My inspirations come from all sorts of sources but there are two artists one of whom I met when working as a teacher in a secondary, the other a very well known artist, they both give me a taste of what I would like to create as landscape.
The first is a Russian Born artist who I met after she had been working in Ireland, having never been to see my own roots from Irish Grandparents I was fascinated by her take on a landscape that has always held a mystery for me. Her name is Varvara Shavrova, if you visit her website here and go to the past work, the work I was introduced to in a slide show held at the school was entitled Inscriptions. So was I taken with the work I rushed down to the Gallery where her work had been, even though I missed the exhibition itself, I managed to buy a copy of the exhibition catalogue. During the workshop which she managed with my students she showed techniques that would change the way I looked at how I work and what landscape is all about. We did some large scale mono printing directly from the art room desks/tables, they were fantastic. She described how she made some of her work with graphite and her descriptions fascinated me for a long while afterwards. She managed to create landscapes which for me were both abstract and yet real. A fine balance between in order to succeed with this.
This leads me on to my other favourite landscape artist. Ivon Hitchins. His work is also abstract and yet he painted in such a way that you feel you could walk into it. He often used elongated canvasses for example one entitled 'Garden Cove' measures 44 x 108. He said he often used this long shape because he found a square-shaped painting unsatisfactory because the horizontals are cut short. Garden Cove fascinates me, it is a landscape and yet there is a suggestion of a door in the image. When I say a suggestion, I mean just that. You could almost miss it. You scan his work visually and are looking for the tangible, it is there but you can't say for sure where. If you get the chance then take a look at his work, there are a few pictures on the web at certain galleries.
Now this all brings me on to a body of work I have been trying to create with my embellisher. I have been creating a series of samples in Postcard and ATC size from a larger piece which was made from scraps of wet felt that have been in a bag for sometime from larger projects. I joined all these scraps on the embellisher, my idea was to randomise the colours and shapes to see what is possible in the abstract. The only control I had over this process was when I was cutting the small rectangles from the larger piece. I tried very hard not to look at where the colours and shapes fell when I cut these out. My idea was to take it to the extreme, I therefore told myself to use all the fabric I had made and tried to fit in as many as I could from the large piece I had created. The results you can see below. As a series of rectangles which can be seen as abstract landscapes I hope. I am trying to work into these by adding some texture with stitch, either following the lines within the piece or by infilling the shapes.
the first few I have not sewn into yet.
Some of the rectangles work better in portrait than in the landscape format, purely because of the horizontal lines within.
The picture below shows how a scrap was embellished into the piece, this scrap was originally a little leaf that I had sewn around, it seems to work for me, but I can't say why, can you?
The piece below reminds me of geology and rock formations, where rocks have made abstract patterns where the different kinds of rock have been laid in layers and then moved and squeezed together.
This is where I start to add texture, in the form of seed stitches.
The stitches on the left hand corner of this were already in the felt before I embellished it together.
The texture, or should I say small motif in the piece below was just a scrap I had experimented on long ago before I put this together.
I was thinking of framing these, rather like I had framed all my atc's. I am now very unhappy with the result of doing this and I won't be continuing as I do not feel it adds anything to the work.
Below following the line of the shapes this time with a little seed stitching added.
Atc size below, again following the line of the shapes.
Before I finish this post I am showing some other felt pieces I have been experimenting with. Felt with machine embroidery below:
Below is some reverse pattern felting, well that's what I am going to call it. Working from the reverse, the first one is the front and the second shows the back and how the little circles of linen have come through from behind.
Some further scrap paintings as I think I will call them. Just putting scraps of felt together on the embellisher in order to see what can be made from them