From A Simple Curve

Hi Everyone,

It really does feel like the worst of the British winter is behind us now, the days are longer and many of my spring bulbs are flowering their hats off; daffodils might not be particularly stylish but a good display can't fail to lift the spirits.

The days are getting so much longer too and with less than 2 weeks until we switch to Daylight Saving it might be time to dig out some summer clothes and find my sunglasses...

We are still in lockdown but, fingers crossed, not for much longer. If things carry on as they are here we might have a summer with fewer restrictions, how fabulous to be able to see family and friends again without fear of being arrested… and to get a haircut!

I have been getting on with my photography even if it has been a bit stop/start. My course is running along nicely and it's prompted fresh eyes and a few new projects. One of the topics we have been looking at is how image elements can prompt different emotions. I chose to explore this concept with a very simple shape, a Curve, the result of a mooch around the house looking for something to photograph - I have a surprisingly photogenic cooker hob - who would've thought!

But first...

Unlock My Mind

It's taken me a while to get into a new series of images using a single source reference file. A couple have been started but have proved difficult to enjoy; maybe I will return to them in time.

Mindlessly scrolling through my catalogue I stumbled across an image processed a long time ago. The 'final' image had seen the light of day on Instagram but it was old, dusty and not particularly exciting.

Looking again at the original file I thought 'you can do better'.

After a little playing around I felt that delightful knot in my stomach which says… 'right, here we go!'…

I have bent my own rules a little and have used 2 source files as they were so similar. I will blog about the project in full once it's progressed further including the source images at that point. For now, I am working with the bars as a metaphor for a loss of the ability to choose, to feel powerless and driven only by instinct, the most basic form of imprisonment. It's still early days but… I am having fun and that's all that matters…

I plan for this to be another series of 12 images from which I will choose a subset to print on Acetate with all the associated playing with inks, acrylics and metals. Really quite excited...

Precious Moments Missed

Back to 'The Curve'...

After some playing around I managed to create 2 image-pairs which might go some way to show how the simple arrangement of shapes can change the way we feel about an image, or what it says to us at that time. These are just simple illustrations but I am finding the whole exercise fascinating.

The first pair I have titled: The Apple

Just Shapes?

The bright dots are shapes from my cooker hob but the analysis must start with the question - why are they there? They appear to have no purpose.

The strong shapes themselves are similar in style but do not have any obvious connection. The image has no obvious energy, it feels static

Most importantly my eye is drawn away to the bright patch middle right which is probably not my goal.

Knife/Apple?

A couple of small tweaks can give the image some meaning. I can start to see a story.

Am I looking at a knife cutting into an Apple?  Are the dots dew from a fresh green apple straight from the fridge? Is the knife wet?

To me the image now feels fresh and crisp. Could it also be aggressive? The knife cutting? will the apple be destroyed!

I no longer look a the bright yellow patch middle right...

This is such a simple example but it shows how such a simple arrangement of shapes and colours can have such an incredible influence on the story we try and tell as artists.

Looking at another example I can hopefully show how the use of colours can convey feelings of safety/danger, calm/storm, good/bad etc...

'The Boat'...

On the left we can visualise a sail boat navigating fairly calm seas on a sunny day. I see our little boat bobbing along happily, maybe our crew is enjoying some early evening drinks (sun-downers?) after a hard days' messing about on the water.

By changing only the colours we have moved from day to night, light to dark. Our boat now has black sails, is this solely due to time of day or is our boat more threatening now, is it a pirate ship intent on doing some harm?

Our dark ship is sailing further into night, darker waters may mean stormier weather to come. Is the dark pink sky threatening? I feel our ship will be lost to us soon as it sails into the unknown... maybe...

So...

This is all meant to be a bit of fun but it's fascinating too. Small changes to an image have the power to introduce, remove, or completely change a narrative. The counter-argument is that analysis => paralysis; we shouldn't overthink or overanalyse. As with most things in life, there is a balance, therein lies magic.

That's it for this time. Please let me know what you think, I love to read all comments and will always reply even if it takes me a day or so...

Take care and stay very safe, where ever you are.

 

L  xx

A Personal Project Restart

By Linda Bembridge | February 17, 2021

Hi Everyone, Well we are still in the midst of a hard UK-wide lockdown. This time with a (hopefully) bright light on the horizon which makes such a difference. Many of my friends and relatives have been vaccinated and that’s something to be incredibly thankful for. Such a long way to go but the path […]

The Acetate Story Continues

By Linda Bembridge | January 17, 2021

Hi Everyone, We are deep into winter here in the UK with short days, cold and miserable weather and precious little sunshine. Being in another hard Lockdown isn’t helping either. The first UK lockdown began on the 23rd of March 2020, exactly 300 days ago…  It’s hard to imagine what life was like before that […]

The Acetate Edition

By Linda Bembridge | December 6, 2020

Hi Everyone, well winter is certainly in full swing here in the UK… very chilly, dull and grey all of a sudden despite many of my spring bulbs growing away happily in my garden. Mother Nature will need to sort out the timing issue… Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting to grips with a […]

8 Comments

  • Thank you, Linda, for your blog. I love your creative spirit and your descriptions of what you are actually creating. I’ve been struggling with ideas and I fall back on the impressionistic approach, which is great, but I have a desire to do more of a creative expression project that uses strong lines and shapes and a concept that can be explored. Do you start with the concept and look for images that may work within that concept, or do you peruse your images and find something interesting that reveals a concept to you? I took Valda and Dough’s creative courses online last year. I cannot believe it’s been a year!! I’ve been working on some projects, but I find that I’m falling back into my place of comfort with landscape, nature projects and I’m kind of at a loss as how best to jump start some more creative ideas. Truth be told, it may be because I’ve simply not spent enough time trying!! Well, the weather is warming up, the days are longer, the sun is shining, I’ve got my vaccinations and I need to try again.
    Stay safe over there!
    Liz

    Reply
    • Hi Liz,
      I am really pleased you enjoyed reading this blog, I am relieved to feel some creativity returning after a fallow few months, I just needed to be patient and hope that it was a passing phase…
      In terms of images for projects. the honest and probably most unhelpful answer is ‘it depends’. When working on my projects where I try and tease out multiple images starting with a single file. these are never planned in advance. I have no formula as to the type of file which works so this is very much trial and error. The images using a curve led me to take images with this project in mind, I wanted something simple and didn’t feel as if I had a good candidate image so I had this project in mind when taking images.
      In terms of working with the concepts that the BC course focuses on and speaking entirely from a personal perspective… it really is a factor of time. It’s very easy to fall back on projects which are familiar to us and stay within our comfort zones. It might be that it’s worth setting aside a set period of time to work on nothing other than a BC project and force yourself to come up with something within those boundaries. One step back to go two steps forward …
      And yes, better times are certainly ahead. I’ve just had my first jab now so I am definitely feeling hopeful.
      Take care and let me know how you get on
      L xx

      Reply
  • Hi Linda! That first image is properly menacing, for me. Definitely pandemic-esque 🙂 .
    Random question: why are daffodils so utterly unphotogenic? Is it just me? I don’t think i’ve ever seen a photo of them that i loved, and i’ve definitely never taken one. Bright yellow just doesn’t do it for me, whatever i do!
    I think there might be something funny going on with your blog btw, I found this by typing in the link you put on Insta, but going to the “Blog” section it doesn’t show up for me. The Feb 17th blog also doesn’t have a “newer posts” link at the bottom. Might just be my setup…

    Reply
    • Hi Kate,
      Glad you enjoyed the blog… I am excited about this new project and feel it has lots of mileage. And yes, agree on the daffodil front, I guess it shows that there are plenty of things in nature which we should just enjoy for what they re without trying to photograph them…
      And thank for the feedback on the blog… I have refreshed the cache as I know that sometimes sites don’t automatically refresh on everyone devices. This is just the nature of things I believe, nothing specific to my site. Fingers crossed…
      Anyway, hope all is well with you…
      Take care
      L xx

      Reply
  • Hi Linda
    Thanks for this. Very interesting and some lovely images. Inspiring too. For months now I have been looking for a new project that could lead to my next RPS panel. I have got a few ideas but I haven’t been able to get any traction with them. But just now, reading this blog post, I suddenly saw connections I had not made before! Links between my still life stuff and the more abstract photos I like to make. Excited to try some ideas and see where they lead. Thanks again.
    All the best
    Nick

    Reply
    • Hi Nick,
      How lovely to read your note… I am really pleased you like the blog and I am excited to have been a small source of inspiration. Ideas for RPS panels are notoriously difficult given their brief to do something different so being able to connect your still life with some abstraction definitely seems worth exploring.
      Thanks again for getting in touch and I would be really interested to hear how you get on…
      Take care
      L xx

      Reply
  • Linda you are always inspirational. Your ability to create compelling pure abstracts sets a wonderfully high standard. Love the bars and where they are going. And the example of what you can achieve by relatively simple colour changes with your little boats is very interesting, such a change of mood. A brilliant blog.

    Reply
    • Hi Howard,
      Thank you so much for posting a comment (and apologies for my taking ages to reply!). I am really enjoying getting back into the swing of things, quite a bit relieved too… And yes, really having fun with the simple lines and shapes and enjoying the simplicity of some of the images. Quite fun overlaying stories onto them too…
      Have fun and thanks again…

      L xx

      Reply

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