Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Sad Case Of Drypoint Etching

ACEO of same design
Rather sad looking drypoint etching print

Sketch of original design placed under acetate

A couple of years ago I did a drypoint etching workshop at the Artists and Illustrators Exhibition in London. The tutor was the wonderful UK printmaker Nicola Slattery who creates wonderful contemporary artwork. We all gathered together with our little sketches and were given a small piece of acetate and an etching tool. It seemed very simple but the practice of it was much more difficult. The sketch was placed under the acetate and acted as a guide to the drawing.The tool is very difficult to control because you have to exert quite a lot of pressure to make a mark on the acetate. It wasn't until my image was printed in the press that I realised I had left too much ink on the acetate and unfortunately my print had slipped in the press (wouldn't you know it?) and had a mark across the centre. The third problem was that I had forgotten the first rule of printing which is that the image will be reversed when it is printed. My lady looks a bit silly with a severe case of "dextrocardia".
A bit of a disappointing result for me but the process was very enjoyable and I would love to perfect the method. The only drawback is that you cannot hand pull a print from acetate like you can with a linoprint. A printing press is needed and that is not always easy to get access to. The method appeals because it is a printmaking technique that is similar to etching but doesn't require nasty chemicals and acid baths.

The illustrations above show the original sketch, my sad attempt at a print and my new ACEO of the same design. I think my pen and ink illustration is a bit of an improvement on the print somehow.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Birds and Trees and Trees and Birds

Been busy drawing and painting today as the weather seemed a bit inhospitable. Did pop out to the local church for a naughty cream tea at 3pm though. The proceeds go to the church fund so I tell myself it is in a good cause....hah hah. Photographed some pretty forget-me-nots but will post them another day.

I have had a bird and tree day today - my favourite things to paint and draw. The digital bird on the tree is from the sketch I posted the other day. It is a work in progress and will probably take me some time to complete. I love painting digitally but it is VERY slow.

The love birds is called Opposites Attract and is now on Etsy. That is also from a sketch I posted the other day under the title Kookie Birds. I thought the two little twin birds were sweet and deserved a nice contemporary landscape of their own. Will their union last? I am pretty sure it will. I hope so anyway.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Unfinished Symphony in Needlepoint

The title says it all. My needlepoint is unfinished and has been languishing in a drawer for the past 18 months. It must be familiar to all artists and craftspeople the world over. You start off with a wonderful idea: be it a painting, mosaic or a piece of textile artwork, and after the initial idea has been recorded, you run out of ideas for finishing the piece. That is exactly what has happened here. I started off with an interesting sketch which worked beautifully in needlepoint but I didn't have a clue where to take it to completion. I have racked my brains to come up with an amazing border or something to finish it off, to no avail. So, back it goes in the drawer, until suddenly one day I will be hit with a bolt of inspiration from the universe and within a couple of days it will be completed and framed. I am ashamed to say that this is far from being the only piece of art in my collection that is awaiting a completion date....!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kookie Birds

This is a sketch of my next digital artwork for Etsy. It is called Waiting for the Dawn II. Waiting for the Dawn (original) can be found here on my website. Hopefully this will be completed in a few days but I will probably make some adjustments to the bird. The tail looks a bit wonky to me.

Also posted are some of the "kookie" birds from my sketch book. I love drawing odd and interesting and often bizarre birds, and there is no doubt that these are VERY odd indeed. Whether these will ever find their way into a finished artwork remains to be seen.......perhaps if they are very well behaved.

Stone Angels

I enjoyed a lovely day in London yesterday exploring....cemeteries! Yes, I am one of those odd people who love looking around churchyards and cemeteries, examining headstones and photographing monumental angels. I am continually astounded by the wealth of beautiful graveyard sculptures we have in this country. I visited East Finchley Cemetery and the photos I have posted above, I found there, except for the figure of death and the child which is from Golders Green Crematorium. It is called "into the silent land" and is very poignant sculpture.

Sadly many of the lovely angelic sculptures have fallen over and some are broken, whether by natural causes or vandalism I am not sure. To me it is a tragedy. The carving of the majority of the statues is exquisite and could easily grace an art gallery or museum. These, by virtue of what they are, are left to the elements and quite a few are showing signs of weathering and damage to the features of the faces. I would like to photograph as many as I can whilst they are still in good condition. The Victorians were incredibly sentimental about death and it is to them that we owe the existence of so many lovely graveyard angels in the UK.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scrapbooks Galore

I have kept art, craft and design scrapbooks for as long as I have been doodling with a pen and dabbling with a paintbrush. To my mind they are indispensible and provide me with hours of enjoyment and inspiration at a time when inspiration is thin on the ground. We all have times like that I'm sure. Writers suffer writers' block and artists have to cope with artless blocks. Do writers check out other authors' works: I am not sure? Artists certainly do.

My scrapbooks contain a combination of my own sketches and doodles and pictures of everything under the sun that appeals to me whether it be artwork, crafts, pretty frocks, beautiful landscapes or just a model with a profile to die for or the position of a pair of hands that I might want to graft onto one of my pictures. I have no ability to draw hands and feet.

I get some great magazines cheaply from local libraries where they sell off the out of date stock, charity shops or local car boot sales. I spend many happy hours doing my next favourite thing to drawing and that is cutting things out. I have been an expert "cutter outer" since childhood. It has a wonderfully soothing, soporific effect on me. I have boxes full of cuttings yet to be pasted into scrapbooks.

I only ever use these pictures for inspiration and not for copying because I prefer to produce my own ideas and art but sometimes a pattern or a combination of colours will catch my eye and sometimes lead to a whole new series of artworks. I have even been known to buy books cheaply from charity shops and creatively recycle the pictures, and recycling is what we are all supposed to be doing these days, isn't it?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Creating My Messenger

My pen and ink bird not the IMS thingy. I have been very busy today and this is the first opportunity I have had for any blogging (22.45 GMT) and getting very close to bedtime. I seem to have spent all day being busy but when I try to figure out exactly what I have achieved, the answer is a big, fat and hairy zilch with bells on. Nothing, in plain English.

But that is not entirely true. I have finished my latest drawing and it is entitled "The Messenger". It is a stylised bird carrying a message in the form of a green sprig but no-one knows what the message is or who it is for - not even me. I am very into headgear in my drawings at the moment and particularly crowns and I like them to adorn man and beast. A bird always looks better in a crown I think.

I have included a picture of the pen and ink drawing in progress this afternoon along with my original sketch and the full sized pre-drawing sketch on white paper. (You may need to click on the picture above to get a larger version.) I did the little picture in my brown sketch book round about Christmas time but have only just got around to making it into a proper drawing. The final image is pen and ink with a few small areas of watercolour. As always the original is far better than the scanned image but you only have my word for that....ha ha.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Even Clowns Are Sad Sometimes

This is my latest Etsy drawing. The inspiration for this drawing came from the picture of the Chloe outfit in "Another" magazine. I wanted to draw a lady clown with baggy trousers and braces with big buttons. The trousers didn't turn out as baggy as I would have liked but there you go. Drawings sometimes have a way of doing their own thing despite what the artist wants to happen.

The sketch is a rough idea of how I wanted the picture to look with a few additional tryouts of blouse design but in the end I plumped for something much simpler.

I love the smooth brown recycled sketching paper I have used for this picture. It takes ink well but buckles with watercolour which is why the coloured elements are coloured pencil instead. I have found a new "best friend" in the drawing world - cross hatching. Much quicker than pointillism and very enjoyable. I had to separate the trousers into sections though as cross hatching over a large area is never going to work and ruled lines look very static. I don't think it has turned out too badly and looks much better in reality than on screen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Charity Shops Galore

Do you, like me, have an obsession with checking out every charity shop you come across. You never know what amazing items of delight you may discover therein - just waiting for you to come along and claim them. They are like little treasure troves of the precious and the ridiculous, plus a huge amount of, frankly, tat. No other word for it. It never ceases to amaze me what utter rubbish people buy in the first place. You need to be of a discerning nature to shop charity.

My obsession is books. I have bought some of my most beloved books from these emporiums. Often they will be something I have had on my wish list for ages but sadly out of print and then, lo and behold, there they are. I bought a lovely little chunky book called "Decades of Fashion" yesterday for just a couple of pounds. It is full of great vintage fashion pictures which have inspired me to do some drawings of vintage ladies. I especially love those cloche hats. They are incredibly flattering. I wish they were still in fashion now. Here are some samples of the outfits.
click on the pix for an enlarged version

Waiting For The Bluebells

I am eagerly awaiting the appearance of the first bluebells so that I can go out and get some photos. I have about a million (underestimate) bluebell photos but like books and handbags you can never have too many!!! Here is one of my most popular Flickr pix of all time - bluebells of course.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sheep In Swaledale

This is a design I drew for a greetings card several years ago. The actual sheep was found in a Swaledale graveyard and obligingly gave me a nice full faced composition to work with. The tree is "stylist's own" as they say in all the best photoshoots.

Flamingo and Fish

This is a pen and ink drawing I did ages ago which I wasn't too happy with. I felt it needed something in the sky but I couldn't decide what.

One Toe In The Water

Well here I am to dip my toe in the water. I must say it feels so warm and comfortable at the moment that I may be tempted to dive in but for the fact that I cannot dive and might end up doing an embarrassing belly flop....so for the time being I will limit myself to a couple of my old drawings to show the sort of artwork I do. Probably tomorrow I will be ready to submerge my foot...!