overlap

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…

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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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April (receiving and sending)

In April Karen sent me her sketchbook – she had continued to develop the small abstracts using brightly coloured paper. I liked the way these have titles and that’s something I’ve begun to think more about especially since I’ve been experimenting with more abstract work.

Processed with MoldivDuring April the NN Contemporary Gallery, here in Northampton, had an exhibition called Pip and Pop, an installation on the floors of the gallery using fine sand, sugar, origami, plastic figures, glitter, lights and found objects put together to make fantasy worlds. The gallery has windows that open to the street and walking past the injection of light and colour that the exhibition provided on a dull day was immense. Visiting the exhibition reinforced for me (along with seeing Karen’s work) the possibility of using more colour in the art I make.

Processed with Moldiv

When I got home from seeing the exhibition I immediately made a tissue collage to help me remember what I had seen.

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As well the collages, Karen had also developed her work with shape and colour into two reduction lino cuts. She had mentioned this possibility in February and I had begun to think about trying out shapes and colours in my own practice, which is making collagraph prints. Usually my prints are representational and it was liberating to try something different.

2014-05-09 11.40.19 - Copy (2)2014-05-09 11.40.31

The use of different sized shapes and the positioning┬á of shapes on top each other was something I wanted to try with collagraphs. I made a few separate shapes from mountboard; cutting it into a knife, painting on PVA and sticking textured wallpaper onto the plates. I also cut holes in some of them. I used a reddish brown, red and yellow to print the tiles – firstly with no overlapping to get a sense of what each looked like when printed.

2014-05-09 11.40.41In the next few experiments I printed two or three shapes onto paper, took those off, replaced them with two or three more and reprinted to create random overlapping.

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I am appreciating the way the exchange of ideas and visual material in the sketchbook circle is having an influence on my own art – I have built on these several plate two print collagraphs by making a series of two plate collagraphs using the sky and winter trees.

I look forward to receiving the next boost of ideas from Mary soon – she gave a tantalising preview on Facebook yesterday!