Monday, 26 April 2010

More Moth book stuff.

I have spent all weekend pondering my moth ideas, in between working on another spaniel portrait which is not going well due to poor refs.

Last week at college I had the idea of making the main element of the book/moth piece about the shadows (Jung) and of stringing real dried moths on wire (escaping) the book of ashes, and lighting it so as to make a real impact with the shadows of the moths falling across the book.......... over the weekend thinking about the practicalities of this, the limited space, no accessible electricity point (extensions used for any length of time in college is a health and safety no, no,  I would need help constructing some sort of black out area, and although friends have offered help I am aware that we are all working to a very short deadline and I don't want to impose.
So...... all this has  led me to adapting the idea. There is a beautiful piece of work by Virginia Wolfe called "The Death of the Moth" which has to be read to be appreciated, but it led me to thinking about the inevitability of death and although the moth seems to struggle against it there is no escape.........I think the moths trying to escape from the black book of ashes (death) is still a good idea, but I am going to try and represent their shadows with strands of silk fibre (silk moths?) pulling them back into the pages...... At this moment in time I have no fixed Idea of how or if this will work and also whether I can obtain (cheaply) enough may have to make some, whilst thinking about this, another element suggested itself..Imposter moths, but I am not sure that this is worth pursuing at the moment, but who knows another conceptual piece at a later date perhaps?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Back to school and Artist books

The first week back after the Easter break has gone well. As I had finished my college linked commissions in the time I was home, it means I can now concentrate on the 10 week project (of which I have done very little and have only 3 weeks left) more of that in a bit.
My presentation about my own work, went well and I am becoming aware that my art does actually go a lot deeper  than I had thought. Perhaps not as much with the commissioned pet portraits, but even these have my "style" and my own animal portraits in particular "Maisie" reflect a lot more about me than I realised, this is fascinating stuff and I can't wait to see what my colleagues presentations reveal about them and if it confirms what we already know about each other.

The 10 week project is our final piece for the year and part of our summative marking.
I have been thinking about it constantly whilst doing my other work and I have lots of ideas.
I love books, particularly myths, folklore, fairy tales and the like and am also fascinated by the circle of life and death, changes (metamorphosis) etc.
I made a Saggar fired book in my work shops that was not fired in time for the marking, and am now thinking this was a good thing because I can use it in this project, it looks like a pile of ashes, but I think it is very beautiful and has deeper connotations because the original book belonged to my late Father.............. I also have some small bird bones and dried moths, which I may use as they also are very delicate/fragile and beautiful.
I am planning to make a second artist book using silk fibres and materials that I have left over from my previous textile explorations and I want to include my more recent moth etchings, but not the screen printed versions as I feel they lose something when made so much bigger............. I have in mind  a concoction of small, fragile and delicate elements of previous living creatures, enclosed and /or escaping in/from the books, and throwing shadows and shapes on the pages (of the Saggar book) so I may need to include some sort of lighting.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Artie finished and other stuff

Well thats Artie done and gone to his owner who was I am very happy to say delighted.
I am pleased that all went comparatively smoothly, but I am becoming more and more frustrated with soft pastels, in the main it is the difficulty keeping them where they are supposed to be and not making smudges and mess elsewhere, I use a mahl (sp?) stick, and gloves but invariably end up in a mess. The supports that are courser grained seem a little better at holding the pastel and I would use fixative but for some reason it always seems to mark the paper as well as the drawing/painting even when I spray  very lightly from a great height!

I think the black animals cause the greatest problem as it is so hard to remove the dark smudges from the paper :-(
I have been trying out colour pencils but they dont somehow give me the same sense of satisfaction as the pastel, (for the same reasons that I dislike it, I also enjoy the ability to move it around the support, layer it and change it) I am thinking maybe I will experiment with oil pastels, but as It is back to college this week I am going to have very little time for anything other than course work and I still have 2 commissions to do.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Artie, nearly done

Today's update and Artie is almost done, I need to sort out the collar, tweak a few bits and add some whiskers, then add a mount before he goes off to his owners


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Artie not on Fisher paper .

Well the original "Artie" has been scrapped due to the problems with the paper already mentioned, I did manage to cover the "spots" with fixative and layers of pastel, but it looked very heavy and "flat" so have treated it as a practice run and started again.
This is on Sennelier Pastel card, not too sure about this surface as it is very course, so am having to work a good under layer before I get the details in. I am in the process of trying out various surfaces in the hope of finding one that I like, without throwing up too much pastel  dust.  Anyway, here he is so far, some slight variations in colour due to camera.....

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Secret World Commission finished

I have finished and am able to post some pictures of the commission I have been doing for the Secret World Animal rescue centre, in Highbridge, Somerset.
 Owned and run by Pauline Kidner, the centre is dependent on  donations and fund raising (some wonderful work and events  done by the volunteers and friends of the centre, as anyone linked to them on FaceBook will be aware)
A haven for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. The animals are taken care of until well enough to be rehabilitated in the wild. I will be adding link to the centre in the next day or so.
The commission was part of my college course for this year, we had to find commissions  in the public sector and I chose to approach Pauline, because of my love of animals and nature, the vicinity (not too far from me) and hopefully in part to help with promotion of the centre.
It has taken me a long time to do as it had to be fitted into the course with all the other work, also I had problems trying to fit the details in with pastels, although it is a large piece (A1) the elements in it are smaller so I decided to go with coloured pencil, no biggy for some, but I don't (or should say did'nt) use CP's, so it has been a baptism of fire..............  


Friday, 9 April 2010

Artie on Fisher paper (hopefully)

Well I have finally started something new, It's a black spaniel called Artie, this is a commission within my college course, basically we have to get commissions in the private and public sector and keep a sketchbook/diary to go alongside, this will include proposals, contracts , meetings and client contact etc!

I have decided to use Fisher 400 paper as I am working in pastel, but have already hit a problem, after putting in a loose background I have noticed some little spots that the pastel is not covering, almost looks like fixative has been sprayed onto it. It has been stored for a while but no fixative or similar has been near it, so I am going to put a couple more layers on before I give up and start again! I have some Uart paper on order from the SAA so if all else fails will try that instead, that way I can get some experience with some new papers as I do tend to stick to what I know favouring Murano (smooth side ) for pastel sketches and drawings, and mount board for pastel paintings.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Spring Cleaning!

I have spent the morning finishing the "Spring cleaning"  I started yesterday, could really do with doing some decorating but it will have to wait for the summer break from college, but at least now I have a dedicated "studio" for my art work, and the rest of the house should run more smoothly.
The room is actually a spare bedroom I have taken over, it is a little "girly" but thats because I sometimes have my grand children to stay and  this room is shared with Leah 8 ;-)
I like to see artists studios/working spaces, so thought I would post some pics whilst it is (relatively) tidy.

Anyway that aside I am now going to knuckle down and get on with my commission and college work, so pictures soon hopefully

Monday, 5 April 2010

quick update

Not a lot to post at the moment, have spent the last 24 hours cleaning up my daughters PC, which had a nasty worm on it!!!

Also managed  a bit of a tidy up on the website this week, some new pics and pages. The Secret World commission is nearing finish, will be posting soon, so hoping to start on two new commissions (both spaniels, one black, one liver and white) very soon. Also have a cat in the pipeline !