Started a couple of new activities this year. I joined a book club to try and get myself reading again and yoga classes to help deal with the aches and pains of middle age. The latter may well appear in prints at some point.
Here are the book club books we've read this year with most recent first.
I have been really rubbish about posting this year. Didn't get round to building a crate for my press and shipping it North until October so finally got it back mid-December. Goes without saying that I'm very pleased to have it back. Five months with no press meant pretty much five months without any printmaking - or creative stuff at all in fact. Dreadful!
I need to make up for lost time. So, here's what I've done in the last couple of weeks. This is a small etching for a forthcoming print exchange / box set. Watch out for more about Wolus and Nile University for Esoterica and Woo.
It's been a slow summer creatively for a whole raft of reasons. Did get
some monoprinting done whilst covering the workshop one day last month
though. Unusually, I had no plan before I went, other than monoprinting
with stencils. This is what happened.
Inking up some lace, feathers and
string reminded me of dancing figures. I then started thinking about a
book I'd read recently, Georgina Harding's Painter of Silence, in which
one of the characters makes rather abstract faceless characters from
cardboard and winds cloth and string around them. Add PBs estate agents
into the mix with a side order of Drownies from Fallen London and this
is what came out. A fun and productive day working very freely and spontaneously.
Well, that's a bit rubbish isn't it. No posts since February. The last few months have just been so ridiculously busy, with All The Things happening, that there just hasn't been time for any non essentials.
Some creative stuff has been happening; I was going along quite nicely with the above soft ground etching and looking forward to things easing off a bit, only to have my press break a couple of weeks ago. Aargh! Feel like my right arm has been cut off. Haven't had time yet to do anything about getting it fixed - that's top of the agenda this week (after all the chores, work, Aged P appointments of course...).
Life drawing has finished for the summer, as has the Beginners / Improvers course I was co-teaching (maybe I'll post some images from that) but I'm preparing to teach a soft ground workshop next month which should be fun. I'm enjoying the research for that.
Hopefully the dust has settled a bit and I'll get some time to do my own work over the next month or so. My main focus is going to be on drawing. Am reading an interesting book - Experimental Drawing by Robert Kaupelis. Planning to try some of the exercises to push my drawing forward - more on that in the coming months hopefully.
There is a lot of work on display which demonstrates his great versatility. He did just about everything he could with his artistic talents, from book illustration and marketing posters to theatre set design and murals. It seems that he tends to be regarded as a designer / craftsman more than an artist... maybe that's because for most of his short life (killed in Normandy in 1944 at the age of 39), he needed to make money so presumably took whatever commercial work he could get. That, I think, inevitably gets in the way of making art for art's sake and sets him apart as far as the 'fine art establishment' is concerned. Also, despite being an exceptional draughtsman, his painting skills were possibly lacking a bit - though probably, he would have improved these had he lived longer.
Whistler seemed to occupy a rather uncomfortable position socially. He mixed with wealthy and aristocratic people though his own background was rather more humble. Maybe difficult for us to understand the implications of this today...
What impressed me the most was his dedication and complete absorption with making images. He always carried sketchbook, pens, pencils, inks around with him and drew constantly, wherever he was. Apparently, he even had a metal box welded to the back of his tank when in the army so he could keep his art materials to hand. That's dedication!
We had our monthly life drawing day at the art gallery yesterday. No painting for me this time; spent the whole day drawing. The drawing I made from the long pose was pretty much complete which is very unusual for me - and the figure has a head! It was such a great pose - loads of foreshortening. This may be one of the most successful life drawings I've made. Pity the cat lay on it when I got it home and carried off a lot of the charcoal on her coat! Ah well...
Here's the drawing before and after it had been 'improved' by the cat.
Didn't have time to prep etching plates for this week's session so it was literally back to the drawing board. Drawing smaller this week, charcoal in an A2 sketch pad. Not too happy with these. Hopefully back to the etching plates next week.
It's been a really creative start to the year. As well the life drawing based etchings, and making three submissions for Small Faces (delivered to the gallery yesterday), I also completed this portrait commission. This is a drawing of the client's mother in charcoal, also delivered yesterday. And it's only 21 January! I'm hoping the year will continue as it has started.
This term's life drawing started up this week. Made three A4 drawings on tissue over a soft ground so that should give me something to work with for a while. Three plates on the go at once! Four if you count my Small Faces. New way of working for me.
Definitely feeling rusty after the Christmas break but one of the good things about this way of working is that it doesn't matter if the drawings aren't any good - I can just remove the bits I don't want.