Time & Nature

February 3rd, 2019

Exploring objects and textiles is keeping me away from painting in the studio at the moment, but that’s ok, because I’m not just a painter…..

Today, I have been working with time and nature but, now it’s too hot to do anything much, as the temp in the valley has reached 39 Celsius and getting hotter.

I get torn between contemporary and lush, extravagant. Old bones, textiles, rusted wires, watch faces, bits of stick with moss , vintage cosmetic bottles and handmade French influenced, embellishments are on my bench.

Memories and feelings keep flooding back from my times spent in France. Especially touched by Versailles palace and other places in Europe and England. Old history feeds my creativity.

Old rusted wire and found textiles are twisted and sewn with gold threads and remind me of couture and Versailles decadent history.

Formed into fragments that will probably be part of something else.

This one looks like a weird kind of bird.

I’ve also had the de-clutter bug lately so its feels liberating to use up stuff Ive been hoarding for ever.

© 2019, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Art & Recycling. Textiles & Mixed media.

January 18th, 2019

Art and recycling goes hand-in-hand in the textile and mixed- media side of my arts practice.

My artworks are often created from old, discarded clothing, vintage and antique textiles, papers and found objects. I enjoy making use of stuff that has had a life already; a life that is often purely functional and as far removed from ‘art’ as you can imagine.

I’ve been recycling all my life to make art. As a child, I pulled apart, old clothing and nylon stockings “I used to collect fabric waste from mum’s sewing and knitting basket, making wall hangings out of that.” Nowadays, I cut up my own clothing and others, antique quilts, vintage linens, fancywork and men’s suits.

The process of searching and collecting materials, is also, a very important part of my art’s making. It may take weeks, months, even years, to find a piece that talks to me. Most of the time though, a fragment of fabric, clothing or object, will trigger off the idea. I collect and document many of the pieces I find, by labeling or remembering, its history of when & where it was found. This gives me another layer to work with.

The search for materials has taken me to many weird and wonderful places over the years.

The sometimes, dodgy, back streets of cities, in Barcelona, Italy and France. Markets and charity shops in Australia, France and England. Underground spaces, abandoned buildings, coast lines and vacant beaches. Friends, family and strangers, have also, donated materials to use in my work.

By transforming old, recycled and reused materials, it enriches the stories I like to tell in my contemporary art and gives a new life, to materials destined to be wasted and thrown away.

© 2019, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Rust Dyeing Fabrics

December 28th, 2018


Summer in Australia is the perfect time for eco and botanical dyeing outdoors. During Winter, I like to save little bits of fabrics, lace and papers in a box for Summer dyeing. This is how I rust dye my fabrics….

Many years ago, I collected heaps of metal junk to use for sculpture. As, I no longer weld, I now use the rusty bits and pieces that are scattered all over my property, for my dyeing projects.

The gathering of the metal objects, wrapping them with the fabric spraying with vinegar and binding with rope and wire is quite relaxing. I call it mummy wrapping.


Rust Dyeing Fabric

MATERIALS:

Fabric: cottons silk… work best

Rusty metal objects: cooking pans, car parts, rusty nails, screws, pipes, copper objects

Wire, string, wool or rope just something to bind the fabric to the rusted item

Plain white vinegar

Rubber gloves

Plastic sheet or bags

METHOD

1. Gather all the items together wet your fabric and spray with vinegar.

2. Wrap the fabric around and around the rusted object as best you can.

3. Make sure it’s tightly bound with the string rope or wire. Cover with plastic so it stays moist.

4. Leave and wait for the magic to happen.

5. This may take an hour or 2 or if you want deeper textures of rust a week or 2. Then un- wrap your beautiful rusted fabric.

6. Once the fabric is dyed to the depth you want, soak for 30mins in warm water with a couple of tablespoons of salt to make the rust dye colourfast.

7. Wash gently in warm water with soap powder rinse dry and voila!

I also rust papers and larger pieces of fabric using a different method that I will share in a future post.

To see more of my free tutorials please go here

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Christmas Greetings!

December 18th, 2018

To all my family, friends and followers. I wish you all a very  “Happy & Joyful Christmas”

May the the “New Year” ahead bring you happiness, kindness, peace and good health with plenty of creativity. To those struggling, may your healing journey be short and you find your inner harmony, peace & renewed physical health swiftly. Jenny Davis 2018.

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Thoughts in the studio today. Stacks, towers and painting.

December 1st, 2018

A bit of colour in the studio today. How many colours and layers can I stack up on top of one another?

 

 

 

They remind me of Claude Courtecuisse’s   “Hacking Objects” sculptures I saw in Paris at the Georges Pompidou Museum in 2007.

He erected towers and stacks of common objects.

 

Image photographed from original 2007 catalogue. Copyright Georges Centre Pompidou Original photos Copyright Claude Courtecuisse. 2007

 

 

Balance, colour, repetition, scale and transparency is what I took away from that exhibition.

 

  Copyright Jenny Davis

 

As a child, I too, would build little towers of objects in my bedroom.

Still today I play and stack with my vast collection of vintage objects.

The towers have been getting higher and higher over time and eventually, I aim to make huge, tall one’s, up to the roof or even higher.

 

 

Now back to the painting…I’m not sure if I’ve resolved it yet, as something about it is still annoying me. Maybe that’s a good thing?… as sometimes things that are a bit odd are more successful.

I think I will sit with it a bit longer.

 

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Focus, Simplify & London.

November 15th, 2018

Recently, I’ve been unable to focus fully on my work. I feel I may have too many things going on in my life and need to simplify. I’ve also been procrastinating too long, putting off a few decisions, I need to make, regarding my arts practice.  I know, I just have to get on with it,  if I only knew what “IT” was ? Also, its been hard lately having to divide my time, between creating and dealing with with other life circumstances that have been cropping up.  I know as an artist, my main focus is to create, or nothing will get done, but more important, my inner- self will suffer.

In the meantime, my daughter and her partner (xox) , gifted me a trip to London to visit  them. After not seeing her for a few years, it was so nice to catch up and do stuff together again. We managed to fit in some very interesting exhibitions.  The Anni Albers (1899-1994) textile exhibition at Tate Modern, was excellent. She was student of the Bauhaus art school and like other women at that time , was discouraged from becoming a painter. Instead, she enrolled in the weaving shop and made textiles her means of expression. Albers rose to become an influential figure, exploring the technical limits of hand-weaving to pioneer innovative uses of woven fabric as art, architecture and design.

 

 

 

 

Other exhibitions on at the V&A Museum.

Fashioned from Nature, explores the complex relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day.

 

 

A Frida Kahlo exhibition of her belongings. There was also huge jewelry exhibition and video game exhibition on. The collections are immense. I particularly enjoyed Asian textiles & objects.

 

 

 

 

The “Censored! Stage, Screen Society at 50”  exhibition was brilliant. Especially as I can remember most of it happening when I was a teenager.

 

 

 

It took a bit of getting around the V&A  building, as its built around a very large inner courtyard. The signage wasn’t brilliant and quite confusing. I only saw a small portion of the collections and if I get another chance Id like explore it some more.

Another exhibition, I particularly loved and related too, The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History.

 

A “Kunstkammer” of cabinets full of weird and wonderful curiosities. Extraordinary dioramas displayed in a dark underground cellar, reached only by going down a very steep, spiral stair case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also managed to do a brief  bit of mudlarking on the Thames. I found a handful of bits & pieces. A handmade nail used to secure sails to the masts of sailing ships and a few shards of pottery and I think part of a Tudor terracotta tile.

 

 

 

 

I’m home in Australia now and slowly getting back into studio mode. Having spent time with my family and inspired by new adventurers, I’m feeling more nurtured to just get on with “IT” and not think too much.

 

 

 

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

New Collages on Vintage Paper. Ochre Pigments, Acrylic Paints and Ink.

September 15th, 2018

Just finished another series of mixed- media collages on good quality thick papers. I prefer to use a thick water- colour paper base for collage, as it doesn’t tear and buckle when I load on papers glues, paint and inks. I use vintage, antique and or any papers laying around.

1958

 

 

Tannica

 

 

Farmlands Water

 

 

Ordovician

 

 

Knowledge in Depth

 

 

Taxonomy

 

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Mixed Media Collage. 3 New Works on Paper.

September 2nd, 2018

3 New mixed- media collages on 300gsm watercolour paper (Unframed).

I  like to create new visions, by recycling and dissecting vintage papers that I may, or not hand paint with acrylic paints and inks.

Process – On a background of strong 350gsm artist water- colour paper, I add layers of acrylic paints, fragments of vintage papers and random marks, using French ink pens.

Earth Renewable

Recycled Polyhedron

Recycled Symmetry

 

 

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Homemade Gesso Update!

August 14th, 2018

Homemade Gesso!

Update 2018! Since writing this recipe in 2014, Ive been using this homemade Gesso recipe, for 14 years now and haven’t had an issue, with ageing, layers coming apart, seepage, changes in colour etc. on any of my artworks. I use it with both oil and acrylic paints. I also seal my papers with it when, making books, sewing on paper, paper for collage, painting with paint, inks etc. As to the quality, I find the homemade isn’t as white, but just as good quality, as professional artists Gesso. I also use store bought gesso too, if I’ve run out and for convenience. My version is more gritty, than store bought, but if you sandpaper in between coats, I find it’s not an issue. For me, this recipe is just as good as, the store bought and if you use archival PVA/Elmers glue, it will make it all the more stable, for longevity.

Homemade Gesso!

I love Gesso paint and use heaps of it in my work. It’s gritty, chalky and can be applied to artwork to give a translucent or opaque look. It’s also very expensive so I decided to make my own.

 

Gesso is used for many things such as a primer for canvas or on paper to give a good base for painting, drawing or mixed media work.  When making collage I use it as a gluing medium to stick on papers, in-between, painting and drawing layers.

The recipe below makes 2 litres of Gesso paint

( If not using straight away, this Gesso will last approx. 4-6 weeks)

Homemade Gesso

PLASTER MIX

1 cup Plaster of Paris or fine white plaster powder

1 cup of PVA or white glue (archival if available)

1 cup hot water

PAINT

3 cups white acrylic paint

UTENSILS

Container, cup and mixing stick or spoon

RATIO: 1-3

Plaster Mix 1 – Acrylic paint 3

Method

To make the plaster mix. Add the plaster to the hot water and stir ( Safety purposes: always add the plaster powder to the liquid, not liquid to plaster, as it will blow up into your face and always wear a dust mask)

Dust Mask

“Plaster of Paris” and cup

Hot water and mix

Next add the PVA or white glue, stir.

Finally add the white acrylic paint and mix. ( I used some acrylic powder paint I had and made it up with water) You can use any kind of acrylic paint or colour .

 

Result

I was very happy with the result. The gesso is translucent with the gritty bits I like. You can also do several layers of gesso to give a more opaque appearance. It covered my canvas very well with only 1 coat. When adding more than 1 coat you can sand in- between to give a really smooth surface for detailed work .

2 litres of Gesso

Gesso on stretched canvas

Gesso on paper

 

© 2014 – 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Line Walking. Working with Line.

August 3rd, 2018

Line is a point moving in space. Playing with line fascinates to me. By letting go and just allowing the movement to take over, allows me to go in-between, out and off edges.

 

 

The materials I use vary. I may use paint, pencil or crayon on vintage book papers, thread on antique cloth, scratch with implements, or, use wire to make tangles. Lines often define the edges of a form, but not very often in my arts practice.

 

 

Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, straight or curved, thick or thin.

 

 

Paint lines

 

 

Drip lines

 

 

Thread lines

 

 

Free flowing lines

 

 

Frottage lines

 

 

String lines

 

 

© 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.