Concertina Uneven Fold


(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, Concertina IIWatercolour and graphite on paper.

This work evolved out of the former artist books I’ve been working on, using a concertina format.  The book becomes much more of an art object which is dispayed as is, rather than a book that requires you to participate by opening it up.  Also, the advantage of the concertina book is the inclusion of convex and concave corners which I can paint/draw around on a smaller scale than my large wall works.  I have been trying to extend the possibilities of drawing around corners in other ways now that I don’t have studio walls on which I can paint upon.

Have been scribbling away in my journal and sketching out some line drawings.  I have rediscovered the ruler and am enjoying its possibilities.  I haven’t worked with watercolours for so prolonged a period before and am finding them rewarding and challenging.  It is quite different from the acrlyics and oils I’m used to working in.  The colour mixing feels more complicated.

Here are a few recent drawings from my journal.

The ‘structures’ overlap and twist together and one is not sure which is in front and which is behind.  There is also a floaty quality which I am interested in entending.  They remind me somewhat of the drawings of Josef Albers.

Concertina and drawing

Ah yes drawing, I remember you.  Today, my lone studio day for this week, I was determined to be productive.  Thankfully it worked.  I took up my journal and started sketching and looking and drawing, and remembered drawing.  And how that has come to be important in visually investigating space.  It reminds me of Julie Mehretu’s work even more, although I haven’t been looking at her at all.

Anyway, above is a concertina booklet I made and Apple Peel’d all the way across.  An extention of the work I started last week going across pages.

I enjoy the contrast between the painterly watercolour and the ruled lines.

Below are some shorts of my additions to last week‘s book.



Up one page and down the other

I have been working on a few watercolours of late.  The contraints of having no studio walls to paint on have certainly challenged me a bit.  Full scale I like to paint around corners, so I am investigating this idea with the shapes I’ve been working with for some time now.  There’s more to make with cardboard boxes, but I wanted to do some watercolours also.  So I tore up some watercolour paper and sewed a small book.

A little sewing on the sewing machine and bam!  You have a purpose ‘built’ watercolour book.


I need to make a few more of these, experimenting with colour, page placement and documentation.  I love that they function as sort of sculpture and not a book with pages to be fliped-through.  All pages are meant to be viewed at once.  I could also look at the shape of the book.  There is no reason why it has to be rectangular.

Shapes in the alley


Here are some results from a brief photo shoot in a nearby alleyway.  I rather like alleyways.  Abandoned non-spaces.  There always such lovely colours and textures there.  It’s a funny space too, because although I think it’s probably public space (for local traffic) and it’s perfectly okay for me to be in there, it still feels a bit odd.  Almost private land, but not quite.

I acquired another box.  Mozel tov.  And I have a paintbrush just the right length to be able to fit inside and plaint shapes.  I think I will leave them white.  Love how the shapes are more hidden in this work.  And they are starting to detatch from each other.


This little number is making a comeback, after featuring in this earlier installation.  I think it’s interesting what happens if I start to play with shapes and lines on a polygon and mess around with perspective.  This may end up a larger work, with a number of polygons.


Here lies the finished Brown Cube.  As usual acrlyic paint posed some difficulties to me.  It’s just as well I like the painterly look.  But something else which effected colour quite a bit, was the fact that the base was white.  Next time, I think I’d start with a base of yellow or something else, and then paint the transparent colours over the top.

Brown cube, sorta – WIP

The summer approaches, and I am studioless.  Well, I am studioless, in that I don’t have a lovely flat white wall that I’m allowed to do art upon.  I am limited to what I can do at home, until I get a new studio next year when uni returns.  But, these contraints can often lead to developments in work, so I will just have to evolve.

In thinking about how I will miss my ‘white cube’ of a studio, I thought about other cubes and came to cardboard boxes.

And the shapes continue, for starters in white gesso.  I plan for bright colours, but of course I need a white undercoat.  Documenting this was just a thought… might lead to some white-only works.  The white is rather pleasing against the brown of the box.  But we shall see.  Colour to come, anyway.



House paint – it’s a revolution

It only took me 4 months (or something) to realise I should be using house paint.  I got some from the hardware store last night – why did it take me so long?
It goes on much more smoothly than what I had been using in previous installations.  Right tool for the job and all that.  The large triangular areas are house paint.  The shapes are artist acrylics.  This is a work in progress.  Needs a little more ‘looking’ and perhaps a few more shapes to the nebulous shape in the centre.

As is sometimes my custom, I had trouble with colour again.  Or at least, I thought I did.  Choosing for the shapes in the centre was hard.  But I sorted it, and I’m really pleased with the palette.  Part of my problem seems to be over-thinking.  It’s terribly hard to turn off my brain.

Woodgrain contact

Yep, I finally did.  I have been pondering woodgrain contact all semester.  What might I use if for?  Where can I get it from? etc.  And here we are.

It’s the larger Apple Peel that I wanted to try and in a limited palette. It’s a fabulous medium to work in and goes up really fast.  If I had boundless time, I would like to do more versions – try other colours, other contact, maybe some patterns.  Would also be interesting done horizontally in this large scale.  I wonder if it would start to look decorative and what I could do to prevent that.  Hmm.

Installation Complete – I think

I think I will call this finished.  It just seemed complete when I went into the studio this morning.  So I spent some time moving all my stuff out of the studio so I could document it properly.

Also, I had a shot at hanging a paint in the installation to see what would happen.
This is what happened.

Installation Work In Progress

I’m working on another installation in my studio at present.  Colour blocks of blue, green and pink.  I also have a template for a box on the wall in metalic green contact.  It’s been an interesting medium to work with.  I have to cut the strips myself, which is a bit more fiddly than just using a roll of electrical tape.  But it does give more flexibility than electrical tape, as I can easly make thinner strips.

I have a bit of a thing for line drawings, like those for box templates.  I have been printing them off and dreaming of putting them on walls, around corners and suck.  Ooo!!  I must spend some time making one on a convex corner.  I can perhaps commandeer such a corner in the hallway at the studios and try that out.  Putting a box template around a corner like that would be quite the thing! :)

The shapes for the shapes have again come from the sensor pads in the road.  Love looking as them as I walk to/from the train.  There’s some great ones of La Trobe St in the city that I just adore.  They have more lines.  Perhaps they will appear in a later work.

Have some more sitting and looking to do on this installation, which is a bit challenging, with only 4 weeks until assessment.  I feel like I have to be in a bit of a hurry to get a few more works done.  However, these types of works take a long time.  I will just keep plodding away.

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