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.