25 May 2019

Marbling, day 1

The first day of a three-Saturday course at City Lit focused on suminagashi - "ink floating on water". Some historical examples on which poems have been written -


 ... and some bits that the tutor brought -
We were each given a book with a beautiful, delightful, inspirational, unique cover for our notes -
 My first attempts - the lines of ink aren't supposed to break up like that -
My handful of small samples when dry -
For larger and more delicate papers, a dowel is used to lift the paper out of the bath -
 Making ink -
 I wasn't getting the balance of wetting agent and ink right, so my results were, um, suboptimal ... but as the ink sank to the bottom of the tray, there were some nice ephemeral effects -

Skimming the remnants of ink from the surface in between prints didn't work terribly well, but fresh water and a bit of perseverance finally got a bit of a pattern -
I'll be trying this at home.

24 May 2019

Garden gifts

At last the sun was shining, yesterday, and it was warm (24 degrees, after a month of temps in the low teens or less). What a delightful day! Perfect for drastic gardening!

The lavender was about to block the path, and the rosemary was allegedly blocking the light - according to someone who has been known to stretch a point...
Two hours later, an objective third of the rosemary had been trimmed off and the best bits bagged up and left on the wall to "please take", and the lavender had been uprooted and put in a pot, in case it might blossom. Lots of "friendly daisies" had been trimmed, too -
and brought indoors for a birthday posy -
Then along came Sue with some nigella, which were speedily planted in a vacant corner -

A most satisfactory afternoon. 

23 May 2019

Poetry Thursday - a snippet of Shelley

John Caple, Midsummer Eve, 2019

One darkest glen
Sends from its woods of musk-rose, twined with jasmine
A soul-dissolving odour, to invite
to some more lovely mystery. Through the dell
Silence and twilight here, twin sisters, keep
Their noonday watch, and sail among the shades
Like vaporous shapes, half-seen …

From Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude, 1815
Percy Bysshe Shelley


Part of doing "Poetry Thursday" every week is waiting for the poem to appear. This one appeared in an online catalogue of paintings by John Caple for his upcoming exhibition "Silence and Twilight", inspired by this poem and by the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Alastor has an epigraph, which relates nicely (I think) with Caple's paintings -

The epigraph to the poem is from St. Augustine's Confessions, III, i, written between 397 and 398 AD:
Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quaerebam quid amarem, amans amare.
The English translation of the Latin is: "I was not yet in love, and I loved to be in love, I sought what I might love, in love with loving."

John Caple, Where I Have Lost I Softer Tread, 2019



22 May 2019

Woodblock Wednesday - japonisme, and a surprising green

Slight diversion at home while I try out some background textures for another project -
 quick print -
 more cutting, and doing some rubbings -
 cross-hatched background, quite violent to do! -
 yet another combination of loopy ribbon shapes with gouged texture -

Special treat at the class - a talk on Japonisme by Marie-Therese Barrett
The stylistic features that she pointed out were excellent "verbal handles" to use for thinking about what is (or isn't) going on in our own prints, from an aesthetic or compositional view rather than from the process aspect -
no depth, flat colours, outlines
patterns that emphasise the picture plane
cropping created by the frame as a decorative effect
treatment of space - exaggerated viewpoint, uptilted diagonals, strong asymmetrical foreground
changing viewpoints
the 2D picture space as a flat surface to which writing can be added

This two-sided accordion book, brought along by Marie-Therese, shows how each layer of colour changes the print -


  ...as does this one. I was intrigued by the "crow" - which turns out to be a piece of cloth! -

New to me - Henri Riviere's prints of the construction of the Eiffel Tower, at the height of the Japonisme delerium -

 And then to work. Printing  the textured blocks with "indigo" -
 ... and yellow ... the block still had the blue pigment, so it became this vibrant green -
 The morning's results included blue and yellow layers on the 4-layer block -
Half term next week - I have another project that needs a lot of cutting...

21 May 2019

Drawing Tuesday - Horniman Museum

It was a bit cold, I thought, for sitting in the gardens, but others in the group were braver than me -
Carol's iris and kakabeak

"How many greens can you find" asked Janet K;
you'll need to turn your head for the border and its shadows

Joyce's old tree

Judith's grass and that old tree

Sue's cactus and its shadows

Najlaa's cactus and a fish from India

Among Jo's many drawings was a "mermaid"

My tuba (and a warm-up on the back of a receipt)

It was a Very Large tuba (BBB ♭) - latterly used as a shop sign
 Extra-curricular activities
Joyce was out with Urban Sketchers again...

... and also brought in some old prints

Carol has been twisting faric into cords of different colours

19 May 2019

Camera shenanigans

"Disrupted geometry" - obviously a lot of people won't find this at all interesting! -
 I'm trying hard to resist taking photos of marks on the ground, but sometimes......
 A screenshot of a funny thing the camera decided to do with a panoramic shot -
Military parade, Horse Guards (accidental encounter)
 And a couple of pix the camera decided to take when my attention was elsewhere ...


18 May 2019

Studio Saturday - research online and in person

Of course you can't just go into a room and Make Something, there has to be a starting point. I find myself bedevilled by too many crazy ideas for woodblock printing (and not enough time for working on just one) and very few ideas for ceramics (and not enough energy to start working on just one).

So it's a matter of Yet More Research, waiting for the Vital Spark ... or tracking down the whiff of woodsmoke that leads to the smouldering embers of an old fire...

Meanwhile, exhibitions were seen -

Sunday, Crouch End open studios, with a "big show" in the town hall -
 ... including prints inspired by the town hall - for instance, the steps -
 Large prints by Ruth Selig of mirrored symmetries
 And interesting things in the individual studios -
 Small prints by Ruth Selig
 Monday, woodblock inspiration at the woodblock + bookbinding course -
Tuesday, drawing at the Horniman museum -
...reflections...
Wednesday, a close encounter with the Bawden murals at Morley -
So many lovely details!
 All day Thursday at the Draw art fair ... finding some familiar artists...
Marino Marini

Susan Hefuna
Miro - on a manky bit of cardboard!

Isamu Noguchi

Rebecca Salter
And some new ones  -

Nicolas Momein

Sergei Tchoban's drawing for his architectural drawing museum in Berlin

detail from an architectural drawing by Tchoban
 Techniques for "works on paper" and intriguing mark-making - 
Edgar Knoop

Hen Coleman

Fiona Robinson

Mario Lobedan

William Tillyer
Not to forget the display of work by Linda Karshan, and the gallery of  a grand variety of architectural drawings "Drawing Ambience".

Friday - quick visit to "Contemporary Art + Ritual" at the Crypt Gallery (till 21 May) -
Big, beautiful paintings by Nneka Uzoigwe

Small, intriguing metal boxes by Sally Tyrie
(footnote - in the process of adding the link, I discovered that
the piece I bought at A Letter In Mind in 2017 is by her! No.183)

Saturday - 
Sketchbooks on view at "Dreaming in Cuban" during "meet the artist" at
Westminster Reference Library  - exhibition is on till 25 May
On the way home, later, a quick visit to the Estorick's small-but-satisfying drawing exhibition ... more about that later ...

So, lots of art inspiration this week, especially with all the links in the Guardian's art e-bulletin to follow up on. I started reading about Lee Krasner at 8am and still haven't finished that article, what with all the diversions offered by the links in it, and the links in the links, and a thought of my own here and there...

Finally, some sparky ideas for ceramics -
"cracked world" - !

"family groups" ...

lights ...

...  need light fixings, research needed...

cut-up and tied-together picture frame by Caroline Broadhead

Or maybe ... plaster casting???
(yet another daft idea ... well, let's see if it has legs)