Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Struggling with my direction and some landscape work.

Even the title shows my muse has vacated. I just replied to a blog and this is what I wrote:

I have been reading your blog for some time now, I felt I had to reply to today's entry because I feel I am having similar feelings about my own art work.
The trouble with textiles is that there is the functional which is the everyday utility that everyone recognises. Then there is the conceptual. As well as this I have a real problem within my own art work in that I love decoration but always feel hesitant to use it.

Whilst I was studying towards my art degree in textiles we theorised on the use of borrowed images from other cultures and times. It always puts a big full stop in my mind to anything I would like to do; Gosh Art college has a lot to answer for.

Anyway, I also haven't been able to focus for some time, I flit from one idea to the other and I really don't feel that I am allowing myself the freedom I need. I am not sure whether any of this is the same or similar to the way you feel but I just felt I had to write and let you know, that if it does ring any bells with you, then you are not alone. Good Luck with your directions in the future. Tricia

As I said, I am struggling at the moment. I am wanting to make some meaningful artwork but the only direction that pulls me at all is landscape, I get so far and then I feel lost.

To that end I have been doing a lot of photography. Then I thought, why, it will cost a fortune to print all these pictures off in colour, even on a small scale. That made me think about something that I did learn to some use at college. We were taught that true sketching should be just that, sketching should just mean capturing the essence of a subject. We were always pushed to this end by making 2 minute studies of the life model. The model would pose and in 2 minutes the model would be told to change the pose. This way you were never able to get more than the essential down on paper. So I adopted that idea with my digital camera. After a couple of minutes it turns itself off when I am studying a scene. Below are my very early attempts at capturing the essence of some landscape photos I took recently. I know what the scribbles represent, and that's all that matters, I suppose.

It's the shape of the landscape I am trying to capture, not the detail.

It is harder than you think when you are on a self imposed time limit. Yes, I am rusty, I admit that.

Well, enough of that, here is a drawing I made of a photo I took sometime ago, not sure if I even know where the photo is. Anyway, the drawing was made in Oil crayons, perhaps I should move on to colour with the above drawings next.

I decided to try to make a small piece in felt from this piece of work. Here is the result:

I am not entirely satisfied with the result. I do feel my landscape work needs much more exploration and experiment before I will be happy with it.


Paula Hewitt said...

I can understand your frustration. I tend to trace all my motifs for embroidery, because i 'cant' draw- i keep meaning to practise sketching but every time i do it i am so disheartened with the results i give up - at least your sketches are recognisable as landscapes. I think your colour landscade with the oil crayons is good - but somehow loses something in the translation to felt. Im not good at constructive critisism, and am loathe to give any unasked, but perhaps the perspective in the felt landscape is wrong? (I havent used the embellisher to do anthing like this, so i am not taking into consideration technical difficulties here) and the white stitches in the middle stand out too much against the dark green (it difficult to tell on the screen ). I know that when i photograph my work the contrast is often wrong - what looks fine in real life does not photograph the same - so just ignore me if this is the case. tell me to bugger off and mind my own business if you want.

Tricks said...

At last, someone who isn't afraid to speak up.

I love feedback but all too often you get, "lovely work", or "brilliant" when really you hate what you have done yourself and hope that someone will give you an honest opinion.

I take on board everything you say, you don't have to be an expert to say what you see.

One of my Art teachers said you should create even when you are not feeling up to it. huh, what does he know? I've proved him wrong at last.

I've been feeling very under the weather the last couple of days and it shows, doesn't it.

Well, thanks Paula for being the first to have the decency to be honest. I wish there were a few more like yourself. Cheers Tricia

Here with T said...

I like your sketches Tricia. You are certainly capturing the main essence of what you are seeing. I don't sketch. Sometimes I will place my laptop nearby with a photo on it so that I can capture some detail that I am struggling wiht. But the main picture is something that is fairly abstract, and in my head. I think with large wet felt peices that you can only do impressionism. Lots of the colours weld into the next colours and by the time it has been thoroughly rolled much of the finner detail is just a big blur. In needle felting it is probably different, I don't know because I have never needle felted. Anyway I think by looking at artists work who do impressionism, and abstract work it helped me develop my work. For the past two years I have been borrowing lots of art books from the library, and the impressionists and modern impressionists seem to stand out and be most addaptable to my wet felt work. I still have many flops, and it is usually when I am trying to get it all too exact and too perfect. One peice I worked really hard on for three days last year just turned out so awful, it had a drabness about it, and it just looked wrong. But this is how we learn. Keep trying you will get there in the end. xteresa

Tricks said...

Thanks Teresa,
I appreciate your encouragement. I certainly need some at present.

I just need to keep working, I know that; but it isn't easy when you feel the outcome is not good.

It's just so annoying when you know what you want to do but it doesn't happen when you are doing it, if you know what I mean.

I keep meaning to do some wet felting but I still have about 7 fleece to put through the drum carder and that is stopping me from doing anything else on a large scale at present. Hubby want's his shed back, lol.

Never mind I'll get there. Thanks again, Tricia

Jackie said...

Its really greta to see you working through your creative difficulties. I should take a leaf out of your book. I don't do nearly enough drawing. The felt pieces are lovely too.

Tricks said...

Thanks Jackie for the encouragement I sure do need it at present. As I say I think my Muse has gone on vacation, probably to walmer climes if it has any sense. No seriously, I can't make sense of where I want to go with my work at the moment. I've always had this tension between Art in the sense of say my love of landscape work and then there is the decorative which I am very much drawn towards. I think I will have to make some more studies but this time in colour with just a little more detail. I'll get there, it just takes time. Thanks again, oh and I love your work too. Cheers Tricia

Ati. Norway. said...

Your start is very good. I am curious what will grow further in your landscape. I think you can create a better feeling using embroidery stitches with some thicker threads?

Tricks said...

Thank you Ati,
I think that you are right, the embroidery on this piece was done on the sewing machine. The trouble is I am not very confident with some of my hand embroidery. Yet I love hand stitching, I usually use functional stitches though, like blanket stitch. Still I will persevere. Thanks again Tricia

Jolly Good Yarn Girl said...

If you need inspiration sometimes just the materials can do it I find. I look at what I have and usually draw from that. You looked at my website and queried Colinette Yarns - well here's what I have to say - maybe they are your next inspiration? Colinette Yarns is a wool company based at Llanfair near the steam railway station there which is near Welshpool. I paid them a first visit on my way back from hols in Wales two weeks ago. You wouldn't believe the shop - it's an industrial unit but inside feels like a huge but traditional wool shop with lovely wooden floors and shelving and restful lighting. The skeins of wool which are mostly handyed drip from every available space, They are not into embellishing there - it's knitting based but the colours are truly inspirational and as it happens I have found the yarns felt up well. It's even got me knitting! You can Google Colinette Yarns but there's nothing like a visit!

Tricks said...

Thanks Jolly Good Yarn Girl,

I wish I could get over to have a look but travelling is pretty much out of my scope these days for one reason or another. I will try to find out more though. Do you do much sewing with these yarns I wonder?
Thanks a lot for the advice and encouragement, I am going through a particularly difficult patch at the moment and I can do with all the help I can get.

I do use the materials as a starting point quite often but it always seems to go against my art school training. I always feel I need to look at my subject first, that's the problem with some of my art background it doesn't seem to encourage the same kind of exploration.

I need to loosen up and I know it but I am finding it very difficult. I will get there though especially with all the help and encouragement I am getting from everyone on here. Thanks again Tricia

Jackie said...

Having read your blog again, and comment replies, the only thing I feel about the 'translation' from sketch to felt is that it might just look better if the stitching was continued out, possibly fading toward the edges. I don't know if you feel this is worth trying? Just to give a wholeness to the piece instead of having a stitched and non-stitched divide. I know soemtimes its good to leave parts unstitched but i think these landscapes might need a bit more.Jut a suggestion..not a criticism.

Tricks said...

Yes, Jackie, I know what you mean and I think that you are absolutely right. I was a bit mimilist to say the least.
I think that I was trying too much to copy the original drawing and not thinking enough about the finished piece and what it needed. Thanks for the comment, really, I don't mind any criticism. It is what I need. Cheers Tricia

Beth Robinson said...

Hi Tricia,
Your oil crayon drawing is neat, but it doesn't have that sense of trying to capture the essence of the scene, partly because it just seems like a mass of color. I agree with your most recent comment that developing one of your quick sketches might be more satisfying for you.

Tricks said...

I know what you mean Beth, problem is although I love landscape I often become overwhelmed by the subject and find it hard to focus. This is why I was trying very quick sketches to force myself to be economical in what I choose to put on paper.
I think you are right though I should try to develop some of those quick sketches into colour. Thanks for dropping by. Tricia

Kayla coo said...

Hello Tricia,
I found your blog via Jackie.
I work directly from my sketch book and felt what I draw.
I sketch quickly because it gives my stitched work more energy.
Hope that makes sense.
Michala x

Tricks said...

Thanks Michala,
I have replied on your blog. I do appreciate your honest feedback. Cheers Tricia

Aussie Jo said...

I think maybe you are too hard on yourself, aren't we all???
Try this site for a bit of inspiration and some techniques/exercises to try.
And take a break, go and sit in the sun with a nice chardy, do some gardening, relax a little, it will come.

Aussie Jo said...

Ha, I'm so relaxed (not) I think I forgot to put the link on!!!

Tricks said...

Hi Aussie Jo,
Thanks for your comments and encouragement, I certainly will take a look at that link.
Cheers Tricia

Sarah said...

Tricia, thank you so much for your thought-provoking post. I can sketch my own designs, but I am awful with landscapes. I liked where you said that it's the SHAPE of the landscape you're trying to capture, not the detail. Perhaps this will help my sorely-lacking landscape talents! I am in no position to offer feedback, positive or otherwise, on the translation into you know, I've never attempted felting before (although thanks to you I will be soon!!).

I also am a flitter, particularly from piece to piece, as well as from idea to idea. Some of this is necessitated by health -- I am unable to sit or stand for very long, and concentration and pain do not make good colleagues! It has taken me a while to acknowledge that this is just the way I have to work now if I expect to get anything at all done.

I also really heard your functional vs. conceptual comment. THAT has given my little brain some ideas.

Perhaps I'll try the timelimit thing that you speak sure can't hurt anything, and maybe it''ll curly hair breeds optimism!!!

Regards, YFT

Tricks said...

Hi Sarah,
Thanks for dropping by, I can't believe that I have had so many useful or positive replies to this post.
Touching on something that you commented on, I spoke about the shape of the landscape because as a person who so often looks at detail it is hard to zoom out as it were.

Sometimes I feel that artist's need this capability. If we focus too deeply on everything that we do, we lose the whole picture. Less is more comes to mind, but it doesn't come easy for me. I find it very difficult to choose and that's what it is all about.

Being an artist is not like being a camera. We must choose and interpret and this has always been the hardest for me to do.

I am getting there and I haven't posted in a little while but I am working away in the background and who knows, fingers crossed, my next pictures that I decide to share might be a whole lot better. Thanks again for dropping by. Tricia