Monday, 2 January 2017


 It is a new year & time to get back into my routine of a weekly art exercise inspired by something in my garden.  According to my calculations (not always to be trusted!) I am up to week 13!

Over the past few days I have been taking particular note of the branches of trees on our property.  I've noticed that after a rainfall, or in different levels of light, some branches show off their own unique elegance quite apart from being connected to a trunk or as part of the greater whole...a tree!

With quick pen linear sketches, I've recorded my favourites.

  Are you wondering why & what on earth inspired me to engage in such a peculiar exercise?  Well, it all stems from an article I read recently about artist Paul Klee.  To be honest, I remember very little of the written part of the article, what has stayed with me though is one of the included images.

I liked it so much that I made a quick copy of it for my art journal.  The original art work is called 'Park Near Lu' and was painted in 1938.  I find it intriguing and beautiful, and wondered whether I might have a go at producing something similar of my own, in response to this piece.

With my branch studies, I started placing their shapes in compositions.  During this process, I found myself beginning to order them into a recognisable shape.

I was creating a tree out of my various branches.

THIS is where it got a bit tricky!  My organised, disciplinarian self was saying,
 "Wait just a minute are going wayyyy off track.  You are SUPPOSED to be producing something Kleeian!"
Whereas my go-with-the-flow self was saying,
"FANTASTIC, this is gorgeous. I love this tree.  What can I do with it??"

Let me just say that several pieces of paper, a considerable period of time & a battle ensued!

In the end my go-with-the-flow self won this battle!

Sooooooo, I had a design, but what to do with it colourwise.  I was still trying to refer to Klee's piece which had inspired me in the first place, but then noticed that this tree looked as if it could have been painted onto a piece of Clarice Cliff pottery! I guess that is why I kept coming back to the tree canopy being in red/orange/yellow colours!

What to do with the background became a truly frustrating problem I was struggling to solve.  SO...out came the fabrics to see whether they could give me a solution. I tried the colours alongside a dotty background.

Then I tried them alongside a blue background.  The blue won.

After ironing & layering my fabrics it was time to stitch the outline design into them all.  I love the flowing lines.

Then it was time to cut back the black layer to reveal the tree.  I purposefully cut some of the branches thinner than others, to create interest.

Eventually all the layers were cut back & this was the result.

However, I just felt it looked a bit boring, so I did this....

...and didn't like it.  I started to unpick the sewn lines & discovered they were going to leave a mess.  Back to the paper & pens I went, feeling guilty about the amount of time I was spending on this exercise!! I had thought it would be blissfully straight forward. WHAT was I thinking!!!!!

Eventually I stopped at this.  I cut away the piece I'd sewn lines onto & stitched on this shade darker blue, which also has movement in it.

It's still not ideal. But it will have to do!

I would still like to have a go at a more Klee-like branch inspired piece, but to be honest...I think I might be better to wait until I've found out more about how he chose his colours.  They may have initially looked  like random placement, but on closer inspection he seems to have placed them with purpose. Also, a 15cm square doesn't give me much space to play with my branches either, so I think changing course was a good move.  Otherwise I could still be stuck organising shapes in a square!!

Regardless of the angst this exercise has wrought...I still LOVE my tree design!!


  1. I think it's gorgeous and I loved reading about the process you went through to get there. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. You're welcome Jean. Thanks for the feedback. :-)