Saturday, 23 February 2013

IMPRESS-ive Festival

Last year I joined Gloucestershire Printmaking Co-operative (GPC), a local printmaking group who have recently renovated their facilities and now provide really good opportunities for Etching, Screen printing, Stone litho and Relief printmaking.

During the month of March GPC are hosting Impress 13, an International Festival of Printmaking. There's masses happening, please go to the GPC website (link here) for more details.

The festival starts on Thursday Feb 28th with the launch of INC Print:

Work from British printmaking groups and the work of the Art students at Stroud College will be on display, and the Meet the Artists Launch evening is on Thursday 28th February, (not the 26th - the poster is unfortunately wrong).

I am going to be showing 'Pause' at this exhibition, a good opportunity to give it another airing:

I'm also looking forward to going to the Hughie O'Donaghue talk at the Museum in The Park, Stroud on Friday, should be a great talk and exhibition.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The First Cut - Inspiration

Last October I posted about a school visit I had organised to  Manchester Gallery's jaw droppingly good exhibition - The First Cut.

Recently we invited Bristol based paper cut artist Mark Curtis Hughes to come in and work with the students who saw the Manchester exhibition.

Mark treats his papercuts as working drawings, cutting directly into the paper to work out an image with no pre-drawing:

Discipline by Mark Curtis Hughes

The students were very inspired by the brave approach and it seemed to break down some drawing barriers for them.

Death by Mark Curtis Hughes
The use of block colour also gave the students new ideas and helped to direct their thinking and image making. The above image is a relief print developed from a papercut.

Here are some of the resulting students images displayed at our school exhibition:

As you can see the students have discovered a new medium that can enhance their work and it hasn't stopped yet, they are still finding new ways of applying these skills. Its been great to discover a new way to draw, and a new and totally unexpected way of giving students confidence.

Please look at Mark's blog to see more of his work:
and to find details of his forthcoming exhibition

Friday, 15 February 2013

out and about

How lovely its been over the last couple of days to be able to go out with a sketchbook, and to be able to draw comfortably, free of some of those suffocating layers. The February sun has even had a touch of warmth.

Too early to claim spring is springing, don't want to tempt fate!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Streaming Path

Having looked at this drawing the white un-drawn areas down the right hand side worried me. I agree with the premise of allowing the viewer into the image by leaving some areas unresolved, but this can be achieved with dark as well as light and there seemed to be no good reason for this image to have light areas.

That's better, the darker ground frames the running water. I've also started working some detail into the water, as far as the first main twist back in the course of the flow. I tried working back further but its too visually complicated.

Its difficult to see in these pictures, but there is quite a lot of change in strength of tone in the water ripples and the land to the left of the water.
I am so pleased with the strength of the dark on the left, it stops the viewer getting tied up looking at tree trunks and concentrates attention on the water.

Streaming Path
70 x 35cm Nitram Charcoal

Finishing this one (please excuse the bulldog clip in the photo!) has required subtle balances of tone, adding in and taking out detail - a gentle exchange.

There's still a lot of water around!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Charcoal drawing - a streaming path

Walking around our favourite woodland last month we came across this path only to find that the heavy rains had turned it into a stream.

I loved the look of the water describing the shape of the path and the structure of the trees to the side. I didn't have my sketchbook because of the weather but I was able to take a series of photos to get the scene. The images nagged me, and called to me and so I've had to have another go at trying to draw water...

Getting the background tree structures in was fun and relaxing to do. I was building up to the water challenge...

Here I'm starting to tackle the textures showing through the water...

And here are the first tentative marks of flowing water, its so difficult to know just how dark or light these marks need to be.

If I darken them I can always take away again with a putty rubber...

Time to take a step back now and have a think about this.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Charcoal drawing - Brook reflection

The final stages of  the brook have been all about detail in the water and tree branches, and balancing tone.

The distant hill line needs some fuzzy definition and the tree needs work to build up its shape.
At this point I felt that I needed to pay closer attention to the reality of the place, so on a sunny Saturday morning a managed a plein air sketch

Being back in 'the place' showed me that the bridge and the central tree were really dark, and detail was difficult to make out. Some adjustments to the charcoal drawing will be needed. Being there for a period of concentrated looking gives me so much more confidence when I'm back in the studio. I feel more able to get the essence of the place.

Better, the spindly branches coming in from the right are now framing the central tree

Time to get to grips with the fiddly reflection, and bring some definition into the foreground

I liked the circular ripples at the front of the image, until I realised that they attract the eye too strongly, and create another focal area beneath the rail - too distracting!

The final drawing

The balance is better throughout the image. I've darkened the bridge and lowered the arch slightly too, it now feels more like the real place. The ripples went, to be replaced by flowing shapes which continue the motion of the water rather than stopping it. Leaves in the bottom left corner create a more natural scene. Altogether a good feel of this familiar place. Done. I think!