Tuesday, 31 October 2017


This week's art project is dual in purpose.  Not only is it an ongoing and valuable practice in art making, but...in this case...it is also an endeavour to make something positive out of a negative.

There is one aspect of garden life that is predestined to transform me into a raging-ball-of-fury & that is a hose that keeps kinking and WILL NOT straighten out when asked & allow water to smoothly travel from tap to plant!

Having several garden areas, we also have a variety of watering methods & believe me, if I could do without a hose, I would, but there are times when the hose is the best tool for the job.

For most of my garden owning life, we have had the common 'green' hose that is found in every hardware store from here to kingdom come.  However, last year, when my exasperation got too much, we took extreme measures & bought three expensive, allegedly 'non-kinking' hoses.

Alas, they were a complete & utter waste of money.  I wrestle with them as much as I wrestled with the cheaper versions!  My poor neighbours have to contend with the sound of wailing & gnashing of teeth as I wriggle & writhe the  beast into submission. Sigh! It's all quite traumatic.

Soooo, let's see what happened when I gave it the WAP treatment!!

My intention, initially, was just to map the line of the hose & see where each part of that knotted mess connected.  However, I liked the free & loose look of the initial line sketch & wondered how it would look if I went over the same drawing as loosely.  As you can see I built up an interesting tangle of lines, which may not perfectly represent the photographic image above, but certainly catches the essence of what I view wrestling the hose as being!

Quite coincidently, just a few hours before doing these sketches, I'd been reading about the artist Brice Marden, whose work looks like an overlay of similarly shaped lines.  This inspired me to keep going with this idea & see what transpired.  I began to play with a variation of line thicknesses & a design began to emerge.

Although those lovely curvaceous lines look great on a flat white background, I wanted to try giving MY background a bit more depth & association with the original source.  Using the above photo as a light & shade guide, I created a quick patchwork for the background and then did this...

I like the textural qualities that painters get into their canvases when they paint over other colours, so I thought I'd try it with fabric. Using just a teensy weensy bit of black to take the glare off the white, I painted over the squares to create this as my background.  This photo was taken when it was still wet & I was really pleased with it.  I like the way there are tonal & colour hints that peek through the white, but they are not too distracting.

In my eagerness to 'see what happens', I failed to photograph the steps that come before this.  However, those of you who are regular followers will know the routine by now!

This is obviously just one layer of fabric that I have cut back & I really like the flow of the lines so much, it was tempting not to stop right here!  However...more layering up & cutting back was calling me.

This time I had two layers to cut back, which would be tricky, given I had already cut back the first set of lines below.  I would have to be extremely careful with the scissors!  Before I got to that though, I took a moment to just enjoy the beautiful flow of THIS line & the anticipation as to what it would look like once I had cut it all back!

Wow that red is bright!

My next task was to add thin stitched lines & it didn't take me long to realise that I would have been wiser to have done this part of the process FIRST!!  Consequently there were a few technical hiccups traversing those cut back lines & there were a couple of not quite perfect curves.  Unfortunately one of those not-quite-perfect curves does tend to distract me.

This is the value of a project like this...to learn lessons!  Of course, if this was just fabric in the background, I could unpick & try again.  However, when paint is applied, the surface is quite different & although I could easily unpick...I wouldn't be able to get rid of the needle holes left behind!!

The final inclusion was added & cut back to reveal this.

Even though there are a couple of lines that I would REALLY like to correct, I am actually quite pleased with this little exercise.  It retains the essence of what I experience when wrestling with the hose.  I am disappointed that the background dried more grey than the white I was aiming for, but it could have been remedied with time & further application of paint before I applied the design.

There was just one more thing that I wanted to try.

I turned it around & I'm not sure...it's a close call...but I think I like it better!  In this orientation I notice different aspects of the piece, which I find very exciting.

This weeks art project is #51 of the 52 & coincides with the conclusion of an Abstraction course I have been taking with Lisa Call.  The course has been overwhelmingly brilliant & one of the things I have gained from it, is the understanding that in my art making, if I choose to abstract from reality I'm not obligated to be a slave to that original source.  This has been a liberating realisation. 

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