After Hilma #1 (2022)


That I’d never heard of Hilma Af Klint before The Kick-About No.70 has left me soul-searching ever since… How’s it possible this fascinating artist has been otherwise invisible to me? I guess the answer to that is a largely depressing one – something along the lines of only victors getting to write the history books.

For my part, I was interested by the automatism aspect of Klint’s creative process, so looked at what my hand and brain likes to visualise while I’m supposed to be thinking about other things; so I looked again at the recent pages of my various diaries and journals, and what I scribble when I’m in all those interminable Zoom meetings. That done, I decided to produce further happenstance by layering up the doodles to produce as much texture as possible, and then went about reinstating the circle, in a nod to the more arcane aspects of Klint’s temple paintings.

Further inspired by the cosmology of Klint’s artwork, I just went on layering up my images to produce greater depth and expansiveness, and all the while imagined these images to be as least as big as Klint’s paintings, and likewise hanging in dark gallery spaces lit softly. I kept going back to an image as-and-when until I started to feel something ‘big’ and mysterious was getting started before me. Ultimately, not sure what I’ve produced, but I enjoyed ‘not knowing’ a great deal.




The Kick-About #70 ‘Hilma Af Klint’


Our last Kick-About together celebrated that deep-winter symbol of light-in-the-darkness, the Christmas tree. Our next creative foray (our first of 2023) is likewise exploring the desire for illumination, but with artist and mystic Hilma Af Klint as our muse. Enjoy this latest selection of new works made in a short time and also “Happy New Year!”.


Graeme Daly

“I have been yearning to do some traditional art lately, probably due to the fact that, during the Christmas break, my nieces and nephew received some arty presents. Here are some oil pastel drawings similar to some Irish sigils.” 


graemedaly.com graemedalyart.com / @graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog


Kerfe Roig

“As always I would have liked to do more, and these will be added to the pile for future further exploration. I always felt Hilma af Klint’s art was a searching for spirit.  She got involved in a lot of philosophy about it, but I think that, in the case of spirit, images and music will always get much closer to it than words or ideas.  I focused on circles, but the tension between geometry and essence is present in all her work.  I painted enso circles and then embroidered geometric lines and circles on top to try to capture some of that feeling.”


circled by spirit

doubled
vision—the same
circle in two places–
precision and surprise,
mirrored, random,
centered

oceans
of earth and fire,
floating transparencies,
waves repeating—ebb, flow–
footprints erased
by time


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Charly Skilling

“I was not sure, at first, how to respond to this prompt.  Some Kick-About prompts fire off a flurry of ideas, associations, visualisations… but not this one. Then I remembered a bag of cotton yarns I was given some years ago, but never found a really good use for. Normally my yarns are stored in gauze bags so I can see what’s in them at a glance, but I decanted these cottons into a denser cloth bag, so I could not see the colours.  I then plunged my hand in, drew out the first ball I touched and started crocheting with it. There was no plan, no judgement about colour suitability. I crocheted varying stitches, determined by whim and often realising I had  moved from one stitch to another without any real conscious thought. When I got bored, I changed yarn.  There was one ball of yarn that had come unravelled and got very tangled, and I  struggled to un-tangle it.  Then my son said “Just crochet the knots in”, so I did.  Each day I fastened off whatever I’d been working on and the next day started again with the next ball to emerge from the bag. Only as I approached the Kick-About deadline did I apply amy kind of critical editing, and then only to decide not to include a couple of sections. The whole process was helped by listening to a really good audiobook while I crocheted (a David Baldacci novel) and thereby diverting my conscious mind from too much busy-bodying about the work. So here it is. Make of it what you will!




James Randall

“This one just didn’t want to emerge from my 2022 puckered head! Hilma had her moment of glory in Australia in Sydney during the pandemic, so she’s well promoted if little actually seen. I feel her work morphs out of nature’s motifs, so my jumping-off point was the poinciana trees that line the local streets. The Madagascan natives have bright red and yellow pinwheel-shaped flowers (in full bloom at the moment) and almost fern-like foliage. I designed a graphic representation of its flower to begin with, along with the leaves, and then broke it down into its components and added local skies mirrored into grid-isolated forms, along with ‘dashed’ line graphics to reflect Hilma’s inclusion of line.  Left me feeling very hippy! Hello 2023.”



Gary Thorne

“Brava Hilma Af Klint in her organic, free flowing, richly-coloured magical forms. Regards KA70, I must say the result would make for the most infuriating 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Happy new year KA-ers.”  


linkedin.com/in/gary-thorne


Vanessa Clegg

“Well… happy new year to all Kick-Abouts. As the first challenge of 2023, this was a good one, tapping into the spontaneous aspect of Klint’s work, i.e. automatic writing. I threw my usual tight drawing style to the winds, closed my eyes, imagined figures and animals – and started. What resulted led me to think this could be a weekly exercise that reminds me of art school years in the life drawing room where we’d be asked to draw whilst only looking at the model and not the paper, which is an excellent test of observation. The ‘painting’ is my first go at laying down watercolour or ink and folding the paper over… Again, no control and something to be continued.”


vanessaclegg.co.uk


Phil Gomm

“That I’d never heard of Hilma Af Klint before this prompt has left me soul-searching ever since… How’s it possible this fascinating artist has been otherwise invisible to me? I guess the answer to that is a largely depressing one – something along the lines of only victors getting to write the history books. For my part, I was interested by the automatism aspect of Klint’s creative process, so looked at what my hand and brain likes to visualise while I’m supposed to be thinking about other things; so I looked again at the recent pages of my various diaries and journals, and what I scribble when I’m in all those interminable Zoom meetings. That done, I decided to produce further happenstance by layering up the doodles to produce as much texture as possible, and then went about reinstating the circle, in a nod to the more arcane aspects of Klint’s temple paintings. Further inspired by the cosmology of Klint’s artwork, I just went on layering up my images to produce greater depth and expansiveness, and all the while imagined these images to be as least as big as Klint’s paintings, and likewise hanging in dark gallery spaces lit softly. I kept going back to an image as-and-when until I started to feel something ‘big’ and mysterious was getting started before me. Ultimately, not sure what I’ve produced, but I enjoyed ‘not knowing’ a great deal!”



philgomm.com


Marion Raper

“I find abstract works very interesting, but unfortunately my type of artistic style seems to over complicate things. Having left things until New Years Eve, I decided to make a start by attempting to imitate Hilma’s ‘flower abstract’ and read that she was also a bit of a mystic. I used some of my ink and bleach backgrounds and decided to cut out some contrasting flower shapes from an old catalogue. It was a complete surprise to learn that they we’re called Petunia Grandiflora Mystical Midnight Gold. How spooky! Happy New Year to one and all!”



Now that Christmas 2022 is done and dusted you might be thinking, ‘Phew, no more gift-wrapping!’

Um, about that…



Christmas Tree #2 (2022)


And so, making full use of the strange, empty room in the middle of our small, cold house, I set about recreating another semblance of the Christmas tree for our room-without-one. A few little lights tied to a long drop of black thread later, and I set about manifesting this Fritz Lang-meets-James Whale-style Christmas tree (in response to The Kick-About No.69) and enjoyed all the old-school sci-fi spook of it. In some of them, there’s even the ghost of some mid-20th century Americana in-the-mix, in large part due to those masking-tape atom-age snowflakes I stuck to the wall on a whim.



Christmas Tree #1 (2022)


One of the places in the house you might expect to encounter the simple delights of a Christmas tree (the prompt for The Kick-About No.69) is positioned just so beside a warming fire… Unfortunately, my house of late has been in a state of disarray, plastic dust sheets covering the furniture, the stove disconnected, and everywhere looking a touch forlorn and far from festive.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but notice the way all those plastic drapes brought a Narnian frost to this empty space in the middle of the house and was suitably inspired one exceptionally drab afternoon to create a winter wonderland, complete with frosted cones of pine trees (or rather plastic sheets suspended from the ceiling using black sewing thread and some drawing pins).

With the addition of some tiny coloured lights sat atop the trees like stars (and the magical powers of long exposure photography), I was able to produce a few festive scenes, however unpromising the starting point…


The Kick-About #69 ‘The Christmas Tree’


Our last Kick-About celebrated an art form and creative practice form more readily associated with home and hearth, and while not everyone may identify as being as creative as quilt-maker, Harriet Powers, it’s also true that Christmas is a time when many people assume the role of installation artist and transform their living spaces into something more extraordinary. Consider the Christmas tree, a simple enough idea of evergreen hope and light-in-the-darkness, but complex too in terms of issues of matters of tradition, culture and taste. With the season of goodwill fast approaching, enjoy this latest selection of new works made in a short time, and with the Christmas tree – in all its creative incarnations – as this week’s inspiration.


Tom Beg

“I have more lasting memories of my mum’s attempts at putting together artisanal and minimalistic Christmas trees (a few twigs with some baubles hanging on) than I do of a proud-looking pine or spruce in the corner of the living room. Thinking back those twigs were actually impressively avant-garde and experimental in the all the ways I wish I could be, so here’s my ode to one of mum’s many avant-garde trees.”


twitter.com/earthlystranger / vimeo.com/tombeg / tombeg.com


Kerfe Roig

“I wanted to make a cosmic tree–and I made three that were supposed to stand up, but they were very hard to photograph that way. So for most of the photos I took them apart and laid them flat.  I used various grounds you may recognise from past projects. I was also thinking of the EE Cummings poem Little Tree and did my own cosmic version.”


big universe

1
big universe
vast and filled with wonder
endless and infinite
everything all at once

2
how is it we are here?–
looking up, far, into infinity–
we stand inside the glitter of dust
seeking to capture the stars

3
a seed was planted–
a long sleep surrounded by a dark womb–
an unformed dream
awakened into manifestation

4
we hold our children close
and then release them–
what will their spirits carry
when they open to the light?

5
will there ever be an ending?
a time when particles cease to wave?–
we can only hold hands with the spiral
and continue dancing


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Charly Skilling

“When I was growing up, everything about Christmas decorations was either handmade or used year after year after year.  The Christmas tree (all 2 ft 6 of it) spent 50 weeks of the year resting quietly in the soil of our back garden. Then, a week before Christmas, Dad would go out, dg it up, re-plant it in a tall wooden planter kept specially for that purpose. The tree then took pride of place in the bay window in the front room so it could be seen from the street.

Dad and the older boys would wrangle the tree lights into working order, whilst we younger children made yards and yards and yards of paper chains, plus a small mountain of paper lanterns.  The paper chains would be strung around the middle room (the family room, less likely to be viewed by discerning visitors, I realised when I was older!), and the best of the paper lanterns would hang on the tree amongst the home-made angels, card and glitter stars, and the twelve precious glass baubles that only the most responsible and well-behaved of us were allowed to handle. (No, I don’t think I ever made the grade!). Crepe paper streamers curled amongst the branches and a sprinkling of ‘Angel Hair’ and our tree was complete!

I really miss making those paper chains and paper lanterns, while all around the buzz and hustle of Christmas preparations rose to a steady crescendo… to the moment the lights lit up the finished tree and the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ of a wondrous content settled the room into quiet… Shortly followed by a collective groan as the tree lights flickered once more – and went out!”



Vanessa Clegg

“As I missed the Harriet Powers prompt I wanted to do a small overlap with this one, so have done more stitching. This is really a fantasy of my ideal ‘get away’ Christmas… in a forest somewhere North, sitting out in the snow in the soft, muffled silence that pre-empts the opening of the curtains and seeing all that’s familiar negated in white. The sense of being at one with the elements, smelling the conifers and burning wood, the chilled skin and numbing fingers, a deer in the distance… but eventually returning to the warmth of the cabin, a small silver tree, wine and a sleeping cat. Happy Christmas fellow kick abouts – may it be one of peace and warmth.”


vanessaclegg.co.uk


Phil Cooper

“When I was a kid I remember there were particular things I used to dread about Christmas; endless meals with extended family, carol singing, being stuck in the house being made to play with cousins I didn’t get on with. But there were marvellous things too; brightly coloured decorations, fairy lights, beautiful cards and wrapping paper, the foil wrappers of sweets and toffees, and a fabulous, six foot  tinsel tree that came out every year. At any other time, such a preposterous, garish and tacky-looking thing wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the carefully controlled space of the living room, but, for some reason, Christmas meant you could cover everything in technicolour glitter – I loved it!

For my response this week I took a few wooden tree ornaments that sit on the windowsill and photographed them with coloured lighting, editing the photos to try and evoke a bit of that lost childhood Christmas wonder, seen through the eyes of my jaded 57-year-old adult self.”


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Phil Gomm

“One of the places in the house you might expect to encounter the simple delights of a Christmas tree is positioned just so beside a warming fire… unfortunately, my house of late has been in a state of disarray, plastic dust sheets covering the furniture, the stove disconnected, and everywhere looking a touch forlorn and far from festive.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but notice the way all those plastic drapes brought a Narnian frost to this empty space in the middle of the house and was suitably inspired one exceptionally drab afternoon to create a winter wonderland, complete with frosted cones of pine trees (or rather plastic sheets suspended from the ceiling using black sewing thread and some drawing pins).

With the addition of some tiny coloured lights sat atop the trees like stars (and the magical powers of long exposure photography), I was able to produce a few festive scenes, however unpromising the starting point…



“… and making full use of this strange, empty room of ours, I set about recreating another semblance of the Christmas tree for our room-without-one. A few of those same little lights tied to a long drop of black thread later, and I set about manifesting this Fritz Lang-meets-James Whale-style tree, and enjoyed all the old-school sci-fi spook of it. In some of them, there’s even the ghost of some mid-20th century Americana in-the-mix, in large part due to those masking-tape atom-age snowflakes I stuck to the wall on a whim…”



“… and finally, like the little match girl herself, I popped outside into the bitter cold and dark, and snapped a few images of our ‘Christmas tree’ as it might appear to curious kids and dog-walkers, as the green glow of it flashed in the long night.

To all the Kick-Abouters, wishing you a wonderful, restful and creative Christmas. I rather cherish your company and the balm of your imaginations and when my husband spies me on a chair, whirling coloured lights about the room, and says ‘What now?’ I reply, gladly, ‘The Kick-About made me do it!'”


philgomm.com


Marion Raper

“As usual these last few weeks before Christmas become more and more frantic. We seem to spiral into a whirlwind of parties, present buying and food planning. However, there is still the calmness of the Christmas tree.  A symbol of new life and dating back to pagan times to brighten the darkness of the winter. So Merry Christmas to all who contribute to the Kick About.  May your Christmas Tree shine brightly and light the way to a happy and creative New Year.”



Gary Thorne

Last year’s KA ‘The night before Christmas…’ rang loud in the ear so, it seemed appropriate incorporating this into the pendulum bauble. Perhaps a wrecking ball to some? Perhaps chaos which settles through gravity? Perhaps a fragile sphere risking self-destruction? Or more simply an upbeat swing containing seasonal cheer? Happy holidays KA-ers.”


linkedin.com/in/gary-thorne


James Randall

After the quilt KA I was still on a photograph-pattern high so I thought I’d have a go at animating them. When I jumped into the software I found the kaleidoscope setting, which I applied to some of my Brisbane photos. All happened quite quickly and then it came to making a tree out of the patterns – quite quick also. Then in adding a Christmas message and creating a soundtrack it all got a bit quagmire-ish but I kind of finished it and discovered another effect along the way. Hope your Christmases and New Years are full of good cheer. Looking forward to seeing your big beautiful ideas in’23 and thanks for being so inspiring in ’22.



And as we contemplate the opaque horizons of a brand new year, why not let the mystic visions of abstract art pioneer, Hilma Af Klint, light the way towards inner contentment and existential equilbrium! Until then, wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas. Be seeing you again in 2023.



Throwback Friday #135 Albert Street, December 3rd


Not throwing back too far this week, only as far as last weekend, which saw ‘the great switch-on’ of the Albert Street Christmas lights. This year, we inherited a much longer stretch of icicles, hence the festive wrap around of our little end-of-terrace house. There were homemade mince-pies, mulled wine and, this being Whitstable, a bitterly cold wind blowing in off the sea.



The Kick-About #68 ‘Harriet Powers’


In common with the quilts of Harriet Powers, our previous Kick-About was inspired by works of art comprising fragments and scraps, brought together to impressive and thought-provoking effect. While Powers’ quilts are smaller, simpler things, they are no less arresting, more so for their scarcity and testament to the act of making as an act of living.


Gary Thorne

“Plans to hook a rug, in response to Harriet Powers breathtaking quilts, soon shifted to questioning what ideas might be important enough to labour over an unfamiliar technique. Using the week’s radio as source material, with some pretty depressing news throughout, a naive form of expression developed from making quick responses, producing what could be considered ‘stage one’ of a process promoting that which affects our daily lives. Perhaps stage two might be continue making daily responses, and exploring different artistic techniques for each image. Thanks for a thought provoking KA.” 


linkedin.com/in/gary-thorne


Graeme Daly

“I originally planned to rely solely on the images of the patchwork of childhood blankets and pillowcases, but sadly they are long gone. However, much like a patchwork, I decided to chop up various elements into a sort of hodgepodge – some from other sewn blankets found at my home in Ireland. and then adding little drawn elements over the top.”


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James Randall

“I have recently taken photos around the Brisbane river where some bridges are being built. I’d like to paint a picture based on them so when this challenge came about I began creating a computer illustration. I was going to fill the illustration shapes with fabric textures like I did in a previous challenge. Then I got the challenge spirit and decided to design a quilt using some other Brisbane environs photos mirrored and repeated to create patterns in place of real fabric textures. I love looking into the patterns close up to see buildings or lizards or mangroves… The image is titled “dogman” – the person directing a crane’s movement from outside of the crane cabin. The colour palette changed dramatically over the design before I settled on colours sampled from the original construction photos. Fun challenge, thank you Charly.”



Kerfe Roig

“I know these quilts, but I never examined them closely before. So little history about their making or their maker is available, but they speak loudly for themselves. I was immediately drawn to the symbols – “sun moon hand eye circle snake” – that would fit easily into a circular form.  (The birds need their own story, which I had no time for this week.)  I thought of Penny Rugs, made of felt circles, and put together a grouping of my own appliqued felt circles in the earthy colors of the quilts.  I don’t have a large enough piece of fabric in any color at the moment to sew them on, but photographed them on three possibilities: white and black paper, and the wooden floor to represent the camel color.  Each has its own feeling and I’m not sure yet what I would choose. With six words to work with, I meant to do a sestina, but only completed the first stanza.  As so often occurs with my projects, to be continued…”


sun moon hand eye circle snake


we grow wings, awaiting the return of the sun
as branches and leaves dance patterns over the moon–
invisible roots weave themselves through our hands
and become imprinted inside our eyes–
alert to the gaps in the circle,
we lie still, glittering like coiled snakes


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Marion Raper

“The wonderful thing about patchwork is the memories that it evokes.  I have many pieces of patchwork I have made over the years and the different scraps of material I have used reminds me of so many old friends and places, and, of course, family. For example – a faded purple cotton square on a cushion always reminds me of a kind administrator friend who allowed me to go to a patchwork course during my usual working day and make up the time later.  Then some recycled red check gingham takes me straight back to see my children happily playing in the summer, and a paisley pattern from a skirt gives me memories of a lovely holiday abroad. The list is endless but one of my favourites is the Japanese Boro cushion I made during lockdown. I can understand how Harriet Powers was transported from her situation and found solace in creating applique stories from her heritage with which we can still empathise today.”



Phil Gomm

“What with one thing or another, I struggled to get this finished – and likewise the Kick-About No.68 more generally – and this short story isn’t finished, if not from want of trying. I knew right away I wanted to write a new story when I saw the narrative quilts of Harriet Powers. I also worried about writing a short story on themes of slavery, so gave time to research and no small amount of hand-wringing about voice and characterisation. Add into the mix some disrupted work patterns, some mild sleep deprivation, and a house at sixes and sevens, and the conditions for getting this story over the line were a bit suboptimal (and there must be something in the ether, as a number of the usual KA-ers have felt similarly stymied or out of time!). Anyway, I wanted to share something at least, so here are the first few pages of something currently entitled Abigail’s Quilt; there are more pages than this, none of them good, as it turns out you can’t make a story ‘be finished’ when it’s ‘not finished’, but when it is complete, I’ll put it out there. Thematically, I was drawn to the idea of patchworks as being a way to talk about individuals cut from one background and stitched onto new ones and how the identity of someone is an ensemble of beliefs, a composite. Oh yeah, and there’s some lurking dread and strangeness too!”


You can read a PDF version here.

philgomm.com


And so, in keeping with all the sentiment of the season, enjoy these nostalgic prompts of living rooms and their accompanying Christmas trees. Ho ho ho.