Wednesday 25 July 2018

Large Scale Sketchbook Week 8 and Conclusions.

It's nearly 4 weeks since the  final session of Large Scale Sketchbook  but with so much going on there hasn't been time to report  on it and record  my thoughts ( tho'  I made sure I wrote up  my notes  in my notebook straight away)  .  At the end of the session I brought my  the sketchbook home , which entailed a taxi from the station it was so heavy. Tomorrow, a couple of  artist friends are coming round to view it so I thought it was about time I wrote about it here!

After Week  7, I'd run out of ideas  about what I wanted to do with work based on the cast courts , mainly  because the subject matter itself didn't inspire.  The night before the final session  I had a brainwave ( or so I thought....) The lines of stairs and curves of the sculpture in contrast to the surrounding architecture  reminded me of the work  I'd done on shells a ( mussels and limpets) in the advanced painting course in  2016. 
 At the time , I concentrated on developing the mussel paintings  set in context of surroundings ( influenced by the work of Paul Nash)  and hadn't done much with the limpets.  I'd been influenced   by the 'Circle' exhibition at Margate Turner Contemporary  , particularly the pile of black discs by Edmund de Waal,  and had drawn and photographed   a stack of limpets , delicately balanced  and carried out  work in Photoshop  combining it with prints of the Fleet  done during   a printmaking course

I gave Tony a whole lot of photos of my sketches/photos to photocopy to A3 size  and while I was waiting,  starting several pages  in,  I assembled a pile of limpets  and drew it large scale  using charcoal  ( which gave interesting marks on the previous page).  I then carried out a number of different approaches using photocopies; graphite and rubber; sanguine pen; coloured pencils;  and cutting out holes through several layers. 

 I was enjoying   applying what  I'd learnt  to new material but a lot  of what I produced wasn't really working.  Luckily at that point it was my turn to discuss my work with Tony.  He was a bit  surprised I'd discontinued with what I was doing in previous weeks when it had been going so well  while applauding the idea of using my own material to try out  what I'd learnt from earlier lessons ( "the Ideal Student" !) . 

The main reason the shells weren't working  as well was because they were on the whole  central on the page and retaining identifiable structure of existing images  and therefore weren't so exciting.  The danger with using material we care about  is that you have to work harder as not so inclined to experiment  or try things out . 

Looking back  at the earlier weeks when we'd been working with still life  with random objects
 and to some extent the Cast Courts  where it wouldn't have been my first choice of subject , I was more prepared to experiment, fragment images, as I was  looking at the shapes and lines  rather than the subject matter.  Looking with  Tony at previous  pages ,  the most exciting  were when I'd left a lot of space , repeated ideas over several pages ( copies of copies of copies)  and made good use of the edge of pages rather than placing images centrally. 

He made suggestions on extending marks over drawings and copies  ( including  use of the negative shapes left when cutting out)   and putting objects at the edge of the page.  Also to be even more radical  with my cutting, removing items completely.  

 This was more like it ! 

My final intervention  was to go back to the last spread from the cast courts  and cut out the fine lines of the stairs , and extend the line with graphite.  With the negative shapes from around the limpet stack pasted  in , there  was now a link between the  two areas of subject matter.

We  cleared up early  in order to look at everyone' s sketchbook  briefly ( although it still took an extra hour - I missed my train and had to get a later one) . Well worth it though - they were so diverse in approach and content considering we'd all  begun with the same  subject material!
Didn't  make notes at the time but these stuck in my mind:
- finely folded/pleated  paper ( like tiny steps)
- transparent fabric inserts ( also tracing paper and acetate)
- exploded shapes reassembled, photocopies cut into strips and expanded
- images torn up and collaged back ( in some cases just a few tiny pieces)
- layers  of subtle colour  under cutouts
-  images wrapped around edge of page ( so just see a glimpse)
- foldouts
- extreme cutting ( a fine lace-like network).

 I also have a list  of what I like in my own sketchbook  and ideas for future work.
Finally,  as is usual on City Lit courses, there were suggestions about what courses we might want to do next ( printmaking from the images produced  was one).
In my case , I'd  enrolled and paid for Extended Drawing for Artists  and Makers (EDAM)  that morning.   So a year  of experimenting  lies ahead!  

No comments: