Thursday 22 October 2015

Art Diary - October

This month seems to be all about harvest. Of course I never need much encouragement to draw and paint fruit! I'm playing with a contrast of scale on this page.

I've been challenging myself to draw in a more economical way. Mostly my drawings rely on relative tonal values and, of course, colour but it's refreshing to try a different approach and just concentrate on pure line.

I'm also mixing up the media I choose. Pen has never been something I've used much before (it's scarily permanent!) but I'm loving the Faber-Castell Pitt artists' pens I bought recently. They work beautifully on their own but are lovely with a watercolour wash too.

There's no opportunity for fiddling about when you draw with a permanent pen - you just have to go for it.

Pretty much like Laura's students at yesterday's workshop! Screen printing mixed media drawings using an acrylic medium that couldn't be allowed to dry on the mesh meant there was a sense of urgency about the work. No bad thing if it makes everyone really productive!

The techniques were very experimental and somewhat unpredictable but that's what made the results so exciting and kept me keep popping back into the class to see what was being produced.

There are more pictures of the workshop over on Laura's blog

Can't wait till the next workshop - always sends me home buzzing with ideas for my own work.

Talk again soon,
Linda x

Monday 19 October 2015

Apples, pears and printmaking

Last weekend saw us back at Dudmaston for their annual Apple Day. This year we took along some of our own fruit.

And enjoyed turning it into juice with the aid of the Dudmaston press.

Seeing the juice run out into a black bucket may not be the most appetising sight but Amelie certainly approved of the results.

There were other distractions of course.

You need to imagine the music, the whack of the wooden staves against metal and the whoops of delight to fully appreciate Morris Men in full stride!

And there were more apples - this time to be decorated with feathers, pipe cleaners and googly eyes! All this focus on the fruits of the orchard sent me straight to my art diary.

I've added pen drawing and a little acrylic ink to this mono print on rough paper.

And tried another monoprint onto a shiny paper for a very different effect. I've sewn the loose sheets into my diary with a large machine stitch. Attaching the loose sheet on only one edge means it can be opened to reveal the page below.

And that's the perfect secret hidey hole for a more detailed pen drawing of an apple leaf. I've lots more diary pages to show DMTV viewers soon. Printing is such a quick way to amass lots of work and I hope you're all keeping up with me this month!

This week's mono prints didn't need a press but I do have one and Laura's been itching to use it ever since I showed her some recent collagraph prints I'd made. Yesterday she popped over to make a quick intaglio plate and run off a limited edition of landscapes.

Of course they turned out beautifully - I can't wait to see them mounted and ready to sell!

Thanks for taking time to drop by - Linda x

Friday 9 October 2015

Seeing red

And yellow and orange and gold! It's that time of year again when the turning leaves become such a distraction as you drive along the lanes around here. With the vivid blue skies we've been enjoying the autumn colour is impossible to ignore and it's hard not to end up in a ditch.

I probably showed very similar photos on the blog this time last year - I know what I like!! The fruits and berries glowing in the hedge at the back of the garden look good enough to eat and, judging by the activity I see from my kitchen window, the foraging birds agree too.

I had a few minutes to spare while dinner was cooking last night and made the most of them by adding a very quick pen and pencil drawing to a page of my art diary that I'd already collaged with a photocopied red oak leaf.

Using a fine liner pen is a good technique if you're normally a bit fiddly with your drawing. There's no rubbing out mistakes so it concentrates the mind wonderfully and eliminates hesitation.

The colour was applied within the pen lines using water-soluble pencils - scribbled on with a wash of plain water added, leaving some of the paper white to give the impression the fruits are shiny.

I strolled round the garden with camera in hand this morning and now I'm spoilt for choice. I'm undecided whether to paint these gorgeous leaves next or  the red apples from one of our trees. Both subjects sum up an October moment perfectly.

Mind you, a big bowl of apples makes such a lovely centrepiece on the table it almost wouldn't matter if we didn't eat or draw them - we could just enjoy looking at them! The tree was a gift from a schoolfriend to my younger daughter on her 5th birthday. It was little more than a stick back then but you have to have faith and patience don't you? I probably will paint both the leaves and the apples if I have time later today.

I'll let you know if I managed it next time.
Thanks for reading - Linda x

Sunday 4 October 2015

Opening a window to the light

There's still lots of colour in the garden although it is looking very autumnal.

The colour combination of Purple Verbena against the gold and burgundy Cotinus with the dark trees forming the background is gorgeous. The beech trees that mark our garden boundary were big when we came here nearly 30 years ago but now they are immense.

I love the dark, dramatic backdrop they give to the garden but the canopy needed lifting to reopen the view we once had across the fields. We summoned the tree surgeon and after a long hard day sawing, logging and chipping, we are treated to the sight of shafts of early morning sunlight streaming in through the 'windows' created by removing many of the lower branches.

It was seeing the recent Supermoon through those very branches that inspired this piece. I discharged the moon shape using deColorant Plus on compressed sponge. What makes it quite effective is the fact that I used one of Laura's digital prints from photographs taken right here where I live! As you can see, the image was taken in winter when the trees were bare - I always love seeing the structure of trees and hedges when they are leafless. I intend to quilt this one with a grey Madeira Cotona 50. That will be a perfect choice to stitch all those fine twiggy lines!

I made a number of different discharge prints on tree and hedge fabrics and couldn't wait to get this favourite one under the needle of the PowerQuilter!

I'm keeping the quilting very simple by following the spiky lines of twigs and thorns with free motion stitching using a pale Madeira rayon thread. Taking the lines of stitch across the moon should in theory make it recede a little so it appears to be behind the branches not in front and the sheen of the thread looks like moonlight!

I'll let you see the panel again as soon as it's finished.

Have a good what's left of the weekend! Linda x