Work done for City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery with Distant Stitch.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Sketchbook Day 30: Stitch

I was fascinated by Sian's results when she stitched into the paper and printed from it.  I couldn't wait to try it out for myself.  I continued with my big white daisies, since I "knew my lines" from drawing them before and was still interested in the shapes they made.
I made a simplified drawing of some of the flowers then pierced regular holes with a large needle and stitched with a cotton thread.  I quite liked how this looked without doing anything to it.
Next I tried to plan the print I would get from it.  I was particularly interested in the layers of colour and shape in my garden and tried to depict this.  First on the opposite page of my sketchbook, I painted a few daisy shapes with white gesso and stems with dark green acrylic paint.  I hoped that they would just be visible faintly in the background of the finished print.
Since I wanted the flower heads to be white, I then coloured the left hand page with various greens, using the Koh-i-Noor paintbox and putting some blue at the top for the sky.  Since the colours are transparent, I hoped the darker stems and white gesso would shine through.  Finally I painted the stems on the right hand page with green acrylic paint and the flower heads with white acrylic paint and closed the sketchbook firmly. 
I was quite pleased with how the print turned out.  While the paint was still wet, I printed it onto a piece of plain white paper.
It was interesting, but fairly indistinct.  However, when I then worked into it with some green Koh-i-Noor, the picture came to life in a most gratifying way.

I am interested in how I could re-apply any wet media to the stitched page and print some more with it.  The acrylic paint will have waterproofed it to a certain extent.

I really loved this technique and plan to use it again in the future.  I also thought of printing a digital image of the last print onto fabric (using cotton lawn treated with Bubble Jet and ironed onto freezer paper) and stitching into it.  I like the idea of stitching into something which has been printed from stitch.  This multi-layer approach reflects the many layers in the garden.  It would also be interesting to print onto thin paper from the stitched page using transfer dyes and then iron it onto fabric.  Taking a rubbing from the stitched page is another possibility to try.  (All I need is a few more hours in the day and a few more days in the week!)

It is so interesting how many of the techniques I've learned in this sketchbook project have sparked off new ideas and ways of working which will keep me happily occupied for a long time to come.  Thank you Sian for the ideas and for all the hard work you have done in keeping the project going.  I am looking forward to the next sketchbook project in September.

In the meantime, I need to re-apply myself to my neglected coursework, inspired by the many new ideas from the sketchbook project which I hope I can incorporate in it.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sketchbook days 28, 29 Monoprints

I chose a selection of cylindrical objects to draw.  I chose tins and jars from the kitchen with a variety of heights and diameters.

I first tried a light pencil drawing of the objects.  Then I put some green acrylic paint on a sheet of glass and rolled it to give an even covering.  I placed this under the page of my sketchbook with the drawing and went over the lines again, giving a reversed print on the back.  I had forgotten Sian's tip about using a drop of detergent in the paint to make it spread more easily and to delay drying.  I found therefore that the paint dried too quickly to get a good print.

I tried again with a different brand of acrylic paint.  I also used more paint.  This gave a more satisfying result and I liked the accidental texture which was produced.

The left hand picture above shows the imprint left on the glass after the drawing had been made.  The right hand picture shows the print made from it.  Unfortunately, again the paint dried too quickly in a warm room.

I tried again with yet a different brand of acrylic paint.  This had a slightly more runny consistency and seemed to work quite well.  I quite like the vague shadowy quality.

The above shows a different technique, when I painted the shapes onto the glass sheet and took a print from it.  I quite like the faded portions.  It would take a bit of experimentation to find just the optimum balance of wet/dry of the paint before taking the print.  I could also experiment with the pressure on the paper.  In this case I just used pressure from my hand.  I like the top of the container at the front left of the drawing above.

I remembered that I had some water-based printing ink from some years ago and looked it out to try.  It had lasted well and was still usable.  It had a much longer drying time and gave a very satisfactory result, although I thought I had used a bit too much ink.

I tried re-rolling the paint on the glass sheet without adding any more and drew the shapes again.  This gave a more satisfying result.  I think it worked best of all my attempts and I am very pleased with it.

Lastly, I spread more printing ink on the glass sheet and drew into it with a cotton bud and the wooden end of a paintbrush.  I took four prints from it, the first two above using just the pressure of my hand and the final two using a roller with firm pressure.  I was quite pleased with these, the second one, I think being best.

I really enjoyed today's exercise.  It totally involved me with a sense of play and enjoyment and made me forget temporarily a headache and sore throat.  There remain some more ideas I'd like to try using monoprints so I shall return for another day of play some time.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sketchbook day 27 carbon copies continued

In this exercise I scribbled all over a page of printer paper with an 8B pencil and then laid it graphite side down on top of a sketchbook page and drew on the back with a biro.  This transferred the graphite drawing onto the page of the sketchbook.

I like the technique here, but I wasn't too happy with my own drawing.  I found it very hard to get the proportions of the chair right.  Also in the second drawing, I didn't fill the whole sheet with graphite and it ran out for the bottom of the drawing.  I worked some more into this drawing, correcting some of the proportions and adding the missing part of the chair legs.

Finally I tried drawing into the graphite with a rubber. 

However by this time I was getting tired, and wasn't happy at all with the drawing.  Will try another day covering a page with graphite and drawing into it with a rubber.  Meanwhile afternoon tea beckons ...

Sketchbook day 26 Carbon Copies

I chalked all over the page and then covered up the chalk with multi-coloured wax crayons.  I did this on a separate sheet of paper, ordinary printer paper, because the thinner paper prints better than the thick cartridge paper of the sketchbook.  I then laid it, wax side down on top of my sketchbook page and drew the chair.  The chalk helped the wax to release from the paper.

I found this technique great fun.  I can remember using it with children when I was a teacher.  The fact that you can't rub out makes it necessary to draw boldly and that is good for me, since my drawings can tend to be a bit "tight".

In this first drawing I was just getting my eye in and getting to know the chair.  Some of the lines are a bit wonky but I quite like the effect.  I love the shadowy ghost chair on the paper on the left.

I tried it again, to see if I could improve my drawing.

I think I have got the perspective a bit better in this one, but I started drawing too big and so there wasn't enough space to fit the complete chair in.  I quite like it though.

Sketchbook day 25 perspective

I found the combination of mathematics and art very pleasing in this exercise and would have been happy to go on for hours with ruler and protractor (if I'd had time).  I used large paper (A2) so that I could extend the lines to their meeting place.

It was an interesting and useful exercise.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Summer Sketchbook Days 18-22

We've had the most horrendously wet summer here, but I did manage to get out when the rain had died down to a drizzle.  I took lots of photos before settling on the white daisies, which have been delighting me over the past few weeks.  Because of our summer weather I decided to work from the photograph.

First of all I tried out the scratching technique with various media as seen below:

Neocolor II Aquarelle washed with water on left hand side, chalk pastel on right hand side.

Neocolor II Aquarelle again on the left hand side.  The top half washed with water.  Oil pastels on the right.

I tried using wet media, watercolour and Koh-i-Noor paints, to capture the main areas of colour in parts of the garden. 

In each case, the print from the wet paint looks better than the original!
When I tried the wax resist, I started by drawing with crayons and oil pastels, painting a water based paint on top, but found the paint coloured the crayon or oil pastels and I couldn't get the white of the flowers.  However, when I tried drawing with a candle it worked beautifully.  Again, I think the print from the original looks better, although the scratch marks of the stems don't show in the print.

I tried the same exercise as Sian did with the sgrafitto, setting them out in an ordered fashion.  

One or two didn't work well, not because of the media, but because of my colour choices, and so I tried them again on the left hand page using different colours.  I used the information I gained to plan my sgrafitto picture.

layer 1

layer 2

finished picture

While working on this technique I remembered a similar technique I learned some years ago and tried it with my white flowers.  I painted the whole page with undiluted dark acrylic paint (I used Hooker's Green) and then worked on top with oil pastels.  The picture can then be scratched into, giving texture and revealing the darker acrylic paint behind the oil pastels.  The results are below:

Above is a picture I did some years ago of part of my garden using the oil pastels over dark acrylic paint and scratching back for texture.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Days 12 - 16 Colour

I decided on a lime green as my colour scheme and collected together some objects in that colour.

A busy green worktable all ready to start.

My final selection of objects making a still life

First of all I drew all the objects in outline and coloured in the background.  The paper I had used as a background had bits in it, so I first drew the bits with a yellow wax crayon, then painted over with Koh-I-Noor water based dyes.  I then added the shadows cast by the objects.

The next step was to take one of the objects and depict it in watercolour paints.

Next, I photocopied the coloured background and coloured all the objects using watercolour paint.

Pencil was the next medium to try.  This time I looked at the ceramic pear which had feathers attached to the top.

I went ahead and coloured one of the copies with pencil.  I used watercolour pencils so I could use a little water on a brush to blend the colours in some areas.

The third medium was pen.  I didn't think I would like this, but I was pleasantly surprised at the results.  I used a mixture of felt pens, ballpoint pens and gel pens, just whatever I could find.  I think I'll try drawing with these some more in the future.

Lastly, I used collage.  I really enjoyed this.  I used torn pieces of white paper to depict the highlights on the ceramic pear.  They turned out too bright so I cut a piece of sheer fabric (a cheap polyester in an olive green - very transparent) just to knock back the brightness without changing the tone of the rest.  The shadow on the right was newspaper which had been accidentally coloured by being behind fabric I'd painted with procion dyes. 

Duty calls.  I've got to put my "carer and housekeeper" hat on now.  I'm looking forward to trying the collage treatment on the whole still life tomorrow.

Sunday 14th August

Here is the still life done in collage.

I'm really quite pleased with how this has turned out.  I find I love doing collage.  One of my mental notes to myself is to carry on drawing every day.  Another is to try a lot more collage since I feel I've found a medium that really resonates with me.

Day 9: Puzzling Pattern

I found this really hard.  My first attempt I got lost in the stripes.  I was a bit happier with my second attempt, but I found this a day to quickly rush past!
First attempt

Second attempt

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Sketchbook project day 7: getting bigger

I used a brown soft chalk pastel for this.