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Mary and Jean #sketchbookcircle2015

 

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

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December 2015 – sending back for the last time

In December Mary sent me the sketchbook she had started back to me to for the last time.

The first pages I found were these, which continued from the pages I had made. Mary often combines deep colours and different patterns together, making her pages very dense and layered. These pages take up the pink that we’ve often used throughout this sketchbook as well as using different papers and ink. I love the feeling of looking into a mysterious landscape that these pages create.

2015-11-08 15.21.24From last time I sent this sketchbook back I knew I wanted to include the fish that I had found in the pocket at the last minute. I had four pages left to use so I decided to follow Mary’s example of an imaginary environment and create somewhere for the fish to live across all four pages. This has been the advantage of Mary’s choice of a zig zag sketchbook. We have been able to use single panels or continuous panels depending on our creative impulse. I used some of the experimental  Gelli plate sheets I’ve made to create the background and then some pink collage bits and pieces, chosen to create a link back to Mary’s earlier pages.

I also added other collage materials – ink dribbling, old maps and pieces cut from other monoprinted papers. During the sketchbook circle the approach of allowing an image to evolve from the materials has become a part of what I do and led me to using my imagination much more than I used to. See examples from Mary, Linda and other participants on the Facebook page has helped me with this. Abandoning the idea that I might have a fixed outcome in my mind that I am trying to translate onto to paper has been liberating.

2016-01-01 10.53.55I also wanted to connect these last pages to the back cover which has Mary’s small daughter’s hand print and some splashes. It was these splashes that made me think the fish could be bursting out from the water and be joined by some more ghostly fish to sit on Hannah’s hand. The waving hand of the person leaving could be us leaving this sketchbook complete after our year of exchanging. I tried add some gold leaf that we’d received in a mailout with mixed success!

As I looked back I found that Mary had returned to one of out previous pages and added an extra page. I like this window onto the strange world of Rupert – it almost looks like a projection onto the sky!

2015-07-04 12.03.19I’ve enjoyed this second year of exchanging a sketchbook with Mary. I think we’ve evolved a more connected way of using the pages than we had last year. We’ve left space on pages for each other to use, we’ve added layers on top as flaps or extra pages and we’ve sometimes worked continuously on sequences of pages. Maybe its also related to Mary’s choice of sketchbook – the flowing pages of the zigzag book instead of sequences of double pages. Certainly our sketchbook seems almost sculptural when spread out! With hindsight we could have made more of this feature thinking about looking through pages – maybe next year…

 

 

 

 

 

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…

April 2015 receiving and responding

In April Mary returned her sketchbook to me with some new and vibrantly coloured pages.

These sea blue fishy pages continued the natural theme from earlier pages.

These sea blue fishy pages continued the natural theme from earlier pages.

The reds and pinks of the next few pages using layers of collage, drawing and text were a dramatic contrast.

The reds and pinks of the next few pages using layers of collage, drawing and text were a dramatic contrast.

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Mary often uses text in her pages and its something I would like to try in my own pages and other art.

I love these almost science fiction pages with other secret worlds hidden behind and almost ready to burst through.

I love these almost science fiction pages with other secret worlds hidden behind and almost ready to burst through.

I tried to join my next pages to the marbling of Mary's last page and incorporate the pink in blotches on the next few pages. I used a dip pen and ink and watercolour.

I tried to join my next pages to the marbling of Mary’s last page and incorporate the pink in blotches on the next few pages. I used a dip pen and ink and watercolour.

The map features became more evident across the pages and then I tried to transform back to a landscape. This didn't work out as I had hoped and I did consider cutting these pages out.

The map features became more evident across the pages and then I tried to transform back to a landscape. This didn’t work out as I had hoped and I did consider cutting these pages out.

At this point (almost at the point of posting) I was reminded by discussion in the Facebook group that we had been sent an envelope of collage. I went back and used some fo he collage to work on one of th earlier pages and these last two pages that I was dissatisfied with.

I enjoyed adding collage to the marbling page and luckily there was more marbling in the collage pack so I was able to extend the pages and continue working on them from the top and bottom of the concertina page.

I enjoyed adding collage to the marbling page and luckily there was more marbling in the collage pack so I was able to extend the pages and continue working on them from the top and bottom of the concertina page.

I tried to rescue the last two pages by adding collage but they are still my least favourite pages so far.

I tried to rescue the last two pages by adding collage but they are still my least favourite pages so far. I wonder if Mary will be able to do something with them to rescue them!

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.

 

February 2015 recieving and responding

2015-02-24 16.48.12At the end of January a little parcel arrived.

This time round Mary started off a sketchbook to send to me whereas last time I started a sketchbook for her. Mary had chosen a small Moleskine with zig zag pages inside. Its so small that it will fit through my unbelievably small letterbox in future exchanges!

Mary had used each panel to make an image but there’s also a sense of continuity from panel to panel.

2015-02-24 16.44.592015-02-24 16.45.03The challenge for me would be to maintain this continuity somehow – I had just seen that some artist teachers had achieved this last year. The last page that Mary had made reminded me of water – bubbles running up and down the page in watery colours. I opened the zigzag pages so I could see and work on the next four panels.

2015-02-24 16.46.53Taking inspiration from Mary’s panel I first of all used wax crayons to create some areas of resist and then used waterproof drawing inks to create watery leading to grassy effects across the panels. Whilst the washes dried I drew onto the damp pages with a dip pen and ink – some of these drawn marks spread out and some did not as the pages dried whilst I drew. I was able to work with accidental spreading of ink as well as deliberate drawn marks, going to back to overlap onto Mary’s last page.

I also picked up on Mary’s image of a grasshopper and found some images of fish and other insects in a damaged book that I had recently been given to use in collage and printmaking. Although I was looking for images I also came across some interesting sentences and added some of these to the pages as well:

2015-02-24 16.46.25‘Though very shy, they are said to be extremely sportive, darting with the utmost ease up the most rapid current.’

‘The darkness of the night increased the scaly brilliancy which the phosphoric properties of these beautiful fish produce.’

‘The Herring (C. harengus) is of great and even national importance.’

The pictures were taken from an old natural history book, but the descriptions are sometimes quite poetic.

2015-02-24 16.46.39Its too early to say what Mary and I are creating in this book – whether it is a continuous series of images or something else. One of the interesting things about the sketchbook circle swapping is that we can’t predict what another artists will make of our art.

2015-02-24 16.45.41 Last year I was quite hesitant about working onto the art of another artist – often clipping things in, photocopying and working onto the copy or going back and using empty pages. This year I worked back into Mary’s last page and I tried to leave some potential for continuity, spilling one of my images partially out onto the next page for Mary to use if she wants to.

2015-02-24 16.47.56As you can see, there are plenty of pages left for us to work on for the rest of this year…

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!

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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Getting my sketch book back for the last time (December)

In December I received the sketchbook I had started back from Mary with her last contributions. She had continued to work with text, collage and maps. She immediately followed by long image of a skyline made form newspaper collage with these pages of collage – the blue of the sea is made from the insides of envelopes that have lots of different blue line patterns.

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2015-01-05 11.40.48I like the combination and placing of the buildings, windows and bridge and I’m still making my mind up about whether this is two separate pictures or one continuous picture.

There’s also a page of Laurent Chehere’s Flying Houses series which is an interesting way to develop buildings in a more fantastical way – it would be great to explore these in three dimensions and write stories or poems to go with them! Maybe that is my primary school teacher side coming out…

2015-01-05 11.40.55Mary had also made this great layered collage page with all different sorts of paper including maps, magazine pictures, printing and drawing. There’s a lot to look at in this page and it provokes all sorts of questions about how it was constructed and how the pieces and layers fit together.

2015-01-05 11.41.40A further page used paper from maps even more.

Over this year I have become so much alert to the possibilities of using found and previously used papers to make art – At Christmas I was lucky enough to find a source of old maps that I hope to use in collage and in printmaking in 2015.

2015-01-05 11.41.14There was also this page of holes.I love the way that Mary has created this little windows into other worlds on this page using nothing more than paper and drawing tools. I’d really like to explore this further.

Mary and I have been exchanging this sketchbook over the year, working in it in response to each other’s art – and as well as this Mary has given birth to a daughter! I’ve so enjoyed the input of new ideas, ways of looking, artists whose work I did not know of, materials and how they are used that I have encountered in this exchange.

This is what our sketchbook looked like by the end! Mary has transformed the outside to reflect some of the themes we explored.

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October (receiving and sending)

2014-11-02 15.50.13I received the sketchbook from Mary during September and responded to it in late October. This time Mary has added some suggestions of artists to look at alongside her own response to these. One of these was Tom Phillips and his work of art ‘A Humument’ which you can see for yourself at this link – A Humument a wonderful combination of words and art that I so glad Mary introduced me to. Looking back in our sketchbook I can see that Mary had referred to this in an earlier month but I hadn’t picked up on it, so I was glad she 2014-11-02 15.49.49returned to it.

Here’s what I wrote in the sketchbook.

I tried to have a go myself at working onto a page of a book – its quite a challenge to choose some interesting words and phrases. I haven’t done a very exciting job here as I was too literal and descriptive but in doing this I learned something about how I might develop it in the future. I can see the possibilities for using the accidental positioning and relationships 2014-11-02 15.48.25between words on the page. There is much inspiration to be gained by exploring The Humument website where all the pages can be seen.

Recently I had also been exploring letters and text as a neighbour had very kindly given me some woodblock letters to experiment with. When I first started playing with these I printed letters, and later single words onto newspaper. Initially this was just to 2014-11-02 15.49.26have a go, but as I printed I began to find text, pictures pr a combination of these in the newspapers and print random or chosen words on to them.

The one to the right is one of my favourites – I didn’t really take in the three words at the top of the picture but I think these add to the overall image so much!There’s a few other examples in the sketchbook that I’m sending to Mary next week. One of the other things I did with the letters was to print them all over a sheet of newspaper to see what each one looked like and to get better at applying the printing ink and pressing the block down. After this sheet was dry I found the 2014-11-02 16.38.47accidental words that you can see in the image on the left.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been going further with this idea by also adding lines of poetry that seem to fit the image and word.

Building on the use of words and phrases from newspapers and some collage / drawing I was working on last week inspired by imaginary skylines I also constructed a collage and drawn skyline with pieces cut from a newspaper – again looking for interesting words and combinations of words.

2014-11-02 15.48.17Mary also sent me  suggestions of two other artists – Ed Fairburn and Nigel Peake with some drawing added to a map. I’m looking forward to exploring them in the future!

So next week this sketchbook will be in the post to Mary and I hope to receive one from Karen.