Fantasy trees

A couple of weeks ago I posted this picture on Facebook.  It’s one of my favourite trees catching the warm sunshine: full of twisty arching shapes. At the time my good friend Harry Owen said he could see an artwork coming on …. he was right.

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly

I’ve managed to find some time to work with it and I’m pretty happy with these two images. They’re full of mirroring and overlay and to me they’re fantasy works.  This first one overlays an image of the forest floor to give a warm rich texture.

Äsperöd Mushroom Fantasy

Äsperöd Mushroom Fantasy

The second one rotates the trees and the cross processing of the overlaid images gives some amazing blue and red tints.  There’s a completely different feel to it.

Äsperöd Fantasy

Äsperöd Fantasy

This is still a work in progress and hopefully I’ll be putting up more pictures as my ideas develop.

Portals Exhibition – the catalogue

The cost of framed and print only copies are given below.  All images are available in digital format at R250/image.

Trees (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Äsperöd Gnarly (900 x 754) R2200 framed (sold); R1350 print

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly Creature (900 x 800) R2300 framed; R1350 print

Äsperöd Gnarly Creature

Äsperöd Gnarly Creature

Aurajoki Runic (643 x 900) R1900 framed (sold); R1150 print

Aurajoki Runic

Aurajoki Runic

Baobab Temple (900 x 378) R1550 framed; R1150 print

Baobab Temple

Baobab Temple

Vresbok Archway (1000 x 759) R2300 framed; R1350 print

Vresbok Archway

Vresbok Archway

Vresbok Avenue (900 x 753) R2200 framed; R1350 print

Vresbok Avenue

Vresbok Avenue

Designs (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Alice in Wonderland (1000 x 1182) R3000 framed; R1550 print

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Blue Arabesque (900 x 933) R2450 framed; R1400 print

Blue Arabesque

Blue Arabesque

Blue Portal (900 x 1166) R2800 framed; R1500 print

Blue Portal

Blue Portal

Endless Filigree (1100 x 1200) R2650 framed; R1600 print

Endless Filigree

Endless Filigree

Endless Natalie (850 x 875) R2300 framed; R1350 print

Endless Natalie

Endless Natalie

Vresbok Spiders (1050 x 1200) R3250 framed; R1600 print

Vresbok Spiders

Vresbok Spiders

Eyes (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Ancient Eyes (900 x 428) R1700 framed; R1200 print

Ancient Eyes

Ancient Eyes

Natalie Feral (950 x 698) R2150 framed; R1300 print

Natalie Feral

Natalie Feral

Natalie Metallica (1200 x 800) R2450 framed; R1300 print

Natalie Metallica

Natalie Metallica

Skies, Fjords (costs do not include postage and packaging)

Aloe Skyscape (800 x 680) R2000 framed (sold); R1250 print

Aloe Skyscape

Aloe Skyscape

Lindesnäs Fjordscape (900 x 404) R1650 framed (sold); R1200 print

Lindesnäs Fjordscape

Lindesnäs Fjordscape

Okapuka Sunset (1000 x 997) R2750 framed; R1550 print

Okapuka Sunset

Okapuka Sunset

Stendörren Dreamscape (1350 x 529) R2200 x R1350

Stendörren Dreamscape

Stendörren Dreamscape

Contact me if you want to place an order.

 

 

 

 

Almost there …. National Arts Festival 2016

The pictures are framed, the labeling’s done, digital images uploaded for distribution, picture hooks, string and the rest of the exhibition paraphernalia are all just about ready to go.  So I’m almost there!


I’ll be hanging the pictures on Tuesday 28th, with Harry Owen’s assistance, and the finishing touches should be done on Wednesday.  Thursday 30th we open at the Carinus Annex. See you there!

Arena Exhibition at the Festival Gallery: Stendörren Dreamscape

The National Arts Festival sets up the Arena Exhibition as an opportunity to showcase your artwork.  My problem was which piece to decide on.  I settled on this dreamy looking landscape taken late last September at Stendörren Nature Reserve in Sweden.  It’s looking west into the sun (which all camera makers tell you never to do) reflecting over the sea.

Stendörren Dreamscape

I like the tranquility, the curling clouds and the range of blues which make you wonder is it night or day?

The Arena Exhibition opens on Monday 20th June and will end on the last day of Festival, Sunday 10th July 2016.  It’s held at the Festival Gallery on Somerset Street, Grahamstown.

‘A tree sits like an avatar, an embodiment of the immutable, far beyond the pains of man.’

Nearly all of the Portals exhibition pictures are of trees. So I think a word of two of explanation is needed.

Why trees and what is their significance to me?

The great woodworker George Nakashima says in his book The Soul of a Tree:

‘Then, when I am there, feeling at one with the trees and space around me it’s easy to feel the trees with soul.

A tree sits like an avatar, an embodiment of the immutable, far beyond the pains of man.’

Sometimes, when I am alone with them, I feel the trees with soul.  Some trees speak more clearly than others. When I’m in Western Sweden I’ve discovered that there are a lot of Scots Pine (Tall in Swedish).   They’re special trees that usually hide deep in the forests on small rocky outcrops.  Here are a couple of pictures of one of my favourites sitting ‘like an avatar’ in its own space.

Äsperöd Gnarly Tree (Tall)

Äsperöd Gnarly Trees

I’ve visited this particular tree often in the autumn.  At sunset the light dips across the forest catching the branches in a  kaleidoscope of fractured shards.  Here it’s turned into a dark archway: spanning the forest floor.  Inviting you to stand beneath it.

Äsperöd Sunset Archway

But it’s easiest to photograph it when the sky is overcast or just after the sun has set.  That is when you get the images to help uncover its character.  There’s no sharp contrasts to distract the eye and it becomes a giant being with arms reaching high above you.

Äsperöd: Giant Tree Being

Äsperöd Tree Being: Waiting

Or, and this last picture is my favourite, it’s inviting you to pass between the old exposed tree stumps as it waits – poised, balanced, almost expectant – for you to come before it.

‘Giving a work a name is the start of letting it go, making a space to start again.’

Once I’d decided to have an exhibition I was faced with some really difficult decisions.

What would I call it?

What works would I put in it?

What is it trying to show?

Over the weeks and months I’ve made a lot of progress, and naming things – letting them go, making a space to start again – has been a key part of that.

PortalsFoxProgrammeAd

‘Portals’ took a while to emerge as a title.  ‘Follow your imagination’ appeared whilst rewriting (again and again) my 200 word entry for the Festival programme. The funny thing is that once I had the name and the first descriptions I could move on to design what was going to be in the exhibition.  You would think it would be the other way around.

The quote at the top, incidentally, is from Edmund de Waal’s lovely book The White Road, a Pilgrimage of Sorts. I’ll finish this post with more from the book.

I’ve been using shorthand names in the filenames of the images and, eventually, I’ve realised there’s a structure to them I can use for the exhibition.

‘Symmetry’ in the filename almost always means it is a simple symmetrical image that may well be quite abstract.  RFOX8069 symmetry is pretty unimaginative for a filename but I can tell what camera I took the photo with from the RFOX prefix.

RFOX8069symmetry

RFOX8069symmetry

This is one of my forest images taken at Björkensdal in Sweden. The filename is replete with time and date information but it also says that I flipped the image and that it’s a simple symmetrical design.

Björkensdal PA180110 flip symmetry - 2015-10-18 at 13-56-16

Björkensdal PA180110 flip symmetry – 2015-10-18 at 13-56-16

When I use ‘Pattern’ it shows that the image is still symmetrical but I have repeated the original many times to make a pleasing design.  If the filename also uses the words ‘Archways’ then it means I originally joined the trees to make an arch.

Safari Archways Temple Pattern 50%

Safari Archways Temple Pattern 50%

Recently I’ve realised that it’s also possible to make ‘endless patterns’ by folding over the symmetrical image to make the lines flow and connect sinuously.  I’ve used the curves of Natalie’s arms and legs to do this in NatalieEndless10%coolblue.

NatalieEndless10%coolblue

NatalieEndless10%coolblue

So the exhibition’s going to be structured around symmetry, archways, patterns and endless patterns.

To return to the quote.  I’ve nearly finished reading Edmund de Waal’s The White Road and I have enjoyed it a lot. Near the end he describes how he named a ceramic exhibition and the works in it.

“A title is a letter of promise in a pocket.  Sometimes a title brushes alongside a remembered view or is a conversation overheard, a line from an inventory, a favourite melody, a street.  Sometimes it is a provocation; the claiming of a shared space with someone I care about.  Sometimes it is a stone thrown in the opposite direction to distract attention.  Giving a work a name is the start of letting it go, making a space to start again.”

As soon as I read this I knew exactly what he meant.  I’ve got images called Alice in Wonderland, Baobab Temple and Björkensdal Shields and Spiders. Some titles are places, some are people, some are the journey I was on, some are seemingly random and quirky.  All of them, now they are named and appropriately labelled, are Portals, they are imaginary worlds.