Bird, Beach and Bruegel.

This is a somewhat mixed post, as you may gather from the title.

The Bruegal bit is simply a reference to the weather here, and the sharply detailed snowy views I enjoyed on a walk yesterday. It was only a suburban walk through a small wooded area, not sweeping landscapes of snowfields and mountains, but the sharply detailed trees and paths, and the snowy roofs were like walking in a Bruegel [the elder] painting. I know they have been much used as Christmas cards but I think they are lovely still and have stood up to that abuse very well.I had to keep stopping and gazing around. It’s the coldest bit of winter so far, quite a shock for the crocuses that were flowering.

I’ve laid down another bird piece, on colograph printed khadi paper, and machined it, as well as the companion piece and some other small pieces. They are at home now waiting for some hand stitch to be added. The companion piece is at the very end of the previous post.

Snow and freeze outside, tropical scenes within. I’ll undoubtedly make some snowy pieces in summer. I do find that the way I make work can be too slow to keep up with ideas I’d like to develop, but I don’t think there’s a solution to that.

I’ve made the hummingbird separately, with silk and organza fragments on lutradur. He will be easier to stitch in more detail this way, then can be added to the main piece.

So that’s the bird update. The Beach in question has a capital letter as it’s the title of a piece I started in 2010, I think, and finished 2 parts, then let it languish.

I have always liked it though, so decided to add a central piece, influenced by one and a half sheets of double elephant khadi paper I have left over from Beyond Dark Spaces, a large piece I am [still…] finishing.

Here are some images of the central part, which won’t make a lot of sense, until it’s all put together. I’m pleased to have made a decision about it at last, as I didn’t want to frame it, and hopefully the sturdy paper will suit it, as a mount.

It’s about 50 x 50 cm, calico, painted with acrylic paints mixed with resin, and ceramic stucco acrylic media. The bottom is a sandy gold, as I’ve used gold bronzing powder it the mix too, and the upper area is the mixture textured by dragging the end of a paintbrush through it. It is different to the other parts but just similar enough. The shapes at the bottom are appliqued painted calico, which are based on the shapes of a petrified forest that occasionally shows on the beach at Tywyn in Wales. They seem to  have been  influenced too by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Patrick Heron with a touch of Ben Nicholson, and perhaps they all went to Tywyn too.

Here’s a close up of the crunchy texture. I’ll post the whole when it’s done.

I’m teaching Thrift and Alchemy next week at the RBSA Galleries here in Birmingham, so look forward to posting some interesting work from the course, which is based on using re and upcycled materials. I’ve never taken so much stuff to a course in my life, and the students are bringing materials too. I hope we can all fit into the room.

4 thoughts on “Bird, Beach and Bruegel.

  1. Hiya, I so wanted to do the course, but given the state of my health at the moment, could not commit in advance, good job too as I am still quite unwell with no energy. So seeing your work buoys me up Steph. I love the texture and the idea of the submerged forest very evocative.
    Back to watching Mark Knoffler and sneezing, thanks for posting your work

    1. Hi Shelagh, sorry you’re still unwell. Perhaps when Spring arrives you’ll pick up. Thanks for your comment too; perhaps you can make it back to the RBSA soon. The submerged forest is wonderful. Sometimes there’s no sign at all, other times there are one or two bits showing; but occasionally, when the tide has washed away a lot of the sand cover, so much is revealed, it’s such a treat to see it. Hope Mark works a bit of magic.

  2. Oh that beach piece really resonates with me Steph. What great texture you’ve got there. I have no idea what resin and stucco material is but it certainly leaves a wonderful effect. Can’t wait to see this one progress as I love those organic shapes appliqued to it. Please keep us updated and good luck for next week’s workshop

    1. Hi Lesley, the resin and ceramic stucco are acrylic gels, made by Liquitex. They set like stone! I’ll post the whole thing when it’s done, I’m quite pleased to have decided a way to finish it. Can you send me a link to your blog, I’ve lost you, and can’t spot you Google – wise.

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