Monday, 5 September 2016




   Like many of you, I found Pierneef a very difficult artist to interpret. I have a visceral dislike of his work, the reason for which I find very difficult to understand and had a lot of difficulty in choosing a work. I loathed his paintings on first sight and could not find any that inspired me, so I finally settled on this  linocut, which appears to be the cover of a book of children's verse. I prefer the stylized passionflowers to the endless washed out  landscapes, trees, and skies of his paintings. I chose to make print blocks from some line drawings of borage flowers from our garden, and printed them in white on black. I was disappointed with the fabric paint I used as it was too liquid and as a consequence the prints are more gray than white.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Corfe Castle as Pierneef might have painted it

As most of you felt, Pierneef was heavily influenced by trees and skies.  I was torn between the two and started off with a tree version in mind.  However, you can see the sky version won out.

It has been a bit of a journey in that I wrongly started off drawing on the sky colours in one of the paintings which were brooding and dramatic but we have had lovely sunny blue skies down here just recently and out driving one day I had a light-bulb moment that it should be a 'happy' picture - a bit like the posters of the early days of the railways advertising the glories of the seaside.  I now have a bag of enough bits of sky for another piece!

Corfe Castle is a ruined castle about 10 miles away and a great favourite with the grandchildren who rush up the hill and clamber all over the fallen stones.  It seemed the perfect silhouette for the dramatic sky.  My one regret is that I used the wrong colour thread to stitch the pieces of the castle down...

Sky inspired by this painting.

Foreground inspired by this painting in that the lines and shapes are simplified.

I enjoyed this challenge but honestly had no idea what I was going to do when I choose Pierneef.  I realise it has been a real struggle for some of you and I thank you for sticking it out and coming up trumps. 


Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Pierneef's obsession of trees was a good starting point along with his subtle painted backgrounds. I painted a satin fabric using Aqua Bricks, love the result! A large tree I photographed while in Hawaii was my reference while thread painting this piece using a variety of 7 threads. I mounted this on a stretched canvas (a first for me).


On going through Pierneef images over and over again all I could see were trees and more trees.  I must admit his clouds were the one aspect that I thought were really eye-catching.  To digress, four of us went off to spend a week in Clarens a really small, very arty village right on the border of Lesotho where they were holding a mini-quilt festival. They have no large supermarkets, no banks, mainly art galleries and restaurants - an artists paradise.  While we were there we took a short road trip through the Golden Gate National Park and took a lot of photographs of the very different and beautiful mountain scenery.  On returning home I found this piece that Pierneef painted and decided there and then I was not going to do trees, but actually found that amongst the photographs I had taken the mountains were very similar to this piece of his work.  I tried to find out where he had painted this piece or what it was called but was not able to establish either so this is the piece I was inspired by below.  I did not use his colours but used the colours that are in my photographs, as somehow these seem more realistic/appealing.


Baobab Tree

Was this not a challenge and a half.  After a lot of procrastinating I decided to go with a photo of mine as my subject matter which fits in with the artist but would quilt it in the style of some of his paintings. My pic is this one of a Baobab tree taken while we were in Dar es Salaam.

My two Pierneef pics are .....

My piece is the following .......

This is a whole cloth painted with Derwent Intense Inks.Easy  dot tool used for the leaves on the tree. Quilted and then I went in with Markal/Shiva sticks to create the shading amongst the quilting. It has not worked as well as I would have liked but it was a risk worth playing with. It also definitely looks a lot softer in real life.  In a funny way I actually do like it.

Boxes ticked, but ...

I did my homework, I picked out those elements of Pierneef's work that seemed relevant - his trees, his colours, his reference to maths (OK so I pushed this a bit and used Penrose tiling!) but the end result doesn't appeal at all.

In fulfilling my tick list I failed to achieve a focal point or create some contrast in any of the design elements. I created this piece with my mind, not my heart and it shows!

I seem to be spending way too long reviewing the whole catalogue of works of the selected artist looking for something on which to base my quilt. I'm going to have to find a different approach - how do you work?


This was not an easy artist for me to interpret ,despite having lived in SA and studied his art in the past.
I found his colours 'faded' and bland . He definitely placed emphasis on clouds and trees and so I chose a painting of his which enabled me to interpret both these elements . I used colours which I had in my wool collection as i decided to use the free motion quilting technique ,using wool as the thread to be couched .
The background was first painted so that I knew where the clouds would be . I did the wool design on the clouds before appliquéing the mountains and trees and then did FM couching on these .
I am not sure whether I really like the end result .

A Bit of Fun with Pierneef: Holstein Heaven

I find Pierneef's work somber, imposing and even ominous, so the title of this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek. Pierneef doesn't seem like a fun kind of guy.

Composition in Blue, Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef

I chose one of his paintings, Composition in Blue, from 1928, and focused in on the lower right corner, which gave me a simple little motif to work with that still represented his approach to landscape.

Composition in Blue, Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef (detail)

My first inclination was to duplicate the colours that he had chosen, and I got as far as selecting appropriate hand-dyed cottons.

hand-dyed cottons that match colours in painting

But that seemed a bit slavish. Where was the originality in that? I must admit I wasn't all that taken with the work of Pierneef, so I took some liberties and produced something in black-and-white patterned fabrics instead:

Holstein Heaven, 16 x 16

I happened to have some cotton printed with Holstein cattle so I cut them out and added them for a whimsical twist. A nod to the rolling pastoral landscape, complete with sheep and cattle, that I recently enjoyed in Shropshire with Hilary and other members of 12 by the dozen.

Pierneef in NZ

After a lot of thought I decided to try capture some of the essence of Pierneef's stye, rather than take a specific picture as inspiration, and imagine what he might have painted if he had visited New Zealand during his life.  This was also driven by the overwhelming feel of vast landscapes in his work, a feeling I had experienced at first hand during our three month tour of NZ.  I was influenced mainly by three of his pictures, and decided the sky had to be a major factor, together with a feeling of looking into the distance and seeing the landscape draw you in.  I chose one of my own photographs from our trip, increased the sky area and simplified the foreground.  I have used screen prints of the flower of the NZ flax to frame the picture, in the same way as Pierneef used the trees, but now think I should have used a more contrasting colour.

Here are the three paintings that inspired me, and my own photograph from NZ.



Pier Neef Trees

I suspect that many of us will have zeroed in on Pier Neef's trees. At least I did. Based on the lithograph Doringboom en Veld, I created a silk screen of the tree and printed it onto some batik fabric after several unsuccessful attempts at painting the background fabric.  The trees are machine quilted, and the small houses and trees are freehand machine stitched as well.

Storm Clouds

One of the things that captured my attention in Pierneef's paintings was his use of clouds - they really seem to dominate the landscape.  And of course, so do his trees.   So the painting that I chose to use as an influence is A Farmhouse, Naboomspruit.

Below is a variation using my cottage but maintaining the cloudy skies that were so dominant in his other paintings.  It's the middle of summer here and so I tried ice dyeing with very poor effect.  This piece was sitting at the bottom of the tray to pick up stray dye and was the best of the lot.

Through the windshield on the way to the cottage. 

Friday, 26 August 2016

So long and hello again

'So long' to Heather who has been with us on this 7 year journey from the beginning.  You have contributed so much to the group with your work but also your insightful comments.  Thank you, Heather.  I am sure the others all join me in wishing you much success as you forge a new direction in your art.  Please stay in touch and let us know how you are getting on.

A message from Heather:
Since joining 12 by the dozen, a few months after the group began, I have been inspired by the challenges we have set for ourselves, and warmed by the friendships we have forged. My most recent series, almost five years running, began as a response to the challenges in our first set, including “Street Life”, “Steps” and “Fine Living”. At this point I would like to focus on finding a new path and a new series, and I need to give this my whole attention. Of course I will continue to follow the merry adventures of 12 by the dozen on the blog. Thanks to all of you for your always-kind encouragement and support. Having the chance to get to know each one of you, whether on-line or at our wonderful get-togethers, has meant a great deal to me. 

And 'Hello again' to Venetta.  Welcome back Venetta.  It is lovely to have you back and in such good health.  I see Linda F has posted her chosen artist so you will be able to jump right in with Charles Sheeler (must go and do some research as I haven't heard of him either).

For those of our group who are newish, Venetta was one of the founder members but left to recuperate after health problems and Venetta, you will see we have a few new members as well but you won't have met Patricia (Joburg, South Africa) and Rosemary her sister in New Zealand, Michele in Montreal and Jinnie who lives in Paris. 

So now I will have to go into the website and up the statistics again!