White Branch

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A white branch for December! Even though we hardly ever get snow down here, I still can’t help but imagine it. It’s been ages since I’ve sat and worked on things like this, so I’m feeling a little rusty..! This is one of about 7 versions that I’m toying with.

This branch has last year and next in its branch and seeds, so it seemed right for now!

Wishing you warmth, friendship and love, through December and on.

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Dream Fishing

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Sleep just didn’t want to happen in this wild and windy night tonight, so I distracted myself and made this collage.

Layer upon layer of golden fossilised fish..

(this is taken from a scan of a Mene rhombeus, which, according to Bristol University (take a look at their brilliant cabinet of curiosities), is a beautifully-preserved fossil fish from the famous Monte Bolca (or Pesciara) site, in Verona, Italy, from some 50 million years ago!)

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Collaborations

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This past two weeks, I was excited to collaborate with the fantastic visual artist, Elena Caravela. Both of us exchanged work, for the other to add to and manipulate, creating something new.

Part 1: Adolescence and Thorn.

A few of Elena’s Bird-Children figures flew from her hands to mine..

In this piece I have combined Elena’s wonderful watercolour figure and birds from her Adolescence work, with photographic work from my Threads photographs. On viewing the bird’s inquisitive beaks, these thorns came immediately to mind. There is a huge sense of both vulnerability and defiant strength that sings out from the figure, which I have tried to engage with. Here we have caught her at a defining moment, in which anything may turn..

It was a great learning experience for me to work in this way! Travel over to Elena’s blog to see the work that she has undertaken in this project!

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© C.E. Rennie/Elena Caravela, 2013

Picture of a Girl

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An image and a song, both of the same title, with slightly different interpretations. I feel like there’s something hopeful about this collage, made from a collection of old photographs..there’s something in there of my feelings, my impressions of the world when I was small – vast, vulnerable, unknowable and yet accepted, going with what odd things come, the sense of wide possibility and somehow always believing in the goodness of things…( I’m not explaining this very well…these things don’t have words, they are felt I think)

Not many have heard this song – it’s yet to make it onto any recording as it just doesn’t quite get on with my others (it’s sniffy like that). Hope you like it!

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p.s. if you like my music, you can hear more of it here.

Have a great weekend!
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Untitled.

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One more piece that I have been working on.

I have made collages since I was first making artwork – I began with magazine papers and other found materials, but over the years I think I’ve used just about everything in a collage at some point; dried beans, bike chains, coffee granules, sandpaper and mud! Now, I often combine digital imagery with the handmade. Really, I’d like to try and make as much of the work off screen as I can, and am trying to make sure that my photographs are made as much in camera as possible..this one required a fair amount of computer work to assemble however..

This is made from film photographs, scanned illustrations, and found digital images.The black and white photograph was taken years ago, during my first film experiments.

I am endlessly intrigued by layers, lights and colour combinations..here I’ve tried all three at once…

I don’t like calling work “Untitled” but nothing is springing to mind..so for now it is this..recently I seem to have lost all capacity for words..

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Winter Weather Work

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One dubious benefit about having a rubbish Summer weather wise is that I do more work!

I’ve been working on layered and digitally collaged images again over the past few months.

This is made almost entirely of photographs, some from my earlier work with shadows, some from photographs taken throughout the year.

I am pleased with how it looks somehow like a painting. Sadly I am terrible at painting, this is the closest I will ever get, painting with light and capture..

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Apart

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Well, the rain has been bucketing down all this week, so I am back working indoors again..

This is a collage of a self portrait taken when I was 18. I went everywhere with my camera then, and vividly remember taking the original picture to this, on black and white film, in a park, on a timer, balanced on something..

I found this image quite interesting to work with, for many reasons.

At first I started with the original black and white photograph, hung it on a wall, and photographed it at night with a yellow electric light, creating a slightly blurred and coloured effect:

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I wasn’t sure if I liked the blur at first, but I warmed to it. I think that it adds to the feeling of age and distance that I was hoping for, and I like that the blur is mainly contained to the back..

To me, this image, alone, the subject staring into nothing, has a totally different impact to the final work. The expression to me seems very lonely, inward, and somehow more bleak..maybe this is just my personal reaction as it is a photograph of myself, so it’s hard to separate enough to view it without my attached memories and emotions.

The stretched ear somehow becomes more apparent to me in this singular image, almost as a central focal point, although I am also drawn to the eyes..

I decided to arrange this image to work as two facing ones, and so blended them together, keeping a hint of the separation in the centre, with a sharp open line.

(Click to enlarge)

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 I find it really interesting how much the energy in the picture changes when the images are facing each other. Viewed together, I find that the expression becomes somehow defiant, assertive..though there is a sense of kindness too..are these two faces fighting each other or supporting each other? Are they identical? Do they have separate characters? Do they hold onto each other or are they pulling apart? Sometimes I see one as more dominant than the other. I have lots of questions, and my answers keep changing.

Having a point of focus, you can see the expression somehow more as something directed outwards, it more easily seems to reflect the subjects outlook on the world, there is a new tension there, it seems a less inward gaze..although having identical images also isolates..they are wrapped up in themselves. Another image also appears in the centre to me..can you see it too?

As I said, I feel differently about these every time I look at them. Writing now, the two figures represent to me the feeling of two inner worlds and conflicts –  of somehow separating from yourself and becoming something else, and how different that feels, and yet still being one body..To me there is also a sense of disconnection to the world, of holding on, of self reliance, somehow revealed in these blank expressions..or maybe these are just my emotional and personal responses..?

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I Hold On To You – Collage work.

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Taking part in my postcard exchange with Stephen MacInnis the other week really reminded me how much I love to make work by hand, away from a screen. There are many things that I enjoy about working digitally – lack of mess, and the ability to undo mistakes are two big bonuses! But there is something so real and immediate about working with your hands, and I am always very happy to be drawn back.

I was lucky enough to be given a whole collection of books recently that belonged to my Gran and Grandad. Some feel special, and nice to remember, and I have kept them safely. Others are old and disintegrated and not really of use now as actual books, but I really wanted to do something with them. I felt that the elements of them would work fantastically in collage work. The print for a start is so beautiful, and the pages have aged in a wonderful way that imbues something earthy and real to the printed words. I love the connection to their owners that I feel with these books too, it makes me want to slow down and make something carefully that honours them as precious possessions.

As always, scanning these takes something away from them,  but I thought I’d show you something of the work I am making. Here is one that I finished today..

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