Last week I did a second course with Debbie Lyddon. I have long admired Debbie’s work and when I spotted a course with her, I jumped at the chance – twice! I blogged earlier about the Winchester course so here is a little more about the course at Studio 11 (an excellent place run by Christine Chester right near the railway station in the town. I would heartily recommend all concerned – Debbie was very generous in sharing her knowledge and Christine provided excellent lunches and all day drinks and biscuits and the studio has just about everything there for you to make use of if you have not managed to bring the kitchen sink with you to the course!
The first thing we did was to take a trip to Birling Gap.
We took 10 minutes just to sit and take in the view, the atmosphere, and to look around at the cliffs, the shore and the sea. We then spent an hour walking and collecting things that caught our interest. I am always one for found man-made objects so was delighted to find a “rock-hopper” on the shore, and a special one at that! I also collected an Evian rubber stopper and a couple of stones of particular merit, together with some dried seaweed, a piece of twine, a piece of fossilised wood and a lump of chalk. These items were to form the basis of the course.
Back at the studio, we made sketchbooks and drew our chosen items first thinking about texture and then form. From our drawings, we then made a paper model of our favourite drawing.
Rock Hopper exterior
Layers of rubber
The next step was to render the model in fabric. I have yet to complete my Rock Hopper work but watch this space.
Debbie also taught us how to make vessels from fabric, rendering them firm enough to stand alone using home made gesso (from the chalk we had collected) and wax. On the last afternoon, we returned to Birling Gap to photograph our makes in the place of their birth!
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?
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.