Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Experimental printmaking

This week I'm at an interesting course about printmaking - not the kind you need fancy presses and acid and so forth for but quicker, more experimental printmaking. I hesitated to use oil based inks as I'm a bit wary of the smelly solvents but with good ventilation at the studio decided to give it a go. After working with my acrylic ink and watching the others for a couple of hours I could see that the other inks were rather nice. We've used oil inks, acrylic inks, watercolour and acrylic paints, made gelatin monoprints (what fun that was!), printed with found organic materials and man made materials, made collographs, and we've still got two days to do. Today I was making a monoprint on a glass plate using one of my life drawing images and after printing a few layers went on to paint on it with watercolour. We're doing mixed media on Friday and I'm really looking forward to that. I've made a collograph of the same subject and have posted a picture of that above - it's got wet ink on it but I cleaned that off deciding it needed more shellac to protect the card layers and I might make another tiny cut or two.

It isn't easy working alongside others in a small space but particularly so with printmaking which needs a LOT of space. We have prints drying all over the place, on the floor under tables, hanging up inside (too wet to hang outside - so much rain this week), on the deck under cover.

I've finally used that shellac I bought a long time ago (to protect the collagraph plates). That is an interesting material and it has such a history.

It's fantastic watching people really getting into it and making enormous numbers of prints because they're obsessed with a certain shape or whatever.

I will post some images at the end of the week.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Life drawing poses

Note added 6.5.08 - originally had a different title for this post.

I was interested to read a comment made on one of my posts
(Click on the link to see which post but WARNING - rough drawing of male bits on show.)

I was initially surprised at the comment, then had a little LOL myself (which is netspeak for "laughing out loud" if you didn't know) and the thought that someone would be shocked or surprised in this day and age considering what's around on the internet.

Last night I caught part of a documentary about Manet's "Le Dejeuner". This painting, and others of his, shocked society at the time partly because he openly portrayed a contemporary woman with no clothes on in a time when only religious or mythological nakedness was acceptable in paintings. The comment was made on that programme, and in articles I've read on the internet about it since, that people today aren't shocked by nudity... as long as they keep their legs together I suppose.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Life drawing - 16 April 2008

These are the longer drawings from last night's class.

The first is done with a red chalk pencil on white cartridge paper - the pencil is more waxy than chalky. I wasn't too happy with this one. I don't know what happened with the shoulder on the left (as viewing the screen). Either the model moved, or I didn't get my initial drawing in right because when I came back to that part of the drawing I had no idea what went where! Then while the hips more or less indicate where the weight is I haven't really captured that with the legs, and her legs and feet are a bit small, especially compared to the head! The model herself liked the drawing, though, and I'll give it to her later.

The red, black and white is again on white cartridge paper - black compressed charcoal and red soft pastel.

And the last drawing is done on white cartridge paper with a thick graphite lead in a holder. I decided to do a cropped composition this time. I always try to get everything in and I thought it would be good to select just part of the model to draw.

I'd have liked to draw the hair in, all the lights and darks, but there wasn't time. Maybe I'll work on it later, or take it to paint.

Life Drawing Wednesday 16 April 2008

These are the first drawings from last night's life drawing group. The class is for two hours in the evening. We're lucky enough to have the tutor provide easels, back boards, clips, and even paper and conte and charcoal to buy at cheap rates if we don't have our own.

There were a few short poses of a couple of minutes - those are the coloured pastel drawings on black building paper - then longer poses of between 10 and 15 minutes I think. I was quite rough with the soft pastel, blocking in shapes using the side of the pastel, then roughly drawing in some line on top.

There is one drawing on brown paper, in compressed black, sienna and white media. That was a difficult pose to capture. Actually there was no negative space between the left arm (as viewed on the screen) and her body, but I kind of wanted the pose more balanced. The foreshortened body was difficult. The collar bones were fantastic - I didn't get those finished.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More life drawings

Life Drawing Class April 9 2008 - Male model

Here are most of the drawings I did last night. There were a few 1 minute drawings done with a black marker pen on white cartridge - only one posted here. It's a great pen to use to force one to decide what the line is going to be and draw it - no going back! I'll do more of these in the future.

The coloured pastel drawing was just a crazy drawing I decided to do after I'd walked around the model and couldn't decide from which position to draw. After teaching all day I'm not terribly energetic, and most of the time I just place the easel and stay there, moving it only a little sideways. Also, I seem to have forgotten whether I like to draw looking to the left of my paper, or the right!? (I'm right handed ... anyone got advice? Had no trouble deciding last year.) The class tutor reminds us to walking around before deciding where to place yourself to draw.

Most of the drawings are done with conte and compressed charcoal sticks. The sienna colour is rather harsh - one of those drawings where I started fiddling around, scribbling, rubbing in, cross hatching, layering over white ... and ending up in a mess. I do quite like drawings, though, that are closer to finished in one area and less so in others.

Again, due to the limitations of the blog, I'll have to post the remaining photographs in a separate post.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Collaborative painting for fundraiser

At our new year exhibition there was a painting being created to raise funds for the Zippy Fund which the (Waihi) Beach Vets have in place for clients of limited means to pay for necessary veterinary care.

An artist created the background and all the details were added by visitors to the exhibition with the intention of auctioning the painting with proceeds to go to the Zippy fund. The occasional artist added to the painting when they were on duty at the exhibition. Actually people had a lot of fun thinking up what to add - what about the lifeguard with the shotgun!? A lot of people said "but I'm no artist"! But many were encouraged and persuaded to contribute.

So here it is. I believe the painting was purchased and donated to be hung at the Vets'.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mixed Media portraits

This is a mixed media collage I created while working with Years 5 and 6 students at school. The activity was to create a portrait in mixed media using magazine imagery, paint, pastel, ink and maybe some other materials because we're continuing on these next week. We spent some time drawing with large crayons first - exercises like drawing the person opposite you in one minute without looking at the paper, then drawing with the other hand - that kind of thing. The next day I provided them with big pieces of nice cartridge paper, and the materials and we spent a whole morning on the portraits. Some students pick through the imagery looking at what is printed on it while others "get" the idea of looking for dark and light and colour. Some cut pieces and use it like mosaic, while others tear or cut larger pieces and just lay them down, overlapping sometimes. Some students like to leave some pieces of the paper unglued so it will curl up from the surface. The paint is thin so as not to obliterate the collage, and they're also stamping onto their work with paint on corrugated cardboard, and drawing on it with oil pastel and coloured felt pens. Most have got to a similar stage as mine, and next week we'll continue to add more media.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Pastel on black paper and spam comments !

This is drawn on black building paper which has a sheen not easy to deal with in a photograph. The media is Gallery semi hard pastels.

I've noticed that there are people spamming comments on blogs and the only way to deal with this is probably to use word verification in the settings. I would guess that the spamming is done automatically with some computer programme and up until now I don't think they can handle that but I guess the day will come. Anyway, if you see comments that say "Click here" or "See here" just don't. It comes up with some screen inviting you to activate a virus cleaner or protector or something. I did some googling to find out about these comments as I received one myself and because I have comment moderation I could see it before it was published.

Life Drawing class 2.4.08

These are a few of tonight's drawings from our life drawing class. All done in compressed charcoal on brown paper. The portrait is a quick drawing - the second pose of the night, 2 minutes I think. The first was drawing is on the same sheet of paper but I blocked it out before posting it because I wasn't at all happy with it. The drawings have been photographed at night with a flash so not the best. I'll post another tomorrow which was drawing on black paper and can't be photographed at night.

For most of my drawings tonight I used the charcoal on it's side, blocking in the forms, looking at negative spaces and geometric shapes in the form of the body, then started working up the dark areas. I most often draw in lines at that point, and sometimes add white charcoal or a third colour. I like red but have run out so am using a sienna colour conte.

I should spend more time being more systematic about proportions, and I get lost sometimes focusing on something like a foot or the face, or a shadow, and then lose my proportion ending up with an elongated chest or a head out of proportion! I've been taught a few ways to do this - the body is x number of heads long...the midpoint is....put in dots at points like the side of the head, neck, shoulders etc...use one's pencil (I don't use a pencil) and hold out your arm to measure...I have no patience for those...maybe I should learn some!