Wednesday 31 January 2018

Contemporary Collage Week 2: Desecrating Dinghy Ownership

I had a wonderful time on Monday in Contemporary Collage class  ' desecrating'  the copy of  'Dinghy Ownership' I bought last week.  After  we were shown a variety of examples of artists  and altered books  I took a sharp intake of breath before starting - it feels rather naughty (or should that be nautical!) deliberately cutting out diagrams, ripping out pages, and painting and drawing on the text.

I spent the morning cutting out the diagrams with a scalpel ( I was complimented on my precision - but then I have been  using one for over 30 years dissecting plants )
Then after  lunch, some painting and colouring in.

After cutting out a few hull diagrams , I made a template and cut out some more  then added ink around the edges . I like the overlapping shapes  and what is revealed of underlying pages

On this page the cutouts  show  the  chapter on water and tides (I highlighted these words) 

I started  using the cutout shapes as stencils for  colouring in  the page beneath  with ink . 
The downside to working within  a book is only being able to work on a  spread at a time. Here I painted with acrylic all over except where a couple of  shapes had been cut out but the pages  stuck together while drying. Pulling them apart   left some ripped   white marks which I quite like!

2 sets of diagrams showing flows of currents: on one I extended the areas of black ; on the other I replicated the shape I'd cut out on the opposite page
Painting the stubs of the ripped out pages with ink is when I discovered the effects of ink  spreading to other pages along the spine. This led to  dripping ink deliberately all along the edges of the book when closed. Very satisfying! 
I painted both sides of the ripped out pages using a variety of techniques including acrylic both wet and dry brush; neolcolour crayons; pastels and wax candle resists with inks  
I can't decide whether to put them back into the book ( above) or use them for something else  ( I was thinking again of the structure of  3d weather chart from Contemporary Drawing Sketchbook course)

Some pages I painted lightly with white gesso to partly obscure the text and these I think I will reinsert in the book - I like the contrast of the white with the cream of the paper.  

And the what to do with the excised diagrams and shapes - put them back in the book, use them for another project or stick them in my 'scrap book'? 
I had to leave early  to catch my train so didn't see much of what others had done but there was some amazingly diverse  work going on ( many were using books with coloured illustrations and photos). I half wish I'd been a bit more adventurous   but I'm increasingly finding that  I get more out of using a limited palette and range of techniques but pushing how far I can go within those boundaries  

Sunday 28 January 2018

Cut and Paste at Home

 I'm finding collage addictive: here are   4 (above)  I made over the weekend

 And these are the first 2 pages of my 'Scrap Book'  using up the leftovers.

Friday 26 January 2018

Bargain Books for Desecration and Collage

 For next weeks 'Contemporary Collage' class at City Lit  we were asked to bring in a pre- existing book for  alteration/ desecration. While I have 'previous' in this activity( see here for my first foray), having had a clear out when we moved I  didn't have anything suitable . Time to visit the 2 excellent secondhand bookshops in Faversham - the 'Fleur-de lis' run by the Faversham Society  and Past Sentence  which is open on market days.  

In the latter, I bought  2 books  from the 'sailing' section. The copy of 'Dinghy Ownership Mainly For The Non-Racing Man ' dates from 1956 ( the author also wrote 'Dinghy Sailing For Boys - Or Girls')  and has nice thick paper ( an important consideration)  as well as lots of interesting illustrations and a few photos.  

I mainly bought 'The Merchant Service today' (1942 from the recreational library of RAF Mildenhall) for it's fold out copy of the admiralty chart of the North Kent coast section of the Thames Estuary although it too has nice thick paper.   

My final purchase from Past Sentence  was in the £1 basket outside the shop- remember the craze for paint effects in the 1980's ? This  book shows you how to do it and  has masses of photographs and illustrations  to  cut out and use - cheaper than a magazine!

In the 'Fleur' bookshop I obtained 2 further books  bought for their illustrations - a 'Souvenir Edition' of 1963 showing excerpts from issues of Encylopedia Britannica going back centuries and  the book below from 1981  which is filled with examples of patents including many bizarre ones that never caught on. 

All these delights together cost me the princely sum of £8.50!

Contemporary Collage Week 1 :Introduction and Cut and Paste

My head is still spinning with excitement from first session of ' Contemporary Collage and mixed media' at City Lit '  We spent the morning going through the packed programme for the next 10 weeks , illustrated with examples from a large variety of contemporary collage artists ( more in another post) then after a brief break  an overview of about 20  techniques . Phew!  Then the afternoon was spent diving into boxes of materials  , trying some of these out , allowing work to make itself.
As I don't usually buy magazines ( apart from the one that comes with the Saturday Guardian ) I spent most of my time with  copies of Vogue and World of Interiors  ( which I kidnapped and brought home ) seduced by the glossy paper and photography. I  started first  in my comfort zone, painting papers then cutting up strips of 'furnishing fabrics' and pasting them randomly including using the backs of the strips. 

I  then found a rather strange article  about 'Nana' making knitted  ensembles for 'Sasha' dolls  in the arts section (?!) with illustrations of  their 'on the beach 'outfits .  I started out simply with a couple of hats , cutting out circles, then tried some 'frottage' , rubbing pastels and graphite  on tracing paper  laid over the raised surface of the collage. 

 Having cut out various articles of knitted clothing, I got intrigued by the negative shapes  left behind ( reminders of cutting out paper dolls)  and produced this rather sinister looking collage 

Turning to ' Vogue' I cut out  some more  of the figures and used the remaining shapes to frame the central  photo of a  model. This has potential I think . 
The afternoon  ended too soon , I wish I'd taken a photo of the mess on the table and on the floor but was too busy snipping and glueing. We had a quick review of everyone's work  which was extremely diverse , I feel like I'm only scratching the surface of the possibilities 

At home in the studio, I'm looking at every bit of paper in a new light. When I opened the copy of Vogue ( which had already been cut into by previous students) I was intrigued by  juxtaposition of the  shapes on the page beneath with the overlying image. So I ripped out both pages and played around with  shifting the underlying layer and took photos ( combined below)  
 Playing with papers is addictive -  besides having several collages at different stages, we were encouraged to start a 'scrap book'  of all the bits we didn't use ( which in my case are all the figures I cut out as I  wanted the surroundings) . 

Our homework was to bring in an existing book for 'desecration' next week. I'm off to the secondhand bookshops in Faversham to see what I can find. 

Sunday 21 January 2018

Margo Selby : Pick by Pick at Rochester Art Gallery and Huguenot Museum

Yesterday I went  to a bleak and wet Rochester to see exhibition of work by  weaver and textile designer Margo Selby at Rochester Art Gallery and Huguenot Museum. She was running  a 'colour and stripe' workshop in the morning   which looked fun and giving a talk in the afternoon  which I went to with some friends. 

 The gallery was mainly  devoted to her more recent hand woven artworks  created using the  'Lampas' technique  initially developed and used by French Huguenot  weavers for decorative brocade fabrics. There were also cases showing her design work and samples.  

 Upstairs in the Huguenot Museum  her  commercial fabrics produced in industrial mills ( rugs,   furnishing and accessories etc ) were displayed.

 Her talk was interesting, outlining  her development as a  woven textile designer  from studying at Chelsea and RCA to the issues of scaling up  from hand woven samples when you only want 20m as opposed to minimum runs of  200m and learning how to market her products . Since moving to Whitstable in 2012, she's been focusing on her art practice, creating hand-woven works.  There were some questions asked about balancing art and commercial practice , she  acknowledged that she was lucky  to be able to do both ( while part wishing she hadn't used her name as the brand for her commercial work )
I couldn't resist  buying this scarf in her trademark 3 dimensional fabric in silk and lycra - I just loved the colours and the 'patchwork' design . I'm a bit poorly at the moment  (bland diet, no coffee, wine or chocolate!)  and didn't make it to my painting  class on Thursday so it cheered me up.  

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Painting Studio Time 1

I was unable to get a place on this terms 'Contemporary Painting Studio'  class  at City Lit and in any case I'm  already doing a collage class starting 22nd.  However Lucinda put together a 2 week class in a free room to fill in the time before CPS started  and I was very happy to have the bonus of an additional couple of painting days.  There's 10 of us plus Lucinda who is  working on her own paintings rather than teaching  but as ever,  seeing what other people are doing and asking/receiving advice is invaluable.
I thought about bringing in the large painting I was working on before Xmas but without the big screens to pin it  on  I decided to return to the  preliminary sketches I'd made of  Iron Wharf  in
Week 1. I also brought in  a couple of the prepared newspaper collage backgrounds  to work on 

Focusing in on a detail of the awning I  used transparent glazes to build up colour so the textures were still  visible . It's not finished yet , I need to make further changes to the composition and to details such as the ropes . 

Lucinda had brought in some cardboard so I put together a quick newspaper collage background, painted it with gesso and carried out a quick painting sketch. Not sure about the 'frottage' of paint over the corrugations   but  it's given me ideas about how I might use that effect to best advantage.  

As I've now used most of my newspaper collaged  backgrounds , with access to large quantities of PVA , I used up 2 copies of the days Metro in preparing some more. 

 On our walk on Boxing Day along Faversham Creek at low tide , I took some photos of the sun on the mud(! ) and the boats  and will make a start  in tomorrow's class about developing these into paintings.