Photo 1 Shows the inspiration and my initial drawings of details. These are two woven bags from Mexico that are in the National Museum of the American Indian which you can see here and here. (incidentally, I have collected images used for research on this Pinterest board; clicking on one takes you to the source site).
I chose these two because I liked the geometric designs and the way they play with positive/negative shapes (which colour is the background do you think?). I have a confession – I didn’t even notice the bird motif on the bag on the right until after I had copied the dark shapes, then my eyes did a flip and it appeared. I was rather taken by him so he has taken over this chapter. All the work below is on A4 sheets.
I cut a simple stencil and painted with brown acrylic and cinnamon, each mixed with egg yolk.
Same again but using the piece cut from the stencil to print with.
Photos 4 and 5
The ‘key’ design from the other bag. On the left white pen, on the right acrylic and cinnamon.
My next step was to scan in these drawings and the surfaces made in chapter 3, and to play in Paint Shop Pro. The first few images experimented with superimposing the bird motif onto the keys and changing the sizes. As the bird drawing is white on black, this is very easy to do using layers and setting the blend mode to screen.
Photo 7 This time slightly reducing the opacity of the bird layer and changing the blend mode to exclusion gives a more interesting colour scheme (which ties in with the colours from the chapter 1 study).
Photo 8 It is surprising how different the motif looks with colours reversed – to do with the eye I think.
Photo 9 Alternative colour scheme.
Photo 10 Pen drawing of key design repeated and laid over scanned paper.
Photo 11 Combining repeated bird motif with a different scanned paper using layers as before.
Photo 12 Another variation.
Photo 13 Detail of initial drawing of negative space with colours inverted.
The following three images are variations of this laid over one of the dyed backgrounds.
Photo 15 The motifs have been arranged on two layers and the blend modes and opacity adjusted to achieve the colour effect.
Photo 16 Another variation.
Photo 17 Including stitch – the photograph does not show all the detail very well. The background is a crumpled and coloured magazine page placed on top of a brown envelope and sprayed with paint in several colours. I laid more some of the scrumpled printed pages from chapter 2 on top and machine stitched lines of key patterns, then tore away most of the paper around the stitching and rubbed with a white Markal stick. The bird motif was made in a similar way using one of the waxed and coloured papers.
Finally, some thoughts about using the influence of the art studied for chapter 1. I have been trying to verbalise the essence of the style so that I can use the concepts and this is the list I have come up with to take forward and use with my theme.
- Two dimensional flattened images.
- Grid layout.
- Restricted palette.
- Language of personally meaningful symbols which may carry hidden stories.
- Use of a limited number of shapes bounded by solid lines to create an 'alphabet' which can then be manipulated.
- Deconstructed images
- Multiple viewpoints.