I  like landscape. It does tend to rely heavily on green, green and/or  green.  Finding how to create the idea of land, growth and distance without being totally green is a bit of a poser.   Mixing just blue and yellow seems a bit simplistic, adding a third or fourth colour and you go off the map very quickly, to the land of paint charts with names like ‘Irish acres’ or ‘inchworm’, or just pantone numbers. Trying to create these subtleties with a limited palette of  thread is even more of a poser.

Get up early and light and colour have a different character, they are  richer and deeper. Shadows have a texture, they are not absence, a lack of, but an essential part, on a good morning they will glow.  Colour seems to reflect more strongly and contrasts sing. It may be the low angle of the sun, the moisture in the air as the dew burns off,  or the effect of the first coffee. I would rather not know, I just like being out and about then rather than at mid day or evening.

So how does this effect my textile practice? It doesn’t, it effects the whole of my artistic practice. It is all about seeing.  By working so much in one colour every nuance  becomes  important, yet it isn’t about single colours but about mixing them, using harmonies and contrasts to enhance or dampen overall.  I prefer building and layering to colouring in,  putting colours together  to create rather than have the one ‘perfect’ choice. By dropping in touches of bright colour the whole can be lifted, or by using small stitches of a  jumble of brights the whole can become more muted. The pictures above are of the current  experimental piece in its infancy. And yes most of it is hand stitched. The bright thread is nylon so when I dyed and coloured the fabrics they retain their colour. Other stitching gets darker and less distinct (tree trunk).   Fairly basic stuff so far, mixing tones of pink in to suggest distance,  working tones together to give richness.  As I added dye the relationships shift, some colours glow against the darker ground, others sink into it, the tone of the colour becomes more important. For instance the orange is more inclined to sulk and lurk now. I think every artist has their  own take on colour theory – I see it as a starting point, visual mixing and physical mixing can behave very differently in practice!

How this piece will end up I don’t know. So far it has been dyed, appliqued,  stitched in cotton, dyed,  attacked with dye sticks, bleached,  stitched with nylon, dyed.  Not even half way yet. And as for the tree canopy………

And never forget  that textures, quality of edge, hard or soft, shiny or matt surfaces,  are all part of it, that is the range of ‘tricks’ used to create or diffuse  depth and definition. When you put use of colour into the mix and it becomes ….joyous…..frustrating….. but always fascinating.




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