Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sketching 365 by Katherine Tyrrell

Plein air sketch by Vivien Blackburn in Sketching 365

My friend, Katherine Tyrrell, spent time last year writing this excellent book, now published.  It's packed full of tips, advice and techniques.  Not only suitable for beginners but for those with experience wishing to try other media or develop their work.

There are 55 artists - all good - to show examples of a wide range of approaches.  Several are friends and others known to me as people I admire.

My plein air sketch of Sennen Cove, from the terrace of Rose Cottage, sharing a page with Felicity House

 I had proof read it online but nothing is quite like holding the actual book in my hands, flipping back and forth and seeing images by friends and artists I admire.

It's not one of those 'do as I do' books, producing clones,  but one that sets out to make you think of alternatives, observation, composition, materials to use, tone, marks, pattern and much more - all the kind of things I tell my students to consider. 

As someone who detests those art magazine articles or books that suggest blobbing with a sponge will automatically give you amazing trees - in what universe???????? - examples shown are usually awful! - her insistence on good underlying observation gels with me.  No matter how loosely you work, the observation underpinning it is essential.

Artists shown work in a wide variety of ways and using different materials and they are good.

My sketch of Shilmoor in Northumbria. on a moody day,  sharing a page with Katherines glowing picture of snow and sunlight on trees

It's also a keeper - one to dip back into over time, unlike some books that are a one-time-read only, too shallow to last.  It can't go into great depth on each topic there are so many, but gives  really good concise pointers and enough information for readers to make a good start and to research further, look at other work by the artists shown and carry their own ideas forward.

I will certainly use it in my teaching (adults painting and drawing).  It's just the information students need, backing up nicely what I tell them and packed with advice.   That 'Travel Light' on the page above is one I sadly haven't learned!  being of the 'but I might neeeed it' school ;>)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Drawing over a boring previous sketch and playing with mixed media: Trees

Sketch in acrylic ink, tinted graphite and a touch of coloured pencil

I currently have all my classes looking at trees at the moment - considering the individuality of them, looking at various artists past and contemporary.  Contemporary includes some friends and also artists I don't know but admire , these include Bridget Hunter. Glen Heath, David Parfitt, David Prentice, David Tress, Kurt Jackson, Shirley Trevena, Cheryl Culver and lots more. I don't have time to add links, sorry,  but google them if you are interested?  Past includes Mondrian, Klimt, Van Gogh, Monet etc etc etc  I really like Mondrian's trees and Klimt too.

There was a page in a sketchbook where I had experimented with tinted graphite, doing a moody image of rain approaching across the bay.  It was just a tester and was quite boring.  I decided to work over it, keeping it as background and working in grey and white acrylic ink (plus a little more tinted graphite and a touch of coloured pencil).     The page is a bit more interesting now :>)    

In an S&B Alpha sketchbook.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Year, flu and the Harlequin/Columbine project

Columbine, digital variation

I had flu immediately after Christmas and am only just recovering - I have never been so ill!  it was vicious and in the end needed antibiotics and high dose steroids.  But Christmas itself was lovely :>)

So ..... the blog has been very neglected.  Here is an update on one of the Harlequin/Columbine series.   They are playing with the the idea of time, ragged and patched fabrics and stage lights.  This is a digital variation on the previous monochrome.  I'm thinking of including these prints as something in their own right, apart from them being a sketchbook stage in thinking ideas through.  I've done further work in a variety of media that I will upload, including scratchboard in black over copper, something I don't think I've used since school!  so more to follow .....

And Happy New Year