Tag Archives: photograph

50 Collages Before Christmas – an update

Collage by David Smith

“Making Up For Lost Time”
Collage: paper and photographic elements on card

I have been merrily working away at this project in a measured kind of way. It has been interesting to work with collage in a much bigger way than I have ever done before with some at A1 and one almost A0, though most are around the 50cm x 50cm mark. I have found that some have taken much more time than I ever could have imagined – just physically gluing and trimming takes proportionately longer to ensure everything is just right.

The reason I chose to do the project was to give me a focus. Having been out of the studio for a while I was stacked up with ideas and didn’t want to be flip-flopping about. Well that didn’t work: the project is spawning more ideas than ever and it’s difficult to focus on any of it.

However, I am happy with the direction things are going and I have quite a few pieces on the go and working well (plus a few that don’t want to go the way I hoped!) I have been blogging about the process on a-n so you can read more about it there. Below are some of the collages to date. I’ll create a page with all of them when the project is complete.

50 collages before Christmas

Abstract collage by David Smith

“From Under Your Nose”
Paper, acrylic and discarded photograph on gessoed canvas 50cm x 50cm

I’ve gone and done it again! A few years back I did a collage a day for a year – #Collage365. Then I did another every-day-for-a-year project – #Letter365. Only this time I have been a bit less demanding of myself. I think there are 63 days left till Christmas and I started the project 4 or 5 days ago. I know I am going to be away and busy for some of the time so I didn’t want to give myself any pressure. I also wanted to be able to do larger, more considered work rather than the very focussed work that the previous projects demanded. The idea came from my frustration of not being able to get the studio time I have been wanting. Necessary work on my studio roof and other calls on my time have meant I have not been able to engage in the concentrated work I need to be doing. I have sort of promised myself a “residency-at-home” for six months, following the idea of a “staycation”, where I can have an immersive experience in my studio and home landscape (mostly) and this project is how I have decided to kick it off.

Collage has started to creep into my work again – in the “Rings” series and the “Abstract Drawings for Dummies”, the first two of which are also the first two of #Collage50. When I was starting to put my studio back together after the work, I got out one of my large boxes of collage materials and just started working on things. I’ll have to find a way to get my studio organised round the things I am doing! Currently the floor and some work surfaces are covered with newly painted and marked paper I am preparing for use in collages!

The piece above, From Under Your Nose is Number 4 in the series. The photographs are discarded prints by Bridport photographer Brendon Buesnel that he gifted me as collage materials a couple of years ago. The piece below is Number 3, In The Room With No Soul. It features a photograph I took inside Bruce Bruce Nauman’s Room with My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care which I saw at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. A small piece of one of these photos has already appeared in #Collage50 and I can see it could be a theme that develops. Well, it’s a grid isn’t it!

Abstact collage by David Smith

“In The Room With No Soul”
Card and photograph on gessoed canvas 50cm x 50cm

I will set up a separate page for the project in due course and try to get half-decent pictures of them all to make into a gallery slide show.

A collage scrap from my studio pinboard

A collage scrap from the studio pinboard

A collage scrap from the studio pinboard

I really got caught by the colour of the Khadi paper and the photo of rotting plywood and it has been hanging on the studio wall for a while to see what it causes in me over time. It might need to go back up for a while longer – I’m just to busy with Dorset Art Weeks to give it time right now. It was today’s #arteachday post on Twitter.

I changed the subject

Abraded paintwork on dinghy hull

Dinghy hull

Last night’s tweeting about decaying walls and woodwork continued but this morning I changed the subject to marine craft under repair and maintenance and posted this photo I took at West Bay in January

Disappointed with my work today

Image from the Themerson exhibition with distorted reflections of me

Personal Reflections on Themerson 2

My #Letter365 piece turned out really well and I was happy that it has elements I want to explore more in other pieces, but then I had a really flat period when nothing seemed to work at all. I decided to attempt a large mixed media piece on paper which is going OK, but the light has been so poor today that I am unable to get any decent images that do it justice. All this in turn, coupled with the weather has made me most disconsolate. It can be pretty tough to see any good things when my black dog visits. So I have put up an image from yesterday at the Library of Birmingham as my #arteachday piece as it pretty much describes how i am today – blurred, indistinct, distorted and part hidden.

New Library of Birmingham inspirational

Shadows in the new Library of Birmingham

Shadows in the new Library of Birmingham

I’ve been out and about in Birmingham today and not had time for any art apart from my #Letter365 piece, but I went to the new Library and took some more “Personal Reflections” photos featuring the dots on the windows and this one of the shadows of the dots.

Apart from the visually arresting architecture, interesting spaces and good design the new Library was packed with people enjoying using the facilities in a respectful and cooperative way – and I stress the word “enjoying”! Mostly the people were young students working together in groups or couples as well as private study, probably more than 70% non-white ethnicity, and there were lots of smiles and as sense of comradeship and shared endeavour. It felt like a library should feel – alive. So while there may be other local issues about the way the library budget has been spent in Birmingham, the building itself seems to me to be a huge success.

I also managed to catch a nice exhibition on the work of Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, avant-guard filmakers in pre-war Poland, and another quick look round the Library of Cultures exhibition (I think it was called) which has some fantastic images and artifacts, printed materials and photographic archives. Both shows were at the Library.

A Personal Reflection on the Themerson exhibition

A Personal Reflection on the Themerson exhibition

At the Museum and Art Gallery I poped in to see the Grayson Perry tapestries. Which were entertaining and in part visually rich and interesting. I’m unsure how much the good feeling and story in the TV programmes coloured my judgement about them. Would I have liked them less or more had I come to them fresh? I was a bit rushed too so probably took them a bit for granted which I may not have done had I not seen the programmes.

An old photo I stumbled across

Marks made in sand by wind and grass

Marks made in sand by wind and grass

As I have been so busy with other things my #arteachday post was this old photograph which I am fairly certain I took on a beach at or near Aberdyfi (Aberdovey).

It was inevitable that bees would feature in this evening’s work

Collage by David Smith

Industry (detail)
Collage – paper and photographic elements 381mm x 559mm

Having spent the afternoon working with our bees I didn’t get to start any artwork until the early evening. I did my #Letter365 piece before dinner then went back to the studio for a while and created a collage on Somerset paper from some prints of a photo I took of some of our bees. I’m quite liking this grid of repetitive forms and textures done with glossy photo paper sanded and scratched back. It echoes my obsession with the repetitive patterns in nature, particularly wave-sculpted sand ripples.

Haunting me

West Bay harbour, low tide on a grey, winter day

West Bay harbour: low tide on a grey, winter day

I have been busy today visiting some of the artists at St Michael’s Studios who have opened up for the weekend and then going to one of our out apiaries to check on some of our bees. So just incase I run out of time what with #Letter365 and stuff I need to do for Dorset Art Weeks, I thought I would put this image up. It has been haunting me for a while, begging me to do something with it every time i stumble across it.