New explorations

Hello, on a sunny day in Yorkshire. And thank goodness, after all the horrendous storms of the last couple of weeks. It’s particularly bad when you live on a high, exposed area and we lost a small plastic greenhouse to the wind – searched everywhere and no idea where that got to!

During January, I signed up for Louise Fletcher’s membership group. Louise is a well-known abstract painter from this part of the world and co-presenter of the Art Juice podcast. I’m starting to explore this side of things at long last, so it’s a new learning curve for me but one I’m enjoying. There’s so much content in the group hub and I intend to treat myself to her course in the summer.

I’ve been hoovering up a lot about design and the elements that consideration, as well as learning to play, especially in the early stages of painting. I’m a layers girl, and I recognise I’m happiest when adding some collage and small bits of text etc.

I’m also wanting to take this direction into a textile so I’m working on that in parallel. It’s very early days; I’m holding things lightly and if they don’t work, they will get chopped up or re-worked.

I have, however, produced a couple of things I’m happy with. I’m just holding the idea of stone and stone walls in my head as I work and explore one particular colour palette for now, that way I can dig a bit deeper.

Working abstractly is both a delightful freedom and a tricky business! Liking what you create and owning that is one side, and on the other are the questions around design principles and developing those skills.

‘Stay Close’ 10×10 mixed acrylic and mixed media on cradled panel
‘Wonderwall’ 10×10 mixed acrylic and mixed media on cradled panel

I also created a set of tiny 4x4s. These arrived after chopping up two larger practice pieces that were not working. I knew I needed to get some bolder shapes and contrasts in and I used collage to do this, as I could move elements around and audition them in various ways.


Part of these explorations has been to make a lot of papers for collaging. I have a swanky set of IKEA paper drawers now and have re-arranged all my papers so I can get to them. I love working on thin wet-strength tissues of various kinds. Some of the excess papers I made for the little houses get included in the paintings, esp any of my own scribble writing. I also have some favourite things to stencil with. This is a a favourite effect from a non woven product I think might be used in floristry…

And a messy desk full of papers!

I’m just having a play with some fabric and constructing ‘paper cloth’. The base is muslin which gives it strength and papers and yarns are layered and trapped on top. A first layer of paint and ink is applied wet then left to dry so it can be build on and finally stitched into. Really not sure how this will work out but the potential is there for the piece of work I have in mind. This piece has been floating around in my head for years and I want to get it out. It’s had more sampling and potential formats than I can remember but I’m sensing this is getting closer – I hope to show you some results soon.

If you are coming to the NEC in March, I’d love to see you for a chat at my stand. You can sign up for a workshop at the end of Thursday, Friday or Saturday, too.

And finally, I am being featured in April’s edition of The Digital Cloth, so more details and a link to the magazine in due course. 🙂