new starts

I am wanting to make a new series of work, I feel the old colours, styles and choices are becoming prescriptive. The expectations are  too far forward, I want to get back to  the experimental, problem solving  attitude.  I have been walking around sketching for a couple of months with very little to show for it. The tree is still centre stage, but as a thing that changes the world around it. Went to draw around the Minster – draw the pools of shade created by the trees in Deans Park, went to Rowntree Park, drew the contrasts of bands of light and shade caused by the … trees!


I am playing with soluble oil pastels – they have a bluntness and  require mixing on the page. In contrast with the watercolour, on the right, there is greater  separation – you can still see the  different layers building up to the tone and colour of the surface. The individual marks are still evident – this is closer to the stitching I want to try out. I could of course paint in a similar way but lack the patience to let each layer dry so end up with blobby soggy  brownness. The pastels could be smoothed out with water but  I’ve limited that for thinning  and reducing colour and texture n the distances .

I am  hoping to start stitching this week but haven’t yet sorted out how.  Did experiment with some dying, (the microwave did not survive!)  trying to work with more intense  colour but got worried by the bright sunshine yellow so ended up with drabs again. At least it will give me more to respond to than the naked calico. I will redye once the stitching has begun, promise.

The scale of the sketches is small so there is crude quality, almost  brutal simplicity in places in the use of the pastels, so how do I work these qualities in fabric with out it becoming a slavish copy? I don’t want that at all, the textile processes must bring their own nature to the mix too. Do I  continue with the scrap fabric? Is this where the colour comes in or  will the stitching do the work? Do I limit the thread palette? and try visual mixing? Or try all of it?  Well, I have new threads on order- viciously bright and shiny- they don’t arrive until Thursday, so we will have to wait!



3 thoughts on “new starts

    • Thanks. I like the raw quality. It is a very live media, immediate and demanding in some ways, seeing the build up of the colour is what I need at the moment. Have you tried them?


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