08 August 2015

Self-directed study

Some CQ members are doing self-directed study, based on books we have on our shelves (probably) but have never worked right the way through. First up is Finding Your Own Visual Language, which came out in 2007. I started then, and didn't get very far.

The exercises are set at a good pace, and although it's good to do them all, there's official permission to skip some if necessary. There's a group blog, which can be visited but not commented on by non-members, on which we report on what we've done. I started late and am now trying to catch up, encouraged  by seeing what others have done. Photographing and writing about the "results" is a good exercise, really helps you extract some "learning" from the "doing".

So it was back to "splitting shapes"
Three ways to expand a circle

and then to "carving erasers" - or rather, reassessing what I'd done first time round -

but along the way I, like others, stepped off the paved path to pick some flowers, as you do... opening up yet more creative possibilities ....

First, the insertion of coloured paper under the rubber stamping -
Then, using a jumble of the cut shapes to do a rubbing, and then adding the shapes themselves -
Those curves bring to mind what you can do with fabric on the bias (another area to explore!) and tapped into a long-held desire to use brush and ink. Which, sweeping the annoying cut shapes into the bin, I promptly did -
The choice of brushes - I have dozens, accumulated willy-nilly over the years - was the first hurdle. I quickly found that the one with white plastic(?) bristles made only chunky horrid lines, though that may also have been due to my inexperience. Next, a natural brush of the same size (4) - so much better! The long-bristled brush used after that (is it called a rigger? yes - and here's how to use it) was fun and I liked the unexpected effects if you stopped to turn a corner. Then a dumpy little sable brush turned out to be a disappointment because the moths had been at it! Finally, a proper Chinese brush - that was wonderful to use. By this time I was enjoying the outlining exercise and feeling like I might pick up a brush and some ink again soon.

The dots in the corner are a record of what the different brushes can do. I rather ran out of patience, nor are the dots particularly dotty, more scratchy and strokey. Of course it needs more time spent on it; I was just trying to get over that first hurdle, the "oh it's too much bother to get the materials out" one.

What helps is having a finite time to spend or, as here, a finite amount of paper to "colour in", so that you know when you've done enough for now.

I did want to carry on with the ink and brushes, and am pleased to see that the next block of work includes mark-making.

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