Art Elements Theme Challenge Reveal – Forest

Hello and welcome to this month’s Art Elements Forest theme challenge reveal hosted by Susan Kennedy. I love forest and woodland and have a small one right on my doorstep so this challenge was a great inspiration for me.

The first piece I set to work on was actually a textile project I began a few years ago but got distracted from.

As you can see half the tree is missing its branches so I set about rectifying that and also adding some embroidered leaves to the canopy for extra interest.

Then comes the tricky bit…this piece is designed to be a cutwork project with the majority of the tree trunks being worked away from the fabric so that the background can be cut away. It’s the first time I’ve done this and it’s a little nerve-wracking as you have to cut as close to the stitching as you can but being careful not to snip a stitch. Oh well…nothing ventured nothing gained…

Phew – I managed to keep it one piece! At this point I came to stop because I haven’t yet decided how I want to complete the piece. I could just have a simple contrasting background in the cutaway but that doesn’t seem very exciting. I did play around with greetings card I found with a photograph of some trees and quite liked the effect that gave…

I’m thinking maybe I could paint something similar as a background but it will need some experimentation to see what works and I didn’t want to rush it so I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Next I moved on to watercolour painting. You may have seen some work I’ve been doing lately inspired by some online courses I’ve been taking with Australian artist Laura Horn. One of the techniques she teaches is making these lovely trees with drippy trunks that she discovered through a happy accident.

As soon as Susan mentioned forests this technique popped into my head and I thought that by adding a lot more of the trees I might be able to get a more heavily wooded effect. I set about adding lots of layered shapes in autumnal shades allowing each one to drip gradually moving down the page.

Once that was done I added lots of varied detail using Posca paint pens in black, white and gold.

I quite liked this piece but the white space was niggling at me a bit so I had a play about with cropping and image and matting it in Picmonkey and I much prefer this version. I think cutting out the white space gives it a much denser feel.

I really enjoy the process of painting like this so I did another version in a green palette…

I also did a couple of quicker studies in my sketch book but I left the drips out of these simply because they take time to do and dry. The sketches were fun to do but I prefer seeing the shadow of the trunks in the background as again it gives more depth. I think there will be more of these to come as they’re very therapeutic to paint.

My final piece is a very quick bracelet I put together after clearing out my studio and coming across a set of ceramic beads by Tracey Seder Donoughe that reminded be of the textures and colours of tree bark. I dug through my stash and found a polymer clay heart focal with tree rings by Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio and an electroplated ceramic acorn by our own Caroline Dewison. A Tierra Cast tree of life button made a perfect fastener and with the whole thing strung on waxed linen with copper accent beads, there you have a bracelet in my favourite earthy tones.


So those are my offerings for the month and I hope you enjoyed them. Many thanks to Susan for this inspirational theme and I home you will join me and visit the other participants using the links below.

Guests

Alysen

Divya

Evie & Beth

Hope

Louise

Michelle

Sarah

Tammy

AE Team

Caroline

Cathy

Claire

Laney

Lesley

Niky

Sue

Art Elements December Theme Challenge – White

This month’s Art elements theme challenge was chosen by Claire and in choosing white she gave us a very seasonal challenge and great scope to work with which at this time of year is no bad thing. Since December is such a busy month I decided to kill two birds with one stone and use the theme in some of my gift making. My efforts are mostly off-whites and creams since I think bright whites are quite hard to work with and wear.

First up was an Arctic hare ornament I made as a gift for a friend… made from felt and embroidered with a folk art design. Simple but effective and I think he was appreciated.

I was very much taken with the bead woven earring tutorial Marsha posted just before Christmas and made several pairs as gifts including this lovely winter white and bronze combination.

Having got a couple of quick makes under my belt I did go back to an idea that’s been percolating in my mind for quite a while now. This is my mothers wedding veil which is getting on for 70 years old and made of a very fine silk tulle with embroidered floral motifs. The tulle is full of holes and disintegrating rapidly but the flowers are still in good condition so I’ve been wanting to do something to preserve what I can.

I’ve been thinking of creating a piece of visual art by combining the floral motifs with other textiles and embellishing it with some of my own embroidery to pull together the generations but I’ve not yet been able to make up my mind exactly what I want to do. Under the circumstances I decided trying to rush something through for this challenge in such a manic month would not be a great idea so I’m leaving it until I have more time.

I did however think it would be an opportunity to play around a bit and just see how I could work with it in a simpler form which might in turn help when I come to a more complex piece. The veil is pretty fragile so I cut around one of the flower sections leaving some of the silk tulle intact and pinned it gently to a piece of linen. I then found I was able to hand stitch the embroidered sections to the linen and then snip and pull the tulle away quite easily.

I did this with a couple of sections of embroidery and them embellished them with some tiny seed beads to add some extra texture.

I then made these up into lined draw string pouches and used them as gift bags for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gifts. We’ve been friends since the age of 11 and she knew my mum for many years so it was nice to be able to give them to someone for whom they would have some meaning. She loved them and is using them to store jewellery.

 Hopefully in the new year I can find some time to sit down and plan a project to incorporate and preserve more of  the veil.

Many thanks to Claire for inspiring us with this theme. If you’s like to see what the other participants created please join us on out blog hop using the links below.

Art Elements October Theme Challenge – Petroglyphs

This months design challenge From Art Elements is hosted by Karen Totten and she chose to go with Petroglyphs as her theme. petroglyphs are images carves or engraved in rocks – usually thought of as, but not necessarily old or prehistoric.

After some consideration I decided to use embroidery as my medium for this challenge. I did some eco rust dying on my art retreat in the US in the summer and I though this pieces was evocative of sandstone rocks and would therefore make a good backdrop. Continue reading “Art Elements October Theme Challenge – Petroglyphs”

Art Elements March theme Challenge – Nests

So today sees the first of the new monthly theme challenges we are running over at Art Elements and this month Cathy chose nests as our inspiration theme. Back when she announced this I had a million and one things in my head that I wanted to do but for some reason none of those came to fruition…funny how creativity works. Continue reading “Art Elements March theme Challenge – Nests”

Art Elements Component of the Month Reveal – It’s all in the Runes.

This months Component comes in the form of these lovely copper Runes made by the very talented Niky Sayers. Sadly, the first thing I have to do this month is apologise for only having a work in progress to share with  you as time just ran away with me this month and I didn’t get the chance to start on my piece until yesterday. I hope however you can get some sense of what I’m trying to do.

Continue reading “Art Elements Component of the Month Reveal – It’s all in the Runes.”