Gerald Moore Gallery

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…

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Sketchbook Circle 14 exhibition at the Gerald Moore Gallery

On Saturday February 21st the exhibition and workshop for the Sketchbook Circle 14 took place at the Gerald Moore Gallery. It was a creative day of exploring new techniques and materials, reflecting upon the importance of art and meeting friends usually only encountered in the digital in real life.

In the morning I had a go at using a Gelli Plate to print with. I’ve seen this online many times and wondered what it was like – its a monoprinting surface that is smooth and somewhat like gelatin. It says on the website that its a ‘hypoallergenic polymer material’. Ever since I’ve been looking out for common materials with a similar texture but today I couldn’t help myself – I ordered one. At the workshop Georgia and Louise demonstrated some approaches to try and I’m looking forward to continuing with these on a plate all of my own.

2015-02-21 12.00.02I also had a go at something I’ve never heard of before shared with us by Elle – we used cotton as a painting surface. We painted diluted milk powder onto this and then used chalk pastels to draw with. Using them on the damp surface allowed for spreading and blending in a completely different and very satisfying way. I can imagine that having worked in this way we could go on working onto this with pen or thread perhaps.

In the middle of the day the exhibition of the sketchbook circle14 sketchbooks took place. It was great to hear from Sue Grayson Ford from the Campaign for Drawing, Lesley Butterworth from NSEAD and BobandRoberta Smith, prospective MP, who opened the exhibition with a wonderful speech. An edited transcript of the speech is here and its well worth a read – in a week where The Warwick Commission reported and the BBC launched Get Creative all our attention is on how to make sure the arts and creativity are part of every child’s (and every adult’s?) life.

It was wonderful to see a selection of the sketchbooks n their own plinths and lots of images from the pages on the walls.

2015-02-21 14.14.30I went to the Sketchbook Circle 13 day last year. At the time I was only just beginning to take part in a sketchbook circle and now, having completed a whole year I feel that I understand the process from the inside so much more fully and this time one of my sketchbooks was a part of the exhibition. The variety of ideas and approaches was interesting to see. Some partners had collaborated so closely that it was impossible to identify where the change of artists happened. Other sketchbooks developed in such unexpected directions over the year. Even though we were all working within the constraint of a smaller than letterbox sized book not two were the same – tiny zig zags, loose leaved notebooks, landscape, portrait, square, pages joined together that developed month by month. The range of techniques was huge and often three dimensional.

2015-02-21 15.43.13In the afternoon we were challenged further by Susan’s Drawing Machine workshop. We worked in groups to design and make groups machines that could make a mark without any human hand holding the pencil or pen. The process was great fun, leading us to improvise, test, refine and co-operate. Somehow I ended up having to be the person in our ‘machine’ – not sure how that happened, but it did and there’s a picture on Twitter…

We get a real sense of teachers everywhere working away in their sketchbooks during the year from the Facebook group but this day, where many of us meet and work together, is such a great feature of the sketchbook circle experience. Its also a chance to look back at one complete revolution of the circle and say thanks to our artist teacher partners and the group of people who have put so much time into organising the circle and the day. I can see its continuing impact from the posts this week – how many of us have succumbed to the urge to buy a Gelli plate?