31 July 2019

Woodblock Wednesday - printing postcards

Decided to print the "which way is up" block for the Morley College printmaking department postcard swap -
Here's two I prepared earlier
This is the first block, printed, for practice, on the six cards to the right and then on the four larger cards, which will soon(?) go into the post. Registration for both sets was rather ad hoc, the smaller cards using a floating kento on top of the block to register the card in the middle of the print area, and for the larger cards (the same size as the block), aligning the corner of the board.
Somehow (brain not engaged!) one of the smaller cards was printed onto the wrong side: there's a nice little box for the stamp, and the wording "the address is to be written on this side". Instead of space for the address, there's a red mountain. Conceptual, or what?!

These two have been received ...

And this design, "Elipticlipticality", is under the knife. It was inspired by the recent partial eclipse of the moon.

One side is pretty much done ...

... the other still needs work

30 July 2019

Drawing Tuesday - Docklands Museum

Because of my summer school course last week, the reporting on the drawing sessions has got a bit behind. We were at the Museum of Docklands two weeks ago, and the next week some of the group returned, in my absence - the report of that session is on Sue's blog, http://suesharples.blogspot.com/2019/

It was a pleasant day so I settled on a bench under the trees...
 ... and got lost in the patterns ...
 ... adding the "little round house" that had attracted me to that spot but sat off to the side -
Quite a large turnout today.
Janet K, sculptures by Lynn Chadwick

Joyce - footbridge and DLR train passing 

Carol - collection of items found in the Thames

Janet B - the Tyburn salmon by Simon Gudgeon

Judith - a scene in the museum

Sue - sculpture in Crossrail garden

Najlaa - cope with found objects, used by
Bishop of London for blessing the river
(in the Secret Rivers exhbition, till 27 October)

Jo - fish porter's hat
 Extracurricular activities
Najlaa revisited Luchita Hurtado's "Moth Lights"

Janet B's blanket is double sided

Judith has been on holiday

Janet B's interest in The Archers extends to academic
conferences and carrying around book bags embellished with
covers of the published conference proceedings

28 July 2019

In the workroom and the museum

"Do the most important thing at your best time" is good advice that I seem to have lost sight of. My best time is early morning, and so often that time is used for reading in the bath or piddling about with emails or instagram (the latter - shock horror - while still in bed!).

As it was still the weekend and as I was still "recuperating" from all that we did and absorbed and considered at the summer school, I had a low-key Saturday with a view to pulling my socks up on Sunday. So this morning, aiming to "do the most important thing" first, before being distracted, I got out of the bath (hmm, shouldn't have been reading for so long maybe) and made coffee (ok, that was quick) and took it into the studio "right away" - there's a little deadline to meet, and I wanted to be done with it by noon.
 And the work from the summer school was trying to relax after being rolled up for some hours - I'd also planned to take action on a few of those pieces -
What happened? Next thing I knew, I was clearing out one of the compartments under the workbench. It suddenly seemed vital to have all the woodblock paraphernalia together in a handy place.
 Ah yes, I pulled out a shoebox for some reason and started sorting its contents with a view to decluttering. But some were flyers that I'd produced for exhibitions and, while involved in the London region of the Quilters' Guild, for the regional days. Couldn't just toss those without making a record, could I? They go back to pre-blogging days....
 They ended up with a formulaic format, but the two at the top were special.

On the right, a textiles exhibition at Leighton House Gallery in 1999 or was it 2000? None of the participants had email addresses or websites listed on the back, just phone numbers (in case anyone wanted to see more work at their studio...)
The one on the left was for the exhibition Tony and I had in 2010, thanks to a local gallery having a free slot just after I'd done the art foundation course at City Lit. Somehow you think those days will go on forever....
Here's a couple of the works from the Leighton House show, still hanging around and gathering dust ....
a very tired "mobile"

Silk printed with chinese nonsense characters

 ... and starting to fade in the light ...
 Ah well, there's a new oasis of tranquility in the workroom/storeroom - no work done yet, but it was time to go to the farmers market
and unexpectedly I popped into the only local clothing shop (apart from the charity shops) and found this (sleeveless) dress on sale, made in Australia no less -
I could do the cutting and pasting and whatever in the evening, no?, so it was off to Tate Modern to see the Natalia Goncharova exhibition, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Ah those moody greys

From her sketchbook 1915-17
Didn't take many photos at all, but each page of the little booklet about the exhibition has a quick sketch of something in that room. Looking particularly hard at one item.

These aide-memoires really do that - a drawing brings you back to what and where and when you were. And I quickly found myself making nice dark decisive marks with the pencil, so pleased to find that happening.

27 July 2019

Studio Saturday - a light week

It was all about the summer school this week (and the heat) - a little woodblock printing got down, as I'm still finalising my piece for A Letter In Mind ... I'm making heavy work of the theme of Making Light Work.
Going over to the dark side!
Having "flaps" inside the "sealed envelope" was worth a try but getting them centred with the registration on an angle, and a floating kento, did my head in -
Close, closer, closest...

Angular contortions, mis-placements, re-placements

Some were printed on tracing paper (not dampened)
The assembly of the "envelopes" is yet to come.

Another project on the go is for the Morley print department postcard exchange. I've been faffing around with moon eclipse imaginary configurations, thinking to give "Eclipticality" a "fractured" background as with the red prints in the pic above.

Maybe this one??
Current thinking is to use a block that's already cut, maybe one of the mountain ones from last year, and do these moons "later".

The first postcard (of four) has arrived - "Arctic Ice Floes Breaking Up" is a collograph made using materials from acrylic paint to wet and dry sandpaper. Thank you, Anna Reisenberger, it's lovely!
No pressure....

26 July 2019

Drawing summer school - day 5

The most important thought, for me, that came out of the "check in" session at the start of the day (or was it a pep talk?) was the idea of consequence - once the drawing is finished, is there another that needs to be made? I think this could be a way to link the empty page and its possibilities with the intensity and unthought thinking that has gone into previous work, while that spirit is still fresh. 

I also think that thinking is not the way make a drawing ... there just needs to be a starting point for the interaction of artist&brush to happen, for the ink to find its path around the page.

People settled down to follow their own plans
... and although I sort of knew what I'd be getting on with, I decided to review the work of the past four days.

These were may favourite pieces. I'd been looking at all the breath&ink drawings and saw one that I really liked - dark and gleaming and compact, just a little frilly edge. On reflection, it had qualities of modesty and intensity, humbleness and eagerness. I looked for an indication of who had made it - it was me! I was truly startled, and tucked my pleasure away to be examined later.
The line drawing with carbon paper, the inky painting, and the blind drawings also pleased me in various ways.
 All around, people were engrossed in what they were doing, and I was procrastinating.

To start, I want to finish - or finish with - the Uphill Struggle, to see whether the random tendrils could be tamed. No, it was a mess and always would be, something without valid intent or aesthetic outcome. I think I might cut it up and sew it back together, or tie the pieces into a bundle (as Susan Hiller does with some of her canvases) and seal it in some way, char the edges perhaps and then dip them in wax, or add so much paint that they become the sides of a brick. Or cut into very thin strips and weave them into a (waste)basket. Or cut into A4 and write very short letters to MPs on the back. But that's for later.
Finally, time to start on The New Thing. I'd got up early and started catching up on writing blog posts about the course, and when it came to writing about breathing&ink&blobs there appeared A Fully Formed Idea. It was a good moment.

I sorted out the components:
- to make compact but large blobs (no tendrils) drawn by the breath
- each on a separate page (the page to be the size of my hand)
- holes in the middle, for the book to breathe (where did I put that large punch)
- a concertina book (quick and easy format)

Before leaving home there was just enough time to choose a paper (not bright white; somewhat sturdy) and cut it to size - 10 strips with four pages each.

I mixed some washing-up liquid into ink, poured a little ink onto the paper, and started.
The first one
The entire sequence 

The last one
After feeling like the lame duck all week, I was surprised by my own work, by the way it could develop (under some pressure) in about two hours, from splodge to nuance as I dealt with the nuances of the technique. It ended up better than I could have imagined, and while I was doing it, all sorts of associations were rushing into my brain. I wrote them down. 

For "the exhibition" (two drawings each) I set out the final two strips. 

To end with, details from some of the work in the final display -

Quite a range of marks, of ideas behind it, of ties to their usual work.

Thanks to the Drawing Room for organising the course; to the tutors - Sarah Woodfine (Tuesday), Jane Sassienie (Wednesday), and Marcus Coates (Thursday); and to Tania Kovats (Monday and Friday) for leading us all through the undergrowth and out into the sunshine.