Mira Schendel

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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January (sending)

January was the first month of the sketchbook circle. The first challenge was to choose the right sketchbook – the only constraint was that it must fit through a letterbox. The next, and more challenging, was to have an idea and make some art to go in the sketchbook – something interesting to another artist!

On a visit to Tate Modern I found the perfect sketchbook – landscape, A5, spiral bound and containing what seemed to be the right amount and right quality of paper.

Picture1On that visit to Tate Modern I accidentally visited the Mira Schendel exhibition – getting the ticket along with one for the Paul Klee exhibition I had gone to see. As soon as I set foot in the gallery and saw Mira Schendel’s work I knew it would be this that I used as inspiration for the art in the sketchbook. I did some drawing on in the galleries and continued when I got home.

Mira Schendel (1918 – 1988) was born in Zurich, but lived and worked in Latin America. There’s more information about her life on a time line here Tate Modern Mira Schendel timeline

 

imagesI was struck by her use of marks, text and numbers as part of her work. I liked the way she drew onto different surfaces, many of which were transparent or translucent, and then hung the drawings in sets encouraging the viewer to look from both sides. The way the light shone through was significant, as was the way the panels overlapped.

Another set of drawings I liked very much were a set of seventeen tall, thin panels displayed along one wall showing a landscape that continued from one piece to the next. She made this set in 1978 using tempera on paper.

Mira-Schendel-Untitled-N_D-Oil-Stick-on-Paper-7.5-x-5.5...-309x415The other set of work that caught my eye was a wall of small abstract drawings, each using shape and colour. There were four sets of four – sixteen different drawings. She made these as designs for greeting cards in the 1960s using oil stick and gouache on paper. The sets were unified by size, shape and orientation as well as colour. The positions of various coloured shapes and outlines in one or two colours on a plain coloured background made the entire wall very striking – I like sets of images displayed together.

I drew extensively and took notes in my sketchpad. Some of the drawings can be seen in Drawing a Day blog post for 11th January 2014.

2014-01-12 15.36.09During the next few weeks I experimented with mark making on transparent and translucent surfaces and overlapping these. I made some small panels of cellophane, tissue paper, was paper and tracing paper and use black pen and black ink.

These are the separate panels I made.

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I then overlapped the panels in different combinations and photographed against natural light and a lamp, exploring the differences moving the layers around made.

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Although the panels are small – about 10 x 10 cm I liked the effects I could create by changing their position and the kind of light used to shine through.

 

 

Later  I made  marks and lines to ones more reminiscent of trees and leaves onto a zig zag of different surfaces.

2014-01-18 12.06.11I folded this and photographed to explore the views through the trucks, branches and foliage – this is something I have long sought to explore through drawing and printmaking.

Picture9All of these panels and experiments were stuck into the sketchbook, with notes and links to a Pinterest board of images of Mira Schendel’s work.

At the end of January I used this experience along with others to give a presentation at the Wellingborough #TeachMeet exploring how social media could support drawing in schools. I later wrote this up as a post on the The Big Draw blog.

I also sent my sketchbook to Mary and waited to receive a sketchbook from Karen.

 

 

In February I used the idea of overlapping surfaces with some colleagues at a Northampton Inspire network meeting for teachers. We made surfaces and photographed them but went a step further by manipulating the images digitally using various apps. More about it here on the Northampton Inspire site.