Sunday, October 25, 2015

Re-visiting a-new

I have mentioned before that I think of living as a kind of spiral: as we move forward we retain a view of what we have experienced previously, but from an ever changing perspective - an accumulative perspective.  Yesterday I revisited the subject of a philosophy which consumed my thoughts when I was a teenager: existentialism.  In one sitting I read the catalogue from a current exhibition of portraits by Alberto Giacometti. Giacometti: Pure Presence - it is a beautifully elegant book, and I very much enjoyed the close examination of the reproductions of Giacometti's protraits, and being taken back to my days immersed in Sartre's Being and Nothingness.
That rekindled intellectual excitement was fed into a revisiting of elements of previous work to help push forward a visual idea I've been turning over recently.  It all started with my attraction to the hooded crows on Skye last month.  I wanted to use one somehow, and vocalising - I love the sound of them (listen to them on the link!).   I was also thinking about how we humans interact with nature.  And I wanted somehow to combine the idea of indoors with outdoors. The title of my idea is Opening a dialogue.  Titles are important to me - they help to pin down a particular from all the various possibilities constantly floating about in my brain, and for me the verbal expression somehow helps to conjure the visual. 
My focus diverted first to catching up with the limbo pieces shown in my last post, and then the palate-cleansing excitement of yesterday's thought-provoking read, returned me to a state of readiness to tackle the exercise.  I think I am most of the way there.
This is the rough drawing created in response to the title Opening a dialogue.
For a background I was inspired by the idea of wallpaper.  I absolutely hate the fashion for huge plants repeated all over the wall, but I thought that something similar could work here.  Years ago I had designed a machine knitting pattern which I now made into a repeat.
I traced it roughly with two main flat colours
and then used one of my stash of pastel drawings to add randomness and to knock it all back a bit.
Stitching will knock it back even further eventually.
In any case the figures I believe are sufficiently strong not to be overwhelmed by their 'wallpaper'.  Now, satisfied with progress so far, although it needs quite a bit of detailed work to finish it, it goes into 'back burner' mode when I forget about it for a wee while, then see how I react when I look at it again with a fresh eye and a mind detached from the obsessive state it has to be in to put the thing together in the first place.


  1. I love how you have pulled together all your influences and ideas to create this image, and how you are able to verbalize it for your readers. Best of luck and enjoyment in the stitching!

    By the way, I love Giacometti's work, both sculptures and paintings, and was thrilled many years ago to see some of it in person in Italy and Germany.

  2. Thank you for your comments on my work, Marja-Leena.

    Giacometti is a favourite of mine. I have been lucky enough to see many examples in various places in Europe over the years. Somehow, however, I never got round to finding out much about him until I saw this catalogue. It came at just the right time for me - it's strange how that sometimes happens.

  3. Wonderful final image, but I also like the black and white one - the rough drawing.

  4. Thank you, Eirene. I think that the b/w could well become the basis for a lino cut, no matter what eventually happens to the more elaborate design.