February (receiving and responding)

At the beginning of February I received a sketchbook from Karen containing nine pages of vibrant and colourful abstracts.

2014-02-18 15.15.32They were made using drawing, paint, wax resist and collage. They vivid colours and small size made such an impact – all the more because my earlier work to send to Mary was in black and white! I liked the use of combinations of familiar techniques and the use of readily available materials. Some of the abstracts had a colour theme making their impact all the more striking – I love the blue / green panels as  this is a favourite colour combination of mine, and I loved the red / orange / yellow  panels – they reminded me of celebrating Diwali when I was teaching in a primary school.

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I began working directly from this panel, using the colour combinations and shapes. I used tissue paper and PVA glue as I am preoccupied with translucent surfaces at the moment. I also used waterproof inks on top of the tissue.

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I was attracted to the shapes in this panel – both the shapes themselves and their placement on top or next to each other. I wanted to use readily available materials and hit upon today’s newspaper. As I worked on this one I began to wonder how Karen made her art – did she collect the shapes and then place and replace them until she came to an arrangement she liked? Or did she work more randomly placing a shape then placing another in response until complete.

photo (2)Next I returned to my exploration of layers and translucent surfaces and black on white trying out abstract shapes and lines. I used black ink, black pens on tissue paper, and tracing paper. I worked on each page several times creating layers, overlaps and holes.

Some of this related to #linefebruary, a twitter art project I was taking part in where artists posted a daily piece of art using or exploring line.


I also explored shapes and their placement using textures rather than colour – using various wall papers and sand paper but keeping similar shapes. I then took a wax crayon rubbing of the texture pattern. Not quite as successful as I’d like as I couldn’t find a chunky crayon and the tissue paper was rather thin. I’d like to take this into collagraph printing next perhaps.

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My favourite page this month (above) came from a combination of several ideas and experiences. I had a large sheet with lines and marks painted onto it left over from last month’s layering activity. I had seen a lampshade somewhere with lots of small overlapping petals. I was taking part in #linefebruary and wanted to use lines I had already created rather than draw using lines. And finally I was thinking about abstract images because of seeing Karen’s art in the sketchbook. So one afternoon all of those ideas, materials, experiences and ambitions came together in the page above which is A5 in size and uses small squares of tissue glued along the top edges.

AT the end of the month I packaged up the sketchbook to send back to Karen and looked forward to receiving mine back from Mary in March.