Monday, 21 November 2016


At 6.30 each morning, my husband & I greet the day & break our fast on the front porch looking out at our trees! We are serenaded by the resident magpies (aka the Patch family), we breathe in that fresh, just-waking-up air & contemplate how grateful we are to have both this moment & this place. 

This tree is particularly attractive & during a recent storm, I was enamoured by the stripes of colour revealed by the rain.

When the sun comes out, it is the shadow patterns that mesmerize me. With these attributes in mind, I chose to have this tree as my muse for this week's art challenge.

I began by tossing a bucket of water on the tree trunk & making note of the colours.

Seriously....isn't that colour incredible??? And I swear this has not been photo-shopped!

With my colour palette in pencil form, I then...

...made a few linear visual notes of bark colouring. This progressed to more abstract play with line & colour, working towards an idea I've been wanting to try out since seeing Monet's incredible waterlily studies in The Orangerie earlier this year. It was time to embrace my inner Impressionist!

From coloured pencil to fabric choosing & a little bit of bravery as I set to work on an experiment! The plan was to layer multiple contemporary reverse applique sandwiches on top of each other, AFTER cutting back the one below.  Here's what I mean...

...I cut back the first 'sandwich' of fabrics.

I sewed down & then cut back the second 'sandwich'.

I sewed & cut back the third...

...and concluded with the fourth. I am very happy with how this looks. What you cant see in a photo is it's textural quality.  It FELT fantastic, I wanted to keep rubbing my fingers over it's bumps & shapes.  It truly was a little piece of relief sculpture. Not hard to believe when it includes 10 layers of fabric!

I guess a normal person would have left it at that!

But this piece needed to be taken one step further...I just wanted to try one more thing out.

I cut a stencil.

Take a deep breath & brace yourselves...what I'm about to do may make you gasp in horror!

Out came the screenprinting kit & down went the squeegee!

This is the final result.

No, it's not a nice clean print. In hindsight, maybe stenciling each piece by hand would have provided a cleaner line.  Maybe I had too much ink, or maybe it was the uneven surface that led to the edges bleeding a bit.(I did do a practice run which worked perfectly...but that was on a single smooth piece of calico!!) Regardless....I actually don't mind the imperfection.  To me the 'bled' bits are reminiscent of the stunted rivulets that formed lines on the tree branches in the first photo above.

What I feel I have achieved is a good representation of the dramatic colour variation of the dry tree bark with the wet tree bark. And the texture is still there. So....not pretty, but definitely worth the risk!

*Please respect that these are my photos of my own work, so please don't copy without asking me first. Thanks.

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