I have a need for texture in my work and have been experimenting with different ways of adding depth and texture to my work on paper. This week I have revisited collage and started to explore a new medium – cold wax. Treading gently at first, I have added a little wax to my watercolour paper based pieces and am liking the effect. Here are some of the collage images started recently at West Dean College:
This next piece was completed in one go – acrylic ink, wax, charcoal and a little collage material from my trusty drawer of bits
And finally, this one, compiled from three pieces which I did whilst on holiday in Scotland last year. I had quickly dashed off a series of three sketches – I liked the immediacy and vibrancy of the marks but each felt incomplete. Remembering what I had been told by Cas Holmes last year, I threw caution to the wind, tore the pieces up and reassembled them – there they are before and after:
I’d love to know what you think – I won’t be offended so do shout! Thanks
I am almost exclusively interested in landscape in my art work although my outlook is a little broader with photography. I recently came across the original images that I took whilst on a short holiday in Lanzarote in 2014 and, as I am now further along my artistic path, saw them with fresh eyes. I was particularly drawn to the shots that I took which considered the strong light and shade of that November in the Canaries where the shadows cast were so different to those that we see here in the UK. I began to instinctively want to crop them to emphasise the abstract shapes created on the walls around our villa. I played with photoshop a little, altering light and dark, shadow and contrast and saw that a single starting point could yield a vast range of images by using different crops and treatment. The next step will be to recreate what is seen here using paper and various mixed media – primarily ink, gels, charcoal and my latest find, cold wax.
There may be a lesson here to show that it is always worth re-visiting work years later and seeing it anew – you may be surprised at the potential in what you had discarded.
Here are just a few examples – I love the simplicity of form yet opportunity to play with texture that exist here – what do you think?
As we enter Autumn I am remembering those days earlier in the year which yielded such lovely shadows. I thought I would look back at some of my photographs and drawings which made use this striking contrast of tone:
Wild Carrot, Chidham
What appeals to me with all of these images is the strong dark against light. Where an image, in photography or art, uses light against dark and then dark against light it is known as Counterchange.
Even a simpler use of dark and light can add drama to an image. I like to use a limited range of colour in my work and always try and remember the value of white space in a picture.
This sketch was worked en plain air at Cowdray Park in Sussex. The quick was laid down in the studio beforehand and on site, I looked for a view that could use the marks that I had made.
This pen sketch of telegraph poles uses simplicity of tone to create a strong image. Both of these drawings were undertaken on a course taken by Maxine Relton – you can see her work here.
The contrast is much less here but I still like the simple tones. Working in monotone helps us concentrate on mark making and composition without the distraction of colour and much as I love colour, I find myself drawn towards a simpler range hues in my work. What do you think?
During my Foundation Diploma at www.westdeanorg.uk I undertook a series of courses working on both paper and fabric. Reflecting on what I had done over the two year, I realised that the work which got me most excited was that involving texture. Whilst I enjoyed printing in various forms, the flat and pristine outcomes just did not resonate with what I am all about which is texture, movement, mark making, serendipity, rough edges and a certain rawness.
Earlier this year I spent time with the lovely Jilly Morris – doing a course called “Visual language – marks, textures and surface.” I knew immediately I saw her work that she and I were on the same wavelength and so it proved! In fact, in between booking the course and undertaking it, a couple of people said, “I know who you should do a course with ….” which further endorsed my feeling.
If you like what I like, I thoroughly recommend a course with Jilly – here’s a taste of what we did – it involved sandpapers, stickers, wire brushes, sticking tape, beeswax, pastels, and WD40 to name but a few!
These are really simple starting points. Each of Jilly’s pieces comprise many layers and I look forward to further experimentation. So far, I have been playing with salt and saline solution, lemon juice, PVA glue and masking tape, liquid soap, candle wax, various polishes, sand, golden texture mediums and cold wax medium. I am restricting art media to acrylic ink and charcoal powder for the time being.
I spent a lovely day at one of my favourite places this week – West Dean College. Those of us who have completed the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design were invited back for a day to consider the topic of “Weather”. Our tutor, Frances Hatch, told us of a novel by Giles Foden (best known for the “Last King of Scotland”) called “Turbulence” You can listed to Giles speaking about the novel here and we considered how weather maps might influence our art and how, like the weather, our art practice ebbs and flows, reaching highs and troughs and shifts from time to time. We had the option to respond with our chosen media to various pieces of weather inspired music.
I chose to work in two ways during the day. I wanted to continue my exploration of adding texture to work produced on paper and so started off by using a series of unorthodox tools to work into the blank page before adding colour using a range of mixed media. I then continued to make marks with my tools and add further layers of colour to build up a more complex image.
By way of contrast, I had also brought with me an old wall tile and wanted to have another go at simple printing using acrylic ink and some newly acquired charcoal powder. I simply laid down the ink and charcoal (and in some cases PVA glue) onto the tile, put down my paper and pulled it off. I love the spontaneity of working like this and the fact that serendipity plays a large part in the outcome.
Ink and charcoal powder Ink and pva glue
The following day, I worked into some pieces a little more and then auditioned a frame, in some cases cropping the original to find a more pleasing image.
These images are all about imagined clouds as it was a bright clear sky on the day itself. I much prefer a dramatic sky to a cloudless or blue one – in both art and photography: I’ll finish with a couple of photographs taken at West Wittering and you can judge for yourselves!