Lyn – Neubronner’s Pigeon in the style of Delauney
I’ve taken inspiration from both Neubronner (an inventor) and Delauney (an artist) to make a picture for the first quarter challenge 2021.
Dr Julius Neubronner developed a miniature pigeon camera to photograph the earth from above and the patent for his invention was granted in 1908.
How cute does Neubronner’s pigeon look? All dressed up and ready to go to work.
I wanted to make a picture of the pigeon but not an exact copy.
So I looked for inspiration in the works of artists during the first decade of the 20th century and I found this painting by Robert Delauney, “Portrait de Metzinger “, painted in 1906.
Robert Delauney used bold blocks of colour in oil paint to create this portrait …… hmmm …… how about making the pigeon from blocks of colourful pre-felt? They would look like brush strokes of oil paint on canvas.
My pre-felt stock is low, I had some colours I wanted but not all, so the first job was to make some more. I like to make it in batches to save time and effort and I like the mix of colours where they overlap. This is the dry layout.
Then I made the ‘canvas’ for my picture from 4 layers of white merino, pre-felted to the same stage as my pre-felt.
I cut coloured pre-felt into small rectangles, then using a photograph as a guide, I started to ‘draw’ the pigeon.
The only things not made from rectangles were the beak, eye and feet.
I didn’t copy the camera. It looked too complicated for me to try! So I made up a simple one that I hoped would be recognisable as a camera.
I added yellow variegated pre-felt rectangles, to imitate broad brush strokes, for the background.
But I didn’t like it. The background overpowered the subject. So I removed the yellow to leave just the pigeon. I then added a little purple pre-felt to the front of the camera because it looked too plain.
I wet felted the pigeon then when it was dry I added the background by needle-felting rectangles of ‘Noro Rainbow Roll’ pencil roving around the pigeon. The ‘Noro’ pencil roving is so fine (see photo below) that it’s almost see-through and it made a soft, complementary background.
The purple pre-felt bled a little bit during felting giving a pale pink tinge to the white background but I can live with that!
A couple of white stitches to put a glint in his eye and he’s done – the finished picture is 30 x 23cm (12″ x 9″).
Annie – Imaginative Flowers inspired by Odilon Redon
I felt inspired by many of the things that happened between 1900-1910, and was having trouble choosing what to do. Then I came across Odilon Redon’s floral still life work and it caught my eye, here is an example: ‘Bouquet of Flowers’ circa 1905.
And I also found a quote from him that appealed to me:
“I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”
I had planned to do something a little less in my comfort zone and a bit more adventurous like mum did, but then I thought oh well I like making flowers from my imagination so I’ll just go for it! It is still a work in progress but here’s what I’ve done so far….
I laid out a big square of white fibres with the intention of making several small sample pieces to start with but got carried away and just went straight for one big piece in the end. I placed the vase right in the middle at the bottom which I wouldn’t ordinarily do as it seemed that’s how he did most of his.
I got a little way into laying out and although it was OK I decided it wasn’t working for me so I pulled up all the colour except for the yellow background and started again.
I made the flowers into a big bunch and then left some space at the bottom. I had thought I’d leave space all round to include some “fronds” but hadn’t made my “canvas” big enough and ended up overdoing it so not enough room!
I haven’t finished it yet, but this is where I am so far. I’m going to attach the vase after felting because it is very fine fabric which stretches and frays and I think too much yellow will come through because it is rather open weave too. So I’ve ironed it on to some glue stabiliser for now and laid it on the picture temporarily.
The fabric is a nod to Redon’s butterfly paintings and use of butterflies in his floral works.
I will undoubtedly faff about a bit more with the flowers, and possibly put some shadowy darker yellows in the background, before felting it. It’s 52cm x 58cm (21″ x 23″).
Also, lesson learned, I didn’t check the dates properly on all of the reference pictures and only 1 of the 3 in my photo falls before 1910, but they are close enough 🙂
I’ll show the finished picture on the forum in the Challenges section.