Saturday, 30 May 2015

Sketchbook course continued

I showed some site specific photographs in support of the sketchbook course in the earlier post on sketchbooks. As I mentioned, we were asked to do pictures of a journey from life and I have preferred to look at a portrait of a place. So off I went and did a few sketches of this place I feel a sense of peace in. This is a churchyard around an medieval priory that once was an abbey. What I like about British churchyards is their rambling and random organic way of growing, with trees once planted and then left to grow freely with the resultant meadow flowers and long grasses growing up around gravestones, ancient walls. I grew up in Denmark where the grave yards are very trimmed, precise places. Hedges are short and shorn back, each plot is allotted and defined, clipped and gravelled, and when you no longer pay the lease for your plot it is allocated to someone else and there is then more trimming and clipping, making it a very orderly place. Not much space there for nesting and territorial robins. Plenty of living cemeteries in the UK though, so I like to find these almost abandoned places where human culture and nature often seem to live peacefully side by side.

Just a couple of photos to show the site again:

And here some of my sketchbook (the concertina one required by the course):

You will notice I have used water colours and watercolour pencils a fair bit. There is some value in that medium as it allows for the light and the reflective nature of colour to really shine through. I also used oil pastels and scraped into those, but that renders the page very heavy and has a different purpose which is less about light and more about colour and texture. I would like to learn more about water colour, it is a great medium to design and draft with.
Other sketching
I also have another sketchbook which I used while on holiday. Here I practiced still life using blue and grey glass objects, and the second image is of freer work using the randomness of the pigments applied and drawing with pen on top.

More marks for the sketchbook course - continued

The other exercise on the sketchbook is working from a customised book. I have already shown some pictures from this book, but here a few more. The book is an old cookbook. The artist I considered was Cy Twombly. I like his doodling style. What is quite interesting is that if you think too hard about the doodles they don't really work, while when you doodle with a different mindset, e.g. in meetings or on the phone, you get a different set of marks or motifs showing through (probably with a bit of subconscious free thinking thrown in). It is actually quite hard to free the intentionality of doodles when faced with a page to fill. Besides, Twombly's marks were not really doodles, although they do have a sense of free association about them. Here are some more mark making from the cookbook:
Testing printing with a spongy object that came with a Christmas present:

Here are some of these doodles - not easy, I ended up just mindlessly making waves and 'flowers'. Not interesting in themselves, although the layering of different colours onto text was quite effective, and the changes from a wet brush to a drier mark changes the quality of the patterning.


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