overlapping

December 2016 receiving for the last time

Jean Edwards1At the very end of December I received my original sketchbook back from Linda, with her last pages completed and rather neatly that took us to the last page of the sketchbook, filling it completely. Over the last few months we had each adjusted our contributions to aim for this so it was great to see it happen.

I like the way Linda has continued my planets pages into her next page, whilst gradually changing the colours to more earth tones. Continuing to use print also allows for a gradual transition from one page to another.

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This continues onto to the next pages where  printing, collage and drawing make layers of colours and marks.

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The final pages of our sketchbook also use printmaking and drawing – techniques we’ve both used often in this sketchbook. We’ve often created these interesting surfaces from papers and techniques through this sketchbook.

I’ve enjoyed collaborating with Linda and looking back to the beginning where I made my own sketchbook its interesting to see the way we’ve sometimes used the different papers that made up the pages, sometimes extending them so that they fold in. I really should have left more space between the covers as we had tie the covers together after a while, as the sketchbook became fuller and began to burst out of its binding. I wonder if the fact that we had very little white paper in the sketchbook was helpful – the clean white page can be daunting sometimes.

 

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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…

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.

September (receiving and returning)

2014-10-04 12.49.59There was a lull over the summer and then in September I received Karen’s sketchbook. Over the summer she had completed some more reduction lino cuts- I love the way she uses such bright and vibrant colours and the way the shapes are placed – in these there is more of a sense of overlapping and looking through shapes to other shapes.

2014-10-04 12.49.17There were also some pages where Karen experimented with making collagraphs from various materials such as bubble wrap, card and fabric. I think these were relief printed (applying ink to the surface of the plate with a roller then printing) in black and some colours. Although I have often explored relief printing with children, in my own printmaking I usually print intaglio (rubbing ink into the recesses of the plate, polishing off, 2014-10-04 12.49.17then printing). The sections of black printing onto white were striking and made me think of aerial views looking down onto the landscape. It looks like Karen made larger sheets of printing then cut them up and that is something I have been doing lately with collagraphs with flaws – cutting them into smaller sections and making them into cards. Sometimes this reveals something different about the image and often makes it more abstract.

2014-10-04 12.49.09Karen had also printed some of these collagraphs in coloured inks which gives them a different feel altogether.

When I received the sketchbook this time I was keen to respond immediately and quickly so I could return the sketchbook for October and get the exchange back into its sequence. After taking with other artists and teachers who are part of the circle I had realised that some partnerships were working onto each others’ work – a big step to take I felt, so I photocopied Karen’s printed pages so I could add and develop then without losing her original work. This led me to two responses.Firstly I made some relief printing tiles of my own using 2014-10-04 12.48.51textured wallpaper, string and card. Here they are before I printed with them. A friend of mine made the wonderful suggestion that to make a string printing tile if you use double-sided sticky tape its easier to attach the string in the shapes and patterns you want. Having 2014-10-04 15.08.52made the tiles, I printed each of them on white to see what they looked like. Its always hard to predict the effect the ink and printing process 2014-10-04 15.10.01will have on the tile. After this I started printing onto the photocopies of Karen’s prints – the coloured ones. I also collaged the black prints together to make a larger piece of paper to print onto. Just fitting the copies of the prints together was an enjoyable process and it led to an irregularly shaped piece to use. In the future I might copy again and add colour washes. This also reminded me of an exercise I did at a drawing workshop led by another member of the sketchbook circle (Minnie Teckman) 2014-10-04 14.46.29where she got us to make lots of rubbings, rip and cut them up and stick them down and then draw the result to explore making marks.

I also rolled some spare printing ink onto white paper and printed onto this as well. often when I’m printing ideas about how to develop the prints come as I work – its important to remember this when setting up printing with children. They need to be taught and to refine the 2014-10-04 14.27.39technical aspects, but they also need time to explore freely. Experimenting with how the surface they are printing onto affects what they are printing with is a part of this.

2014-10-04 16.33.55When I cleared up after printing I found some accidental prints from when I had cleaned roller between colours. The roller had retained some of the patterns from my tiles and then these were printed onto the paper. Printmaking can be chain of discovery from beginning to end!

In the evening I took one of the spare pieces of photocopied print and expanded with drawing as one of my daily drawings. You can see it here Jean’s drawing a day

I’ve worked quite intensively over a concentrated period of time this time as I’m aiming to send the sketchbook back today – but in writing it up I’ve found that its led to a lot of different ideas – I hope Karen can make something of them!

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.