Sunday 29 October 2017

Contemporary Painting Studio Week 3 and Big Draw Selfie

Week 3 of Contemporary Painting Studio  and I had a chance to talk to Lucinda first thing.  I converted several photographs into black and white with 'graphic pen ' filter in Photoshop and pinned them up on board along with the painted newspaper painting from the previous week. We discussed the benefits of collage  to quickly work out compositions   and she suggested doing 4 of the same subject on 1 sheet ( like for drawing development ) using different qualities of newspaper, magazines, continuing on from using random newspaper sections as background. Also not to necessarily cut out distinct shapes  such as breakwaters  but to build up layers where can paint over and suggest structures(letting the eye fill in.)

So I had a splendid time with a variety  of magazines ( interiors, furnishings and RA being particularly fruitful) tearing out black and white textures including curtains, furniture and Giacometti sculptures!
 Considering it's a painting class I spent more time glueing then anything else!
Very pleased with the results and thinking about it, a lot of my textile work involves collaging scraps of fabric . I'll definately be doing more and am considering a collage course next year. 

At lunchtime  I took part in the 'Big Draw Selfie' event in the foyer. They took a photo of your face on computer and projected it on  a piece of paper   and  you then drew round your features using charcoal. It was rubbed out between participants - I was number 59 so there were a lot of layers underneath. The final result was an animation of everybodies drawings 

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Contemporary Painting Studio weeks 1 & 2

I'm getting back into my stride now on the second week of 'Contemporary Painting Studio' at City Lit with Lucinda Oestreicher, picking up where I left off on 'Ways into Abstract Painting' .  
The piece above  used one of the newspaper collaged backgrounds I'd prepared,  with brushstrokes  inspired by Pierre Soulages. Still a bit heavy handed  but I've some further backgrounds to play with  

The first week  was a bit difficult -  being the 'new girl' in an established group; new equipment (option of   a large screen  in addition to an easel); the ' where do I start' dilemma after a gap of several months. My main problem ( as usual!) was having too many ideas  and trying to do everything at once .
I'd initially decided when booking the class all those months ago ( it fills up very quickly) that I would use the opportunity to leave work there to develop my oil painting techniques   and that my subject matter would be boats, continuing  from 'Reading a Paint Surface'
So I started off with  developing compositions   based on  sketches and photos from Iron Wharf  ( we had another walk around there a couple of Sunday's ago , I must post some more photos, there's a new old boat!) 

But of course I'd also taken some of  my artwork based on breakwaters and  did some colour sketches of those too.  While I was waiting  my turn for some advice from Lucinda, I prepared some more scumbled backgrounds ( one of the many useful techniques from Advanced Painting course).

The  suggestions from Lucinda were to try out   many compositions in black and white only, working tonally initially and to take just one subject at a  time and explore it thoroughly.   Of course I knew that  but in my haste to get into colour  I'd forgotten the basics! There wasn't time to do many in the class but I bore it in mind for the next session  and was much better prepared. 

 Week 2 started with a look at everyone's work so far, to see different peoples  approaches to using reference materials , testing out ideas, getting started.  Some were using  collage , others painting on photocopies or cropping images , there was working directly from sketchbooks, blowing up images on the OHP projector, layering images and a couple starting painting directly and responding to what was happening on the surface, doing one piece and then working from that in a series of samples  not referring to the original source. Most were working from photos or sketches but a few were working  with more abstract concepts including family memories  and recent events in the news. 
I'd brought in  a  folder with the work I'd done in Photoshop  for ' Birchington Breakwaters' ( which I suppose was tonal being red and white rather than black and white)  along with  sketches  and photos of  my journal quilts and previous paintings. Lucinda referred to it as the 'archive' approach. In a later discussion  she said she could see how both my scientific  and textile backgrounds  came into play with my methodical  sampling of techniques.  

There were demonstrations of image transfer  using acrylic gloss gel  ( which I realised afterwards was the basis of paper lamination )  and of using the OHP to play with scale and orientation of images. I used this to combine  photos and drawings on acetate  projected onto a larger piece of paper.  Interesting use of obsolete equipment, years ago I used my slide projector  to project a slide of Moroccan sand dunes onto  my quilt top for ' Erg Chebbi',  I'm just as happy using tracing paper as it simplifies the image. 

With my reference material taped to my  wheeled screen I worked on  a scumbled background with  just black and white acrylic paint

At the end of the session, rather than throw the paint away, I used it up scraping  it on my paper 'dropsheet' with a credit card. Love the marks which suggest rocks and sea foam

I'm feeling more settled now  in continuing to explore the theme of breakwaters and the interaction between my painting and textile practice. On Friday  I'm heading  off  again to Studio 11 in Eastbourne for a mentoring session with Christine Chester.(I'm planning to do some monoprinting with my bench time )  Filling in the questionnaire   has already helped a lot in making decisions about what to concentrate on , in this case breakwaters and acrylics rather than boats and oil paints as is feeds in more directly into my textile work . 

Monday 23 October 2017

CQ Kent: Sketching in Deal

On Friday, our  Contemporary Quilt (CQ)  Kent meeting was hosted by Glenys in Deal .  We spent the morning discussing what we'd seen at Knit and Stitch , sharing what we were working on  and in some cases seeking advice  where we'd got stuck. After lunch , the blustery weather had improved, the sun was shining and we headed down to the  beach to take photographs and draw 

 Quite a few fishing boats and lobster pots ( although not as many as in the past)

Several rusty artefacts including this anchor 

Mostly we were mesmerised by the sea crashing onto the shore- I did a couple of very bad watercolours trying to capture the colours and of course added to my stone collection. 

The black tideline was burnt and charred wood and I collected some of the drier bits to draw with , I loved the lines of the improvised slipways made of timber 

'Charcoal' drawings of the tideline and slipway and some bladderwrack. 
The sea itself left the loveliest marks on the sand and stones. 

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Beyond the Surface: David Tress and Jeremy Gardiner

 I've been a fan of the work of David Tress ever since I was introduced to it in 2005  by Katherine Holmes  when I did  courses with her at Malham  Tarn Field Centre . He also has a very good reputation as a  tutor  and I've been trying , without success, to get on one of his  classes for years at various venues, they fill up so quickly. So I'm thrilled to have got the last place on his workshop at Lund Studios in  September  2018.

Yesterday I went to see his exhibition  at Messums Gallery ( and spent so long poring over the surfaces, taking notes, that they offered me  a coffee!) I bought both the book and the catalogue  but you really need to see them in the flesh to appreciate the layers and marks.
They have a huge physical presence, built up of layers  of  torn and cut collaged heavy watercolour paper overlapping the edges, with impasto paint   scratched into. They have such energy and sense of place
I  loved the graphite drawings too, the paper distressed and torn and marks scored into the surface.
After lunch at  Bruton Place Pizza Express , I was intending to go to the Jasper Johns at The RA  and was reading the article about him in the Friends magazine. But then an advert for exhibition of Jeremy Gardiner at the Paisnel Gallery caught my eye and I headed there instead.  

Also involving layers of  heavy watercolour paper but excavated precisely with a knife  and painted with watercolours and Jesmonite. I loved the abstract compositions and colours which reminded me of Wilhelmina Barnes- Graham. The series were based on lighthouses ( including Portland) . Personally ( and it is a matter of taste) I wasn't so keen  on the photographic realism of the lighthouses themselves but the  coastal landscapes they were set in were wonderful. Again I bought the catalogue and also the book of the previous exhibition which was  collage and oils( and includes a film on CD)

So  I'm now delving in my stash for watercolour paper to tear, cut , layer and incise.

Saturday 7 October 2017

The Colours of Weymouth and Portland

 Just a few of the many peeling paint surfaces 

Brightly coloured houses on Weymouth Harbour 

Boats at Smallmouth Cove and on Chesil Beach 

West Weares, Portland: chairs , flags and beach huts.