December 8, 2013
November 17, 2013
These were made by one of my course participants after our pen & ink sessions. They are particularly heartening because she had a hard time getting a handle on the medium most of the session. Then right in the last 5 minutes she totally ‘got’it. The next week she came in with these sketches from a recent outing. Aren’t they lovely.
The last session this season, we combined collage and oil pastel to create a drawing from our imagination. We leafed through magazines for pictures which suggested a story, cut those out, then pasted them on white paper and worked into them with oil pastels. The results were free and colourful.
November 9, 2013
It seems like some of my best drawings happen during demonstrations for my ‘Creative Drawing’ class. We worked on reflections recently. I wanted them to get a feel for ink line combined with wash tones; and silver shiny objects seemed to lend themselves to this. It was a complex assignment, but they did really well. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of their work this time.
The next week, to continue with the technique and work on perspective as well, we worked from old IKEA catalogues. They chose an interior or part of one, to draw, then work with in pen and ink and wash.
This chair was a nice challenge, and since in the first lesson I emphasised loose, rather non-chalant application of strokes and wash, I wanted to demonstrate with the chair that pen and ink wash work can get detailed and precise if wished. The teapot was done quite quickly and directly. The chair was built up out of light, then subsequently darker layers of wash which were left to dry between layers. It took the better part of an hour.
If you keep a sketch book or are interested in trying these for yourself, they are nice exercises. In this first demo below, I let the wash bleed as I added subsequent layers.
You might find that the tendency with this technique is to blend too much or begin ‘scrubbing’ the paper. Try to avoid this and work staccato, leaving out too much detail and applying cleanly separated areas of grey. Where there is a subtle gradation from light to dark, you could add some wash while the first layer is wet. But for the velvety sharp darks which define the silvery surface, it is better to let previous layers dry before adding the darkest tones.
Have an extra clean damp brush at hand to soak up unwanted sharp edges if necessary.
I used India ink, but Pelikan fount india is also nice, and normal fountain pen ink can give some unexpected effects by breaking up into blue or green tints when water is added.
I briefly worked into the bottom cup drawing with coloured pencil. This technique forms a great base for multi-media work.
November 1, 2013
Rende, my husband has designed 3 books of his photography and has had them reproduced. They are one-offs and they are gorgeous in themselves as well as being beautifully reproduced.
And here you can see LEAVES.
Here you can look through BOATS .
And here is the one on DOORS and WINDOWS from his recent trip to France.
October 25, 2013
We’ve forgotten what a hobby was. It was sewing, crafting, drawing, for the pleasure of it alone.
Maybe once in awhile a friend or neighbour offered to buy our latest crochet project for a little money. We made things in our spare time at our own tempo. We kept making stuff which got given away or sold for a charity or sold so we could buy more supplies. It was a natural cycle of enjoyment, energy invested and a kind of gentle return on that. Sometimes it involved money, but it was about appreciation as well, and exchanging new techniques or materials with others.
Now every human with two hands and a knitting needle has dollar signs in her eyes it seems. Our society’s obsession with business has invaded even this homely domain. Now our knitter makes a ‘product’. In order to sell, she needs a logo, a label, a website, an Etsy store. She needs to be a good photographer to take images of her work to promote it. She must work the social sites, keep up with her Etsy contacts to make sure her work gets featured on others’ blogs, keep up with her networking. She needs to fill orders, set up an online payment system. She needs to become a good postal worker and get her products in the mail on time. The administration has to be done well and regularly. And soon she has to face it- she isn’t a knitter anymore, she is a retailer or depending on the product, a wholesaler. Her arm is hurting from staying up doing all that knitting to fill orders. Should she hire someone to do the drudge work?
Good grief, people. Keep your hobbies hobbies! Keep part of yourself off line and out of the marketplace.
Here is my latest creation from my hobby of crocheting- fully copied from delightful Lucie’s generously shared instructions.
And it is so not for sale.
Oh, but if you are interested, let’s see, it took around 5 hours, at 35 euros an hour- that will be 175 euros, thanks.
And, no, I can’t make 12 more.
October 8, 2013
This painting was started in the spirit of a 37 minute one, with the intention of working into it.
I enjoyed using the same fast approach, avoiding too much polishing. The discipline here is to find the balance between getting it ‘Right’ and letting it be. When you are limited by a 37 minute deadline with no opportunity to go back and correct, there is a better chance of a raw but honest painting. The catch when I do allow myself to work into it, is to let things that are ‘wrong’ stand anyway in service to the whole. But there are degrees of ‘wrong’, so as usual, it is an ongoing discovery process.
This one was painted over a strongly textured painting I’d done years ago, I liked working on that rough surface and how it influences the overall texture.
I learned something important from working with Jovica Veljovic, type designer and calligrapher. He advised, when working on a piece of calligraphic text, to not try to make too perfect letters when you start the piece. That way, if anything went wrong later, it wouldn’t jump out so much. If there were irregularities in the strokes, let them be there. In that way, all the little natural flaws would add up to a consistent looking whole.
Trying to make too beautifully perfect letters usually results in dead work. But allowing imperfections makes personal, alive pieces. Eventually, I have found, all the small quirks in one’s own writing form a unique visual vocabulary and over time, infuse the work with one’s own signature.
It is the same with painting.
September 29, 2013
Pierre Bonnard La salle a manger a la campagne Source
In 1998, the London Tate had a comprehensive show of Pierre Bonnard’s paintings. Looking at the catalogue I see that the exhibition filled no less than 10 rooms. I remember moving through these rooms being immersed in the wonderful colours of these paintings.
I bought the accompanying book of the exhibition , ‘Bonnard colour and light’ by Nicholas Watkins and have recently come back to it. There is a curious item in the section on Bonnard’s language of colour describing how the artist felt about his palettes:
For Bonnard a palette did more than establish a colour scheme and an overall tonality of a painting; it was in a sense an embryo painting. Pictorial ideas would develop out of his responses to the actual colours put down on the palette. …On a studio visit in 1943, André Giverny noted that he kept a separate plate, an improvised palette, for each painting. ‘Why destroy a series of ideas which could be useful?’, Bonnard observed.
The idea of establishing a palette as a tool for determining the tone of a painting was new to me. I’d been wanting to adapt some of Bonnard’s glowing warm/cool contrasts to one of my next fruit bowl paintings, hopefully breaking me out of my fixation (in my oil painting work at any rate) with reproducing colours realistically.
This is the acrylic underpainting. (This painting was completed, by the way, before I started the 37 minute series, and already has some of their freshness.)
The next stage was completed fairly quickly and left a bit rough without reworking it.
Completed painting below- looks like it loses a little a little strength perhaps, partially due to different lighting when shooting the photos.
I wanted to capture the blue glass bowl and reflections.