Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Artistic Explorations: Assemblage (1)

I'm just back from a very inspiring and creative week at Bridge House Art in Ullapool where I did the Alchemy course with Eleanor White. Last year was my first time (see my blog post here) and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to come back again, this time to do something with Eleanor herself. She is an amazing art tutor with boundless energy and her expertise on any art medium is second to none.

Alchemy is the process of transforming the ordinary into the extra-ordinary. The first three days we mainly experimented with the deconstructing process; altering the surface of various materials like paper, fabric, cardboard and old photo film by using techniques such as dying, frottage (= rubbing), tearing, piercing, folding, stitching and spraying. These samples were then used as reference for our main project we worked on for the last two days of the course.

One of my frottage samples on magazine paper

Buckets of dye with folded papers ©Fenfolio2016

Eleanor giving a demo blotting the dyed paper ©Fenfolio2016

The studio with our experimentations ©Fenfolio2016

Before we started our personal project we went on our treasure hunt picking up any object that took our interest by beachcombing or walking in the forest along the river at the back of her studio. We then laid out our collection of metal, ceramics, glass, wood, seaweed, shells, leaves etc. on the table. Now the hardest part of the process started; selecting your materials, deconstructing them and constructing them with any other materials to create an extra-ordinary abstract artwork!

A collection of found materials from one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Luckily Eleanor also had a collection of found objects we were able to use. My eye fell on one of the old wooden fish boxes, originally from Aberdeen. I had to carefully deconstruct it not to damage the the part I wanted to have and the rest of the wood. I brought some scraps of fabric with me from home and thought the colour and texture of the hessian would work really well with the wooden plank. My piece was too small for what I had in mind but Eleanor had plenty I could use! The cardboard would also fit very well because of the corrugated texture and the ease I could manipulate it.

As my plank read "Aberdeen Inshore" I wanted to compose my piece in such a way that the textures, shapes and lines would reflect the ones found in and along the shore. 

The lower part of the plank was sanded and then painted in diluted white acrylics following the grain of the wood to represent the undulating landscape inland. I replaced some of the rusted nails and bended them to make hooks. I cut three strips of hessian and then distressed each panel by pulling, tearing and some cutting. They were then painted in a thin and later a thicker layer of white acrylics. 
The cardboard was treated in the same way. Once I decided the composition was right I stitched the cardboard pieces onto the hessian panels with a hessian thread (bigger needle opening needed and waxing the end of the thread was very useful!). The lower part of the hessian was then wrapped around the cardboard, cut to length and stitched too. The second part of the hessian was stitched to the back of the cardboard to create a continuous panel.
Finally I made some rope from a few hessian threads to hang the piece on the plank.

Assemblage "Aberdeen Inshore" ©Fenfolio2016

Close-up wooden plank ©Fenfolio2016

Close-up textures hessian and cardboard ©Fenfolio2016

Close-up textures hessian and cardboard ©Fenfolio2016

Close-up textures hessian and cardboard ©Fenfolio2016

I'm not sure whether it's finished yet because I feel it's lacking some impact against a white wall. I consider adding a narrow strip in a 3D shape (representing waves) made from cardboard on the top and bottom of the panels but I will decide in the next few weeks. Your feedback is very welcome!

Below is a selection of works created by the other participants, ranging from collages, mixed media paintings and assemblage (= a work of art made by grouping together found or unrelated objects). Some wonderful works have been made and it really inspired me to create some new pieces for NEOS. Better get started now!
Dyed paper with found objects
by one of the participants
Triptych of collaged dyed paper with found objects
by one of the participants

Dyed paper with found objects by one of the participants

Cardboard painting by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Small handmade books from dyed paper and other papers
by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Cover of small handmade book made of dyed paper by one of the participants

Painting in wax, gloss paint and acrylics by one of the participants

Assemblage by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Assemblage by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Assemblage and collage by one of the participants
Mixed media drawing on an old door by one of the participants

Assemblage of found objects by one of the participants

Collection of assemblage by various participants

Installation of various dyed papers by one of the participants

Assemblage by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Assemblage by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Assemblage by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Assemblage by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Collage and mixed media
by one of the participants

Assemblage by one of the participants ©Fenfolio2016

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Art Aboyne exhibition

Next month I will be exhibiting a selection of new artwork at Art Aboyne. This mixed media painting which I have just finished will be one of them.

Stonehaven Harbour, mixed media, 60 x 60 cm  ©Fenfolio 2016

Apart from my handmade cards (including some new designs, see I will also have my self-published notebook available for sale. It has a soft cover with one of my designs from original artwork and it contains 52 textured and blank pages for notes, doodles, sketches or anything you like. Here you can see a preview. If you're not able to come to my exhibition and interested in buying this, please contact me.

The exhibition runs from 16 July until 13 August at Victoria Hall in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. Entry is free and it will be open from 10 am until 8pm.

Poster Art Aboyne

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Mini kayak expedition Skye

To build up our paddling fitness again, Jaap, our neighbour Lucy and me planned a 3 day kayak expedition to the Isle of Skye in the weekend of the 14th of May. The whole week it had been stunning weather with temperatures of about 20 C (at least on the West coast, not with us unfortunately!) and wall to wall sunshine. However, change was on its way so we worked out a few options. Initially we planned to go round Neist point and then explore Wiay Island.

We first stocked up our supplies in Broadford and enjoyed a delicious (late) breakfast at Cafe Sia. The moment we left Broadford, the only road leading to our destination closed down (and would be for several hours) due to a severe road accident. Change of plan; our new launch point would be Elgol. We did a trip from here almost 3 years ago ( It was wonderful to be here again, in beautiful weather (again!) and Lucy had never paddled here before so we could show her the way.

Launch at Elgol ©Fenfolio2016
Launch at Elgol ©Fenfolio2016
With a head wind of 4 (gusts up to 5) from the North East we first made our way into Loch Scavaig and the start of Loch Coruisk with stunning views to the Cuillin mountains.

Paddling in front of The Cuillins ©Fenfolio2016

Jaap on Loch Scavaig ©Fenfolio2016

Sky, mountain and bothy ©Fenfolio2016

Approaching Loch Coruisk ©Fenfolio2016

Early in the evening we arrived on headland Rhubha an Dunain where we wanted to set camp (like last time). Unfortunately we couldn't land from the North due to the wind and lumpy sea so we decided to get out on the South side of the headland instead. There was plenty of space to pitch our tent but it took some time to found the least windy spot!

Our campsite at Rhubha an Dunain ©Fenfolio2016

View towards Rum and Canna ©Fenfolio2016

Lucy using her petrol stove in prep for her Greenland trip

Overnight the wind died down completely and with a clear sky it was surprisingly cold. Unfortunately there was no firewood to be found here so we wore all our layers and down jacket (me also in bed!).

Calm but very cold night ©Fenfolio2016

The next day we explored this fascinating headland. There are some really interesting historic sites here such as a dun, chambered cairn and an ancient canal thought to be built by Vikings!

Exploring Rhubha an Dunain ©Fenfolio2016

Jaap on ancient dun ©Fenfolio2016

Picture perfect view to Rum and Canna ©Fenfolio2016

Lucy exloring chambered cairn ©Fenfolio2016

Ancient canal ©Fenfolio2016

Happy girls ©Fenfolio2016

Ruins from a house ©Fenfolio2016

Once we had packed all our stuff we paddled back through Soay Sound. Suddenly a large group of feeding seabirds got our attention. At closer inspection we saw about 8 harbour porpoises joining the feeding party!

One of the many harbour porpoises ©Fenfolio2016

The coastline was stunning here, showing off its perfect geological features.

Beautiful coloures and textures ©Fenfolio2016

Dykes and sills of igneous rocks ©Fenfolio2016

Dykes and sills of igneous rocks ©Fenfolio2016

Late in the evening we set camp on the Isle of Soay, near Loch Doire an Lochain on the smaller part of the island. The weather was still fantastic, making our bedroom window view spectacular!

Our campsite on Isle of Soay ©Fenfolio2016

Our campsite on Isle of Soay ©Fenfolio2016

Another beautiful calm but very cold night ©Fenfolio2016

Luckily there was plenty of firewood to be found here and we made ourselves comfortable behind big rocks sheltered from the wind.

Fireman ©Fenfolio2016

Cosy fire ©Fenfolio2016

The next day we explored the island of Soay and in particular the derelict shark factory, started by author Gavin Maxwell. Many basking sharks were processed here for their oil just after WW2. It is now mainly used by local fishermen where they keep their crails.

Derelict shark factory on Soay ©Fenfolio2016

Nature taking over ©Fenfolio2016

Crails ©Fenfolio2016

Sea still life ©Fenfolio2016

Beached vintage video recorder  ©Fenfolio2016

Greylag goose eggs ©Fenfolio2016

Hopefully many more mini expeditions like this will come this season!