‘Edges of Disruption: Everyday Gremlins’ is a series of linked projects charting everyday personal reflections and imaginings in my house and wildlife garden and attempts to create ‘new normals’ in my personal everyday life at home.
The ‘playfully serious’ projects experiment with different media – photography, sketchbooks, printmaking and moving image – to look at ‘everyday gremlins’ intrusions caused by insecurity in the face of environmental change, political uncertainties and misinformation into our/my subjective experience of space, place and time.
For the main portfolios with details and hi resolution books and images from the individual projects see the SMUGMUG links in the box below.
This blog page focuses on padlets with contextual details and links to the location research, media experiments and inspiration for the projects.
Spectres in Blue: main portfolio: book of cyanotype-style photographs accompanied by experimental poetry and short texts around the theme of ‘beauty, truth and experienced reality’ from photographs, video and sketchbook notes of my garden.
Spectres in Topaz: supporting digital art experiments using Topaz Studio art filters to transform the ‘spectre’ photographs as suggested imaginative narratives for future development as short illustrative fiction pieces about environmental, social and political issues.
Gremlin Tales: supporting sketchbook experiments in the form of sketches, drawings, collage, solarplate and drypoint prints based on my sketchbook diary 2021-2022. The original sketchbook experiments in different media – pencil, ink, gesso, paint, collage – have been enhanced through scanning techniques and/or processing in DxO Silver FX and/or Topaz Studio.
Home Movies: supporting moving image experiments (unfinished because of RSI) Stop Motion animation and creative video exploring performative and emerging narratives about my life and garden.
Edges of Disruption
Portfolio Links On SMUGMUG
If beauty is truth, And truth beauty,
Then beauty is blue, And blue is light, But truth gets lost,
What light do we choose to follow?
(Linda Mayoux, 2022, Spectres in Blue)
Visions from an English Garden
Creative cyanotype photography and poetry about mindfulness and its disruptions by external realities of environmental change and insecurity in the face of political uncertainties and misinformation.
This project started with images from old iPhone video of butterflies and birds in my garden, coupled with ‘stream of consciousness’ jottings in a sketchbook of quick sketches and media experiments – some of which have been further developed in Tales of Gremlin and Home Movies. The photographs themselves were too blurry and blown out to qualify as ‘photography’ but as I experimented in turning them into photo screen prints, I discovered the intriguing beauty of the light and shape contrasts using Cyanotype filters in Silver FX. I was particularly intrigued by the spiky figures of dried weeds and the haunting suggested shapes through a plastic vegetable bell cloche.
So I took more photographs of light and shapes where I experimented more with the potential ‘spectres’ and imagined ‘realities’ in the garden against the backdrop of climate change, disappearing hedgehogs and political conflicts on the news. Developing my sketchbook notes as experimental poetry and looking at the work of other writers around an emerging theme of ‘beauty, truth and reality.’
Unfortunately over the winter of 2023 two of my neighbours installed wood-burning stoves emitting smells and smoke that give me breathing problems. So I can no longer guarantee any peace in the garden. Unless I now take action to protect everyone’s right to breathe fresh air.
Creative photography experimenting with different Topaz Studio art styles to suggest imagined environmental, social and political narratives based on photographs in my English wildlife garden. These are being further developed over time in parallel to short story creative writing for eventual publication as graphic fiction narratives.
Suet Wars: Imagined tale about war and conflict suggested by photographs of hazel nut shells in a bird feeder for suet cakes after they have been nibbled by squirrels. Uses Topaz Studio oil painting filter.
Bone Fairies: Images of old chicken bones dug up by squirrels, cats and birds from home compost in my garden. These ‘meat eating remnants’ are not only exposed in scatterings of leaves. But also carried by squirrels onto old logs and other surfaces to sharpen their teeth on. Processed in a range of Topaz Studio basic adjustment and drawing filters to produce different illustration styles.
Summer Paintings: Summer photographs of my garden using different art painting styles in Topaz Studio to create different moods from the stillness of dawn and water to the turbulence of wind and searing heat.
Fishing Reflections: Uses a range of Topaz Studio art and AI filters to create different interpretations of found reflections of wire and bell cloches in a plastic bird bath.
Still Life: Painting styles from photographs of objects in my garden using Topaz Sharpening and art painting and drawing filters.
The Bell Jar: Dystopian science fiction images suggested by Topaz Studio AI filters of light and distortions through the plastic bell jars used to protect plants in my garden.
Gremlin Tales are a selection of tales based on sketchbook diaries and exercises 2020-2022. These are part of ongoing work towards a publication of graphic fiction tales exploring subjective experiences and imaginings in the context of ‘real’ events in my everyday life and global news disruptions of climate change, conflict and general political uncertainties and misinformation. Based on initial sketchbook drawings and notes from my armchair and in my garden I then start to develop selected images as more considered drawings, collage, solarplate and drypoint images have been enhanced to support subconscious surreal narratives through different scanning techniques and/or processing in DxO Silver FX and/or Topaz Studio. I also developed some of my notes into more developed flash and short fiction or poetry.
Life of Gremlin is based on impasto sketches with gesso, modelling paste and masking tape coloured by ink washes. These were then photographed and enhanced using Topaz Studio.
Garden of Paradise uses dampened and torn magazine paper collage pages in my sketchbook, photographed and enhanced blending Topaz Studio oil painting and charcoal sketch filters. A poem suggested by these images will be used as the basis for development of further imagery.
Rat Tales1 and 2 are based on pages in my sketchbook diary and a creative cut folded zine about invasions of rats in my garden during Lockdown.
Landscape in Red is a creative cut folded zine that suggested a dystopian landscape produced by flooding and global warming – produced before the dramatic real flooding and warming events on our TV screens in summer of 2022.
The Cat Next Door is an experimental portfolio based sketches, video and a short story about the arrival of our neighbour’s new cat during the fledging season in the spring of 2022. Photos of these were used as the basis for dry point and solar plate prints, some of which were then further photographed and developed in Topaz Studio. These experiments suggest a range of image-making approaches that will be further developed as new sequential illustrations for the final text.
The Plastic Hedgehog: Illustrations for a short story about disappearing hedgehogs in my garden. Line drawings and photographs with Topaz art filters.
Everyday is a Life Experiment: Collage and mixed media images from my Sketchbook Diary 2021-2022 charting my everyday thoughts in response to everyday events and the TV news. In some cases these respond to prompts from a random selection of photographs by Elliott Erwitt that are found on many of the pages in this particular diary.
But this is still very much a work in progress both in terms of actual content and how it might be presented as a book or moving image work in one or more styles. There are also many more tales in my notes that are yet to be developed even to this stage. Obviously part of a lifelong experimentation practice.
Home Movies is a series of animations and creative video narratives about the experiences of everyday life in my home, garden and the street where I live.
They experiment with different moving images approaches:
Love, Life and Death in the Kitchen is a series of stop motion animations of kitchen and household items, sometimes humorous but also depicting violence and feelings of frustration at the powerlessness of much of everyday life.
Quick-time Tales experiment with rotoscope animation and video of different animals in my garden. Creation Art and Video Effects templates for After effects mimic comic animation and family videos, but also convey different moods from nostalgia for squirrels that may have died to comic tales of cartoon cats.
Walking in Fragments explores different fragmentary experiences of walking down my ‘Anywhere Street’ based on hyperlapse and SloMo iPhone footage and photographs at different times of the year.