The first exercise was to describe a couple of journeys - one from memory and one from life. I first drew my journey to work, including roads, signs, aerial view 'maps', and fences.
However thinking about drawing a journey I do often from life just leaves me blank - so many journeys are taken by car and they are simply not inspiring, so I decided to do a 'portrait of a place' instead. A quiet place that I enjoy going to from time to time to find stillness and rest.
Making concertina books was quite useful. I am not that keen on the precision required in book making, but I am making a book for my last assignment, the theme book, and so think that it is worth pursuing making a number of these things and seeing if I can use them in different ways.
Here's one in progress with a couple of drawings of a rusty metal object.
And unfortunately I forgot my dedicated concertina book when I went to draw my 'portrait of a place', but I did take the one above, so that is what I used for my afternoon there:
First I drew a section of an old wall in watercolour pencils and then in oil pastels with sgraffito marks.
I quite like the scratched marks in layered oil pastels, you get subtlety and fineness even though the colours are strong
The other interesting thing about this method is that the stickiness of the pastels rubs off very feint marks on the page it lies against, so I left that page as it was:
And then, oh dear, my architectural drawing skills are terrible! I think this is why I fret about drawing, I feel as if my skills have not moved on since I stopped drawing as a child, and it is a bit embarrassing really.........
I feel happier with a more free style. It was a lovely spring day, with sunshine which shows greens as fresh greens and yellows as sparkly yellows. I sat there, on a folding chair and had a go at the grassy area just below the wall:
Just to show you what the place really looks like (see my separate photo section on a different post):
A beautiful Norman chapel that was once part of a much larger priory. In the warm sunshine you can almost imagine being in France.
Then we are asked to customise a book. I got an old cookbook from the 1930s-40s which is not ageing very well, with yellowing pages, but it has a good hard cover. The idea is that we choose an artist an consider their painting style. From the artists we are to choose from I waivered rather between Ben Nicholson and Cy Twombly - Nicholson because his work seemed fairly varied and he is a British 'modernist', abstracting his landscapes and using very subdued colours. In the end I chose Cy Twombly - I do not really know anything about him, and as his work seems to be about mark making I thought perhaps there was quite a bit of mileage in playing with various materials and incorporating textiles in it sometimes. His style is free, with sgraffito into heavy paints, very loose and wet open marks, doodle-like jaggedy or rolling marks, and interesting ways of composing marks. His style is 'organic' in an urban way, not about landscape, but of process and the organic growth of the work. A few videos on You-tube describe the work in more detail, and it is interesting that process seemed to play a large part in his expression. He worked at the time of US expressionism, and this is of course clear from the play with materials that shines through, and which is useful to think about when thinking about experimental textiles as well.
First I made some scribbles using gesso and a bit of sparkly glue-paint:
And here are some pictures from the book:
What's good about this book is that the text is mainly laid out in narrow columns and occasionally there are pictures of food on better quality, more shiny paper, which can be used as a point of reference for the marks.
Over time, as marks in the book are added there will hopefully be a sense of cohesiveness to it all - whether 'doodles' or 'images', they will be bound by the book's interior, and maybe become create a wholeness in the final thing for now it is a work in progress.