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The Tyranny Of The Border

7 Apr

borderless

Carrying on with pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I took hold of the squares of vinyl I have been carving at random and started hacking away at the edges. I suppose like so many people I’ve been conditioned to think of two-dimensional art as something sitting neatly within a clearly defined square or rectangular border. I think this is particularly pronounced in printmaking, where metal plates and wood, lino, vinyl blocks come ready cut with nice straight edges. The tyranny of the border. So I took a hefty pair of scissors to them. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, it seemed unnatural to destroy those neat borders and also to do it at random, letting the cuts be guided by the way the scissors pulled against the vinyl, rather than directing the cuts according to some predetermined design, in the spirit of the 20th century Surrealist artists who deliberately tried to generate imagery through accident.

More Cuts

5 Apr

lino 6

I carried on cutting small blocks of vinyl at random, playing around with different tools (Flexcut). I’ve been having a bit of a creative block so I’ve taken a leaf out of The Surrealists book and set an exercise for myself to get a bit more random. The Surrealists had a number of strategies to get their artistic juices flowing.

 

I really messed around with the way I used the cutting tools, getting away from trying to do neat, precise lines and seeing what happens when I twist and turn the tools while I’m moving them across the vinyl. I’m not going to print them just yet, because I’ve thought of another way I can make them even more random …….

Just Cut

4 Apr

lino 1

I’ve hit a creative block and it’s been hard to get the motivation or ideas for new artwork. So today I decided to just grab a handful of printmaker’s vinyl, my lino cutting tools and cut at random. No design or preconceptions, just stab away at the vinyl and see how it goes.

lino 2

The first two or three were quite controlled, I couldn’t free myself up as much as I wanted with the smaller tools so I switched to a big, flat cutter that I rarely use and hacked away. That did the trick, it was quite satisfying feeling the tool slicing through the surface of the vinyl, a physical rather than a cerebral sensation.

Crazy Hair, Don’t Care

29 Mar

crazy hair dont care

I’ve been working on this painting for a little while, I rarely paint but this is a birthday present for my dear young nephew, just turned 14 and the owner of some very unruly hair. I painted this from a photograph which I particularly like for its typical teenage insouciance.

I used Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic thinned with water into translucent glazes, which I overlaid, rather like painting with watercolour. It’s painted onto a stretched, gessoed white canvas.

Crafty Cat

27 Mar

Sometimes I want to do something, keep my hands occupied, but I’m arted out, so I settle down to do a bit of crafting. Art is hard work for me, crafting, like baking, is very relaxing. I made a stack of origami lilies which will end up on a string of LED lights as fairy lights. I got the instructions from the new BBC series, MAKE! Craft Britain where this guy demonstrated a couple of different origami models. Just after I photographed them, Sparta Puss threw them on the floor. Because that’s what cats do.

Layering

24 Mar

detail 3

I’ve been carrying on painting, I don’t normally paint but this is for a special someone. I don’t really know how to approach paint so I’ve come at it from the point of view of the printmaker that I am and I’m adapting a technique I use for monotypes, where I layer translucent glazes of yellow, red and blue, creating all the colours from the interplay of these colours on top of each other, adapted by the intensity of the brushstrokes. I think, if I remember correctly, that the Impressionists did something similar, they didn’t mix their colours before application to the canvas.

The monotype technique I use was taught to me by USA-based artist/printmaker Vinita Voogd, if you want to see how I do it please click here to my Tecchie section.

Off And On

22 Mar

collage 1

Sometimes the ideas flow and I don’t have enough hours in the day to get them down onto paper, other times I struggle for inspiration, ideas fall flat and I find it hard to do any artwork. Like many other artists, I have strategies to try and get through these lean times. One is to do lots of sketchbook work and another is to have something creative that I can pick up and put down. I’ve been working on this collage, off and on, for a few months now. When the ideas really dry up, I just get absorbed in this, it’s on a piece of A4 card and the visual matter is mostly from old landscape calendars and National Geographic magazines, ripped and stuck down with Pritt stick glue. It relieves the pressure of constantly trying to be creative.

Home Comfort

21 Mar

Sparta 2018

In times of stress and worry, I retreat into my home. It’s my cave, my fortress, my refuge and my comfort. I close the door on the bad old world outside and batten down the hatches to weather any storms that life throws at me. My chubby cat, Sparta Puss is an integral part of my home comfort. She sits and purrs and brings a feeling of peace and calm and normality.

I work part-time for the homelessness charity, Crisis, as a fine art tutor and I really appreciate how lucky I am to be able to go to my own home which is safe and secure and warm and dry. I am lucky that I don’t have to endure living in a war zone or a refugee camp. The insecurity and stress of not having anywhere to call your own, not being able to close your door onto the outside world and feel safe, it is awful.

To find out more about the work done by Crisis, please click here.

1 Mar

CBJ

A sketch of a friend relaxing in a chair, using sanguine and white conté crayons and a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size M into my A4 hardbacked sketchbook that I had previously prepared with pieces of brown wrapping paper stuck in with Pritt gluestick. Relaxed pose, relaxed drawing.

And A Little Bit More Colouring In

9 Feb

1518213759099329829497.png

I’m having fun colouring in my sketchbook drawings. I’ve been scanning them into my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and using an app called Markers to colour them in. It’s like being a kid again, I used to love colouring. This is Sparta Puss, she’s used to taking over whatever piece of furniture takes her fancy. This was my chair. It isn’t any more.

 

 

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