Wednesday, July 30, 2008

slide show of work from the sketchbook exchange from the books I've had so far :>D

well this should have been a slide show - but photobucket is just taking FOREVER to load it and that's on broadband - so I give up!

I'm not going to waste any more time on photobucket slide shows :>(

sketchbook exchange so far

mmm sorry I did a slide show but it takes too long to load :>(

Saturday, July 26, 2008

update on the moleskine exchange

2 sketchbooks arrived from Gesa for the moleskine exchange, belonging to Brian and Lorraine - and they are looking fabulous! :>)

Lorraines theme is CLOSE. She started the book off with a drawing of her beloved garden in coloured pencil , closely followed by a naughty couple in the undergrowth by David getting very close ;>) , already shown on our website. Now Gesa has followed on with this great lively view of children and tenements, washing blowing in the breeze. It somehow has echoes of the stable and Bethlehem don't you think?

Gesa Helm's gorgeous lively Joan Eardley tribute - In Lorraine's sketchbook in the moley exchange.

Joan Eardley is a favourite artist of mine, I love both her Glasgow tenement paintings of urchins and her beautiful free abstracted landscapes.


a close up of the children by Gesa Helms

The other book belongs to Brian, who started off with moody local landscapes in coloured pencil - did you use solvent Brian? the double page Marsh feels rougher to the touch than the other pages. Closely followed by another moody view across 4 pages of Lough Swilly by Lorraine, then Gesa showed sketches of the Isle of Eigg. It's a fabulous book!


so now I have to follow these!

Brian's theme is Stretch, see the website (link below) for further details of it as it's interesting and challenging - I tried to meet it and here's a fragment of something entirely different I experimented with, involving all his criteria of changing, challenging, reworking ......


and yes it is embossed.

Do have a look at our site as you can see all the pages there

http://moleskineexchange.blogspot.com/


.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

sketchbook exchange another update


Vivien's Time and Tide series in the FPP sketchbook exchange - Nina's book,
theme: Local Colour

Nina's book is now with Ronell so I can show the pages I did - Nina's pages were bathed in golden sunlight and Glen had continued with large red poppies.

My first thought was to do some extreme close ups of poppies but I decided to cool things down instead and do the English coast in changing weathers and times. These were done in a variety of media including watercolour, Inktense, Caran d'Ache Neocolor II, watercolour pencils and mix of them all.

I've now received the next 2 moleskine exchanges from Gesa - no pressure there then! and am off to enjoy browsing them and have a think about what to do next before sending them on their way.

Gesa has done some lovely sketches of wild island landscape - I'm hoping she'll do some in my book!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

sketchbook exchange update


a small fragment preview of my addition to Casey's book in the FPP sketchbook exchange

This is a fragment of my addition to Casey's sketchbook - theme: Local Colour. It is just about to be sent winging its way to Ronell in France. It already contains work by Casey, Nina, Glen and now me and it's getting fat :>) I had to extend the cover to fit the pages :>)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

the dreaded first page in a new sketchbook


Canson watercolour sketchbook - first page

A few weeks ago I went to an artists talk where he showed his sketchbooks - I love sketchbooks as you may have noticed :>)

He often used Canson watercolour sketchbooks 12ins wide x 9in high and I really liked them and the proportion/size of the book (his work was interesting too!) . I ordered one from Great Art and it came yesterday, it's lovely, a smart red fabric cover with black trim, smooth watercolour paper and lots of pages.

To break that First Page thing of feeling that whatever you do first needs to be a 'good' one to start off well .......... or don't you worry like that? I decided to try out watercolour, neocolor II, Inktense, watercolours pencils, normal coloured pencils and mix of any or all to see how they behave.

I like it :>) it worked well with all of them. It's only a 'play' but it now has a page with work on and so I'll feel happy to carry on working in it at the coast now.

Do you find that first page intimidating? or have expectations of it?
.

Friday, July 18, 2008

stress

sorry for the lack of posts this week but it's been a stressful week of hospital appointments and admissions for 2 family members with lots of running around and worry - not to mention end of term marking, exams and computers that have nervous breakdowns ......


normal service will be resumed soon :>)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

detail of the dancing poppies







details to show what is collage and what is paint or pencil




David asked which bits were collage (see previous post about the sketch book exchange). Here are elements blown up to much larger than life size and sharpened/sharpen edges/increase contrast- ed to show the edges more clearly. They don't show as much in real life and are of course much smaller. I think you can see here what elements are used where.

David wrote about them on our moley blog http://moleskineexchange.blogspot.com/

daviddrawsandpaints said...
Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Flowers aint got nothin' on these Three Poppies and the Popettes! This is pure 1960's Phil Spector girl band shakin' their red petals off with a trio of backing singers providing bass, tenor, and alto - boom, oooh, yate-ta-ta. I dig this!



I love it!! what a way with words :>D

And Robyn says my Flying Pictures sketchbook has arrived with her in Italy and is looking fantastic with all the exciting additions and now won't fit on her dining table as it is getting so long when unfolded :>D big happy smile going on here!



.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

update on the sketchbook exchange - dance - poppies in the wind


Poppies dancing in the wind. collage, watercolour, coloured pencil, Vivien Blackburn, moleskine exchange July '08

I can post the images now as the book has arrived with Stephanie. These pages were done for the moleskine exchange http://moleskineexchange.blogspot.com/ .

This is in David's book, theme: Dance. You can see his wonderful intense tango dancers below, followed by Gesa's great abstract thoughts - timing and steps, cooling things down with a tranquil cerebral blue. This photo doesn't do them justice. That's the joy of this exchange, seeing the work in real life with texture and marks and being able to hold the book and look and look :>)



There are several exchanges going on out there and I'm following some with interest - please feel free to leave a link in the comments for people to follow if you are taking part in one. I'll add them in a later post when I update on our exchanges again.

.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

digital image from sketches and collagraph

a digital experiment, combining collage, watercolour, coloured pencil and collagraph elements. Vivien Blackburn


An experiment in combining different elements to create something new. This is made up of collage, watercolour, coloured pencil and a collagraph - using photoshop to combine, erase elements, adjust sizes to make them work together, pushing and pulling and doing I don't know what until it works for me.

I'm deep in end of term marking and paperwork :>( so not a lot of painting going on at the moment.

I have finished the work in the FPP and Moley exchanges though and they are on their way to Ronell and Stephanie :>)

check the exchanges out here:

http://flyingpictures.wordpress.com/ the flying pictures project

and http://moleskineexchange.blogspot.com/ the moley exchange

I can highly recommend taking part in an exchange like this - I'm so enjoying them - opening each book as they arrive is fantastic and a chance to see lovely work in real life - and end up owning some of it :>) Such diverse work and ideas around a core subject in each book :>)

.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

update on the FPP sketchbook exchange .... or under pressure .....

An update on the FPP sketchbook exchange - I now have Casey's book :>) as Glen finished her section in record time! ..... no pressure then :>0 <>


Casey started her book - theme Local Colour - with some lovely colourful sketches of people and market fruits, a real flavour of France :>) There is a beautiful fresh fluidity and freedom in the way she catches these and it's great to have them here to see in real life.



and Nina carried on with some beautiful observations of people in Stockholm, chatting, relaxing ...
Again such a strong use of pen, so assured, and then lovely loose floods of watercolour.


Lovely glimpses of local colour - and then this great landscape

Glen followed on strongly with watersoluble pens and a sketch of the flower shop opposite her fish shop with busy shoppers and buckets of flowers.


and I have to follow all this!

and Nina's book will be in the post to Ronell this week as I've virtually finished my pages :>)
with a total change of pace from the warmth of the poppies and sunsoaked scene from Nina's window, to cool ..........
.... but I can't tell you until Ronell receives it :>D
Nina here is an update on your cover - Glen added the tissue poppy at the bottom and I added the glittery one at the top :>D

.

close up lenses in photography and using tissue paper over your flash gun to soften the glare

Close up lenses


Some of you asked about the close up lenses I talked about using - here they are above. A search on ebay for close up lenses in the photography section will find them - you just need to choose the ones that fit your camera. They were on offer from £13 to £18 when I looked (roughly double that for dollars). That's for a set of 4 at different magnifications - and you can stack them to increase the magnification.

They have a very shallow depth of field (the part of the image that's in focus) - but I love that for close ups, throwing the background into an out of focus blur of colour shows up the detail of your focal point well.

They can't compete with the proper macro lenses that you can buy for SLR's - but they can be great fun, allowing you to really close in on small areas.

I used them here http://vivienb.blogspot.com/2008/07/flowers-and-more-flowers.html and here http://vivienb.blogspot.com/search/label/macro

If your camera has screw threads for UV filters etc then you can use these.


Softening flash




Another useful photographic trick is to use paper tissues to soften the flash - I hate the harshness of flash and in close ups it can bleach colour like this:


forgetting to put the camera to the macro setting didn't help matters!

With tissue over the flash the result is very different:

the colours are vivid and true.

How many layers you need is a matter for experiment.

Incidentally this is the cover of Casey's book in the FPP sketchbook exchange, with a little addition from Glen in the form of the dinosaurs she's made from the loose watercolour shapes on the back cover :>)


.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

digital flowers



Experiments - manipulating the photographs I took this morning. Combining osteospermum flowers, begonias and poppy seedheads.



and another version from the same beginnings .......



Flowers and more flowers

My younger daughter grew me these lovely Cosmos - aren't they gorgeous? they are now dancing amongst the geraniums, roses, poppies, fuchsias and osteospermums and looking wonderful.


I was using the camera on its macro setting with the addition of a 10x magnifying lens. I really like the way these cheap little lenses have such a shallow depth of field and throw the background out of focus and the way it just becomes abstract shapes at times, as below with the poppy seedhead. It isn't a great photograph technically - but I really quite like it!















and now I need to go and paint ..............