Monday, November 25, 2013

Trying to think like Simon (Carter)

About 16 of us are painting the space with Simon Warren at Firstsite. I'm interested in discovering how Simon takes a drawing back into the studio and works it up into a painting.  I find it difficult to create something 'real' without being terribly literal. 

At Firstsite we have been going into the space (an architectural space) and drawing.  At the first session we did quick drawings and then painted from those, using those school watercolour boxes.  We just had a go.  Unsurprisingly, I found myself falling back on my literal approach, almost copying the drawing.  I didn't use local colour but I didn't like the results at all anyway.  

I felt uncomfortable on a number of levels.  Although drawing anything is great, I do not feel inspired by the Firstsite space, particularly.  And when Simon used the word 'domestic' about the way I had collapsed the space, thinking shapes etc, rather than using the available space to inform the drawing accurately, I felt a bit trapped.  Nevertheless, the point of the class, for me, is to look from a different perspective and to explore the problem of studio painting.

I enjoyed the second week more, as I let go and felt and then drew the architectural space (in one drawing)  for pretty much all of the session.

We've just returned from Cornwall where the landscape is archetectural in its feel and scale.  Now there's a subject I can relate to.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to make drawings as we walked in Lands End, Penzance and elsewhere, but I did photograph as I walked.  

On the drive home I wondered about projecting the photos onto the studio wall to feel the scale of the landscape and then to draw from it, trying to take Simon's approach to heart. Tomorrow I will take one of these drawing and see what they do in paint. 

My Firstsite drawing suggeted Diebenkorn to Simon.  The one below might be a bit more Milton Avery.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another new model!

5.5 x 10 "

Another fabulous new model today!  Below some of the responses to Andrew Vass' drawing the space class last week.  He gave us short amounts of time and lots of rules. I had never drawn Blue clothed and that was different and fun!




Friday, October 4, 2013

Drawing the Space with Andrew Vass

It has been a long time since I have taken a drawing class.  As I clicked the submit button to register and pay for Andrew Vass' class at Firstsite I was hoping that I would come away from the class with some new ideas, having tried approaches that I didn't know or had not used in a while. I was looking to be shaken up.  Apparently Andrew stopped in a layby and collected the agricultural material he had us draw from in the first session. I liked the chaos and having to make order of objects that didn't make sense.  We had short drawing sessions of 15 minutes or so, materials weren't brilliant, but those obstacles interfere with 'knowing' and I like that feeling of being overwhelmed.
Andrew mentioned that he thought we should be applying some of what we did in the sessions during the week.  I spent about 15 mins working big, A2, with ink in a chaotic part of the studio, no mixing tray, a bucket of water and jar of poor quality ink, from The Works.

This week we were asked to bring in two objects. One was to be something important to us and personal, the other something random, perhaps to juxtapose.  As I had been working on unfurling, I brought along my African matchbox book and the 'foil' object was in fact a rice packet - foil/plastic.
Andrew had us photocopy these in a variety of ways, but the copier made things quite black so we abandoned that. Instead we drew our 'special' object from memory.  Urgh. I guess I need to be told to look intently.  My drawing was really quite non-specific, but the process was interesting and revealing. 

We were asked to scale up our objects on to really big paper (A1).  I had brought some pastels but only used the ones in my charcoal tin, a very limited palette, so tried to get the feel of colour as well as a range of tones.  Before beginning I knew I could never finish in 15 mins, so I just tried to follow the rules, 'work from the inside out'.

Our next task was to again work from the inside out, Andrew came around and poured ink on our paper and we were asked to use the blob and a medium sized brush to draw our second object - the foil packet. My paper was on vertical drawing board so the ink ran down and pooled in the lip.
Like the week before, there was some resistence to Andrew's process driven session.  Most of the people in the class want to emerge better artists. One woman was quite stressed that the ink wasn't working for her. My advice was to banish the idea that she would produce a masterpiece and just have fun with the challenge. What does a 'better artist' look like?

Finally we were given the task of drawing one or more objects using ink again but we could apply it ourselves!  Andrew suggested I use two blobs of two colours and to work outwards.  I placed the photocopies under my objects.


Today I took the black and white ink drawing and added other ink and gouache to it. I decided to use the rice packet, my iron and a piece of fused plastic as motifs. I had never worked pastel over ink, and liked the energy the ink had, so used it as an undercoat. I loved the happy accident of some orange under the blue and kept thinking Whistler as I chose bits of the background to draw out.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Painting from mail

Just before stuffing one of those clear envelopes with something for Marie, I unfurled the upcycled mylar - a Lloyds bank advertisement, cut down to make an accordion book, and placed it on yesterday's collage color study. "I could paint from that," I thought. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

small painting from new model

Every morning I get up and make a list of things I really hope I will do, but my discipline stops there.  I do things all day but if something takes my fancy, I will not stick to the list. Some kind of response to Monday's new model not been on my list but if the list said 'paint' 'draw' 'monotype', I might have read 'return to that model.' The thing that has been on my list since H and F have been back at uni has been colour studies and I haven't ticked it on one single day.   I don't think this is finished, yet, but I have enjoyed stroking colours of paint next to colours of paint in a pastel approach, maybe it counts as a colour study?

Monday, September 16, 2013

A new Model

2 min

2 min

2 min

2 min

2 X 2 min

2 min

10 min

10 min
10 min

10 min
 I remembered to bring my smaller pad with under-painted pages and attempted to apply my summer drawing approach to the model.  Looking at Vuillard before the session evident.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Loosening up


After a long hiatus from painting (2+ months), it's fun to see where I begin. I approached the start by beginning as freely as I could, with a loose idea in my head and some drawings to set me off.  As ever I feel like I can't remember what I've learned in the past, which may be a good thing.  I think I need lots of little canvases for the moment, a few colour studies and lots of drawing.

Friday, August 2, 2013

15 minute sketches

Bread to bake, so had half an hour spare, en route to drawing.  I purloined this pad and fixed pastel colours on each page with rubbing alcohol just before the timer sounded.  Next the task was to use about 5 pastels to record some part of a scene at the dock, primarily using colour in 15 minutes. I want to do three of these evry day until the book is filled. The pad pages are roughly 4X4.5".

Below a glimpse of what happens at the dock at night, written 31st July, 2013.

Night Swimming in Maine

Limb-tangle of night jumpers
pouring their bodies rapid fire
into the sea.

‘It’s a party down there,’
says the birthday girl,

Light pools on bikini shoulders.
Wring of towel.
Barnacle tiptoe up stairs.

And squeals as water
peels from backs,

We listen from the house
Imagining our smaller frames
Stepping off the dock into the night air.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Light on table

What could be better than spending the morning edging a beautiful garden, midday the time to record light on a table, followed by a walk to the end of the island and back under the ripple of a hundred flags with my niece, Molly? Peter Lloyd Jones (who I happened upon painting the activity around the church) agreed with me that Cranberry Island is paradise.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

noticing how figurative and abstract intersect

Pastel on paper 10.5 X 7.5"

Fused plastic 6.75 x 6.75"

acrylic on cardboard with fused plastic stitching  6X8"

An addition to Maine Time

Fog time
thick light 
presses down
Boat engines rumble
We leave footprints
across the lawn 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back with my internal landscape

Getting accustomed to Maine time happens on a number of levels.  There is the physical shift from Greenwich Meantime to Eastern Standard Time; there is the totally open-endedness of time that five weeks brings; but also, time is never really your own when you are with lots of people you love.  I am thinking that I will make a new book for Cheryl Penn's project an Encyclopaedia of Everything entitled Maine Time - my last book to Cheryl was about tree time

Maine always seems to be a fertile place for me, so many memories, associations and a landscape of endless inspiration.  On the first morning as I 'came too' in the light of the barn, far too early but what was my morning... 
Daybreak swim through night-tide
daylight punctuation
 diamond barn ends
The sound of unfamiliar gulls

I was talking to Susan Landor Keegin last night about how one can't really plan what inspires and how that can result in a 'messy' (conflicted) range of images that don't seem to go together.  It's no surprise I began with figurative pastels and abstract fused plastic.

View from Barn Window -pastel on paper 7.5 X 10"

Maine landscape 2013 (1) -fused plastic 7.5 X 5.5

Maine landscape 2013 (2) fused plastic 5 X 4.5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fusepo story

In this house newly discovered plastic provides speculation, discovery and sometimes new ideas. We've had a few barbecues lately (the weather is amazing at the moment) and with a different range of food comes different packaging, different plastic.  I also thought to use bag seams. While we've enjoyed the summer evenings , I've had even less time with my iron, my paints, my glue stick.  In one stolen evening I tested a few new plastics and incorporated the paste papers I have been making. 

The interplay between images and words, always there for me, came out differently here.

A day without clouds

A day without clouds in the rearview mirror.
Some after image of museum trays,
lost objects catching light through dust.
I turn the mirror slowly refracting the angle
to configure a hedge, pond repetitions,
embers burning their opaque blue.
The whole androgyny of twilight or morn
dappled in moons.  And then
a bird raises its newspaper wings and sings.

Fusepo story 1
10th July, 2013