painting black, painting white

1 Aug

WEEK THIRTY (july 25-31)

The continued freshening of the studio, and my creative life, continues.
As I have no ‘wave the magic wand’ abilities I have to knuckle down to a week, at least, of clearing and cleaning and then flinging paint around.

I start in the lobby with charcoal paint – purchased leftovers of the twentyONE+ feature-wall makeover. The colour was picked from my artwork so I figure it will look great in the studio.

black paintOn Tuesday it was off and away with the shelves and on with the painters tape and the drop sheets. By Thursday the tape was off and the shelves back on.
I’m very pleased with the fresh look that now frames my small artworks so nicely.

At the end of the week the studio disruption starts again as I empty a large bank of shelves and spread their contents all over the studio. I also removed the flannelette covering of my design wall.

another set of brushesOn the weekend we had our first all night babysit so we stayed in town.
I lined up the brushes and the roller and continued my mini studio revamp whilst the bloke and Esther played with another set of brushes.

white paintThis time a big tin of white paint was opened and flung – I say this with some truth as I think that I am THE messiest painter. If it I don’t end up with paint on my face and hair I am doing very well. As I write this on Monday morning I am up to the third coat!
White on red is not as easy as charcoal on red.

revamp of the design wall part 1My design wall is about nine years old and it took a battering with the Salvage/Selvedge project. The flannelette is getting thin and the joins of the boards are showing through. I’d prefer not to remake the flannelette covering and so, to avoid that, I have painted the yellow and pock-marked boards underneath. The resurfacing of fresh paint will not only whiten and brighten the surface but also hold the boards fibrous innards in.
I’ll know whether I need to replace the covering in a few days when I attempt a rehang.
My fingers are crossed.

In between this disruption I’m still searching for the elusive perfect hand-stitch/ quiet time/ slow/ night-time project.
To this end I gather all my boxes and jars of feathers – collected and received over the last two years or so and I re-home them into various specific boxes.

feathers-piled up and sortedI want to work with them for many reasons;
1. For the sense of place – many have been collected at our little house or whilst walking locally.
2. These feathers are discarded gems…. they are sometimes beautiful individually but are generally ordinary. On mass though, as a repeat image, they really work for me.
3. Historically masses of feathers have been used by many cultures for cloaks and hangings – Peruvian and Maori works are the starting point for my exploration.
4. The major interest of mine at the moment, art-wise, is still the ‘feathering the nest’ series… so obviously they are a very good fit,
&
Always looking at the past to identify my the source of my interests/obsessions I uncover/remember two links;
1. My dad filled us with the wonder of the wedge tailed eagle. We lived with a beautiful ‘wedge-y’ tail feather, found at our farm, before my memories began, and placed above our ‘fireplace’/ feature oil heater so I could remember the retelling:).
2. I have one of the rare drawings that my mum did….a bird of course.

mum's birdSo what are my plans for the feathers I have, these little gems that anchor me to my past?
….at the moment I cannot get past the entwined visuals of feather cloaks and doileys…..we’ll see….

The progression of stitch and artwork this week was minimal as I was rather paint obsessed.

almost readyI finalised arrangements paint chip feathers in preparation for the framing of two pieces. Just waiting now for the backing frames to be made.

dyeing blackI dyed metres of a bargain fabric bought yonks ago. Black, of course, for more large bed cushions for our little house.

robbie had a little lambI cleaned up and printed a photo of one of my brothers.
The photo was taken on the farm that I have no memory of, Glen Avis, Avenel, Victoria – well actually on the tennis court on the farm.
I feel very safe showing you the image that will be worked on, framed and handed over to Rob on his sixtieth birthday next week.
I doubt that he’ll be reading this:)

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Jan Mullen

B. Ed. Act/Craft (Textiles/ Sculpture)
Living in Perth, Western Australia
Artist, Fabric Designer, Author, Teacher.