Saturday, September 6, 2014

Finding inspiration on a holiday?

I am still working on drawings and have started two new ones to complete the series. I had planned to finish them before we go away on holiday for nearly 8 weeks but that seems unlikely since as the images show I haven't worked up the heights and depths much at all yet. 

However I’m sure that they will be waiting for me when I return.

I am not sure how much art will occur while we are away since there is relative visiting and bike riding and lots of exploring and walking to do with a husband who is not exceptionally interested in the arts. It is such a long time since we have had the opportunity to travel that it will all be a great adventure, whatever happens.

I am sure that I will take lots of photos of fascinating things. Then, when I return I will have the ethical dilemma of whether or not I should use any “detail in nature” that I have photographed on this holiday, in future works of art.

I guess I am a bit of a purist when it comes to subjects for inspiration. My loyalty is to the Australian landscape and so far I have used only it in my art. I’m sure that rock forms, sand patterns, lichen shapes and so on are much the same everywhere and I am sure that no-one would notice if I use photos from a holiday on the other side of the world, but I would know wouldn’t I?

We shall see. Cheers....

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Working on more drawings

I did go back to the drawings again just recently, darkening and lightening and fiddling and fiddling so that now there are 6 just about finished plus two more on the go.

This method of drawing is clearly not economically viable but it is somehow compelling and so I add and subtract, layer upon layer until I am happy. If I calculated price according to hours spent the total would be crazy. Given that I can’t break the obsession to draw in this style then I just have to accept that the returns on the sold work can only be trifling and be grateful that our household does not rely on me to pay the bills.

(eg  above of the slow process, building up depth ..... as you can see, the area in the bottom left is at a more advanced stage in the layering, see image below).

A friend recently said that she liked the idea of the drawings taking up whole walls. I did consider the idea. I had visions of myself beavering away like the monks with their illuminated manuscripts, my back becoming increasingly bent, the whiskers growing on my chin while the hair on my head hair thinned as the years unfolded and I stuck doggedly to my HB pencil, my pencil eraser and my tissue, fiddling and layering endlessly as I inched my agonised way across a wall sized piece of paper.

     (the second new drawing using the same sort of patterns, still with any more "layers" to work up)

Hmm, perhaps this is not a project I should embark on …. It might be more sensible just sticking to the much more manageable size of 40 x 40 cms per drawing.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Drawings using the new theme

I have been working on a series of drawings using my new theme and the many different patterns that I have discovered when out taking photos by the sea.

It is a very slow process. I could of course produce drawings much more quickly if I used a different, broader technique, but I guess I am a bit of a masochist. Because I like detail, when it comes to drawing I want to be able to show as much of the detail as I can. To do that I use just a sharp HB pencil, a pencil eraser and a tissue and I build up the drawing in many layers, which naturally takes time. I apply pencil, then take colour away with the eraser then blur everything with the tissue so that the individual pencil marks are no longer visible then start the process again and again, gradually making the depths darker and the highlights visible until to my eyes at least, the image no longer looks flat.

Because it is a slow process and I can get impatient I intersperse bouts of work on the drawings with broader brush pieces such as collagraphs or lino cuts and paintings.

I keep on coming back to the drawings though and having another “fiddle” so they are probably never truly “finished” until I have to mount them for exhibition.

So far there are 6 drawings each 40 x 40 cms at the “fiddle” stage plus one just started. As I plan to have around 10 on the theme I still have a way to go.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Getting inspired

I have been scrutinising my many photos, examining the multi-various patterns and translating my understanding into a series of simplified images for drawings and plates. Some of the plates are ready to print.

I don’t know much about rocks and maybe I should learn. My fascination is with the intricate and varied patterns that have formed over time. There are a myriad of sharply defined honeycomb patterns on outcrops and there are very subtle honeycombs where waves have worn away almost everything so that all that now remains is a slight, sand filled, indentation.

There are places with balls that protrude and others where they have disappeared to leave only a sand filled circle.

There are many broad and fine systems of ridged intersecting lines that flow and are interrupted and change endlessly as I walk along the shoreline. Some photos, where tilted very thin layers of rock have been eroded flat leaving lines that could well be roads, rives, fences and other features, look like an aerial view of a town.

There are of course many variations and combinations of these patterns in just a kilometre of shoreline so that the camera is constantly clicking and I am constantly reframing as I wander along. I never seem to feel that I have captured all of the diversity. Oh, well at least there is certainly more than enough material there to ignite the artistic fires.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Starting small

With enough backgrounds prepared I am still moving slowly along the new path by doing some small prints to use as greeting cards (while familiarising myself with this new terrain) before taking the plunge and embarking on new 30 x 30 cm collagraph plates.

The technique for the small prints is the same, two background colours of a generic stipple and then another plate for the image, made with paper cut out and impasto gel, printed in two colours. So far I only have one colour of the image printed. Both contrast and definition will be much greater when I add a second colour but the photos give the general idea.

As the black and white images above illustrate, the small prints are based on the drawings I have been doing. There are so many intriguing and luscious patterns and textures in the shoreline photos I took that I am at last beginning to get excited and engrossed all over again. I think that the “Lichenitis” is gone at last and I can just about manage to follow my track down the path to a new obsession. I’m still not quite sure what to call it.