Monday, 26 June 2017

Module 6 Chapter 3

Pen and Ink Drawing.

I have taken a few photographs in Forge Valley and am about due to go and take some more showing the change in the scenery for summer.  These drawings are based on what I took earlier in the spring.  I find drawing a bit daunting but actually using a felt drawing pen seems slightly easier than using a pencil.  My efforts are still not very good though.

These are my trials using different pens.  I hope you can see it, the original photograph was very dark and I have brightened it but it looks a bit too pale here compared to in my file.  I have used dip pen and ink, biro and various sized drawing pens.

Choosing from my photographs was quite difficult.  I have accidentally done chapter 4 before chapter 3 and so I have used certain of my photographs there so I didn't want to use the same ones in chapter 3.  That might have worked out differently if I had done them in the correct order.  I have chosen one that I have repeated and two new ones for these drawing.

I love this part of the river.  I am walking along the boardwalk and this is in shadow just before you come out into the sunshine.  I don't think my finished book is going to depend on my drawing techniques, I am planning ideas for a different paper and paint approach.

This is a beautiful tree.  It has a rope attached to one branch and has been a swing for many generations.  In fact, a pit has been worked in for children to swing across.  I can manage this type of drawing better as it is more of a feeling than careful lines.

I loved this plant although I have no idea what it is.  When I saw the photograph I put it aside as being too difficult to replicate.  However, I decided that I could maybe give it a go with the pens and I am reasonably pleased with the result.  It does look a bit like the flower.  It might still be a bit difficult to take through to my final piece but I won't dismiss it altogether.

Not such a good chapter for me.  Photographs like the tree trunk I would go straight into working it out in stitch and fabric, maybe doing several samples using different threads and fabric, the others I would probably leave alone.  Sometimes I come back to things a couple of years later because I can incorporate it with something else but I rarely sit and try to draw from a photograph.  The next few chapters are more in my line.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Chapter 2

Free Standing Books

I like books of any description and enjoyed looking on the internet at what other people do.  I chose the following three books for their distinctive ideas.  Please excuse the colour and my yellow is empty but there is plenty in the blue and red so I am loath to change it yet.

Top left is a triple layer book with cut out pages to look like a building with rooms inside.  The bottom left is a circular book with pockets for pictures and objects.  The book on the right is a double layer with pages torn to interpret the writing on the front and back pages.  This is quite a simple book but very effective.

I started my own samples by doing some Origami Books.  These are pieces of paper folded and cut in certain ways and then refolded in a concertina to make little books.  I used some soft paper that had been in a shoe box and I did some rubbing from some old leaf templates that I had.  The first rubbing was using Inktense sticks which has produced an interesting paper but is very messy and rubs off every time you touch it.  The other two I used oil pastels which were much cleaner but not as interesting.

This is the Inktense model.

These two are the oil pastels.  The bottom one got unfolded and I am not sure, looking at this photo, that I have refolded it right.

I then had a go at the flag book.  I followed the instructions in the course notes as I had never done this one before.  I used some plain card which I covered with papers and pictures. The flags are made from scraps of painted and printed papers from my stash.

I then made a book similar to one I had seen in Shereen LaPlantz book Cover to Cover,  This is constructed from card magazine covers and a printed page from a magazine.  I folded the card into similar sized strips as the one above then cut a rectangle from the middle of each page.  I then cut a strip of paper the same width as the card book and the same height as the opening and folded it in the same way.  I then threaded this strip through the holes and glued the ends to the back of the book.

This is the reverse side of the book and shows the paper folded through the holes and glued at the back.  I was quite pleased that this one worked out  as well as it did.

This little book used up the leftovers from the other two.  I cut the orange strip down its folds to make three folded pieces which I then glued into the yellow folded card down the folds.  They would probably be better stitched if I wanted to use this technique.  I have staggered the positions of the cards to make it more interesting.

For this one I have used some old yellow and pink card  that I had.  I have folde the A4 card into two and machined down the fold leaving a small channel.  I have then cut into the channel at regular intervals then threaded a barbecue stick through them alternating between two cards.  I have done this before with fabric and find that more forgiving if you haven't cut your channels quite evenly. If you carry on adding pages you can make a full circle which makes an interesting book.  The sticks can be trimmed or painted and decorated.

You can go on forever making books.  I love doing it but then end up with piles of them that I am not sure what to do with.  One thing I do need to be aware of - I am not very good at accuracy.  That is why I don't do patchwork.  I need to keep my book fairly simple but with impact.  I will only get into a mess if I try to do complex cutting!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Module 6 Chapter 1

Choosing a theme.

I looked at some of the suggested artists and how they interpret landscapes.  I find Stanley Spencer's work full of detail.  You can look for hours and still find things you missed earlier.

I had two postcards of Hockney's work.  The tall trees is an inkjet printed computer drawing and photo collage which I think is brilliant.  The small postcard of trees is a watercolour and the stitched piece above it is one I did from the postcard for an exhibition.  I chose the other three pieces from the internet as they are the opposite of the Spencer paintings.  To me they are calm depictions of a country lane of which there are many near me.

Choosing my theme was quite difficult and I am still not sure if I have made the right choice.  I went over lots of places I have visited and loved such as Venice, Peru and New York but discarded them because even though I have the photographs, I wouldn't be able to revisit them to check on a detail.  Also, the photographs don't always create the atmosphere that you remember.  So I reduced my choices to two - Scarborough and Forge Valley.   Scarborough is set around two bays that are very different to each other.  The north bay is quiet with Victorian hotels and beach huts and a long sandy beach with rock pools.  The south bay is all amusement arcades, fun fairs, ice cream and fish and chips.  Forge Valley is a deep ravine forged by melt water at the end of the ice age.  It has a road running through it alongside a river and is full of trees and vegetation. I set out my arguments in my sketchbook.
The Scarborough side has such a lot in it.  I would have to choose one of the bays I think and then whittle it down to just a few topics.  Forge Valley could be blended together, it wouldn't matter if things were in the wrong place or even in the wrong season.  Another advantage is that it is only a few minutes walk from my door so I could easily go and check if I had got something right or if the season had changed anything.  So Forge Valley it is.

I have several books as well as some by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn to help me with this project.

Having decided what I am going to do, I took my camera down into the valley on bank holiday monday when the weather was glorious.

Masses of wild garlic around.

It really is a beautiful place and it is such a shame that you can't photograph birdsong.  A bit further on from where I walked there are bird tables out and you can park there and watch the birds come to feed.  I used to take my daughter there when she was little.  I have found lots of lichens in the woods here and have done some pieces of work for our next exhibition based on them.  In the autumn the ground is just a mass of red and bronze leaves and in the winter it gets very cold down there and snow can last for quite a while.  I sneaked a crayon into my pocket and a couple of pieces of paper and did some of tree rubbings. 

I think these might come in useful. I also have a collection of leaves that I collected last autumn, I need to go and find them.

I don't usually do a lot with flora and fauna but having just worked on lichens, I have got a bit more of an interest in it so I think this topic will be good for me.  The Scarborough one would have been a challenge as I think perspective would have come into it a bit more and that is something I am not very good at. Maybe I will do that when I have got more confidence.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Module 5 Chapter 10

Degas and Pastels

I have a box of small pastels in a variety of colours, not necessarily my choice of colour but they are useful for various types of work.  I also have a small quantity of soft pastels which I purchased some years ago for a particular project.  In addition, I have a number of Markel sticks which I like as they can be used on fabric.

My first pages are using my box of colours to make marks using either the flat sides of the pastels or the sharper ends.

The bottom right is using one of my stencils with a brush.

I made three other stencils, a square, a triangle and a squiggle.

These top two pages are all pastels using a brush.

Here I have used Markel sticks.  The squiggly piece is using the outside of the stencil as an outline.

Again, using the outside as an outline and on the right, including some solid inside stencils.

I then moved on to different papers.

This paper has acrylic paint on the background and although the piece on the left appeared to have lots of colour on, when I sprayed it with hairspray to set it, it just seemed to wash off.  As it dried, the outlines became more apparent but the solid pastel had disappeared.  The piece on the right, is done using Markel sticks but again, the colour didn't take too well on the acrylic paint.

This is Markel stick on black sugar paper.

I like this one.  The background is wallpaper lining paper with a Koh-i-Nor paint wash.  I used the inside and outside of the stencil with one of the small pastels. The colours have all blended well together making a delicate design.  I used cotton wool to transfer the pastel to paper.

These two were done with the individual soft pastels.  The top paper is almost like a fabric, I don't know what it is.  It probably came in a shoe box.  The bottom piece is a scrap of hand made paper from another project.  I used cotton wool again which itself soaks up the pastel so you have to renew the colour for every line whereas with the Markel sticks you can get two or three lines from every application.  The top paper certainly didn't take the colour quite as well as the bottom piece.


I chose these four pictures that I found on the internet.  The colours are all so different as is the intensity of the colour.  I particularly like some of his backgrounds, you could certainly incorporate those into a piece of embroidery.

These are the pieces I selected from each picture.  Where possible I have used the soft pastels that I bought seperately, the colours are much more subtle.

This lovely pale green colour with the reddish bodices goes so well together.

I liked the oranges and yellows here.  There are some strong lines in the dress skirt and bodice that I tried to copy.  I have also had a go at the background.

The shadows make the bodice look purple.  I found it difficult to get the splashes of light onto the skirt.  I think you must have to leave areas blank because using the white over the top doesn't work.

Again, I had difficulty getting the light areas in.  Also, I was restricted by the lack of shades in my pastels.  I have made the back a bit long here and again I have had a go at the background.

Here is all my work in my folder and my sketchbook cover appropriately decorated.

An interesting module, I am a bit intimidated by drawing people and yet, if you look very carefully at some of the great masterpieces you can spot mistakes like proportions being wrong but they don't notice because the piece as a whole is so beautiful.  It still doesn't make me any more confident!

I did enjoy doing the chapter with masks and would still like to do an embroidered piece using that idea.  The crowds worked out better than I expected and produced some surprising pieces.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Module 5 Chapter 9


Choosing pictures of crowds proved more difficult than I expected, I thought there would be loads in the newspapers and weekend suppliments but there wasn't.  However, I did manage to put these together without having to go onto the internet.

Top left is from my daughters university magazine which shows a picture taken in what looks like the 1950's.  She thinks it represents taking the chancellor to the university on the first day of the new year.  They don't look too happy about it.  Top right shows what happens to the crowd in the background when the focus is on the foreground.  All the faces in the crowd become a series of dots. Bottom left is a bit small but shows photographers at an award ceremony all facing right trying to get a shot of the new entrant on the catwalk.  The centre shows ice skaters on Central Park and looks so much like a Lowery I just had to put it in.  Bottom right is a street scene and I have forgotten where it is but it is evening and people are obviously out to enjoy themselves.

I then went looking for shapes that I could use as stencils and stamps.

I found these on the internet.  They are clear and sharp and easy to trace.

I enlarged some of them using Paint Shop Pro and then cut them out.

This gave me paper shapes that I could use to make arrangements on my paper.

I made a set of stamps then made a second set keeping the cut outs for stencils.

Drawing round the shapes with different coloured was crayons.

This paper was quite dark so I drew the outline in white pencil crayon.  I wondered what they would be like shaded in so I took a photocopy and using the white crayon I did various shading techniques for each figure.

I then tried my stencils.  I liked this one, it reminded me of people on the street at night in front of a lit shop window.

Here, I have made the figures two colours and then mixed the solid shapes with the outline ones.

These are collaged.  The light ones are glittery paper and the dark ones are printed tissue paper which I did on a course a couple of years ago.

I drew round all these figures with a gold pen first but they didn't stand out until  the light caught the gold so I then edged them in black felt tip which gave the gold a lift.  I then cut out thee of the figures in painted paper and made them slightly smaller than the drawings, trimming them where other figures overlapped.  I liked this idea and the stripey paper went well.

This is repeating the technique from the Keith Haring work.  I cut the figures out from one page of a magazine that had several individual picture on it.  I angled the shapes so that the white lines were not straight on the figures.  Putting them together in this way, the white lines make some interesting shapes.
I then went onto monoprinting.

Here I placed these shapes inside a plastic wallet, I then painted the wallet, following the shapes.  I put all the paint on before printing because I was unsure whether I could line the figures up each time.  I'm actually quite pleased with this one, I think all the figures have terrific movement.
I then tried printing each figure in turn.  Again, they turned out better than I expected, some of them look as though they are pictures of all the muscles in the body.  This will have been created by the paintbrush I used to put the paint on with.

This was painting up a plastic sheet and drawing into it.  I used a piece of paper that I had laminated first and it makes a good surface.  However, I have got too much paint on here.  I am very unsure about trying to draw quickly into to the paint especially if it is supposed to represent something specific. So this first print was not successful. I used the end of a paintbrush to draw with.

I did another pull as the drawing was still in the paint and this one is slightly better.  Don't think I would use this technique very often unless the drawing was abstract.

This time I inked up the plastic and placed a sheet of paper over it and drew on the back of the paper with an old pen trying not to lean on the paper.  I was pleasantly suprised with this one, it came out better than I expected.

Because the drawing was still in the paint, I pulled another print.

Then I tried a third print.  Not quite so successful but useable in the right place.

I then got my gelly plate out.  Firstly I painted the plate and then put a piece of netting from a fruit bag over the paint.  I printed the paper with this, removed it and the netting.  I placed the paper cut out figures on the plate and ran some more paint over everything. I then printed the paper again.  I did two prints like this.

Here I place the paper shapes on the gelly plate and then painted the whole plate and took a print on paper that had already been painted.

The left hand print is a second print of the one above but on white paper.  The right hand print I added more paint to the plate then added the netting and took a print.

These are my paper shapes after I removed them from the gelly plate.  Unfortunately the man lost his head but the rest are going onto the cover of my sketchbook.

I wrote all the details on the back of each print and I have then stapled them together in their different techniques and they are now all in my folder.

I was a bit nervous about drawing crowds but the shapes I found made it much easier for me to manage.  I quite like printing, especially onto fabric but you need to have really planned it out first to make sure that your ideas will work.  Doing the prints on paper first will be a big help and I shall do that in future.