Archives for posts with tag: canvas

IMG_5665I love these layered stages. Although the drying in between each layer can sometimes take an age, the pieces undergo changes very, very quickly and it is really satisfying. Layers of colour that were bright and vibrant a moment before can become muted and then calm. Colours that sat quite comfortably next to one another can suddenly become more intense due to the colour splashed next to it. Things can change so quickly in a moment.

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I love my work at the very beginning because it bears absolutely no resemblance to how it will look at the end! The colours are random, the texture starts as being readable and, with the layering, becomes less and less so as the letters overlap and blur into one another. The frustration though is the waiting… waiting for the paint to dry before I can do the next layer. Today they are taking a long time to dry so I’ve only got two layers on the big canvas which is annoying. Saying that I’ve baked some Kladdkaka, which is much nicer than it sounds (a Swedish sticky chocolate cake, not unlike Chocolate Brownies) posted on Facebook and now on here, done some shopping and dyed my hair to cover to grey! There’s nothing like multi-tasking!!! Might take the pieces outside now the sun is out. It’s just so lovely when the sun is out. A mug of tea sitting outside with a chunk of Kladdkaka…. what’s not to like!

Anna Crook-stepping out i ii iii

Just got back from the wonderful emporium gallery in Lichfield (http://www.emporium-gallery.co.uk) after dropping off these three pieces. It was a bit of a wrench, I suppose because they are so close to my heart. It’s funny how some paintings do that to me; it’s like I’m leaving part of myself there, which I suppose I am really. I want to know where they’ll end up, that they’ll be looked after and achieve what I pray they will. Even sitting in the gallery my hope is that they will affirm and encourage. They have to me.

Anna Crook-close up beautiful and brave

They’re about taking that first step; stepping into life, and although sometimes it feels like stepping off a cliff, once the step is made we can soar.

The stitching is like a ladder vertically through the canvas, and for me ladders symbolise journeys whether psychological or physical. The stitching also naturally splits the canvas and this gave me the opportunity to make one side dark and womb like, the other more like sky. I think when the act of stepping out occurs it can initially be like stepping into nothing, into wide open space. Darkness ironically seems more supportive and solid… maybe therein lies the problem. The texture in the background is built up through painted words, words that are about courage and being brave, making that first step. These words are then scratched into the surface of the paint, transferred and written on. I used pencil for I feel the moment is not indelible but could disappear if not taken or seized. The top and sides of the paintings are brushed red. This is a reference to the last of the ten plagues in Exodus before the Israelites are freed from their captivity. The Israelites painted their door frames with lamb’s blood. “When I see the blood I will pass over you” and the plague did not touch them but instead paved the way to freedom.

Anna Crook-close up step out

The thing is, the place we’re stepping from can be like a warm safe place, womb like almost in its comfort and safety but restrictive and limiting all the same – it can be all we know. We can be stuck by circumstance, through illness, through words spoken without thought. Taking that step needs encouragement, demands courage and requires self-belief, all of which may be lacking when we’ve been too comfortable or stuck. I wanted these pieces to be a daily reminder that it can be done, that change can be better, that stepping out can enable us to soar once again.

 

 

just flicked through my posts and I posted pictures of these a year ago…. I knew then they weren’t complete, even with the red on the sides. love that a year later their perfect timing has helped me where I am now 🙂

anna-crook-stitched-canvas-iiI am revisiting a body of work I completed in 2014 I think (really… was it that long ago!?!) in which I used the coast line of the Lake of Galilee to form the compositions of a series of pieces. I was speaking to a Mr. Jeremy Bournon, an artist I hold in high esteem, and we were talking about potentially having a joint exhibition come January 2018. He’d looked through my past work and liked the idea of approaching a coast from above rather than from the traditional viewpoint, so here I am thinking again.

This work for me held a conceptual meaning as well. I was considering how we often pick at ourselves in an “I’m not good enough” way, focusing on our faults and failings rather than seeing ourselves as a whole. We pick and pick at ourselves until we can become undone. And yet it is often these things, once overcome, that shape us into the people we are. They can define us in a different way. The coastline is textured through using stitching and yet the perspective is from above, removing the focus from the small stitches to the bigger picture.

20160819_134319This summer we went to Malaysia and there I seemed to find myself. For me it was such a real and raw place, everything uncovered and lain bare. You wanted a fish, it was gutted in front of you. You want something mending and the equipment used was there for all to see rather than hidden in some back room. And in contrast I felt I was all hidden away, false almost. During the holiday I felt these pretences falling away and in some respects I discovered my value again. This is something I want to express through the artwork to come.

The coastline of Penang and Malaysia will be my composition but now I’m trying to work out how to create the texture so it is both aesthetically pleasing and significant to me in a symbolic way.

20160825_092123One thing that really appealed to me was the walls. They are broken and yet beautiful. They are the  background to some of the most stunning street art on the island, artist Ernest Zacharevic transforming these walls through hand painted murals. I like the idea that part of my work could be broken and yet held together and still beautiful. Time to experiment in the shed.

 

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Looking back over my artwork I have noticed that I often use material or stitching within the composition, making or stitching together material scraps and paper to form my own material like the piece above, or using important or significant material within the work, like in the piece below which incorporates pieces of my wedding dress material alongside the Terry’s nappies that my Mum placed me in and kept from when I was a baby. I think sometimes you don’t realise a theme in your work unless you revisit and look again at the work created.

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I was startled to see how often I use material. Each time the reason for use is different and significant. Recently ideas for artwork have started to form around the use of filthy rags.

The Japanese word ‘boro’ means tattered rags, clothes that have been patched and repatched. It is linked with severe poverty and yet the current fashion ironically incorporates a similar method.

4,000 unwanted babies were left at Foundling Hospital between 1741 and 1760. The mother would often leave a piece of material cut from the clothing she was wearing to serve as a form of identity if she ever wanted to reclaim the child and this material was kept with the hospital’s paperwork for the child.

The sense of identity wrapped up in the clothes we wear or keep for sentimental reasons.

All of these thoughts are linked and yet very separate. No idea where this will lead but ideas are starting to form.

Images below are of past work incorporating material spanning work from 1999 through to last year.

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and it makes no sense at all. I cannot visualise the artwork that is to come but i’m seriously excited. been reflecting a lot over the last few weeks and tomorrow is a day of action.

now, my hope is this – that tomorrow, when I drop the kids off and I grab a mug of tea and walk down the garden to my shed, I don’t get distracted by the dust gathering on shelves and the hoovering that needs doing and the dishwasher that will inevitably need unloading and the bulb that needs changing and the clothes that need sorting and the wall that needs painting and all those thousands of excuses and ‘but….’s, BUT that I stride past them all and keep walking to that incredible space that God has so generously provided for me and that I am obedient.

 

Today is a good day. It is a free day, a long day and today I am focused. I started these pieces for New Wine and was only able to get two layers on them previous to today because the weather was so damp the paint refused to dry!! But today it is warmer and I have a wonderful 6 hours still ahead of me. These pieces are created through layers and layers of painted words being painted one on top of the other, the paint being watered down in some cases and left in others. The surface builds and builds and as they do i am just soaking in the words of truth. Quoting Meg Ryan from the film French Kiss, i “feel all pruney!” Love it!! The pieces change so quickly and often I lose them part way through and then find them again later on, but the layering of words of truth is just such a wonderful way to paint and create a textured background.

Some of the pieces were originally failed paintings that I am painting over, and that in itself is interesting as the texture of the painting below is still fighting against the new letters. I find this fascinating. Exactly like me. Recently I’ve been fighting against tiredness that has come out of nowhere and with no real origin…. unfortunately it’s not the result of late nights of wild living, and a real lack of conviction, which is ironic really as I feel a strong sense of direction at the moment. Who knows what’s going on in my mind. But today is good.  Today it is going well. Today I feel I am getting somewhere and so I will take this day and embrace it.

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It’s a most peculiar thing. For a long time I have had a drought creatively but something over the last two weeks is slowly being released. Been looking at the theme ‘Shadow’ for the up coming Lichfield Prize associated with Emporium, Lichfield. I’ve taken the theme literally for both pieces with an additional twist. For my own I’ve tried to explore the two sidedness to my personality: the hiding, dark negative thoughts, withdrawn and often haphazard side contrasted to the much more presentable and confident positive side, the shadow of the darker one always present but often subdued or pushed back by the positive one. Weirdly, part way through this piece I couldn’t get the lip colour correct and this coincided with a random nose bleed….. the exact colour I needed!!

The second piece is of my Nana and will be much more realistic, a pencil drawing on crumpled paper. The thought behind this one is to explore the growing truth that as one becomes older, one can seem to become a shadow of our former selves and yet all that we are is still present and tangeable to those who know and love us. The scariest thing about this piece is that after sketching in the initial outline to ensure composition and accuracy of feature placement it looked a lot like me, which I suppose is predictable but startling all the same.

Enjoying the sunshine and the shed and the pigeons landing and hopping across the roof as I come to terms with my own mortality and try to embrace the whole of my personality.

I submitted the small canvases yesterday for the Shrugborough Hall exhibition which starts on Tuesday. Was really pleased with them but something was missing. They didn’t resonate and I found that frustrating. Then something came to me I was thinking about recently and that was to paint blood red on the top and sides of the canvas. The Passover is celebrated just before Easter and it was for the Israelites to remember their deliverance from the Egyptians recorded in Exodus 12 and 13 of The Bible. “When God sees the blood on the lintel and two door posts, God will pass over the doorway, He won’t let the destroyer enter your house to strike you down with ruin.” This powerful image of saving blood, the Old Testament sacrifice of the lamb, is replaced by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus crucified, but the image of the lintel and door posts being smeared with blood holds power for me. So I painted the sides and top of the canvases with red and this completed the image for me. I think I will use this again in my art work.

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It was a little peculiar leaving the canvases in the dropping off room. I think Greg thought I was a little spaced out because I just hovered for a while. Very strange. Deadlines are such a help to me but to complete the pieces and then to have to relinquish them so quickly was quite peculiar, didn’t quite like it. I didn’t even enter the room with confidence, apologetically almost. I unwrapped them and placed them on the floor ready for him to sort and then waited for nothing in particular, not really even speaking, which I must be careful of!! It’s a strange thing. You make something and live with them sometimes for months, even years, and then you let them go and the next time you see them they are on a wall, in different light, almost not yours any more. It’s a peculiar type of grieving.

This morning I was excited as I was meant to be meeting up with my lovely friend F but we awoke to little one with a high temperature, cough and general restlessness so plans are shelved. But as she rests and loses herself in Narnia I can catch moments to paint.