Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Burnt Orange and Hairy Beasts...


As I still haven't liquidated my stock of beads, I thought I'd make another hanging, but this time use different shades of orange. I always think of orange as a colour that I don't immediately like, but in fact I've realised that I do.  Once it leaves the brash, bright tones, and goes closer to the earth colours or is placed next to contrasting colours, it is beautiful. So I've been busy painting the wooden beads to get the shades that I want. This, of course, with a little help from at least one of my resident hairy helpers - the cats.


As it always the case I think, once you're working on something, anything in fact, you start to notice similar things. I came across these fine beasts yesterday, though they're more of a russet colour than orange...


They appeared to be totally unfazed by human presence, and utterly uninterested. Nevertheless, the large, very imposing male looked as if he'd take no 'bull....' from anybody or anything.


I certainly wasn't inclined to climb over the fence to get any close-ups, however tempting that seemed.


Well, back to the beads.


Work in progress...


Although I really have thought nothing could possibly ever incite me to truly appreciate yellow, I did see this lichen on branches, so who knows...


Monday, February 9, 2015

Amazing Mazes of the Labyrinth Master...


Well, I wrote a post a few years ago, about labyrinths and mentioned my son's art, wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how he could develop these. That resulted in the Resounding Sound of Silence... Nothing new there, then!


However, as I told him at the time, and have ever since, that silence shouldn't silence you or stop you listening to the voice of creativity - or whatever you want to call it.


So here are a few more of his Amazing Mazes. These are usually created with pencil (and remarkably few erasers) but are always fully 'functional', with a genuine beginning and end that simply have to be linked up!

There are a few others, like the first one here, that are computer-generated or part of the gaming world (Hello Minecraft...). I think my favourites are the pen-and-pencil ones; these often shrink to miniscule proportions. They are carried out in stages...


First section...


Second section...


Third...


In the final version, you can make out the intricate lines and forms that all 'work', leading you around and around a labyrinth of forms from A to B, quite literally...


He usually incorporates names into his designs....


And has often created these for friends....but now would be happy to carry out any commissions...



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yet another...Walk in the Winter Woods.



It was a bright day yesterday, as the temperature fell below zero, and so with the skies blue, air freezing and the (previously very muddy) tracks crisp and crunchy with ice underfoot I went to the woods.


I love the effects of the light streaming through the winter branches, and reflecting off the frozen water.


This gathers in all the pock-marks, puddles and pools that still remain from the mortars of the wartime years.


The ice seemed to have swirled around the trunks, shrivelled shoots and roots or the trees had simply risen up out of the water...


The water looked mysteriously milky in some parts and plain murky elsewhere...


Especially with the sunlight gleaming over the surface... And of course the sun brought out whatever colour was to be found...


Some of these were left over from the autumn...


And others were just evergreen...


With strange husky forms suspended alongside intricately veined leaves...


And never far from any of these, man-made traces - frozen tyre-tracks in this case on the path back home...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wooden Bead Fest/Feast...

I've finally finished my wooden-bead wall hanging, destined to hide the central heating pipes in the corner of the room, or or at least draw attention away from them. Well, that's the theory anyway... Here it is (above) on the radiator, and draped over my wooden screen (below), before being hung up in its rightful place...
As some of the beads are quite large, and the finished item is rather long, the final wall hanging is fairly heavy. It was like suspending a weighty python, ready to come crashing down so I do hope it won't fall off the curtain rail as the cats' chairs are positioned just below!
Initially, the idea was also to use up some of the huge stock of beads that I've accumulated over the years, but this latest project doesn't seem to have had much of an impact on those reserves. In fact, it made me realise that I'd like to make yet another...
Here it is again, next to an orange/blue hanging I made several years ago... I originally got the idea of painting up wood following a trip to Marrakesh, where all types of antique beads were sold, but at a high price (in spite of my attempts at haggling!). So I decided that I'd make my own and try to 'age' them, or give them a bit of character one way or another...
Well, these are the wooden beads, I haven't even mentioned the impressive stash of glass ones that I have hoarded away under the bed, or what I've been doing with those recently... Bead fest/bead feast!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Webs of Frost...


I never encounter spiders anymore - I used to love seeing their webs that always become so visible in the morning dew in early autumn.


Seeing a beautiful collection of frosted webs in the bright light of a freezing Monday morning was magical, and extended the holiday atmosphere a bit longer - quite a feat as I was going back to work, and dreading it!


I don't know if these are actually old cobwebs, or recent ones, but the weight of the ice will eventually cause them to disintegrate, I imagine. The soggy, tatty old-man's beard took on another aspect too - all crisp and elegant. Leaves were beaded with frost...


Whilst the stark, frosted branches brought out the various colours of berries, hips and leaves even more dramatically...


Or just seemed to outline the delicate, skeletal structure beneath...


The carpet of leaves was bordered with tiny icy fringes...


But I couldn't keep my eyes off those webs - I'd love to see them when the ice melts and leaves all those droplets...


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jewels in an Urban Landscape...







Over the past few years, I've repeatedly gone past a patch of derelict land that hasn't changed in all that time. The indescript rubble offers no real indication to what stood there before the demolition and there is nothing to catch the eye or imagination...








However, lying in the debris was a single tile from the building that had occupied the space, some time ago. The bright blue-grey pattern drew my attention, all the more so since it was the only thing there that seemed to have a story to tell. Once part of the standard cement-tile flooring in the corridor, or kitchen, a common feature in French homes from the end of the 19th century, this solitary survivor had, in theory, endured the two World Wars. It was still miraculously in one piece following the work of the wrecking ball, yet also frustratingly beyond reach, behind the fencing that offers no access point, even to the most determined thieving magpie.






Nevertheless, repeatedly I had said to myself that I had to find a means of retrieving this modest urban jewel, but somehow never did. Having seen that it had finally been broken, and its two parts separated still made me swear that I would rescue it from weed-ridden anonymity one day. I never did get round to doing so, but last night I decided that today would be The Day. Armed with an elongated metal coat-hanger (stuck onto a long wooden spoon), acting as an effective hook, I finally clawed out the tile parts... The tile has now joined other orphaned jetsam and flotsam that I took in from different parts of the town. All remind me how little we seem to appreciate traces of our history that are just ripped up and out, or simply cemented over and replaced by a mass that has little to say, bears no craftsmanship and gradually deteriorates into an oblivion of ugliness...


Well, the modern and ephermeral can indeed produce works that have a blindingly beautiful quality, like some incredible insect that will only last a few fleeting days. The grey trudge to an incredibly ugly part of town here is always rewarded and illuminated by the urban art on the walls of the car park.


I thought that once having created these, they would be in place for some time, but in fact, no...


 Some of these have changed over the past month, which is amazing in view of the time and money involved (all those spray cans!!).


Not only that, but I don't know when these are created since the car park is open to the public from early morning till evening...


I don't know how the artists design these, or carry them out on such a scale...


But I really think they're stunning...


Even the less vivid are just great...


And all are sunshine on concrete...


As part of my take on the new year, I promised myself to look for the colours that make up grey, wherever it may be or whatever form it takes in the urban landscape.