Thursday, 22 September 2011

Summer Sketchbook Project

Well, it's taken me considerably longer to complete than I ever imagined, certainly more than twice as long as Sian envisaged, but every day has been so worthwhile.  It's been liberating and energising and above all inspiring. 
And now for some personal reflections: I've learnt to look;  I've learned to trust the process, that a little work each day does build skills and confidence, and that success, however small, is a great motivator and reference point.   I thought I knew these things already, and I did, but the SSP has brought them back to the surface and in doing so reawakened my pleasure in making and doing.  For that particularly, thank you.

Day 30

It was interesting to see the difference between my first drawing and the second where, with only a little cheating, I tried to draw only looking at the plant not at the paper.  I hope even with the addition of stitch this looser approach shows.  I had thought of adding some stitch to the cones but could not come up with something I liked or felt could convey the velvety mounds.  I think the straight stitch works well to outline the petals and conveys the first signs of autumn collapse.  The stems I'm afraid have turned into bamboo!  What I need is some stitch to convey their willowy curves.  Several layers of watercolour convey the grasses amongst which the echiacea grow and echo the work I did on Day 19..

Day 29

This is even better -- much freer and done in a trice.  It probably epitomises one of the things the SSP has taught me.

I rather like this print though I can see where my hand pressure was too light.

Putting on the second layer didn't really work.  Maybe the colour was too dark or too thick.  Whatever it was I need to practice more to get to grips with the method.   However I do like the drawing.

Day 28

I've included this monoprint because it illustrates a couple of things I've learnt.  Firstly, what happens when the ink on the glass is a little too thick.  Secondly, and probably more importantly, how a drawing can appear to be accurate but when reversed its weaknesses are distorted.  This cotton reel looks very lopsided especially at the bottom -- I needed to put some guide lines in to help create symmetry.
I've been working on getting the proportions in my drawings right, however, these cotton reels don't look particularly and I probably need to use a softer pencil to create a darker mark.  The monoprint version looks better.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Before my pears finally turned to mush I photographed them to decorate both the front and back covers. Somehow through use scratch marks have appeared, only on the pears and looking quite intended.

Days 26 and 27

I'm still beavering away drawing cubes and chairs, including a very unattractive loose-covered affair in my workroom -- very challenging and not entirely successful. I've anguished over angles and proportions and then stopped. I'm quite pleased with other drawings and there's no doubt about regular practice improving my skills and how I feel about having a go. It would be good to have a lesson or two locally. Sadly the scans were too light even though the drawings didn't appear to be so I haven't included then. Here are the coloured (pastel and oil pastel) and black and white carbon copies.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Day 22

Again it's exciting to see the effects than can be achieved. Thinking ahead to the black and white work for Module 2 I can see a number of techniques that will be useful. As for this piece I was quite pleased with some of the delicate flowerheads, but need to develop a wider range of strokes. They seem to be all or nothing at the moment with little in between.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Day 21

Still working on reaching the finishing line ....

I found this an oddly comforting task. It was interesting to see how the dry and slippery media interplayed and what was revealed when I scraped back.

Day 20

Thought I 'd have yet another go at wax resist, choosing a lower angle this time and finding contrasting sky. I like this layering technique very much: the different quality of lines is really interesting, but I can see that I need to spend much more time mixing the colours if I'm to achieve anything nearing accuracy.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Day 20

Our fennel's growth has been distorted by the wind and grows at a 45 degree angle, hence the strong directional pull to the top right corner.

I found the combination of wax and scratch -and scrape - to build layers really interesting. It produced some lovely rivulets of colour, though my attempts to hint at the flower heads by scraping a patch didn't really work.

Day 19

My last efforts were rather tentative and the scratches were not very visible. I'm back to using Koh-i-Noor and finding the intense colour defines the scratches and scrapes better. Some interesting effects where the blade was scaped across wet paper. The fennel and its background was mainly yellow-green, as a result there was no opportunity to create a variety of colour mixes. I need to choose my subject more carefully.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Day 18

I'm still working away at the SSP though the new drawing lesson is almost too tempting.

I made marks with both pointed and round blades, cutting through the paper in some places (light pressure achieves little). The round blade produces an attractive double mark. I also tried sandpaper which made a dotted texture when the oil pastels were applied.