This came about from my abstract apartment building work where I concentrated on what links us, rather than the usual thoughts of how unique each of us are (supposed to be). Wherever we live, and in whatever circumstances, we are linked in many ways:
- electrical lines and junction boxes
- telephone lines and satellite
- television, video and social media
- water and sewage systems
- train lines, roads and rivers
- family ties
- similar interests
- groups and organisations
- libraries, restaurants, medical facilities and other places we congregate
- parties, concerts and other entertainment venues
- faith and worship
Many of us live in close intimacy; in apartment blocks or house sharing. Some are in townhouses or semi-detached housing, whilst others reside in stand-alone properties or on larger land parcels. Regardless of which situation you find yourself in, you are still connected to a large number of others in multiple ways.
So my start point for this project has come from my photos of apartments, both finished and under construction.
This is Kingston Wharf in Canberra, a huge development being built and sold in stages. I’ve been visiting this site periodically over recent years watching the buildings going up. Initially this was bare scrubland but, ultimately, there will be thousands of people living cheek by jowl, quite probably without enough parking but plenty of restaurants and an excellent weekend market within walking distance.
An interesting set of pontoons service the area but with severe restrictions on access and what craft are suitable (and allowed) on the lake I see these as somewhat redundant – let’s wait and see.
I started drawing close-up sections of buildings, particularly beams, window edging and roof slates. Then I tried a couple of imaginary windows (drawing on a train trip again).
The left hand foamex board is very similar to one of the drawings but the other strayed. Using ultra-thick Lutradur as a base I drew my design but once I had needle and thread in hand the lines appeared wherever they felt like. You can see my neatly drawn plan and then the random stitched lines. It had all become a little organised, contrived and literal so I let it evolve in a more random way. It’ll be interesting to see how they print.
I stumbled across an interesting designer called Vs1489 on Dreamstime and instantly felt a connection to my theme and my personality. The designs are neat, organised, precise, uncluttered and often repetitive. In addition they are multilayered, often with a depth of perspective and always with well-integrated colour schemes.
I tried looking at the idea of distance and combined shapes.
Using blue painters tape I isolated areas and flood-filled them with colour. Being a boiling hot day was an advantage as they dried quickly and I could continue to layer and overlap them without bleeding. The overlapping and resulting colours is very satisfying, but here and there I can see that the tape wasn’t firmly adhered and the paint bled through giving a rougher edge to the shapes. No design work here, just a play with technique.
I drew up a rough design and changed products to Brusho paints and Scotch removable tape.
The removable tape simply didn’t have enough ‘stick’ and being translucent I couldn’t see exactly where I had placed it either! That product has been abandoned for this project. The Brusho paints have a wonderful colour range but the application isn’t as smooth as the water-colours. I don’t think there is much between them but I found the water-colours covered more evenly.
The paper is Arches 300gsm medium texture 100% cotton water-colour paper, which is lovely to work with. The pen marks are made with a permanent pigment pen but it has ‘jumped’ slightly over the textural surface. Trials with a gel pen have shown me that this might be a better way to go.
I’m now looking at improving the design, adding stitching and further layers of image.
Note: In a recent workshop (which I’ve not written up) an interesting comment was made by the tutor: Often, the first concepts you come up with are very literal but as you continue to experiment and make trials these evolve into more abstract, interesting outcomes, usually with more freedom to them. I can see that happening with this current piece of mine and I’m enjoying the experience.