Sunday, August 2, 2020

New project and having some fun

The EPP project is still getting started, although I think I have enough papers cut, and enough fabric cut to size to get a good start on it.  In the meantime, I started a set of Postcards, hopefully to be used for sale.  But I'm not going to worry about that, and just have fun making them.  The technique is mixed media, and I'm trying to use various techniques that were covered in my sketchbook workshop. I'm pleased so far.

There's still work to do, and I hope to get to that tomorrow

Friday, July 24, 2020

What to do now?

While playing happily with my sketchbooks since the lock down, I've also tried to spend a few minutes every day with a small EPP project.  I had originally thought it might serve as a background for an underwater scene, I'm now having second thoughts.  I finished the hand piecing yesterday.  This is what I have so far. It is about 20 by 30 inches.  

As you may remember I also used this lozenge shape in a small piece I finished right at the beginning of the lock down.  This may serve as a reminder.

I thoroughly enjoyed having a small project to hand-stitch during my quieter moments, and have started planning another one.  

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Starting again?

I've purchased the last module of the sketchbook workshop, and have read it through this morning.  It appears that my next step might be to go back to the work I did for the first module and re-work it using the information and techniques I now have. I sort of had that figured, and am quite prepared to do it--starting today.

The sketchbook group I have joined on Facebook, not connected to the workshop in any way, ( Facebook--Up for a Challenge) has challenged its members to post a short video of themselves working out of doors.  There have been several and most of them are posting a video for the first time.  I sort of see this as a challenge for myself to learn how to do that.  About half of them are using a laptop rather than a Smart phone, so there must be a way I can do the same thing.  Sort of scary!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Making a start

One of the steps that I've been given in creating art sketch books is to pick a theme, and spend some time developing that theme.  The examples given in the course show some wonderful results.  I can see this as a possible strategy for me, as I've worked with several themes over the years, but haven't really worked through one for any length of time.  I think of my labyrinth pieces, and the number of times that fish have appeared in my work.  Leaves, in general, and more specifically the American Elm in our yard come to mind.  The overall theme that we were given when starting this workshop was "My Place", concentrating first on our home and more specifically the kitchen, then enlarging the sphere to the garden and then the local area.  What if I further enlarged the theme to include my city, and even my province?

So today I visited a friend, who is a talented art photographer, and mentioned my tentative plan to her.  She urged caution.  Evidently, Manitoba scenery tends to be poorly received, unless presented with a much more specialized focus, such as snow falls, (her specialty. weather extremes, or even specific wildlife. We discussed the reasons and considered the very bareness of our landscape, with a general lack of focus, other than horizon lines and sky.

I took a couple of pictures from her deck, that show this.

The only way these could be of use would be if it was feasible to home in on very small areas of each picture.  The small fenced area in the first picture is actually part of a sheep pasture containing 19 lambs and their parents.  Lambs can make a decent picture, but not necessarily for a sketchbook.  In the second picture there is a small area just about central, that contains some gorgeous bright red poppies.  Again a small contained picture, with no relationship to the larger landscape.

I did get a couple of picture of the Seine River, from a bridge, that might have possibilities for a finished piece, but probably won't contribute much to a sketch book.

So, I think I'll have to keep looking for my theme.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

A new start

A very encouraging response from the instructor about my decision to look at the sketchbooks as an art form, rather than as a springboard to anything else. Today I decided to start working on improving my actual sketching, as well as my use of water colour paint.  The result was pathetic, and I'm not going to show you a picture.  But I did do some work with my exploration of printing as a technique for the sketch books.  I have cut out 5 "Lino" blocks, and made proof prints of them into the sketchbooks.  I also tried two different methods of mono-printing into the books, with mixed success.

The first picture is of a more familiar type of mono-printing, one that I've often used in my fiber work.  I spread paint on a small palette, and then made marks on it with various objects.  This palette was then picked up and placed paint-side down on the sketchbook page.  I'm very pleased with this, and can see using it in some form.  The other side is a different method of mono-printing, one, I'm not familiar with and one that didn't work worth a darn.  I've since done three more prints using this technique, and finally got a better, but not great result.

This second spread is a proof printing of one of the "lino" blocks, that of a decorative fish, on a prepared page..  I tried printing three times before re-loading the printing block.

The last picture is of the proof prints of several more new printing blocks.  As well, at the upper right, I made a print from two of items I had used to prepare the palette for the first picture above. I am pleased with everything on these pages.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

More self reflection

I received a communication from the instructor of the sketchbook course, in response to a couple of pictures I posted in the Gallery section of the website.  She pointed out that, maybe I needed to ask myself why I was making the sketchbooks.  Did I see it as a way to influence and develop my work? Was it a form of journaling?  Or did I see them as an art form, in their own right?  Wow!  That cuts right to the heart of the matter, doesn't it?

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days now.  I have admired her sketchbooks for several years, probably because I do see them as a form of art in their own right.  But she has also commented on how something in her sketch books had informed an art piece, and I think my years long obsession with sketchbooks has perhaps been a search for inspiration, as the creative process has always been the most difficult part of my art process.  But--what if I could look at sketchbooks as an art form?  One concept that I have heard before about the sketchbooks is that each artist can use their own sketchbooks in any way that has meaning for the artist himself.  Mine ( and there have been a few over the years) have served as a record of my process, including original concept, any pertinent stitched samples, examples of fabric selection, and a final photo.  Why not continue with that, while treating myself to a parallel process of creating the sketchbook as art?  Maybe, once in a Blue Moon, part of that process that might influence my art--or it might not.  It would still take a time commitment,and still involve skill development, that I have wanted to avoid at my age.

I can do anything I want. and anything that might have meaning for me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

"Slugging along"

I used that phrase and then wondered if anyone other than my family would know what I mean.  Well, I see the job that is ahead of me and I'm progressing, albeit slowly, and with less enthusiasm than it maybe deserves.  I'm talking about my sketchbook course, of course.  Module three is all about different methods of creating prints, most of which I've done, in the past, and several that I've even taught. The exception is a method of mono-prints that I've seen, but never actually tried, although I've been using mono-printed fabric, the result of a different method, for years in my purses that sell well in gift shops. So I've created samples of these  print-making techniques (except the mono-prints), and even tried to add text to the samples.  All well and good.  But I'm not pleased with them, because they don't have the depth and pleasing design of the many samples the instructors have provided.  Then I have to remind myself that I'm here to learn, except I also have to ask if what new learning I've received is worth the ultimate cost of the workshop and the supplies that have proven necessary.  On the other hand, I have had a purpose and a goal during the over 3 months of social lock down I've just come through (--with more ahead).  The work has kept me busy, and I've been working with colour and craft, which always fills my heart with joy.  Still, has the result been worth the labour.  Not in my opinion.

How does what I've learned influence my future work?  I've learned that I need to improve my skill in using water colours.  I can see some future practice with creating paper collages. I can see a need to increase my skill with drawing. But--I also have to ask if increasing skill with more techniques is the answer, or if maybe the skill I lack is a basic ability to design.  Oh, I've read books on the principles of design, and studied colour theory.  I can analyze a design in a fibre piece, and articulate the principles used, and maybe how and why.

I will complete this module, and play with the exercises, but also spend some time determining whether I really want to put out the money for the last module.  Will doing so, really improve the quality of work in my sketchbooks?