Friday 26 October 2018

EDAM Week 3 Surface Divides: Layering Concepts

The final  session  of   3 week project 'Surface Divides'   involved   moving into abstraction working from details and fragments of drawings  already generated   from the  cross-section projects of the previous 2 weeks  including supporting photos, objects and images. As I'd missed the second week, Amanda  had helpfully  sent me the handout and some pictures of other students work had been loaded on the course Padlet site   which gave me an idea of what had been covered. 


As the emphasis seemed to be on working from 'paper architecture'  rather than the fruit and veg of the first session ,  I chose  to work from a couple of photos from my Puglia course  last week :  a bamboo structure on the beach at Calafetente  near Pologna San Vito  and my  drawing  on fabric of a squashed plant pot , drawn  without looking ( and I brought a plant pot  with me!) 

We looked a number of artists  that demonstrated a sense  or illusion of space and depth, use of tension or contrasts and  looking at form and content  both planned and accidental  eg templates unfolding  and ideas around navigation.  I hadn't been able to get to the  recommended exhibition of Julie Mehretu  but I've seen and admired her work before , both in BM print exhibition and at Tate Modern . It was also good to have  a reminder of  composition structures.  

 We then spent the morning experimenting with techniques - wash (ink and acrylic  so not working on pure white surface ) ,   monoprint , stamping, transfer techniques , stencils etc 

 Drawing into printing ink and taking monoprint than ink  drawing over the top 

Drawing  with ink over 'ghost print' 
Prints on tissue paper overlaid over drawing and transfer prints.
Transfer printing was my favourite  technique, new to me  and involved working quickly. On a photocopy  of  the bamboo structure  attached to the drawing with strips of masking tape to act as a hinge, I painted the lines with acrylic paint and then flipped it over and rubbed it down. I loved the marks this method produced  
In the afternoon   we worked on a final piece up to A1 scale using layering techniques to give a flat surface ( the aim was to achieve some of the visual effects of layering  without relying on collage or physical overlays).  

As usual I struggled scaling  up : the one above is A2, the one below A1.  We only had about an hour and a half to  do it in and  not having  a detailed drawing from last week to work from , the composition is appalling !  But there are areas of interest if you  zoom in or crop the image  and   the course at this stage is about experimenting with new techniques and concepts  and I'm enjoying being challenged!

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Extended Drawing (EDAM) Week 1 : Surface Divides

 Week 1 of long anticipated 'Extended Drawing for Artists and Makers'   started with introductions to the  year long course but moved quickly to the first 3 week project with Amanda Knight ' Surface Divides'  . The main aim   was to communicate unseen environments using the act of drawing for speculative thinking, exploring illusory space.   
 In pairs, we were asked to describe (imaginatively!) what the interior  of various fruit and veg  might look like  and then draw that interior based  on your partners notes. 
As a botanist with 40+  years of experience  cutting up plants and  understanding of plant  structure and function   I found this extremely difficult ! How do you unknow  decades of knowledge? 
So it was just as well that  I was working from Sandy's playful and poetic  description ( I think he struggled with my rather prosaic description of the interior of the  radish! ) 
We were working  on A1 sheets of paper  with charcoal  to quickly build up  form  and marks - I enjoyed depicting  the velvety skin (' puppy-like' )  and the 'small hard seeds  dispersed like currants'  when I knew that they were dates  with a single stone !

 We were  then asked to draw a section as cutaway ( like old medical drawings) showing both exterior and interior at the same time  ( above)  before imagining an environment   of leaves etc . filling in the background ( below) 
After lunch , we got to cut open our  specimens and draw the actual interiors  using a variety of  media and techniques. I started off by applying  ink to the cut surface of the radish I'd described  for Sandy and then using it to make prints . If you zoom in , you can see the vascular  bundles in the thickened tap root  but it's very subtle ! 

I then cut open  some dates, drawing the fine fibres that surround the stone  contrasting with the thicker more solid skin.

I then played around  with taking rubbings of a torn paper edge  to represent the soft  velvety texture of the skin
Other people had more exciting material to work with, I loved the textures of the ' bitter  melon ' Momordica charantia   and worked with soft graphite contrasting with an overlay on tracing paper using a fine pen .

We stuck our very varied drawings on the wall   but didn't have much time to look at them ( particularly as I had to rush off for the train).  We were also introduced  to various   artists , looking at the pre-renaissance medical drawings of Avicenna , Aristotle  and Galen  and how graphic annotation had been used in illustration  by Leonardo  da Vinci to expand the level of information in a drawing  ( and using it as an element in it's own right to enhance the composition) 

The use of paper flaps and foldouts  for medical drawings  was also  looked at . 

 I  missed week 2  as I was in Puglia  on course 'Mapping a Sense of Place'  with Matthew Harris , but Amanda  has sent me the handout on constructing a personal folly   based on James Wyld's Great Globe'  and the paper architecture of Brodsky and Utkin 

I'm looking forward to what  tomorrow's  session brings !