Monday, 26 April 2010

Cranes and Kingfishers

Today's post is inspired by paper. Samples of blue papers were sponged with acyclic paints, these were then cut in to strips to create a silhouette of a kingfisher. Bright and bold.
I am enjoying exploring the colours of a kingfisher, but feel I need to look at creating texture. I am particularly interested in the textures created by the layering of feathers on the wing and back. Here there are many different colours are seen, all pouring over each other. I was reminded of origami chains. There is an ancient Japanese legend that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish. These are then usually strung in 25 strands of 40 cranes. The cranes lay on top of each other creating an amazingly rich texture. I thought I'd have ago at creating a crane, not perfect I know!
I really liked the shape of the crane base (which is interestingly also the base for some other birds). I wondered if I could layer these over each other?
Also how would this work with fabric? I used an iron to help fold the fabric (and also burn my thumb!). Maybe some small stitches might help keep it in place?
I quite like how some of the seams fray, and how my folds are not entirely straight. I wonder if there is another way to create this texture?

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Seed Bead Fern

Remember the fern I started to stitch? I wasn't sure what it needed extra. In the end I decided less is best, and to add a sprinkle of seed beads. I'm happy, what do you think?

Pastels, spots and splashes!

Following on from my kingfisher painting, I decided to have a play with pastels. I remembered that I'd recently brought a black pad, and used this for the background. I think this makes the colours stand out more. However, it did make it difficult to photograph!
The posture of this kingfisher reminds me of a hummingbird. I don't think he is quite chunky enough to be a true kingfisher.

Trying to think more abstractly (and waste time on the computer!) I found a photo of a kingfisher and imported it in to Using the pipette colour picker tool I transferred some shades of its coat to some random spots. I quite like how the colours work together. Would you have known it was inspired by a kingfisher?

And using a polystyrene pizza base I attempted to create stamps replicating kingfishers feather patterns. I printed them on a sheet of blue acetate, lakta paper and shiny blue paper. I like the contrast of the warm metallic colours and the backgrounds.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A milestone!

So 15 years ago I used to really enjoy painting, especially with acrylics. That 15 year old me decided to follow a science path and ditched the brushes. Fast-forward some years, some pretty major life experiences, and a fair amount of 9-5 working, and I'm back on the art trail. I've been doing textiles 1 with the OCA for almost two years (my deadline is looming), and all the way along blank paper has intimidated me. Empty white sheets of A3 or A4 (and even A5!) taunt me, so I fill them in bite-sized chunks, not wanting to commit to doing one large thing over all the space. That is until now.

I have achieved my first A4 (got to start somewhere!) acrylic painting, with paint to the edges and everything! It is certainly not the best painting known to man, and won't be winning any prizes, but I'm happy that I persevered (as I was so tempted to throw it away a few times!). Hopefully will be the start of a new way of working with blank spaces! So here it is, my kingfisher...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Disperse dyes day

On Saturday I went to a 'Transfer Magic' day course led by Maggie Murray, of the Scottish Embroidery Tutors. I have the enormously valuable Complex Cloth book by Jane Dunnewold, but I admit disperse dyes are something that I have never tried.
First things first, I soon discovered that the colour you paint on layout paper will become much brighter when it is ironed on to fabric! You can get 3-4 prints from each paint paper, though there are no guarantees that the results will be the same! Skeleton leaf resists produce beautiful, delicate patterns.
I also explored stencils, on plain and printed backgrounds.
It is interesting how the colours appear brighter on different synthetic fabrics.
By the time I came home on Saturday night, I was full on enthusiasm, and desperate to start stitching on my many samples!
I began by adding small stitches to a fern resist print on some acrylic felt. I think it still needs more; maybe beads or a felt flower?

Monday, 5 April 2010

An easygoing Easter...

Lazy bank holiday scribbles in biro & pencil...
A rather tubby wood pigeon.
A disapproving blue tit - who looks like he is wearing a blue curly wig!
And a skinny looking kingfisher. I then attempted to create kingfisher feather patterns, using acrylic paints, brushes, sponges & the polystyrene pizza packaging! Messy & fun.
And finally ironed iridescent paper and plastic carrier bags, trying to capture the proportions of colour on a kingfishers coat.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Kingfishers & knitted hearts

I've found myself drawn to Kingfishers, these distinctive birds have beautiful vibrant blue and orange markings. Luckily for me they are this months coverstars on BBC Wildlife magazine, so many pictures to gaze over!
I've been trying to match their colours using a variety of materials...
Watercolours - not quite catching the vivid orange.
Drawing Inks, including adding a silver, to see if that would help with the shimmer.
And Promaker pens, quick and fun to use.

I have also finished one of my many ongoing knitting projects! An art student is attempting to cover a disused building in Limerick with 3,000 knitted A4 patches. Once the project is completed it will be turned into blankets for a local charity project. See here for more info. Any excuse to attempt to use up some of my wool stash. In lurid brights I made three patches for the project. Including one very cute heart taken from Stitch 'n Bitch.