Thursday, 7 October 2021

the red thread ...


A showing of recent works by

Susan Bowers, Fiona Dempster, Stephanie McLennan and Tory Richards.

A collection of prints, mixed media drawings and artists' books

The theme 'The Red Thread' has given us all the opportunity to explore in our own way what it means to have threads holding and connecting us to each other and the world especially at a time when the world has seemed very strange indeed.

Sometimes it takes an exhibition or in this case a 'showing' of work to motivate you back into the studio, and back into the blogging world where I am quite shocked to realise it has been years since I last posted to tracemarks.  I have missed it. Now that I am here over three years later, not only has the format for blogging changed by I think my work has too.  Certainly I have been exploring concepts that have seen me wearing my heart on my sleeves a little and I will be posting more on that, and on the works that I am submitting for show, at a later stage.

I am including below one of the images of a series of five large drawings - 900mm x 700mm - which have been done with the idea of spiritual connections.  The intangible forces that surround us and hold us. As is often the case in a small version of a large work the detail is lost.  As you may have read in previous posts of mine that I have not been able to work with intaglio etching and since then have been searching for a way to reproduce the plate tone I so loved with copper plate printing.  This is the closest I have come to realising that effect with drawing.


Friday, 6 July 2018

26/52 'my little black and white book' and 27/52 'tis not always black and white' ....

The two books are simple - no artistic content but are lovely playthings.  Both are small as they are part of the collection which will fit the perspex compartment box I have.  This one, pictured above and below, has a greybeard cover and I have used a zercal bookmaking paper with beautiful tengujo paper which I have printed with engraved plates.  The paper is so soft and delicious but very slippery to sew.

As is often the case, the photographs of objects can become a thing of beauty themselves and sometimes the photographs are way more beautiful than the object one is photographing.

This book is way more graphic than the first and is made up of remnants of etching proofs and rusted and then white ink printed papers.  I have also included some splattered papers and so the whole effect is more sculptural and graphic.

A digital play - just because I can!  The shadow reminds me of a butterfly.

catch up ..... three of my 52 books

23/52 'deep landscape - an inner journey'
24/52 'landscape scars'

I really enjoyed making these two books and in fact, once the project is over, these two books will probably be fixed open and framed.  Steve claimed the darker one and I am partial to the lighter version, so happily they will be visible upon our walls at some stage.  I very rarely do this as I am such a lover of the artist's book in its own right.  However, every now and then I like to think of the books fully revealed and visible.  I have been meaning to frame one of my magpie books as well so may do that at the same time.

The pages for both these books were made from left overs of the landscapes series I did for the exhibition at the Noosa Regional Art Gallery.  They are rich with texture and yet the colours and markings are very subtle.  The inspiration for this body of work came from flying over Lake Ayer after the wind had whipped up all the salt and it look almost like a coastal landscape.  I have also flown in helicopters over other parts of the Australian outback and those visual images of our land from an aerial perspective are my favourite.  The land is flattened and distinguishing features of the landscape often become mere marks on a flat plane.

 25/52 'longlines'

This book is incomplete but of all  the books made  thus far this year, this one has fed my imagination and so I see this as a mock up of various ideas which I wish to explore at some other time.  I will explore the idea of ancestry and various branches and endings, intertwinings and overlaps.  In fact I am contemplating make my first digital artist's book with this idea and will post on it should I ever bring my idea into reality.

Friday, 1 June 2018

22/52 ' looking for home' .....

This is a personal book about trying to find my place, my home.  Starting out with plenty of confusion and wandering in all directions.  Eventually, having passed close by several times, I found my resting place atop the hill.  My heart home.  So I guess it is really a book about searching.  The book pages were made a few years ago with paper left over when working on one of the collaborative works with Fiona Dempster - our 'envelope books'.   I tried at some stage to make them into a book previously but it was a very unsuccessful attempt and I ripped it apart.  The mapping pages have been sitting on/in one of my desk piles for years and have finally been made into a book which pleases me.

With a number of books this year I have used 'greyboard' mostly because it has been expeditious, but with this book I actually think it really suits the imagery.  A number of people who have been following my 'book a week project' have said  that this is their favourite so far and I would have to agree.  Probably because this one comes from the heart! It is a very simple little book but it has meaning.

Friday, 25 May 2018

21/52 'small landscape' .....

This little book consists of four folios sewn into the cover with pamphlet stitch.  The spine was then covered with a hinge of black leather.  As is often the case my inspiration is drawn from extensive journeys into the Australian outback.  I used some of the rusted paper I had in the studio as it reflects so much of the true interior colour and then painted small landscape scenes with black ink.  A few small details were added either with fine black pen or white conte.  The book was surprisingly difficult to photograph and so only a few snippets are shown here.

Friday, 18 May 2018

20/52 'posted' .....

About five years ago my children visited Japan together, skiing I think, and Tim actually  came home with  a  number  of  perspex  boxes for me  which  he  had  purchased.   One of  them was/is  a  4 x 4 compartment box allowing for sixteen books to be displayed.  I have been waiting since then to come up  with  an idea  to  fill those spaces  and now that I am at week 20 of my 52  week  project,  I  have decided that sixteen of my books can be housed in this perspex framework.  

This is the first of those 16 to be housed (in fact it may be more as I may add multiples of books at a time) in this way.  I am anticipating that most of these books will be sculptural, or at the very least photograph worthy and not necessarily have artistic content inside the book.  This is quite rare for me as I have always used the 'book' as a vehicle for my artwork.

The book was made using cut down postcards with a simple coptic binding.  It is quite lovely to handle as it is small and fluid in the hand though I think that the photographs do it more justice than it deserves.

Monday, 14 May 2018

19/52 'sea urchins' - echinocorys .....

I confess that this 'book' is really just a drawing I was experimenting with in order to plan and prepare for a couple of large drawings in a similar vein.  I have finished one of the large ones - 1300mm x 720mm - but actually reduced the amount of defined detail as I didn't really like having such realistic work.

This smaller piece works quite well folded as a book as I can contain what I now see as 'realism' between the covers and only peep when necessary.  For years I have enjoyed making marks and suggesting, often obscurely, my work rather than making my drawing representational.  This means that very often no one understands my work even if they love it ..... hence my decision to introduce an element of realism back into my work.  I will actually post on these large drawings I am doing at a later point, but let me say now that I was really unhappy to actually see or recognise in my drawing, that which I was drawing!  Not sure that makes any sense other than to me.  As here in this book you can see the sea urchins even though they are not drawn in great detail - I find myself alienated from this work, enjoying the areas where I have not defined the subject far more so than the objects I have drawn. Blah!  A whole lot about nothing really.

I prefer suggestive work and some of these smaller snippets of photos, especially photographed from the backside of the film, to see are way more interesting that the drawing as a whole.