Final pages of my sketchbook with Karen, December 2014

When Karen sent me the sketchbook she had started for the last time she had continued to develop her theme of abstract colour collages

2015-01-05 11.50.172015-01-05 11.50.24I love these explorations of shape and colour and they’ve a real impact on the printmaking that I do.

2015-01-05 11.50.322015-01-05 11.50.39I especially like the way the shapes and colours are layered and overlapped. Each image has a name which reminds me of printmaking – when I had to choose a name forr my first abstract print this summer I found this a real challenge and for many weeks the name was red and yellow blobs, until, eventually I had to come up with something more appropriate – which turned out to be ‘red and yellow, yellow and red’ – still too literal perhaps!

2015 - 1I had continued to work on some of the ideas that I had begun to develop from Karen’s last pages. I had photocopied and cut up some of her printing to use to inspire drawing and over the next few weeks I made some these the basis of my daily drawings. I used a cut or torn patch of the photocopy placed in the middle of page to work out from using Tombow pens in various greys and a black fineline pen. As I worked markmaking became an aspect of the drawing, as did an almost aerial view of an imaginary landscape.

2015-01-06 15.48.22Later in the sequence of drawings I manipulated one in the app ‘Fragment’ and drew from this pushing the markmaking further and leaving any sense of a representative image behind.

At the same time I made a collagraph plate using textured wallpapers, cutting with a craft knife and painting with PVA glue based on the drawings. I printed this in one colour and in several colours to experiment with the print. I also printed several times without re-inking, resulting in some paler versions. When I received the the sketchbook back from Karen for the last time I added a coloured and single colour version of the print to the sketchbook.

You can see below that the coloured version looks very much like a landscape from above.

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I also used some more pieces of Karen’s prints to spark off another abstract drawing across the two pages. I had intended to add the six drawings above (or copies of them) but forgot before I returned the sketchbook – but they can be seen here. I also had a go using the vibrant colours Karen often uses to make a collage and draw into it – for some reason this became very pink and lost the brilliance and contrast of the primary and secondary colours that Karen tends to choose.

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Working with Karen in this sketchbook has had a lasting impact on the way I work as a printmaker and in my drawing every day series. I had often wanted to work in a more abstract way but hadn’t ever quite managed to find a way into this. This year I have extended the way I use collage, drawing and printing by responding to Karen’s art – I;m really very grateful to her for helping me do this.

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May (receiving and sending)

At the beginning of May I received my original sketchbook from Mary – with great restraint I waited til the weekend to open it so I would have to time to look at it properly. Processed with Moldiv

Mary had continued our exploration of fonts and typography – taking elements of letters and the gaps in and between them as well as overlapping and looking through semi-transparent surfaces.

Its amazing how far this has come from that first inspiration of the Mira Schendel exhibition! (see January’s post)

Processed with MoldivShe had also explored whole pages of text – I love this one where some words are highlighted from a piece of text to make a new text or even a poem? It reminded me of something Dave Gorman used to do on his radio show – found poetry. He would take words and phrases from newspapers or media and put them together to make a new text read aloud. Then a few weeks after seeing this page I came across a post about Hidden Poetry on Stephen Lockyer’s blog. You can find it here – Hidden Poetry Mary has found and reveled the hidden poetry in the text – in Stephen’s idea children write tiny poems on labels and stick them in hidden places for others to find. You could add the idea of matchboxes to this!

2014-05-26 15.41.27I also like this page – its made using the app Sketchbook Express. I’m always pleased when the name of the app is attached – it can be frustrating to see an image, know an app is involved but not know which! I downloaded the app but as is common with me, haven’t had time to look at it properly. One day…

My first response was this page of Ts cut from a newspaper and drawn onto. As Mary had, I also found myself intrigued by the negative space and the new shapes created.

Processed with MoldivI also found these card letters in a shop – they reminded of evenings in front of the TV cutting out lower case letters in interesting papers to use in my classroom when I was a primary school teacher. Times have changed – they can be bought for 40p each nowadays!

In the same newspaper I came across the weather forecast page – it was bank holiday weekend and absolutely pouring with rain. In an attempt to change the weather I cut up the forecast and rearranged it. It continued to rain all half term…

This flap collage follows on from something I first did n the sketchbook Karen and I are swapping.

Processed with MoldivAs well as taking part in the sketchbook circle I’ve also been part of the #moreTEA digitial swap and this has led me to using some apps to manipulate images. I returned to the idea of TEA and made the word from colours found in the newspaper and then used the app ‘Fragment’ on the image to change it. Writing this it occurs to me that there’s a lot of art to had from reusing a newspaper.

Before packaging the sketchbook up I flicked back through the pages and found an old page from March. Since March I’ve learned a lot about apps so I decided to go back to my page of Zs and make some changes.

As I did this I discovered that colour tints can be added in the app although I’m not sure how I did this – typical of my use of apps at present, and not very useful if I want to teach anyone.

Processed with MoldivOver the last week I’ve decided to start a record of apps I use and tips / examples of their use to help me remember for my own use and to help me when I’m working with students. An example (needs work) is on this blog under apps and some examples I’m going to use with students this term are here apps for learning and teaching

As always the inspiration and ideas from this sketchbook circle, both Mary and Karen, from chance encounters on twitter and on the #moreTEA and NSEAD Facebook pages and working with my colleagues on Northampton Inspire continue to inform the art I make and my teaching. So thanks to all!

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