ATV part 5 building a collection project 2 building a response: Artist Inspiration Carolyn Saxby

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Image 1: Images from Carolyn Saxby’s blog. All images are copyright to Carolyn Saxby

Carolyn Saxby is a mixed media artist from St. Ives. She uses a mix of collage, photography and textiles in her work and her main inspirations are the coastline, beaches, shells and the sea where she lives.

What really draws me into her work is her strong colour palette. A lot of her work is blue/turquoise/aqua and oranges and yellows which reminded me of the crab shells and fishing ropes I collected. The blue and orange work so well together and are representative of so many beach scenes: the sea and the sand; rusty, peeling paint of fishing boats; crab shells and fishing rope; seaweed and shells. Of course, I also live by the sea and it has always been a huge inspiration to me, so researching her work has given me a lot of varied ideas of what can be achieved with a coastal theme.

Carolyn employs a lot of different textures in her work using various fabrics, knitting techniques, paints, texture pastes, stitches, printing, weaving, and the heating and melting of fabrics and plastics. This gives her work a lot of depth and structure and a lot to explore when looking at it.Although a lot of techniques are employed, sometimes in the same piece, the work never looks too busy or crowded, it all blends together well to create the scene. I really like the fact that she incorporates real shells, netting and other pieces she finds on the beach into her work, as this, to me, brings the real inspiration and the artist’s recreation of the scene together.

I like the artist’s use of mono printing and collage to convey her coastline in a more abstract way, giving her lots more ideas and patterns to play with. I also like the way her sketchbooks are laid out and how she displays her work- lots of white space on each page, square sketchbooks, lots of collage, experiments and samples included. On her blog most of her images have been made square, like in her sketchbooks, and this brings a uniformity to her work. It looks professional, clean and well thought out. I find her work is easily recognizable on different forums such as pinterest because of her style, which I believe is a good thing; it stands out as hers.

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Image 2: Images from Carolyn Saxby’s blog. All images are copyright to Carolyn Saxby

Carolyn Saxby’s blog can be found here

Her Flicker account here

My Pinterest board of her work here

ATV part 5 building a collection project 2 building a response

Choosing a colour palette

There are lots of colours to choose from in my work so I need to narrow it down. The way I did this was to paint colour chips and see what went together and then I did some yarn wraps in the colours I had chosen.

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Seaweed greens
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Fishing net turquoise
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Fishing net rope turquoise, orange, black


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mussel shells, indigo, blue, grey


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 crab shell Orange
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Yarn Wraps for colour palette
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Yarn Wraps for colour palette
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Yarn Wraps for colour palette

The colours really popping for me are the seaweed greens, the turquoise/blue/green of the fishing net ropes, the orange of the crab shell, the orange and indigo of the crab shell and leg and the blues, indigos, purples of the mussel shells.

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Seaweed greens, mussel shell blues, fishing net turquoise, crab orange and indigo


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seaweed greens
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fishing net rope turquoise
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Mussel shell blues and purples
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crab shell orange
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colour palette

I’m undecided on the mussel shell colours at the moment but will definitely move forward with the green, turquoise and orange. I think the four colours go well together but is 4 colours too many??


ATV Part 5 Building a collection Option 1 strengthening a theme

I collected seaweed, sea shells, pieces of fishing net and pieces of dead crab from my local beach to do my observational drawings from. I drew the items individually and as still lifes.

I did quick pencil sketches, line drawings, detailed drawings, using pencil and pen. I did watercolour, coloured pencil and collage using gelli printed papers to create a range of images, colours and textures.

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Line drawings and colour pencil sketches

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Gelli printed papers used in collages

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Still life collages using gelli printed papers

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Still life collages using gelli printed papers

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At this point the shapes of the seaweed are what’s really standing out to me and the green of the seaweed, turquoise/blue of the fishing net and the orange of the crab shell. The orange and turquoise go really well together. I also like the indigo, blue and grey, white of the mussel shells.

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