Workbook warmups …

abstract collage in mixed media by Mari French contemporary artist
Winter weather, studio workbook collage © Mari French 2021

Since the New Year, as mentioned in my previous post Cold feet… midwinter motivation I’ve been working on a series of small artworks on the theme of winter weather for an exhibition, ‘No Frost at night’, to be held at Babylon Arts in Ely, Cambridgeshire later this spring. There was a call for artists to respond to an archived weather diary from 1963, by Soham resident Betty Mann. I was delighted to be one of five contemporary artists to have my proposal selected for this commission,

These are the workbook warmups from the studio that I created in between the artworks and occasionally a few small details from the works themselves to whet your appetites for the exhibition. I’ve been having a great time playing with acrylic inks, staining and scribbling on tissue papers and other materials and media, and in the process have discovered new effects and techniques – one of the bonuses of being out of your comfort zone (my first public commission) and using new surfaces and media.

Group of details from collage artworks by Mari French contemporary artist.
Small details from new artwork series © Mari French 2021

The above are small details from some of the works in progress. So far I have more works underway than I need for the commission, which I’m pleased about as it gives me room to select the ones that work best. The work has been going very well over the past few weeks, considering the battle to warm up the studio. This has given me room to breathe, step back, and live with them for a while before I decide that’s it and I get down to the finishing touches, varnishing etc.

I’ve noticed the importance of warming up in the workbook in the stalled pauses between work on the actual artworks. The temptation has been to keep working on them, but making myself stop and play (with similar materials) where it ‘doesn’t matter’, often results in a discovery of useful techniques and effects, and a loosening up of my creative muscles!

Winter walk, studio workbook collage © Mari French 2021

I’m really excited about how it’s going and can’t wait to see them displayed together (and to show you the results!).

2 thoughts on “Workbook warmups …

  1. These are very interesting, good work Mari. I completely agree with what you say regarding the importance of “warming up”, it can also lead to fresh ideas coming out of the ether. You may have noticed that I have posted a drawing a day on Facebook since the beginning of 2021, drawings with little preparation or forethought, except to fill a page in a small sketchbook I’ve had lying around for many years. As a result of the Covid situation I’ve had to stay away from “Studio 9” since before Christmas as a precaution, and until after I’ve had my first vaccination this week. While I can use my music studio to make small works, it just isn’t suitable for anything on a larger scale.. Best wishes to you for the upcoming show

    • Thanks for responding to my post Martin, pleased you could relate to it. Your drawings-a-day have made me realise what I’m always forgetting, what often puts me off picking up my sketchbook – ie. that I don’t have to produce an actual sketch of a place/object etc, while I can’t get out on my trips to the coast, but that I can just play/experiment in my sketchbook. As I’m typing this I’m realising how obvious this is and how stupid it seems that I keep forgetting it! I do it in my studio workbook, but rarely at home. So thank you for making me realise that. It must have been very difficult for you not to be able to get to your studio. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to get to mine (when it’s not too freezing) as the route and its settings are extremely quiet and I don’t share the space.
      Keep well and hope you get to your studio soon. M.

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