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Jean and Linda – March


The sketchbook I started in January came back to me this month, with new additions from Linda. This first return is always interesting as it’s the first time we get a sense of how the exchange is going to work. It seemed that Linda had left some opportunities for me to work onto her pages – above I continues markmaking from her piece of collage and added some bright circles to her pale squares.

On this page added the collage pencil at the top of the page and my initials below Linda’s. I also added some letters to the inside of the envelope. I can see that Linda likes maps as much as I do! 

I’ve been collecting all the paper generated by day to day life lately to use in making art. Train travel is a source of interesting paper and I used timetables and tickets on this page. The timetable joins me in Northampton and Linda in London. 

I wanted to do as Linda had done and leave some pages with space for a response. On the page above I used a strip of collage tissue paper that has strips of maps and then  extended them upwards using watercolour. 

The process of stamping has rippled through the sketchbook circle over the last few weeks. I missed the sketchbook circle this year but one of the workshops was led by Stephen Fowler. I really enjoyed seeing the results of his workshop so I bought the book and began collecting the materials needed. Above is an initial experiment using thin foam stuck to corrugated card with some additional drawing. 

The sketchbook came in a wonderful envelope which I added to before returning to Linda. 

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Amanda and Jean October 2016

Amanda and I continue our slightly off time exchange – we’re making all the exchanges but they don’t quite correspond with the 1st of the month. Luckily we’ve both equally held on to the sketchbook too long but it seems to have worked out overall. 


As the sketchbooks gets fuller it’s somehow harder to respond as I’m reluctant to make it even bigger than it is already. It’s a real challenge to my ideas of working in the same sketchbook and I think I must get better at working onto the pages instead of adding more pages. When I think this, usually when I haven’t got the sketchbook,  it seems like a great idea. When I get the sketchbook back each indiviudal page is so interesting that it seems wrong to work onto it.


As part of my ongoing one drawing a day I was stuck for want to draw so I leafed through the pages allowing small sections to catch my eye. I was especially attracted by the textile and sewn pages which were abstract but had such great marks and patterns. 


I later used this approach to make some small fragments to add to the sketchbook.


I used watercolour, fine pen and letter stamps. I could often see landscape like forms in Amanda’s pages, as well as interesting colour combinations. 

I returned the sketchbook to Amanda very late in November and I think maybe one more go some time in December before the sketchbook ends up with its originator. It will be interesting to see how Amanda records it digitally. 

Jean and Carys September

img_5757The sketchbook I had begun came back in September – despite moving house and the start back at school Carys was able to send it to me!

I love the way these small circles are both little abstracts in themselves but also little fragments of the landscape too.

It was quite hard to work out how the green page was made – it looked like it could have been painted or collaged from magazine pages. I’m interested in its aerial view qualities.

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I tried to continue it using the blue of the page and some pens, further developing the map and aerial view feel of it. I think its lost something in moving from colour to line and pattern though.

we’re reaching the point in the sketchbook where we can see how many pages are left and how many months there are so we can pace ourselves. Although it would be easy to add pages to this sketchbook.

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My own new contribution to this part of the sketchbook went completely off at a tangent using a picture and text from a damaged book I had been given and some stickers from IKEA. Its a bit of a mess and highlights how hard it is to choose and compose with found pictures and text. I often see artists do this and it looks so apt and perfect – this is very hard to achieve!

img_5754This sketchbook has another strand of pages on the other side of the concertina.

These intensively detailed and colourful pages are wonderful. Looking at them again now I’d like to go back to them and use them as a jumping off point.

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I used collage and pen to make a response – using my favourite greens.

I also continued with the use of found and vintage paper on the subsequent pages. Some of these pages also have some layers and folds.

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And finally I added a small Gelliplate monoprint that I made as part of a series during #Inktober and #PrintOctober – now I’m writing the blog post I realsie that this was supposed to be September!

Amanda and Jean – June 2016

This month things got in the way of our exchange and so I didn’t receive the sketchbook from Amanda. In some ways this was good in that the month was so busy at work that I might have neglected it, had it arrived. By the end of June things had eased up a bit so I decided to make a few June pages and send them to Amanda anyway. The beauty of the sketchbook Amanda made for us is that it’s such an unusual shape that even in its absence the size and shape of the pages can still inspire me! During the month of June I also acquired some new materials – Derwent Inktense pencils. Often a new tool or product can be a source of ideas, just in that one needs to go back to the experimentation phase.


On these pages I’ve used combinations of masking fluid, watercolour and Inktense pencils. I’ve had fun trying out different effects although I still regret not buying the Inktense colour sticks instead of the pencils when I had the chance. Some things these pages illustrate are my increasing use of colour, exploration of the overlap between drawing and painting and inclination to work from imagination. The sketchbook circle experience has been instrumental in supporting me to do this. Before the sketchbook circle I rarely, if ever, worked from anything but observation.

I’ve sent these pages off to Amanda so she can add them in where they will best fit  – our sketchbook is also quite loose leaf in structure so in time we’ll never know that there was a summer time blip!

Jean and Carys – receiving and sending March 2016

2016-03-30 12.20.15It isn’t until you get the sketchbook that you began back from your partner that you find out whether what you did in January was interesting enough to inspire a response.

Carys had added to my pages and made new pages of her own so I knew that she had been able to make something of my strangely made envelope page sketchbook. Unfortunately one page had stuck to another so I had to try very carefully to ease them apart. When we’re still working in our sketchbook its always a danger and something that’s happened before.

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I’ve partly stuck the bits back together and worked onto a group of the pages to disguise the damaged bits so they will become part of the image and part of the wear and tear of a shared sketchbook that is subject time pressure and the demands of postage.

Lots of my pages had been quite blue to match the pages and cover so it was great that Carys had added more varied colours.

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I liked Carys addition of the pen with the images flowing from it and I used this to make a new page using the patterns from the page itself and the colours and marks from previous pages. This led me to two new pages.

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The one on the left was an attempt to connect to the image seen through the window in the page and the one of the left was something I was making on the day that I finished the March pages and got ready to send the sketchbook back. This was an imaginary map-like drawing called ‘The Progress of Water’. I made this for my ongoing daily drawing project and it was partly inspired by running ink down a concertina made from Khadi paper.

The sketchbook works on the front and the back of the pages so there a few other pages to see and develop.

 

I liked the way these pages have layers, flap and labels added, making the already different pages even less flat and two dimensional. Cays uses words in her art and that’s something I do, but haven’t much in this sketchbook yet.

I added some collage and drawing to one of Carys’s pages and added some more layers of paper from Gelli plate printing and vintage paper collage.

Mary and Jean #sketchbookcircle2015

 

Here’s a video of the entire sketchbook in order!

June 2015 Receiving and responding

2015-06-28 16.06.27When the sketchbook arrived back from Mary this time it was interesting to see that she had gone back to the two pages I had added to top and bottom and added on to the other side of each. As you can see from the featured image our sketchbook is quite a three dimensional object as it is a zig zag – so any flap pages can be seen on each side.

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Mary had also added a detailed landscape with such a great sense of space and looking down from a high place. This reminds me of some of the drawings made by Urban Sketchers artists but this one had surreal elements of large plants beginning to invade the city. In my response on the next page I continued this theme but my page shows what happens when nature continued unchecked and took over the city! This was an addition to a page Mary had begun.

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On this page Mary had added the fine detailed flowers coming down from the top and I added the rest of the foliage. Some of these patterns and shapes were taken from Egyptian wall paintings. In the distance you might be able to see the last remnants of the city visible behind the leaves.

2015-07-02 19.28.24On the next page Mary had transformed the last accidental pink blotch into a flamingo.

I forgot to take a photo of this page before I worked on it – when I got it just the flamingo on the right and the pink and orange drawing on the left was visible.

I added the green jungle background and the large orange flower. These are made from mono printing using a Gelli plate. I first encountered this at the sketchbook circle 2014 exhibition and workshop. I’ve added drawing with gold and black pens.

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The last panel was completed with one of these postcard sized mono prints. This panel represents exactly half way through for the year, six months gone and six months to go, and exactly half way through the pages o2015-07-02 19.29.06f the sketchbook – now its time to work onto the back of all the pages.

The zig zag sketchbook is such a different format to work on – when I stood it up to take the photo I understood more fully how it had different possibilities as we can think of it as standing in space and being looked at almost like a sculpture or mini environment. It will be interesting to see what Mary does with it next…

May 2015 receiving and responding

2015-05-25 17.43.31In May Linda sent me the sketchbook I had started with some interesting new additions. I didn’t work on it until the end of the month in one quite concentrated burst just before I sent it back to her.

I like this use of textured wall paper in printing and rubbing. I’m always on the look out for interesting textures to use in my own collagraphs and in other types of printmaking with students.

2015-05-25 17.42.58Linda had continued to use some of the collage materials and in this image going across two pages

I love the placing of these shells against the more abstract collage and textures – it reminds me of a stage set or the aerial view of a beach.

The next pages were also one image and could be pulled out to show more of the image. This is something I had just added to the sketchbook I returned to Mary. by coincidence! It is this page that sparked off a response for me this time.

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As I looked at these pages they made me think about pathways in the garden – paving slabs, stones and gravel. Maybe its the time of year and being able to spend more time outside in my own garden. I was working at the table in the spare bedroom and from here I can look down on my garden. I kept to the brown and natural tones that Linda had used, partly because I had just bought some new Tombow pens in brown shades.

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This pull out image is a continuation of Linda’s pages going from her more abstract use of textures and patterns to a more representational ‘picture’ athough the space on my page is both an aerial view and a front on view. The leaf shapes are based on plants in my border at the moment (end of May). In my own garden the pathways are gravel and on my next page I decided to take a closer look at the gravel – often overlooked and taken for granted.

I collected some pieces of gravel at random to draw and paint. The range of colours, shapes and patterns is surprising.

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I enjoyed taking a closer look at each piece. I painted each in watercolour and then drew detail onto each piece after the paint had dried. I now I have exaggerated the colours a little!

At around this time a friend bought me some masking fluid. I often give her lifts to art classes and from time to time she gives me some art related supplies – although she needn’t, its always interesting to be given something I didn’t even know I wanted! This was the case with the masking fluid. I’ve sen it in shops, never bought it, but once I had it play began! I’ve used it on the next two pages.

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On the left hand page I continued the exploring of gravel colours and shapes and on the right hand page I moved onto different sized circles. On both of these pages I used the masking fluid like wax in batik, painting it onto layers of different coloured ink or paint working from lighter to darker. Peeling it off after to reveal the images was very satisfying.

The pages of the sketchbook moved from abstract to representational and back this time and some new materials have been used – watercolour paint and paper and masking fluid. In writing this post I was struck  by how I didn’t respond directly to the shells page although now I look at the photos of it its such an interesting and striking page – maybe next time…

March 2015 receiving and responding

2015-03-29 15.14.33In March the sketchbook I had started came back to me from Linda. Linda had made some rubbings as part of her next few pages, as well as drawing and folding the pages to alter them.

I liked her continuation of my drawing of ‘Stack’ – I seem to have become distracted from how interested I was in the layers and relationships between objects so it was good to be reminded.

2015-03-29 15.14.49Linda had also made an intricate page of small colourful marks and lines – I really want to get some find brightly coloured pens and have a go at this, it almost looks like very find sewing at first glance.

2015-03-29 15.15.02Linda had also added collage to some pages and I especially liked the blue layered collage made with printmaking, and then drawn through on  a page made from tracing paper.

2015-03-29 15.15.15The facing page to the tracing paper was made from brown paper and had become wrinkled and soft – I’m not sure if it was already like this or if Linda made it this way. I was struck by how it now seemed so more flexible and decided to take advantage of this by weaving with it. I’ve recently been given some old books and one is a book of music – the colour and texture of this paper seemed to fit with the brown paper.

2015-03-29 15.15.34Over the last few months I have been very taken with an old childhood toy – Spirograph. I tried it out with black and brown pens to continue the subdued colours of the previous page. Wanting to continue the changing of pages that Linda had begun I also cut out and around the shapes. This is something I’d like to continue with – I can’t quite believe that I had had the fine motor skills to use this as a child and I’m not very keen on the pin holes left when the rings have been. I just read last night that on the latest Spirographs blutac is now used so I must try that.

2015-03-29 15.32.12I also tried some textures and drawing to return to Linda’s earlier pages.

Overall I’m enjoying the various ideas for markmaking, collage and texture that the exchange has developed so far. It gives me a chance to work in a completely different way and often leads me to use some of these approaches in my art. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes back to me in May.

 

January 2015 sending…

When a sketchbook circle starts one of the big decisions to make is what shall the sketchbook be like? The only constraint is that it should fit through a letterbox so that the circle can work by post. I could see some of the choices being made during January and as I looked through my box of sketchbooks that I could use none seemed quite right. Eventually I decided on a portrait 8 x 4 inch sketchbook but I had left it too late to order one from Pink Pig. Then I remembered the workshop I had been on when the #sketchbookcircle14 began – techniques for making your own book!

2015-01-24 16.08.11So last weekend I made my own hardback sketchbook with sewn in pages. I went a bit wild with the pages as I realised they could be made from any paper and be non-standard sizes, so that might affect the way Linda, my sketchbook partner, and I work in the sketchbook over the year.

2015-01-24 16.11.09The cover is made from an old map. Its only since I took part in the sketchbook circle that I’ve realised the potential of using different sorts of paper and at Christmas I came across a bag of old maps amongst some bric a brac for sale.

At the same time I was thinking about what I would put into the sketchbook. At the beginning of January I had been to Tate Britain to see the Late Turner exhibition. I had time to wander round Tate Britain and I came across Tony Cragg’s sculpture ‘Stack’ from 1975. Its so huge and the more I looked at the more I found to see. I settled down on the floor of the gallery and drew one side of it.

2015-01-25 11.41.01As I drew it, drawn by the shapes and natural colours I realised that it was very hard to do it justice with just the black pen I had with me. There were some splashes of bright colour amongst the browns, greys and blacks. There were so many textures as well – trying to show fabric, brick, wood and plaster. Drawing made me look so much more carefully, as usual. I only had time to draw one side of the 2015-01-25 11.40.31cube. I photographed the other sides – but one side is too close to the wall to get far enough back. I’ve tried to recreate the cube in my sketchbook using the photos. I’ve also found someone who videoed the sculpture which is a great reminder – you can see this below. I plan to go back and draw the other three sides over the next few months (or years).

Later at home I began to think about exploring my drawing and the memory of the sculpture more and I made a representation using collage.

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As i made this I found that I should have approached it in a different way – from the inside out. If I was doing this again (and I might) I would make a ‘behind’ layer to work on top of, which would get rid of much of the whiteness. I might make this using wax resist and ink and then work on top with collage. As I write about it the more I want to do it! I’d also like to recreate it as a collagraph plate and print it.

Here’s a link to Tony Cragg’s websitewhere you can see more of his work and here’s a Pinterest board I have begun to make.

I deliberately waited until my sketchbook circle partner had received the sketchbook before writing this post – so that I did not spoil the surprise. I’m looking forward to receiving Mary’s sketchbook and responding to her art!