One and Twenty: 31/12/2017 – Extended

Today I’ve had my drawing materials out.

My One & Twenty focus is a simple exercise to get me drawing.  I pick something, observe it for one minute and then spend twenty minutes drawing it.  The idea is that I don’t get too immersed and concerned about making mistakes and I should be able to do it more frequently as I’m not investing huge amounts of time.

A few days ago I picked up a dead Banksia pod.  I’ve always liked them and, as I walk my dog daily, I watch the emergence of the flower, the beautiful colours, the gradual decline and then the formation of the dried husk.  They are weird and wonderful things.

But then this amazing country is full of all sorts of plants that result in stunning dry nuts and pods as they age and dry each season.

Pencils are my preferred option and, using an HB and 2B, after 20 minutes I came up with this:

I thought it was quite a reasonable start and, as I had some time (a miracle in my life!), I chose to continue.  Fast sketching hasn’t managed to lodge itself in my brain yet so I spent about another hour working on it.

Great day, lovely to have sufficient time just to muck about and see what I can do.

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Carborundum & Drypoint Printing: Experimentation

In September I did a marvellous 2 day workshop with Brenda Tye and produced a collagraph plate (and print) I was very happy with (amongst a few others I wasn’t so keen on).

This was my initial print:

Since then I’ve been hanging out to reprint it with some added colour.  I know that sounds very easy, and a quick job, but that isn’t the case.

Ink is applied liberally, with a cardboard spatula, across the surface of the print plate and then is selectively wiped back.  Where carborundum is adhered to the collagraph plate it will hold the ink and create a dense print.

As can be seen from the piece above, I decided to create a design with complex alveoli situated within the carborundum areas, making it very, very hard to wipe them clean without removing some of the ink from what should be densely printed sections.  Wiping back the outer surrounding areas was a relatively simple process and only entailed a decision regarding colour placement.

It took 2 1/2 hours to mix my colour palette and produce two coloured prints with fairly good alveoli definition.  But, hey, who cares about the time it takes?  It’s the end satisfaction that counts.

What a difference colour makes.  And one without so much colour:

This second print was wiped back differently to the first one.  I used the tarlatan across the whole motif, thereby removing more from the denser areas and leaving more in the alveoli.

I prefer the piece with more definition and colour, which took considerably longer to achieve.  A great plate and I’m not finished with it yet.  A revisit will happen at some stage I’m sure.

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Monoprinting: Linear Containment – Final Stage

The final goal for this project has been to create some A4 sheets of handmade paper embellished/decorated/manipulated to a specific theme for inclusion in a collaborative project to be exhibited in March.  At this stage I am bound to keep the theme and overall project within the group, until it is revealed at the venue.  Suffice it to say that it will be a large installation.

I can, however, reveal my submitted pieces as they will be utilized in ways as yet unknown to me and may not even resemble their present state.  The exhibition coordinators and constructionists will decide how to incorporate individual components and whether they will remain whole, torn, twisted, re-wet and cast or whatever.

My printed and stitched papers represent a semi-abstract idea of patchwork quilting.  Much quilting involves the use of precisely cut shapes which are then fitted together to produce a whole.  I’ve utilized a range of lines and colours with shapes overlapping and interconnecting to produce this body of work.

Above: Back-drawn lines and triangles with stitched torn shapes.

Above: Back-drawn and lightly hand-pressed, ghost masks, torn prints stitched to surface.

Above: Printed masks with overlaid back-drawing and stitched outline sections.

These pieces were received with enthusiasm by the group I’m working with and I now wait to see what they do with them.


However, I’ve also picked my personal favourites from the 5 stages of this idea development:

The print above has a softer look than most of the series, less cluttered, good placement of positive and negative masks, and a pleasing reduced colour palette.  The background grey is a mix of sepia and pthalo blue, and is the negative remaining after some of the line-drawn prints.  The two coloured masks are also pre-used stencils that had good remaining colour and patterning, just begging to be used again.

In this print I am drawn to the deeply coloured vertical background and the strong shapes sitting atop it.  The linked triangles work particularly well and the colour scheme is well-balanced with additional interest in the two partially stencilled smaller triangles.  The addition of the overall irregular shape (but still with the illusion of a rectangular print) whereby the triangles fall outside the structured background I find particularly appealing.

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Monoprinting: Linear Containment – Stage 5

A change in colour scheme:

I like the colour scheme but the application isn’t great.

Decided to try red on green background instead of green and yellow on red (as previous samples).  No, not for me that one.  The right hand sample is just a mess of badly positioned masks.

Improvement.  Clean and crisp but a bit of a sick yellow.

At this point I printed some of ‘sheets’ of plain triangles ready to be torn up and stitched on some of the other prints.

Left to right: recycled teabag paper, banana fibre paper, strelitzia paper.

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Monoprinting: Linear Containment – Stage 4

Continuing with the triangles but moving into more positive and negative shapes and spaces.

Above: masked prints on handmade plant fibre paper, smooth side.  These will be further worked with more layers.

Above: Back-drawing in charcoal (Sepia & Pthalo Blue mix) on 2 different plant fibre papers, rough side.  I lightly ran my flattened hand across the back of the paper when on the print plate to achieve ink transfer to some of the more textural areas.  Very happy with these and this technique will now be added to the first prints above.

Above: Reverse of back-drawn plate with both positive and negative masks on handmade recycled mountboard paper, rough side.  The rollers used on the smaller components are my own (so are clean, even and perfect) but the large roller used on the charcoal plate belongs to the studio and rolls a little unevenly – due to it being old and heavily used.  I need to ensure I turn the plate several times when inking up so coverage is more uniform.

Above: Ghost print with both reversed masks (pre-used, without cleaning) and removed masks, on handmade recycled mountboard paper, rough side.  Above right: close up of masked area patterning.

A small change in the colour scheme:

Love the vibrant turquoise.

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Monoprinting: Linear Containment – Stage 3

Loving the precise lines and solid colours of this project.  As the inking up, layering and multiple press passes is quite long-winded I only had a chance to do two samples for this stage.

If you followed stages 1 & 2 you will notice that I’ve cut different triangles for this phase.  I wanted to try interlocking them to see how the masks would relate to each other as they went through the press.  They have worked beautifully and there is no movement or alteration in colour saturation where they overlap.  I thought the masks may slip, the thickness of the plastic layers may create a problem where they sit atop each other but this hasn’t happened. Fantastic!

I wanted a very reduced colour palette but this hasn’t quite given me enough ‘lift’ in the final image, it’s a little dull but a good start.

A change of orientation, a lightening/brightening of the Cadmium Red Dark, an addition of my favourite green (although a little darker than I normally use) and some layering on the smaller triangular aspects.

3 hours to create 2 prints was worth every second.  Very, very pleased with this last one.

Moving on ……… to Stage 4.

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Watercolour painting – Lesson 3

LESSON 3: Three colour sky

Sample 1:

I’ve mixed the correct colours up but not really integrated them into the composition well yet.

Sample 2:

This isn’t too bad and I’ve more white cloud here.

Sample 3:

Clouds and top of the sky is fine but the area closer to ground level has got wiped out and has no definition.

Sample 4:

Not bad, could be better.  I’ll move on to the next lesson and continue working on skies as a learn about landfall.

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