Thursday, 31 May 2018

Art Element Tidepool Theme Reveal Blog Challenge

Last month Lesley from the Art Elements team posted the challenge of Tidepool and today, 31st May is the reveal.  (click on the link to read the original blog post).  

May has been a busy month for me as I am getting ready for the Flame Off  which is a glass fair in Uttoexter.  I am both exhibiting and teaching a small class of 12 on Saturday 2nd June getting people hooked on the art of whimsy beads in glass making.  My little cat Gordy has been recovering from last months set back so I have been spending a lot of time with him getting him active and 'fattened' back up. We have had lots of lovely sunshine which has been great for getting Gordy into the garden but not so great for glass bead making as it has been too hot by 11 in the morning to light the torch and cook in the studio.

I was however inspired by the theme of Tidepools.  I remember as a little girl we lived in Cornwall near the beach and I loved walking on the sand after a good storm - I do love a good storm.  The waves would be crashing to the ground splattering foam and sea weed across the beach.  The smell of salt and fish, of damp sand and mildewy rocks that are seeing the sunlight after the dark of the storm, assaulted your nose.  The skies would be coloured in pink and purple with fading grey on the horizon and the tidepools, or rock pools as we call them here in the UK would be teeming with life.  You could see starfish, anemone, sea weeds in all shapes and colours, small fish and limpets that had been trapped as the sea receded.

These memories sent me into the studio very early in the morning to create glass fish, in my style...  

 ..and every good tide pool has to have a shark.. right!

I had fun creating my tide pool fish in glass, obviously they are not your normal visitors to these little rock pools nestled by the cliffs here in the UK but you just never know they might just live there if you look hard enough.

On a rummage through my cupboards of art supplies and beads I came across this beautiful cabochon by Jenny , one of the members of the team, she had gifted me this piece when I first joined the team.  I love the colours and the swirls, it just reminds me of water and Pisces.  I am a Piscean.  So using it as my muse I painted some goldfish (I am still learning my watercolours but loving the journey, I am finding painting so restful and relaxing... which after years of hating them and being so frustrated by my efforts I am finding using them something of an enigma!  

This finished doodle illustration is not perfect, far from it and the fish are not as whimsy as I imagined nor are they realistic enough to pass scrutiny in the art circle BUT I rather like it!  I love the colours and of course the 'doing' was something that gave me much pleasure.  I stuck this on the front cover of my new sketchbook so I get to touch it and see it every day. 

As with the 'sketchbook' piece I have found I am quite taken with creating mixed media flat illustrative work at the moment.  I like creating levels of depth and combining cut out pieces to give a more 3D but yet still flat look.  The other thing I have found is that when creating a 'full sized' finished piece of work I get easily bored and distracted.  This is quite a revelation for me as I have never really understood or 'been into' mixed media pieces but I have found, I think through creating small glass sculpture animal beads and then dreaming up silly stories for them, that that is my niche.  Small but lots of it!  

I have been reading a lot of fantasy stories on my Kindle - another move from the norm for me.  It wasn't until my ....ahem...  40s ....that I realized I love these stories of magic and folklore, before I read widely but it was biographies and classics like Little Women, Where Angels Fear to Tread as well as more modern works like The Colour Purple,  and the likes of Joanne Harris, Lollipop Shoes and Chocolat.. but I digress...

My latest, reading, passion has been for stories of Selkies and the sea which has set my imagination off for this challenge.  
I wondered what you would see if you gazed into a rock pool and there amongst the star fish and the shells was a Selkie in seal form.....

I used very rough watercolour paper for the 'base' or background, tinted in shades of yellow ochre, light violet for shadows and maybe a touch of grey.  On this I painted star fish, shells, rocks and sea weed as well as the Selkie himself.  I cut these out and arranged them how I wanted using a raised mount to give me depth.  On the mount I put my person looking in and some more shells and rocks.  I wanted to give the illusion of ripples on the water, another level and for this I used some clear film cut into ripply shapes.  I rather like the over all effect and have plans to create more like this.  This way I can indulge in my love of quick, immediate and 'movement' in designs, small pieces and link them all together.

I hope you will hop around the other blogs that took part in this themed challenge and I will try and do the same over the weekend, although as this weekend I will be melting glass in Uttoexter I suspect it will be early next week before I am able to do that.


AE Team Members: