Saturday, 14 December 2013

Part 2: Man made

Yesterday I sent off assignment One of Exploring Ideas, and started the next part of this course - screen printing. The theme for this is 'Manmade'. Person-made. Human made. None of them sounds quite right.

First task was to take some photos of man made things to work on in my sketchbook. I did also have a trawl through my photo library because when I first started Textiles 1: a creative approach I did a walk round South London taking photos and lots of them were if bounding or railings that appealed. And some reflection photos which I haven't yet worked on, like the West Croydon pavement above. 

This one is of the ice rink at Canary Wharf. I was intrigued by the way the whiteness is more intense in stripes and how that contrasted with the surprisingly brightly coloured fallen leaves. There are also some reflections in the ice of the surrounding buildings which gives it an interesting variety of colours and brightness.

This is a photo I took of the ceiling of an ancient palace in Rome. I love the way the architect made the squares recede so the light falls so interestingly on them. 

After looking at those photos again, I found myself drawn to the effects of light on different surfaces in the night in London. And the way the colour changes when the camera is in the arc of the light. I took a lot of photos at night for a few days, and have copied some of them here.

Here, there is enough light for shadows, and for the damper parts of the pavement to be more reflective.
The colours are all different in the night.

This one is a photo I took looking into and across Ruskin Park, when I realised that there were regular lines of lights showing where a series of tower blocks are on the other side of the park's darkness. You can just see the more intense darkness where the leaves of the trees are against the sky.

I like the way this one came out, as if out of focus (although I think it's actually because of the low light level). The different coloured  light spots are interesting and attractive, and the background is broken up into greens and purples in a way I'd like to try out in the sketchbook somehow.

Here the lights are distorted into the shapes of half staples, with an unexpected right-angle. The less light there is, the more the colour of the pavement is distorted.

Again, the colour changes are quite dramatic in this, especially at the edges of the circle under the light. The reflection on the car is interesting too. And the lights int he background under and between the trees.   

And in the end, this not so man-made romantic vista through the trees in Highbury Fields. The little hut there under the knobbles of the trunks appeals to me, with its window all lit up by the lights on the sports courts behind.

Here are some daytime photos I have taken during this period of collecting man made images. What appealed to me about the ferris wheel at the winter wonderland in Hyde park was the lacy pattern and the way it twists because of the perspective.

These office block windows have interesting combinations of linear reflections and partially seen lines inside. They are both in central Croydon.

You can't tell by looking at the one on the left whether the buildings are wiggly or the windows. In fact its a bit of both, I think.

The pavement picture is also about lines, but in this case different patterns and colours in radiating blocks.

This triangular pattern appealed to my quilting head - it would be easy to do this using triangles of different textures of fabric on each side of the pyramids. But instead of it being the same all the way up, it can have shadows and twists like this wall decoration in the hall of an office building in Wigmore Street.

Tony Cragg
At the Tate Gallery, but I remember being unable to pull myself away from it when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy a few years ago. Why? I think it was something about the perfection of the cube in contrast to the jumble of ordinary things it was made of. Man-made things that I wouldn't usually think of as interesting to look at.

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