Wednesday, March 28, 2018

When the Title Comes First

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There's a Suffolk Open Studios group show coming up soon and I had to submit my titles weeks ago.  I am always determined to show new work, even if what I showed before only got one outing. This time I chose the titles for the work based on some things I had done recently.  You know the thing when you like something right after you do it or you think it will grow on you, only to find it just doesn't really work.  That was what happend with my titles for SOS this time. I'm just not sure about the pieces I made associated with the titles so this week's job was to see what I could do with the titles. The titles I was working to were: Jam and Book at Breakfast, and Daffs and Lemons.   The previous blog post has something I arranged to fit the title Daffs and Lemons and today it was the other title's turn. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Still life and landscape

Egg tempera on panel, 16 x 23 cm
Thursday and Saturday was egg tempera day.  I wanted to change the face on the buddha but in the end reverted to a version of a buddha.  A laughing Buddha briungs good luck.
pastel on paper 13 x 15 cm
Today I reinterpreted the still life and added some lemons and daffodils because I need a picture with that title for an upcoming show. Now I have two to choose from!
Barns I, Akua Intaglio monotype
 Sunday was a monotype day. I made prints all day, hoping that I would love something enough to replace the print that sold at the mini print exhibtion in Stow on the Wold.
Barns II, Akua Intaglio monotype

Three Media, three models

Feven, egg tempera on panel 16 x 23cm
Last week my portrait group came to my house.  Feven, the model, is visiting from Sweden and we swoon about her beautiful red braids. I dressed her in a chocolate velvet top. Each of the egg tempera panels was begun in a three hour session and completed the following day, laboriously. Both were sanded down mid working. I put a wash of colour thinned with egg over each area of colour so that the whole surface is evenly coated and shiny with egg at the end.  Who knows if that's the right way to work?

Feven, egg tempera on panel 16 x 23cm
Esme ink on paper 10 x 15.5 cm

Esme ink on paper 10 x 15.5 cm

Esme ink on paper 10 x 15.5 cm

Esme ink on paper 10 x 15.5 cm
 I took my new bottle of india ink to drawing today and mixed eight tones in a muffin tin using a dropper, ink and water.  I forgot my paper towels and had chosen questionable brushes but sometimes the struggle reaps better rewards…  The same is true with last week's monotypes at The Mall Galleries Learning centre. I didn't have time to roll the ink on the plate.  My travelling easel is warped so the plate doesn't work well unless I go down to the floor to roll. I couldn't find my sock for a while either and it was a thick cotton sock, not ideal for removing ink.  The ink had leaked out everywhere and my hands were inky to start too! We did a series of 5 minute poses and getting something done in 5 minutes with this medium is challenging!
Akua Intaglio on paper 10 x 15 cm,  NEAC life drawing

Akua Intaglio on paper 10 x 15 cm,  NEAC life drawing

Akua Intaglio on paper 10 x 15 cm,  NEAC life drawing

Monday, March 12, 2018

After a studio visit

 As a response to a studio visit I am sending mail art to each of the people I visit.  For the most part, I think these have been welcome thank yous.  I simply can't help myself.  When I get home after a visit there is so much to process and I find that doing something purely intuitive  helps me to internalise something about the experience. 

I visited Arthur Neal's studio last Friday and saw a bevy of the most wonderful paintings that he has made over the years and more recently. Arthur's work comprises, people, landscape, interiors and still life. It was the studio that I decided to respond to. My still life arrangements are chosen for the characters they create, their patterns, their colour.  Something I have noticed recently is that men and the 'canon' in general, choose different kinds of objects to place in their still life arrangements.  There are often busts and angular objects.   Colour is different too.

I approached my reply to Arthur by fusing two main colours: yellow and blue.  (We had talked about yellow as a colour in work). I layered the colours and used a lot of the balloons I had found on walks as I was dipping into my unsorted bin of plastic and I have many blue balloons at the moment. 

I like to work in series and I felt this theme had that potential.  My second 'in the studio' piece was also on a yellow ground. 

 It was mother's day and I thought I would send one out to our son and daughter at their newish homes. I began thinking about what they do: a doctor and a writer/artist thinker.  I experimented with using a blue ground this time.  Interestingly when it came to choose who got what, my son got the blue one.

In the end there are 8/8 in this series.  They are all postcard size.  I have sent one to a local charity event I was asked to contribute to.  I will probably keep at least two to show later at Open Studios.

And finally I made a little book of my recent monotypes to send to Arthur along with the fused plastic and stitch.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Resistance of Materials

egg tempera on panel, 16 x 23 cm, Dawn,

I was listening to Start The Week on Monday as I drove to life drawing.  Tacita Dean used the words, 'material resistance' and it stuck in my mind.  

I could see chemicals developing a black and white print in a photo tray; the viscosity of ink on a brush being laid down on a zinc plate; the colour of pastel on a page in an altered book; plastic, sticking, bubbling, melting and of course paint: colours on a palette or egg in pigment, the way the brush drips and pools the paint… How could I use this resistance to do something more?  Is the way the materials resist at the heart of why I flit around them?  And then, how do we go beyond resemblance to something else using the chosen material? This week has been about that.

Above, the egg tempera began in the 2 1/2 hour session at my portrait group on Wednesday. When looking at it at home I could see a resemblance to Dawn but I wanted more and the media had been used to capture what I could of her without being used in a way that made more of the medium. 

Thursday, in the studio, with the panel, a clean palette, a slightly eggy egg, some fresh pigment and a few photos;  I tried to find a way to use the media to bring Dawn to life.   

Akua Intaglio on zinc printed on Rives Lightweight with spoon

Last night at the NEAC drawing school session, I had my zinc plate and a slightly wider array of Akua intaglio colours than usual. How is this media different to the egg tempera and how could I use it to share my experience of the model in 45 minutes, in time to catch my train back to Suffolk?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Sound of Stromness and Pigeons

The Sound of Stromess Fused plastic, paint and stitch 23 x 23 cm
While listening to Farewell to Stromness, thinking about a wonderful visit to Orkney last July and using only one specific piece of plastic from January (the orange from Sainsbury 40 tie handle food and freezer bags), I tried to find the sound of Stromness.  The snow is melting, the wind makes music through the moors. Land comes in and out of cloud and birds build their nests. Somewhere in my mind I am standing at a painting of a window in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona and birds sing from the canvas.

Monday, March 5, 2018

pastel over monotype

monotype plate before printing

monotype (ghost) with release agent

pastel over monotype
Excited to explore pastel over monotypes again! I generated about ten prints today in life drawing as we had a series of five and ten minute poses.  This is the final 25 minute pose. The plate is 10 x18 cm, which is a nice shape for Marilyn. I did not draw 'backwards' so the plate is the way I saw the image. I had forgotten two items this time: my roller and my brushes but luckily Judith lent me a brush.  One brush is tough to work with and it was a medium sized flat.  I had no way to wash my brush and my colours got quite muddy. (i usually use different brushes for different colours). Usually when I use pastel over monotype I work in black first.  In fact, I think this is the first time I have worked over a colour print. I would have loved to have painted this pose.  Perhaps these three studies can be used to do that…

Sunday, March 4, 2018

unimpeded by weather, I work from life

Valentina, oil on panel 30 x 40 cm
It was certainly cold and maybe even already snowing on Monday but I was keen to make mono prints in preparation for my Friday NEAC session. I decided I wasn't going to work backwards and found myself using whatever supplies I had (I had forgotten many) to make quick studies of Emily. I had to use the only paper I had, cartridge, and a metal spoon which, incidentally gets very hot when you rub with it… 

Back in the studio I printed the ghosts using release agent, wiping it away to get some pure whites back where I had wiped previously.   I also printed one that had been hanging around from the week before, with Esme. That seemed to work!

On Friday, even though we were advised not to travel, I went to London.  The morning was spent at the British Museum and after seeing the Victorian photos, I went to the Mall where I made a few prints, following on from Monday. The print below is the best of the bunch and IMHO one of my best!

And on Saturday, I was back in London at Heatherley's for a brilliant painting workshop with Peter Clossick. This time I braved snow and bus replacements, travelling for 7 1/2 hours for the workshop!  Still, totally worth it.  The suggested technique was similar to the way I make a mono print to begin, putting on a neutral and then removing the light with a rag.  I was very susprised how thinly I painted after that, considering I was taught by Peter. I had imagined working in thick paint… I think I never really got the structure aspect of the technique but I was enjoying what the paint was doing and was chasing the light. At the beginning I had decided to make two paintings.  Peter stopped me with the top one (reclining nude)  about an hour before the end of the session.  I didn't resolve the head but it has triggered a chain reaction of ideas. Hopefully more soon!

Emily, monotype, akua intaglio on cartridge paper

Mary, akua intaglio on Rives 10 x 15cm, NEAC

Emily, monotype, akua intaglio on heritage paper, printed with press using release agent

Emily, monotype, akua intaglio on heritage paper, printed with press using release agent

Emily, monotype, akua intaglio on cartridge paper

Emily, monotype, akua intaglio on cartridge paper
Emily, monotype, akua intaglio on cartridge paper

Emily, monotype, akua intaglio on cartridge paper

Esme, monotype, akua intaglio on heritage paper, printed with press using release agent
Valentina, oil on canvas 30 x 23 cm