In the summer mailout we were sent postcards to alter and send back to be displayed at the sketchbook circle course at the Arnolfini. I wasn’t able to go so I was glad to be able to send my postcards in so I could take part in a different way. I was thrilłed that one of these was voted for by the participants as a favourite!
In February I received sketchbook from Helen. It was handmade sketchbook, with different sorts of paper for the pages and bound very sturdily, so I think it will survive our exchange!
The pages inside were so interesting and I found that Helen’s approach and way of using collage is so like areas of collage I am interested in having come across the work of artists like Jo Urban, Alison Sye and Jeannette McEwan recently on social media.
Looking at Helen’s pages I was interested in the storytelling nature of them and I wanted to respond in an around them as well as by adding my own pages to follow on. Doing this with a new partner is a big step because it is hard to know how they will feel about additions being made to their pages.
First I added an extra page that could be used to view pages through.
I was a little more adventurous I added little details to the pages through using Washington tape, paper collage and drawing, trying to stick with the theme of the pages Linda had made.
For my own pages I began with two story telling pages using a range of materials. I’ve been collecting paper materials for some time now and the challenge is to find, group and attach images and text together. It is hard to say what comes first – sometimes its text, other times its shapes, colours or images. In these two cases there isn’t much text but what there is is quite significant: “notes from our village green” (taken from a book) and “I draw a new world”made up by me. At the moment constructing imaginary landscapes is a recurring theme in much of the art I make.
I also made a page based on an idea from Randall Plowman’s book “The Collage Workbook How to get started and stay inspired” published in 2012. This was to take three images, cut them into strips and stick them down in a mixed up pattern (right hand page). I left it to dry and returned to it several times feeling it was quite unsatisfactory but not knowing what to do with it. This morning I decided to “Fragment” it. Fragment is an app I use on the iPad and decided to use the same approach by cutting out and changing shapes within the image. I also ended up turning some cut outs around so that their patterns appeared on the next page.
This led me to go further, cutting out shapes to leave as holes and adding wash tape letters. On the other side of the page (below) I used a white pen and add drawn detail which worked effectively because the page was black. The holes revealed some fragments of the previous brightly coloured previous page made using watercolours and Derwent Intense pens.
For the second month I am ready to send my sketchbook on at the end of the month, quite a miracle! I wonder what Helen will make of it…
Our sketchbook swap ended with my last return but being a completist I couldn’t help making one last page for December. I’ve been challenged to work in the panoramic shape that Amanda chose and over the months I’ve begun to enjoy it. It gives such scope to develop an image or pattern. Using PVA and pieces of tissue that I’d previously marked with ink I made the image below. At first it was going to be abstract but as so often happens it became a landscape and I began to make choices of collage that developed this.
The sketchbook Amanda and I swapped was different in physical form than any of the sketchbooks I’ve worked in over the last few years of taking part in the sketchbook circle. The long narrow pages and the way they could be moved around rather than worked on chronologically were sometimes challenging but always inspiring. Elements from the sketchbook and the individual pages often came back to me when the sketchbook was not with me: patterns, colours, textures, the shape of the pages and the way they could be interchanged. Amanda is making a container for the pages and I will be interested to see this. It will certainly be full of ideas and starting points to dip into.
I received the sketchbook back from Carys with some interesting new pages.
I love these colours and labels hanging down into the pages. They can also hang down onto this patterned page below. When I designed the sketchbook I had in mind that each side of the pages might work together and this is a great way of trying to do that. I had lost sight of this possibility over the months.
I wanted to try to use each side of the page to create a scene centred around the envelope window in the page. On this side I used the window as if it was a window in the side of a spaceship. I vaguely remembered the story of a dog sent into space! I also looked for words and phrases that might go with the scene.
This month Carys had created some lovely pages which could be read as mark making, or abstraction but also as landscape. I seem to see elements of landscape everywhere at the moment!
This led me to create a collage based abstract landscape using various tools and materials I had to hand. These are very much in a strand of ongoing collages that I’m making at the moment.
In the same way that aspects of landscape can be glimpsed in Carys’s latest pages these pages use landscape features with mixed up view points, moving from aerial view to distance and back in the same page space.
This was the only contribution I made to the sketchbook this month as I’m away in the last week of July and I wanted to do something and post it on time.
This month Carys had worked on lots of pages and there was plenty for me to respond to. I love the map like pages that have emerged in our sketchbook, the sense of looking at the land from different viewpoints and seeing the shapes and patterns. Carys also introduced some different shapes placed onto and cut through the pages – the hexagon lattice is something I especially like. Seeing through to other pages so that the view is partial and incomplete is also inspiring to me.
When I began to respond I had let time run out so I didn’t work on as many pages to send back to Carys.
I fell back on a favourite recurring shape of circles and material of maps presented in a grid. As I did it I focused on the lines on the maps – paths, roads, railway lines and rivers, trying to place the circles so that the lines did not join up across the page.
Looking back now on Carys’s pages this page seems stark and rather under developed in comparison. I also realised that I’ve gone on to use this layout in my daily drawings.
I also made a page of blue papers and drawing.
This is also a rather basic page, inspired by the blue page and amount of blue paper I seem to have at the moment, left over from other projects.
It seems this month that none of my pages make a strong connection to Carys’s pages – I’m not sure why that is as there’s plenty to look at.
The next pages were an experiment I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. I have an old jigsaw and I painted some pieces with blue or white acrylic.
I had to give them two coats to stop the old picture showing through. I then used a blue and white pen to add patterns. They remind me of a time when I often drew broken pottery, both real and imaginary. Other than enjoying the experiment I’m not sure what the purpose of this is, although looking at them I do like the look and wonder about trying some pieces that would fit together or working out the pattern that these pieces come from and would fit back into.
This hasn’t been my best month so I hope Carys found something in it to work from!
This month the mail out was a Chameleon pen – it looked interesting! Before I used it I could see some people experimenting and so I got it out and read the instructions. This wasn’t quite enough for me but luckily there was a video to watch as well and that helped a lot. Having worked out what to do the first thing I did was play by trying different marks on a set of leaves.
Influenced by the olive green colour I drew some various shared leaves up yesterday with a fine black pen. This morning I enjoyed using the Chameleon pen to add colour. I wonder now how influenced I was towards leaves and nature by the colour I received. I enjoyed the challenge of applying the colour in gradation and thinking about the overall and background. There’s such a lot of potential for using pens like this!
I was really happy to see the picture appear on the header of the face book group later in the day.