Sometime last week when I made my way into the Hidey-Hole, I found that I just didn’t have the urge to do anything particularly arty. I know this is entirely normal and nothing to fret about, but I wondered if there was anything I felt like doing that might be even vaguely art-related.
And suddenly I had the answer – I decided to take a photo of every piece of work in my stash.
Photographing the Stash
The stash is in fact two A3 sized cardboard boxes from Amazon and two A3 sketchbooks, which are where I put the artwork that I deem finished – either because I’ve reached a point that I’m happy with, or at least I don’t feel like taking it any further, or because I have reached the stage of really not liking something and I want to move on with a fresh start.
The stash has been steadily growing over the last two years and in all that time, I’ve almost never been back to look inside and see what I’d been creating. Which to be honest has always been my way of going about things.
It was/is the same with the textile art pieces that I make. The enjoyment is all in the doing, in the stitching, so once it’s completed, I lose interest and just want to move on to the next piece as fast as possible. Off the completed work goes to the stash, totally forgotten.
Anyway, I followed through and duly took each piece from the stash, put it on the kitchen table, and took a picture.
Well, what an eye-opener!
I rather think I could write a book about the revelations that came up while doing it – although you’ll be relieved to know that I’m not going to bore you silly about it all now – but I thought I’d mention a couple of things that really surprised me.
The first thing, is just how different a picture can look in the photo compared with how I think it looks in real life – I’m not talking about the quality of the reproduction or colours, no, what I mean is that in many of the pictures I can see (or not see) aspects of composition, contrast, colour use, focal points and things like that, which aren’t anything like so clear in the flesh.
I’ve heard some other artists say that they take photos of their work whilst working, but this is the first time I’ve really begun to understand why that might be helpful.
One thing that I noticed particularly was that I don’t really achieve enough contrast (for my liking) – and that’s something I hadn’t realised before.
The other thing that really struck me was that in fact there does seem to be an element of style and subject beginning to show itself, despite my concerns that everything is simply random. It may not translate to other viewers, but I begin to see some themes in process, colour and subject that I found oddly reassuring.
As I went through each piece, I tried to decide if they were finished, or whether they might be reusable in some other way. I knew there were several pieces that I had stopped working on without feeling that I’d resolved them. I’ve put those selections into another box, so perhaps the next time I lose the urge to carry on with the current piece, I might dip into the box and see if anything sparks my interest.
It took a couple of hours to take the pictures and I didn’t go back to look at them straight away, but I’m so glad to have taken time to do this. I’ve just been going through some of them again to show you a few, and while doing it I made other discoveries that I’m sure will help me – and who knows, that might carry on.
Somehow the detachment of time and looking at a photo instead of the real thing allows an opportunity to be your own constructive critic. And it certainly helps that when you go back over a lot of work, you begin to see patterns that aren’t otherwise obvious.
(I’ve littered this post with a tiny selection from the photographed stash – it seems that I paint trees far more often than I thought…).
In other news…
I had a lovely afternoon in Worcester on Sunday. A flying trip with the daughters. The river and the cathedral were looking gorgeous. How exciting to see everything beginning to unfurl for spring – hooray!
Until next time.