07 August 2017

"Starting a sketchbook"

This weekend course was held in one of the painting studios at City Lit - what a lot of lovely easel-position marks have accumulated on the floor!
 Day 1 started with selecting an object to draw (bottles, teapots etc). Inside one of the teapots was a wad of masking tape ... irresistible ... but what to do about drawing it, and where oh where might it lead ....
A little unravelling [significant metaphor??] revealed its shadow - two shadows in fact -
 Suddenly I was in Tone Territory, and somehow that seemed to call for cross-hatching -

The morning's work, and my thoughts about it
 After lunch it was a short walk to the British Museum (hint: use the back entrance: the queues for bag-check at the front can be enormous). I was looking for shadows and chose these on an ancient bronze axehead from Luristan -
 Then this lovely armband beckoned ... it was a case of the inside being as interesting as the outside -
 I wasn't particularly happy with either rendition - clumsy and wishy-washy - but did I write that down at the time? Nor have I actually added the shadows to the axe head (to be continued...)
Back in the classroom we reflected and responded. The day wore me out and I had no idea of how to "take it further". The others seemed to be getting on just fine! -

"Note - reflect - develop"

 Day 2, it was back to the tape and its shadow. In light of my struggles with wet media, and with nothing to lose, I started delicately using my water brush, even finding some usable colour on the tabletop -
 When it came to using soluble graphite - so dark, so noticeable! - I was not happy with the results, and this was reinforced by the comment "you've got interesting marks there".
 However I kept working with the media I'd brought along, the things that stay in the sketching bag from one Tuesday to another - graphite, the indigo Inktense pencil chief among them -
An image can spark a whole new line of enquiry
The image at the top looks rather like a landscape, and there was a green soluble pencil in my bag...
but that was too easy, and not visually satisfying. I went back to the box of magazines and found some more images, hoping to deflect into something more satisfying -
 Those curves are a tracing of some ribbons in an advert - the lines and shadows hit something in the subconscious... which turned out to be not a viking boat, but my encounter with Richard Wilson's "Slipstream" sculpture at Heathrow (terminal 2) -
By lunchtime there were drawings - 
 and a collection of lines and fire and clouds and suchlike -
The most important/useful items, for me, from Mario's notes on "developing your sketchbook" handout were to trace your drawing as a starting point for a new piece of work; introduce other media into the work; collect relevant media [images?] as another starting point, and start to plan ahead with composition and colour palettes; and of course to research, to look at other images that are relevant.
 "Remember to reflect"

closeup of the wonderful qualities of ink, wet into wet

experiments - into the wet

my favourite page (it has  s p a c e )
 Working on a larger sheet of paper ... starting to fall apart here ...
 The details can be interesting -
 Back to cross-hatching - the area on the left was made by folding the paper over (it was very wet!)
 Again, details...

The course was an emotional roller-coaster for me; I was resisting, resisting, ready to run... and really having to stay put and push myself.

Small Victories - breaking through the "messiness" barrier by using wet media in the sketchbook; persevering, even if it meant having a break and going back; thinking about how to use the sketchbook as a place to go back to, and allow myself to change older work (now I "just" have to actually do that!).

Taking it forward - the collection of images cries out to be used somehow. I also like the idea of "limit yourself ... and see what you get".

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