January = Creative Time

So, here we are in January scuttering back to work but oddly enough it’s one of my favourite months. Being the first month of a brand new year, January gives me renewed focus and an excuse to try out new techniques (in other words a month where I feel no guilt about spending more time on creative projects and less time on administrative and business tasks!)

clay men by Lawrence Epps

Clay Commuting Men by Lawrence Epps

For those of us living in Edinburgh, another bonus about January is that the National Galleries of Scotland  mount a beautiful Turner exhibition. The extensive collection of paintings was bequeathed to the Gallery with instructions that they must be ‘exhibited to the public all at one time, free of charge, during the month of January’ and this has been faithfully adhered to for over 100 years.

As its normally abstract expressionism that inspires me, I find visiting the Turner exhibition each year a great way of shifting my ‘normal’ way of thinking to considering other ideas.

Butting blocks of solid flat colour against each other is something I will never tire of as the energy that is created between two sparring colours or indeed the harmonious marriage of related colours discovering each other is an infinite source of enjoyment for me. However, the pure romanticism of the Turner paintings with their semi-transparent colour washes capturing stunning moods across the paper, or as Johannes Itten described as “a psychio-expressive medium to lend mood to a landscape” made me think about translucent colours and colour gradation.

air colour gradation

As you know, colour gradation has been a popular trend over the last year and  Danish brand Hay have designed stunning textiles using this technique. You will probably have noticed shop windows filled with clothes in colour gradations and teenagers adorning ‘dip dyed’ hair.

Shop window, London So with this in mind and with the plan to have some textiles woven by one of our  fabulous mills in Scotland (and there are many with incredible craft men and woman producing staggeringly high quality textiles), I am currently working on designs with gradients punctuated by solid beams of colour. It’s early days and I am still at a messy creative stage in the process but that’s what January is all about.

My etsy shop is now up and running as is unifiedspace on facebook and pinterest and I have an alternative blog, nikispace, for those short on time and  just looking for a picture rather than words – I told you I was having fun in January!

Photo taken in the Rolf Sachs 'Journey of an Ink Drop' exhibition

Photo taken in the Rolf Sachs ‘Journey of an Ink Drop’ exhibition

14 thoughts on “January = Creative Time

  1. So THAT’S what you’ve been up to with your textiles! Sounds a beautiful combination of ethereal and stop-your-heart with the punctuation mark of solid colour. Can’t wait to see it. And visit your new wee home for the time poor but in need of inspiration/beauty fix.


  2. Interesting! Glad you can play, and the stipulation of an annual Turner exhibit is a good idea – too many bequeathed works sit in storage. I can understand how it would be a nice counterpart to thinking about current design. I enjoyed all the images, too.


    • Thank you for the thumbs up on the images. Coming from a photographer like you, I am very chuffed indeed.
      Yes, they bring the Turners out in January when the light is so low in order to keep them vibrant – a great idea and its a nice thing to look forward to as it feels like visiting old friends.


      • Chuffed! An English expression for sure. I like it. Are most of the Turners on the dark side anyway? I understand protecting the paintings but do they provide enough light in the galleries to see them well? Mmm, I’m just thinking about how cool it would be to see that show. I really love very abstract art (American 1960’s and up) the most, but certain other painters also resonate, and he’s one of them. And I imagine you lose so much in reproductions.


      • Well many of the water colours are actually quite light but have intense bursts of colour. They are very dramatic and yes, the gallery has lit them extremely well, they are a joy to feast ones eyes on.
        My favourite artists are Agnes Martin and John McCracken but adore Ben Nicholson’s abstract work too. There is so much inspiration out there isnt there!
        Have a great week behind your lens x


  3. A Turner exhibition, how wonderful, he is one of my favourite artists. Interestingly some of his later works and unfinished paintings have been recognised as a pre-cursor of abstract expressionism and had a huge influence on Rothko. Sounds like you are having fun, oh and thanks for telling me about the radio 4 drama it was really interesting, quite macabre and I am not sure if any of it happened or whether it was all a dream. I hope my night paintings don’t push me over the edge!! 🙂


    • Haha! I couldn’t stop thinking about your night series of paintings when I was listening to the play! 🙂
      I am very, very interested to hear about Turners later works and on that note I am going to re visit the exhibition (any excuse!) and I will delve deeper into this new knowledge – you are a fount of artistic information Sandra.


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