orange with strong linear black detailing....I want a lot of textures in this work....

Work will begin preparing the canvas tomorrow and I will return to more regular updating of the blog to describe the progress