no new year resolutions here!

I don’t make New Year resolutions however, in recent years, I have chosen a word to guide my actions.  Sometimes this isn’t successful though and for 2015 I had to go back through Quinn McDonald‘s blog to find out what it was.  That hasn’t deterred me for choosing one for this year.  She wrote a great post of selecting your word here.

I chose the word ADVANCE . . . as a verb.  I’ve sat with it, considered it, for a week or two now and have changed it for the word ATTEND . . . again as a verb.  I will attend to now, attend to self-care, attend to my thoughts and listen to what is blowing in on the wind.  Nice and simple.  No earth-shattering leaf-turning changes . . . I will just attend, 100% as often as I can and forgive myself when I can’t.

There is a second idea I have for the year.  As I have most of what I need, more than what I need in some instances, I’m wondering how long it will be before I need something that isn’t a consumable . . . that includes books and art supplies, food and drink, basic clothing (public nudity isn’t welcome in my small corner of paradise), items to maintain the state of my house so it doesn’t fall down around my ears, and perhaps music.

Making basic art supplies . . . sticks of charcoal made from grape vine trimmings in a brazier (a large terracota flower pot wrapped in chicken wire so it doesn't fall apart).

Free basic art supplies . . . sticks of perfectly good charcoal made from grapevine trimmings in a brazier (a large terracotta flower-pot wrapped in chicken wire so it doesn’t fall apart).  The brazier was a gift couple of years back, the grapevine trimmings from my son’s house and the fuel was driftwood from the beach.

My needs are few and my wants can’t be bought.  Happy New Year to every one of you.

my response to an offer

Recently, The Textile Artist made me an offer, 3D Mixed Media Textile Art, almost to good to refuse and if you’re in need to good, sound advice (this based upon the content of the site) it might be perfect for you.  I turned it down . . . yesterday I received an email asking for feedback which I responded to thus, albeit with a couple of minor fixes and changes:

I guess I’m feeling deluged by inspirational posts and offers of courses and resources and in danger of spending more time looking at the work of others that developing my own.  I have far too many read books on my shelves (my own and from the library) and ‘bookmarked’ web sites, more than I can hope to give adequate attention so I have unscubscribed from many blogs (not yours) so that I can focus on my own work.  As a mixed media ‘maker’ and someone who has always tried anything and everything it is time to focus and the only way to do that is to withdraw a little from all the wonderful work and wisdom available and simply do my own work . . . follow my own wisdom.

I appreciated being asked why I’m not partaking of what is obviously a wonderful offer as it has made me bring to the surface and articulate what has been gong on in my mind for a while now.

And might I add I’m still very tempted?

a change of direction

I’ve tidied away the paints and I can see flat surfaces.  Now it’s time to get back to this . . .

9 in 9 Wendy @ Late Start Studio

9 in 9
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Which led to this and then . . . stopped.  Or maybe some of this although it’s too windy to harvest today.

Harvesting harakeke/flax. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Harvesting harakeke/flax.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I need to use my hands again rather than brushes . . . to get in close contact with the materials.

experiments continued

Having liked the results written up in my post, experiments with plastic, I decided to try different combinations of black and bright colours.

Black gesso and black acrylic under brights (magenta vermillion and cadmium yellow medium).

Black acrylic and India ink as the top layer over the bright colours.

In each case (black under/black over) I used the medium at full viscosity or watered down.  I also used the magazine-wrap plastic as well as cling film.

The results were similar to before however the most effective, in my opinion, was when I used a diluted top coat as more of the previous layer shows through.

Diluted India ink over bright acrylics and magazine wrap plastic . . . I forgot to dilute it prior to application so I spritzed it with water. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Diluted India ink over bright acrylics and magazine wrap plastic . . . I forgot to dilute it before application so I spritzed it with water.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Bright acrylic over black acrylic and cling film. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Diluted bright acrylic over black acrylic and cling film.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Brights over black gesso and magazine-wrap plastic. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Brights over black gesso and magazine-wrap plastic. Unfortuantely I put the black smudge on after with my grubby fingers.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Even the magazine wrap plastic looked interesting after I'd used both sides . . . I'll probably use it again knowing that it will leave remants of colour behind. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Even the magazine wrap plastic looked interesting after I’d used both sides . . . I’ll probably use it again knowing that it will leave remnants of colour behind.  Hmmm . . . I wonder if I can stick down with a matt gel? 
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I used Atelier Interactive acrylics for these samples. I bought them myself however if Atelier wants to subsidise my play experiments that would be lovely!

And now that my curiosity has been satisfied it’s time to put all my paints away otherwise I won’t get some presents made and of course I can’t tell you about those because my family read this blog.  Maybe I’ll lay our some cardboard first and make gift tags . . . I’m thinking of white under and over pastels.  So just a little more playtime perhaps or is this perseverance beginning to blossom?

experiments with plastic

In the last post I wondered how the thickness of plastic placed over wet paint and allowed to dry, would affect the texture.  I also wondered how the thickness of the paint would affect the result.  Two variables – two experiments.

Step one was to apply gesso to some sketch paper and allow it to dry so I would have a non-porous base layer.  After that I applied a background of deep turquoise and magenta acrylic paint.   When the background was dry I used some lime acrylic paint thinned with water on one sheet and straight from the tube on the second.

The plastics I used were cling film (Glad Wrap, Saran Wrap) and the plastic that comes wrapped around magazines received through the post (there’s nothing like free resources).  I also used re-used some 25 mm or 1 inch bubble-wrap.

Diluted top coat, magazine-wrap plastic. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

1. Diluted top coat, magazine-wrap plastic.  The variation in the background looks especially good to me.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Diluted top coat, cling film. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

2. Diluted top coat, cling film.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Diluted top coat, bubble wrap. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

3. Diluted top coat, re-used bubble wrap. I just love the remnants of paint that have been left behind.  And again, the transparent top-coat allows the variations of the background to show through
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Full viscosity, magazine wrap. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

4. Full viscosity paint top coat, magazine-wrap plastic.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Full viscosty top coat, cling film. Wendy @ Late Start Studio Wendy @ Late Start Studio

5. Full viscosity top coat, cling film.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Full viscosity top coat, clean bubble wrap. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

6. Full viscosity top coat, clean bubble wrap.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Full viscosity top coat, reused bubble-wrap

7. Full viscosity top coat, re-used bubble wrap

A cose up of the previous sample. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

8. A close up from the previous sample.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I liked the effect of both parts of the experiment, I really liked how the re-used bubble wrap left remnants of paint behind.  The diluted paint gave a lovely transparent effect with an opaque paint . . . the first three images have to be my favourites.   Whether I use diluted paint or at full strength would depend on what effect I wanted to make.

As to the choice of plastic?  The thinner the plastic the finer the details and the more likelihood the results can be controlled to some extent . . . controlling cling film is difficult enough at the best of times however by twisting it slightly, bunching it up after it was laid on the wet paint, I could manage a degree of control over the number of marks but very little over where they were.  I thought it would be rather wonderful to be able to manipulate it to form the veins of a leaf.

By removing the plastic just before it was dry it would be possible to soften the edges of the marks but right now I’m thinking about colour combinations; neon over black, black over brights, various earth tones with a transparent top-coat . . . hmmm, this could keep me busy.

Did I have fun? Was it worth while?  Will I continue exploring? Will I put samples in a journal? Damn right!

practise makes perfect (if that’s what you want)

This morning after I read The Muse Whisperer on Quinn McDonald’s blog I got to thinking how all creative tasks involve skills plus ideas and then about where, or how, I get my ideas.  I realised that unless I’m working on something I don’t become inspired.  I need to be ‘thinking with my hands’ (thanks Quinn), exploring the properties of a material, in order to generate unique ideas.   Sometimes they’ll come when I’m walking the beach or working in the garden, not thinking of anything much, just noticing what is around me but usually, real inspiration comes when I’m completely engaged.   Ideas come and take on a life of their own through the materials.  Occasionally I’ll set out to make something and end up with something completely different because I listen to the idea . . . or is that the muse?

The other part of completing a creative task are the skills required to actually produce it.  I could have the most ingenious, fantastical, original idea but without the skills to carry to it out the idea would be like a bell without a clapper.

I read once in a book about Tai Chi that there are three aspects to mastering anything; talent, teaching, and perseverance.  You may have a truckload of talent and the best teacher available however if you don’t persevere you won’t master what you’re trying to learn.  You can take talent or the teacher out of the equation and a level of mastery is still possible if you persevere.  This applies to learning anything.

So what ever I want to learn to do, I can . . . as long as I show up and do the work . . . daily.

As a result of turnng up today I've learned more about acrylic paints and what effects I can get from leaving plastic on it as it dried . . . I know I can use it but I want to experiment with using plastic of different thicknesses. If you look carefully you'll see I have used a large size bubble-wrap on the magenta. Play is a great way to learn. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

As a result of turning up today I’ve added to my skills and learned more about acrylic paints and what effects I can get from leaving plastic on it as it dried . . . I know I can use it but I want to experiment with using plastic of different thicknesses. Can I control the effect?  If you look carefully you’ll see I’ve used a large size bubblewrap on the magenta. Some of the bubble wrap had traces of yellow paint on it, traces of which stayed behind when I peeled it off so I stored that bit of information away as well.   Play is a great way to learn.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

 

art for art’s sake

I’m off to investigate a pile . . . you know one of those piles you tidy things into but never quite get put away but at least they look neat(ish) even if they do become a dumping place for bits of twine picked up on the beach and threaten to take on a life of their own, growing, multiplying even..

A growing pile . . . gahering flotsam and jetsam from the beach. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A growing pile . . . beginning to gather flotsam and jetsam from the beach.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I know there are some eco-prints on paper of Banksia and pohutukawa leaves in there near to top. I’m thinking I might stitch into them and start a sample book.  I get hooked into thinking I need to make things that have a purpose other that their appearance so I reckon a sample book will be really useful for when I make something else . . . that may or may not be just for display.  I don’t mean ‘just’ as a synonym for ‘merely’ I mean that display is its sole purpose . . . like a painting or sculpture perhaps.

A piece of art that communicates with the viewer is serving a purpose however I have had many years of only giving myself permission to be creative when the object serves some utilitarian purpose as well.  Part of that drive to have a ‘use’ was financial and part just my practicality.

I’m beginning to suspect that ‘finding a use’ is just another means of procrastination, and probably another of the IC’s (Inner Critic) tricks to stop me playing. And now I can hear the IC start in about my audacity in considering what I might come up with as ‘art’ so do you know what I’m saying?  “SHUT UP! Move over and give me some room!”