Coursework Part 5: Project 2: Building A Response

Colour Palettes

I painted six proportional colour palettes inspired by drawings from Project 1. I have shown them next to their relevant drawing in an earlier article, but here they are all together. They have quite different associations in my mind (left to right, top, then bottom):- soft, muted Spring-like; Japanese, masculine; Summer deckchairs; flower garden; romantic eveningwear; and this final palette reminds me of a Paul Smith striped shirt or scarf.

My husband, (being a software engineer), wondered if there was a programme that could carry out this analysis (to produce a proportional colour palette) automatically. He found TinEye Labs Color Extraction, which I used to analyse Drawing #6 (the collage). The software limits the palette to the most featured nine colours and it can be set to ignore the external and internal backgrounds. (Here it is ignoring the external background, but has been unable to judge the edge of the image because the colour differentiation is small). It has not been 100% accurate, but it is a quick way of generating a proportional palette from an image.

TinEye Labs - Color Extraction Lab

Inspiration

The artists I researched for this Project, may inform my work in the following ways:-

  • drawing first hand from source materials and using drawing for further development
  • making representational drawings, that can be simplified into more abstract forms
  • considering the associations that a chosen colour palette may evoke
  • use of layering
  • making a piece of work from smaller units, that are combined
  • the inclusion of geometric or other unexpected elements with organic forms

Developing Textile Concepts

The first task was to review and evaluate my drawings to see which ones I would like to develop.

I liked the linear marks in Drawings #12 and #13 and particularly liked the colour palette of #13.

I felt that the layered aspect of Drawing #11 had potential for further development.

The mixed marks found in two areas of the largest drawing, #14,  were interesting, and I could see them translated into stitch and surface texture.

The suggested textures in drawings #15, #17, #10 and #8 were possible candidates for taking forwards. The puckered nature of the chard leaf could work well as a textile, for example.

At this stage, I opted to use papers with the most appropriate textures that I could muster, and re-introduce colour at a later stage in the development process.

Paper Manipulations #1 and #2, inspired by plum tree Drawing #12

#1 Japanese rice paper with folds

#2 black card and copier paper with areas removed, layered, one sheet in reverse

I felt that both of these manipulations represented the stark lines of the original drawing well. The folded piece would take stitch well, but if worked on textile, I think it would need to be pre-stiffened to hold the creases well, or maybe pinned in position with stitch to hold the creases in place. Having layering in mind from my research into Leisa Rich’s work, I tried two of the paper cuts layered and thought that it worked well, and could even have more layers added with different textures included.

Paper Manipulations #3 – #5, inspired by the blossom in Drawing #13

#3 punched and torn tissue paper, kitchen towel and copier paper

#4 machine sewn pierced holes on (no thread used, reverse of piece shown)

#5 folded and cut tracing paper

The tiny fragments of paper in #3 could work in textiles, and would need gluing or sewing into position, or could be machine sewn between layers of tulle netting or translucent fabric, or soluble fabric. Both the punched dots and paper left after punching had a light and airy feel to them; the torn shreds were feathery and ephemeral, so represented the ‘blossom’ marks in the drawing quite well.

The machine sewn holes were not, I felt, a success. The oil from the needle marked the paper and the texture looked and felt ‘gritty’ and too fine – maybe useful in another context.

#5 was the most successful texture, with random ‘petals’ cut into the folded paper, these could be opened out and cast interesting shadows and could also be used in a layered construction.

I made a two evaluative drawings of #5 and decided to try two more paper manipulations with a more formal composition: one folded into rectangles with a larger five-petalled flower, and one with rows of large and small petal shapes.

#6 folded and cut tissue paper

#7 as above

The tissue paper gave more ‘drape’ to the sample than using tracing paper, and the larger petals of #6 gave more movement to the ‘petals’, paired with larger holes, which might allow layering options. I felt that this sample could be successfully translated to fabrics – either a fine silk or chiffon (for accessories such as scarves and shawls, wedding veil, or evening tops); or made in felt for a completely different weight (maybe for a bag, or home decor feature such as a lamp shade).

Paper and Plastic Manipulations #8 – #10, inspired by Drawing #15

#8 Plastic from a mailing sack, stretched and sewn

#9 Plastic as above, melted over a candle

#10 Scrunched tissue paper (also tried wet – sample not shown)

The plastic gave the result most like the marks in the drawing of the chard leaf, particularly the melted version. Stitch can be added to accentuate the ruching. I made two evaluative drawings of #10, looking at the highlights and lowlights, in felt pens (made looking at the plastic, not at the drawing), then in ink and masking fluid.

I think that this texture (as seen in the plastic manipulation), and as a print like the drawing, has potential as a fashion textile, or perhaps in performance costume where a dramatic effect is called for (the villain’s outfit). I feel that it would work in any combination of a bold colour (red, green, blue, white) with white or black marks. The puffy, 3-D version could be self coloured. The ‘blind’ felt pen drawing, or a detail of it, could be made into a tufted rug.

Plastic and Paper Manipulations #11 – 15, inspired by tulip Drawings #8 and #10

#11 wooden tool embossing on glossy photographic paper

#12 various tools embossing on glossy photographic paper

#13 various tools embossing on wax coated copier paper

#14 cuts made in plastic (from a carrier bag)

#15 embossing on plastic

Trying to capture the linear marks from the source drawings: the embossing on both types of paper worked well, and I even preferred the reverse (repoussé) effect. The fine regular slits in plastic were a good match for the felt pen lines in one of the drawings. The irregular, short cuts made little impact. Embossing the plastic made small drag marks in the material, as well as the lines, which gave an interesting texture, but not like that of the drawings. The red plastic had a very tulip-like colour and texture, giving associations with sexuality and ‘danger’. I can imagine punk-style fashion made using this material. Layering would again be possible. The embossed paper and card should take stitch well and could be an interesting background texture: it reminded me of abstract landscapes or wood grain.

Paper Manipulations #16 – 18, inspired by the stitch-on-photograph Drawing #17

#16 long cuts in copier paper, with some areas removed

#17 short cuts in thin card, one side knotted, one side dipped in melted wax

#18 fine, long cuts in thin card, folded in a spiral at base and glued

The copier paper version was drapeable and not very much like the drawing in ‘feel’, apart from the line directions

#17 had more body, and the knotted ends reminded me of the stamen in the catkin. The waxed side had the waxy, succulent look of the white part of the catkin.

#18 was my favourite: it was like a stiff natural brush, but the tips of the ‘bristles’ curled over and made for a texture full of movement and interest. Thinking of how this could be further developed: finding a textile or thread with similar properties, and making small areas of this texture against a plainer background could work well. It reminded me somewhat of Wanshu Li‘s beautiful jewellery that I saw at the Edinburgh Degree Show last year.

I made three drawings of aspects of the three paper manipulations. The drawing of #17 (white on grey) reminded me of frayed fabric; while the drawing of #18 (yellow on brown) made me think of batik marks or slashing, or loose, large stitches. The white drawing feels limp and languid, feather-like and wispy (lines like this could possibly be printed onto fabric), while the yellow marks feel more vibrant, lively and energetic.

Paper Manipulations #19 – 20, inspired by Drawing #14 (mixed media distant garden foliage).

#19 – sanding, cuts, gouges and piercing using various tools on watercolour paper

#20 – scrunched tissue paper and wool balls on sandpaper

I looked at two small areas of the drawing, using a viewfinder, imitating ‘marks’ in the first piece and texture in the second. The cuts and gouges gave interesting, fairly subtle textures, the pierced holes were more interesting on the reverse, where little mounds formed around the holes. These subtle processes might be useful for transforming a piece with a simple, monotone palette to create areas of different ‘perspective’ or focus.

I liked the variations in texture and the colour palette in #20. I think it could take some stitch to add further textures. I felt that the asymmetrical appearance and blank, ‘quiet’ areas worked well in representing the textures found in the drawing.

Drawings of the paper manipulations: of #20 using graphite, eraser marks, chalks and carved, sponge-printed gesso; of #19 using various felt pens and markers.

The piece with many small marks would convert to textile and stitch quite well, with overlapping marks, possibly on a patchworked ground; the tree/blossom drawing could work in a textured appliqué with large stitch on a finely textured background, or maybe on a tulle netting ground. I could imagine this design on eveningwear, or as a wall hanging.

Paper Manipulation #21, inspired by one layer of Drawing #11

#21 – scalpel cuts; and pierced holes made with needles, pottery tool and scalpel on Japanese paper.

The drawing that inspired this paper manipulation was made up of stylised shapes with different pattern infills (lines, dashes, dots) and I tried to recreate those patterns without outlines, suggesting the shapes of the flower heads. For the pierced areas, the reverse of the paper shows the most texture. The scalpel cut areas were the most successful, giving clear lines that would allow a second layer to show through and they had a bold, graphic feel to them. The paper is drapeable, semi-opaque and has a delicate look and feel. The simple, off-white palette (shown here against a black layer) would be suitable for home decor, or in silk or organza as scarf or blouse fabric.

I will now try adding stitch to some of the paper and plastic manipulations as the next stage in the textile development process.

Summary

What have I learnt during this process?

  • using a simple palette at this stage keeps focus on the marks, lines and textures made
  • drawings may suggest further developments
  • the reverse of a piece may be more interesting that the front
  • my first time using the paper cut technique
  • taking away areas of a paper, or using a transparent or translucent paper gives an opportunity for layering, which may be useful when translated to textiles

References:-

Websites:-

http://labs.tineye.com/color Accessed 19/04/17

https://www.liwanshu.co/graduation-collection Accessed 24/04/17

Coursework Part 5: Project 2: Building A Response: Research

I borrowed several books from the library featuring the work of David Hockney and Vincent van Gogh because I admire the lively and colourful way that those artists depict flowers in their artwork, but felt that their work did not really represent the direction that I feel drawn to, of simplified or abstract landscapes and plants based on observation. I therefore identified a few artists and a jeweller that I feel are working in a way that I feel empathy with. So although these artists do not all depict flowers or plants, their way of working is something that I wished to examine.

Sarah Symes is a Canadian artist, who has also lived and worked in the UK and USA, but is now in Squamish, Canada. She trained and worked in graphic design before becoming a professional artist.

Sarah Symes (titles added to each image)

Source:- http://sarahsymes.com

Sarah works by cutting textiles into the shapes she requires, pinning them to a base textile, before machine sewing the pieces into position. The image shown at right, above, was digitally designed and printed onto banners and was one of three award-winning designs that she produced for display in her local town.

The artist describes her working process as beginning with sketching. She then selects forms which suggest the landscapes she is depicting and aims to depict feelings, memories and emotions through her chosen colour palette. Textiles are purchased, washed and some are hand dyed to suit her requirements. The finished artworks are built up in “… an improvised process, like painting or collage, enabling the gradual build up of colour and texture.”

I like this artist’s work because the pieces are very evocative of the subject matter she depicts, but allow the viewer to bring their own associations to the shapes and colours she uses. For example, I can see buildings and windows in the Havana piece, and the colours evoke brightly painted buildings, dry earth and sun to me. Others may see something quite different.

 Leisa Rich is a Canadian artist whose work I had seen when researching drawing for this part of the coursework. Her layered work and experimental combinations of media are of particular interest to me.

Leisa Rich, titles appended to each image

Source:- http://monaleisa.com

Leisa takes an experimental approach to her artwork, but states that her favourite techniques are 3-D printing, and free motion machine embroidery. She mentions an interesting, heat-sensitive base material that she enjoys working with, called ‘Fosshape‘, (which I see is out of stock with the UK supplier, but is worth noting for future experimentation). Other materials used by the artist include:- thread, plastics, fabrics, mixed media, and re-purposed waste materials.

The framed pieces shown above are made from two or three layered frames featuring plastic with cutaway areas, stitch and paint or other media. The frames can be recombined in different configurations according to the viewer’s whim. The layering gives an added dimension to the artwork, and I like the simple method of presentation, and the technique of building an artwork out of smaller units.

Her artist’s statement has a touching story of how she came to make art. In it she says “… it is art I come back to, to notice, to capture, to recreate that feeling” [of a peaceful childhood in which she noticed everything]. Tiny objects which are often ignored are recreated in her art, through suggested structures, forms and textures.

I came to see Anna Gordon‘s jewellery through reading Kyra Cane’s book “Making & Drawing”. Stylised versions of plants, with abstract additions in some cases, have lingered in my memory.

Anna Gordon

Sources:- http://www.annagordon.com and Cane, 2012

Anna draws on all sorts of sources in her environment for inspiration, including nature and the repeated motifs found in textiles such as Japanese silks. She sketches her ideas before making the pieces by hand, trying to capture the quality of her drawn lines. Thought is given to how the “sketch” (ie, jewellery) will appear on the body, causing light reflections, shadows, movement and contrasts. The artist works with simplified organic and geometric forms in metal, combined with natural media, gemstones and/or enamel.

I find these reinterpretations of natural forms very successful, and the strange little additions give a moment of added surprise. The artist’s method of development, trying to capture the nature of her drawings in a new media is particularly pertinent to the forthcoming projects in the coursework.

Philip Hughes is an artist interested in landscape and the affect of man on that landscape. His work includes paintings, drawings, murals, rugs and tapestries. I recently discovered his work in the form of a book called “Patterns in the Landscape: The Notebooks of Philip Hughes“. I was captivated by his drawings and notes made in situ, showing landscapes in the UK, Australia, Iceland and the USA, amongst others. He worked, at that time, on recycled brown paper sketchbooks in pencil, making linear, contour drawing-type marks to describe the view in front of him. Small amounts of painted colour are added for later reference when making the finished artworks. I loved the look of the flat colour and pencil lines on the textured brown paper so much that I have ordered a kraft paper sketchbook (which I hope will be similar) to try for myself (and the paper seems appropriately ‘earthy’ in texture for representing plant life upon). In Philip’s drawings, some of the land forms are quite recognisable, but others evolve into abstract patterns. The colour palettes are very evocative of the particular country (or area of the country) depicted, and together with the artist’s notes (which might mention the weather, an animal seen, or details about the location) make a fascinating journal of his travels.

Philip Hughes

Source:- http://www.philiphughesart.com

Colour palettes and carefully observed forms in the landscape seem to be key to this artist’s work.

Yesterday I went to the New Quilting exhibition at the Rheged centre in Cumbria. The work of textile artist, Janet Twinn was particularly relevant to this part of the coursework. For the art quilt shown below, the artist made a number of drawings and took photographs of garden plants to inform the shapes she would use in the piece. She then considered the colour palette. Janet dyes her own fabrics and/or paints or prints them, and keeps records in a separate technical book. In her artist’s statement, Janet says that colour is the most important aspect of her work, and that she is interested in its “… emotional effect on our senses and in how it can convey mood and atmosphere.”

Janet Twinn, Green Blooms, and developmental work for the piece

I felt that this art quilt was successful in conveying a sense of vibrancy and growth both in the use of colour and in the suggested plant forms. The palette used has analogous greens, including muted shades, combined with contrasting orange and purple from the secondary triads of the hue continuum. The use of hand coloured and decorated fabrics allows the artist control over the pattern and colours she creates.

Summary

What can I learn from these artists?

Sarah Symes – begin with sketching from first hand source material. Consider the forms used (representative of the source material), and colour palette (what associations does it evoke?).

Leisa Rich – take the time to notice small details (through use of the sketchbook and careful observation). Adopt an experimental approach and consider using new technologies and novel methods of presentation. Build a large artwork from smaller units. Consider the possibilities offered by layering and compositions that can be reconfigured.

Anna Gordon – concentrate on drawing from source material, then capturing the nature of that drawing in the new media (ie, paper, yarn and textiles, for me). Consider mixing unexpected elements with natural forms, such as geometric shapes.

Philip Hughes – make carefully studied drawings from first hand observation of source material. Keep notes and colour samples for future reference. Develop abstract forms from accurately rendered sketches.

Janet Twinn – use drawings and photographs of directly observed source materials. Use further drawing and painting to simplify and develop designs and colour palettes. Consider altering materials to your exact requirements.


References:-

Books:-

Cane, K Making & Drawing, 2012, Bloomsbury, London, pp 14 – 17

Hughes, P Patterns in the Landscape: The Notebooks of Philip Hughes, 1998, Thames and Hudson, London

Websites:-

http://www.annagordon.com/gallery?dsc_0109-jpg Accessed 18/04/17

http://www.janettwinn.co.uk/artist.html Accessed 19/04/17

http://monaleisa.com/ Accessed 18/04/17

https://www.parkinfabrics.co.uk/fosshape-300r.html Accessed 18/04/17

http://www.philiphughesart.com Accessed 18/04/17

https://www.rheged.com/event/new-quilting/ Accessed 19/04/17

http://sarahsymes.com Accessed 18/04/17

Part 5: Project 1: Option 3: Floral Compositions

Having looked back over my drawing research and drawings made in previous parts of the course, I looked at images on Pinterest and ello.co to find some inspiring drawings of flowers and foliage to inform this stage of the project.

Drawing Inspiration

Source: details about individual artists can be found on my Pinterest boards.

From this research, I can see that layering, mixing types of mark and types of media, simplifying forms and using carefully selected palettes are important for producing these enticing outcomes.

My approach was to use a wide variety of media and techniques for information gathering from the plant source material. The course guide stresses the importance of making new marks and sourcing new colour information to feed through to the development stage, so that was another point to bear in mind.

The source material was also to be varied, to provide interesting drawings to take forward. I selected a bunch of roses, a bunch of tulips and, taking inspiration from Elizabeth Blackadder‘s flower paintings: gathering inspiration from my garden: a chard leaf and views of plum blossom and a wider view of part of the garden.

I experimented with different backgrounds, lighting options and whether or not to include other objects, shown in the collage below are some of the experiments.

Coursework Part 5 collage

Another preparatory exercise was to make a mind map describing the flowers and making some associations.

roses mind map

#1

Gouache paint and chalk on watercolour paper. A3 size.

I wanted to start with something fairly ‘realistic’ and the colour of the roses suggested gouache paint to me as a medium – it’s chalky, opaque colour seemed an apt way of trying to capture the colour palette of the arrangement. I had added in the coffee pot as it made a good contrast to the bright colours, and I selected the sky blue wall as the perfect foil for the colour of the flowers. The colour of the flowers was echoed in the tea-towel and oranges.

I was pleased with the colour palette in this piece – although not identical to the original, I really like this range of hues from all round the colour wheel, with touches of brown and white. I think this looks rather old-fashioned (a quick Google search provides numerous examples of artists painting roses), but it could be simplified and rendered in other media, such as a print on textiles. Roses provoke associations with romance and love. The colour palette perhaps gives it a more modern vibe.

On the downside, the position of the arrangement on the paper was not good – the roses are all cramped up at the top.

P1290732

Gouache painted colour stripes representing drawing #1.

#2

Felt pen on smooth sketchbook paper.

In this drawing, I concentrated on the pattern and lines found in the flower heads and leaves. I thought that this was quite successful in capturing the pattern made by the petals and could imagine this line drawing layered over a patterned cream or grey background, or in red against a black ground to make a fabric design. Its simplicity means that it could work with a number of colour palettes. The fineness of the paper was perhaps more suited to the subject than the thick watercolour paper.

#3 and #4

#3: Pencil on cartridge paper. A3 size. (Two details shown).

#4: Pigma Micron pen and Aquarelle pencils on cartridge paper. A3 size.

Trying out a different, simpler arrangement, laying the flowers out like scientific specimens. One quick pencil sketch using a mixture of soft and hard lines. The second drawing is a simplified, version accentuating the form and features of the roses. I find that I prefer to make a realistic drawing first and then, having observed the source material closely, I can more easily identify the aspects that need to be included in the simplified version. It is a way of getting familiar with the subject. The simplified version is perhaps suited to illustrative uses, such as greetings cards or wrapping paper. The colour palette is ‘cute’ with pretty pastels.

#5

Pencil and gel pen on cream watercolour paper. A5 with 2.5 x 2.5 cm boxes.

Concentrating on tiny details, identified with a viewfinder. This exercise had been useful in Assignment 1, and I tried to highlight rose features that define the plant (leaf, thorn, petals, sepals etc.) The resulting snapshots provide some interesting patterns that could be developed in stitch. Tiny drawings in flat bright colour might be something to try on another occasion.

#6

Paper, textile, and mixed media, collage on mount board, 40.5 x 27 cm

A first ‘realistic’ attempt at this arrangement. The purple/pink blooms were already twisting downwards away from the main bunch. I used suggestions of walls and a table for the background with the painted lace fabric giving a cottage/’shabby chic’ feel to the piece. I also tried printing a background with lace, but that didn’t work well with watercolour, maybe with acrylic or oil paint it would have done. The stems alone are fascinating in the way that they twist springily out from the bunch and could probably be represented by couched yarn or similar. The colour palette of bright colours against a muted background is, I feel, successful. I can imagine these working well in a quilt or wall hanging. The placement of this arrangement on the page was more successful than the first painted roses drawing.

tulips mind map

#7

Wax on Khadi paper, size A4

This drawing explores the waxy quality of the tulips with wax applied with various tools to the paper. The drawing concentrates on the silhouette of the flowers and foliage. I experimented with pattern to represent the jug and background. The leaves and flower heads worked well with this media, but I’m not so sure about the rest. Using wax means that the paper becomes translucent when held up to the light where wax has fully penetrated the paper. This might be useful for free-hanging work. I like the monotone simplicity of this palette: shades of grey give it a subtle and sophisticated air – like a damask curtain fabric. One possible future development is to work on textile using a batik method, and to introduce colour.

#8

P1290568

Felt pens/POSCA pens on ‘marker paper’. A5.

Trying out a new type of smooth, coated paper, ideal for felt pens. It has a satiny sheen to it that suits the shiny texture of the plants. I used lines to try to capture the lines on the surface of the petals and leaves, and to show the way the light gleamed on them. The flower heads worked well in this drawing, and I can imagine using embroidery or machine stitch to recreate this linear pattern on textiles. I find the pink and orange of the flower at top left to be a particularly pleasing colour combination that would work well in fashion accessories such as scarves.

P1290728

Gouache painted colour stripes representing the palette found in drawing #8.

#9

Chalk and nail varnish on watercolour paper. A5 size.

It occurred to me that nail varnish had the right kind of colour and shine to it to represent tulip petals, so this was a quick experiment to see what it would look like. The viscous liquid is hard to work with, which means that only a rough approximation can be achieved. The shine is apparent on the finished drawing, but the smell of the chemicals is horrible, so I would probably not repeat the process. Thinking about it, one could probably make a whole picture using make-up (eye shadow, pencils, lip stick, blusher etc): a thought to bear in mind if the subject matter is appropriate.

#10

Acrylic paint on tracing paper. A4 size.

I wanted to try a close-up view of one of the ‘blown’ tulips looking at the details in the centre of the flower (inspired by the work of Georgia O’Keeffe), and using thick acrylic paint to try to capture the ridged, succulent petals in texture. The paper was really too thin for this type of paint (it wrinkled), but its waxy translucent quality did feel like a good fit for the subject matter. The simple colour palette of shades of red with touches of black and white was dramatic and could inspire eveningwear in the fashion world, or accessories such as an embossed, faux leather handbag. The thick acrylic paint did provide the most accurate rendition of the texture and weight of the petals.

P1290733

Gouache painted colour stripes representing drawing #10.

#11

Ink on watercolour paper; pencil on tracing paper; POSCA pen on cellophane. A4 size.

In this drawing I was exploring ways of layering marks and patterns (inspired by the work of Leisa Rich) and using the tulips to inform the created marks. Another link is Escher’s Three Worlds print in which a reflection of trees, the surface of a pond and the fish in the depths are shown. In my somewhat less accomplished piece, the eye is drawn in to notice the main top layer, and then the more faded and delicate marks beneath.

I think that this area is ripe for further experimentation: introducing colour, transparency and hidden areas; using cutaway areas; introducing texture. This could lead to dramatic artwork, ideas for printed and embellished textiles and free hanging layers which might be useful in home decor.

#12 and #13

Graphite block on cartridge paper; chalk and POSCA pen on Khadi paper. A4.

Exploring line in these two drawings of a plum tree. The first, graphite drawing concentrates on the lines and patterns made by the branches; the second introduces the additional layer of emerging blossom. I like the simplicity of these drawings and feel that the linear pattern of the branches could feed into textiles as a background pattern, or a close-up section (example shown at top left, above) could be developed into an abstract art work by itself. Black lines on a white ground look striking and austere. The introduction of blue and white gives the palette a Japanese feel.

P1290731

Gouache painted colour stripes representing drawing #13.

#14

Mixed media on cartridge paper. A1.

Inspired by Alicia Galer‘s wonderful drawings, brimming with mixtures of marks, I decided to try a distant view of part of our garden (most of the plants I have drawn so far have been in mid to close views). This also showed plants in a natural state rather than arranged in a vase, and was worked on a larger size of paper. I enjoyed making this drawing – using which ever medium and technique seemed suitable to the subject (eg, felt pen for the spiky chives, blended chalk for distant or indistinct foliage, sponge printed paint for the new leaves; splodges of thick white paint applied with a bunch of fine wooden dowels for the blossom). This method generated a variety of types of mark, including overlapping areas, that could be taken forward for development into stitch. The palette is restricted to greens, browns, and grey with a touch of yellow.

#15 and #16

#15 Aquarelle pencils and felt pen on cartridge paper. A5.

#16 Oil pastels on cartridge paper. A5.

Comparing fast and slow study of the subject: the Aquarelle drawing took an hour or more, the oil pastel drawing was completed in a few minutes. The first drawing captured more of the succulent texture of the leaf and stem, but there is something lively and recognisable about the quickly-made drawing. The colour palette of the first drawing is one that I like: cherry red, muted green, and purple with white highlights. The leaf quickly dried out and flattened, which is something to bear in mind when using source material that can degrade.

P1290730

Gouache painted colour stripes representing drawing #15.

#17

Photograph, metallic thread, beads on glossy photographic paper. 15 x 10 cm.

Inspired by the work of María Aparicio Puentes, whose work I had seen in some previous research, I took a macro photograph of a willow catkin and added stitch and bead embellishment over the top. I considered quite carefully the amount of stitch and the placement of the stitch, as well as the colour palette to use: opting for sparkly pink and silver to add an interesting extra layer of texture and contrast to the image, without overpowering it. The lines echo and extend the stamen and perform the function of highlighting the structure and pattern of the catkin.

I liked this technique and the outcome, and can imagine using it in collage work or as a way to add a layer of interest and texture to 2-D images. The colour palette of soft brown, yellow, white and pink with a touch of green is very Spring-like and delicate: the sparkle evokes a frosty morning.

P1290729

Gouache painted colour stripes representing image #17.

Summary

What have I learnt in this Project?

  • To make a quick outline to check the position of the subject on the page.
  • Begin with a ‘realistic’ drawing and use the information gathered to generate more simplified images.
  • Layering marks can give depth and interest to a piece and should be translatable into exciting stitch and textiles.
  • Mixing media and using colours and marks appropriate to the subject was a freeing way to work and generated interesting material for further development.

 


References:-

Websites:-

http://blog.aliciagaler.com/ Accessed 14/04/17

http://www.georgiaokeeffe.net/oriental-poppies.jsp Accessed 14/04/17

http://www.mariaapariciopuentes.com/ Accessed 14/04/17

http://monaleisa.com/archive/ Accessed 14/04/17

http://www.scottish-gallery.co.uk/artist/elizabeth_blackadder Accessed 14/04/17

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Worlds_(Escher) Accessed 14/04/17

 

Part 5: Project 1: Option 3: Floral Compositions: Action Plan

I have chosen to pursue the work created for Part 1, Project 3: Picking and Portraying, which involved drawing and mark-making inspired by flowers and plants.

After reviewing the original drawings, and selecting any that I feel are particularly successful or interesting and/or offer further development, I will choose fresh source materials to create a new arrangement (or several arrangements) to draw from. I would like to draw tulips, and may combine these with foliage and flowers or blossom from the garden. I will experiment with different backgrounds and lighting options and additional objects.

I will approach the task by trying a range of possible compositions, and by trying to gather different information in each drawing. I will give attention to selecting appropriate grounds, tools and media to work with. I will make a mind map to suggest associations with the source material. I am aiming to combine densities and type of mark in this new set of drawings. In my initial research, I was intrigued by Alicia Galer‘s lively drawings of plants, and will try to emulate her range of mark-making in some of my work. I will try monotone as well as colour drawings. Paint, collage and mixed media drawings will be explored. I will also make simplified versions, and more abstract marks concentrating on smaller areas of the composition, or small areas of the initial drawings.


 

Reference:-

Website:-

http://www.aliciagaler.com/ Accessed 03/04/17

 

Part 5: Reflection on Chris Ofili’s Quote

The course guide quotes Chris Ofili, in an interview he gave in 2010, to Gary Younge:-

“The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion.”

At this stage of study, my workspace definitely feels like a laboratory: the various experiments and exploration; hammering; cutting; hot wax; combining different media etc, make me feel like a scientist making new discoveries. I have tried many new techniques and media so far on the course and feel that this broad range of exploration has helped to generate new ideas and directions.

I feel that getting stuck making the same thing over and over again is deadly for your creativity (having had a small taste of feeling like a ‘factory’ when one item I made became popular and I was requested to make numerous variations on the theme). Having said that, if you wish to sell your work, and people want to buy that particular item, then it can be both flattering and lucrative, (Andy Warhol’s The Factory springs to mind), but, in the long-run, I feel that taking your artwork in new directions is far more rewarding and stops feelings of stagnation. At my second study visit last year, the discussion turned to the way in which some of the artists had not progressed, but had found a style and subject that they were happy to repeat. Many of the students thought that it was rather lazy and boring to do that, and I suspect that such artists are less likely to be invited to exhibit, over time. Observation, information gathering, having views on topics, or stories that you wish to tell, filtering and selecting from that information and deciding how it will become part of your artwork are what I am aiming for in my practice. My main reason for starting the course was to learn and establish a productive and logical process for turning those ideas into art.

I believe that the two things are not mutually exclusive, as you can experiment and innovate with your art and designs, and have assistants or an actual factory making up the designs.

I was interested to see another view expounded in an article on the textileart.org website: Are you a textile technique addict? The article by Joe Pitcher discusses the problem of having no focus as a textile artist, trying numerous techniques and styles but not being able to find your voice. Through the work of his mother, Sue Stone, and other textile artists, he suggests that dissipating your energies in many directions doesn’t work, and that imposing constraints is the way forward, for example, mastering one particular skill and set of materials fully to give cohesion and depth to your work.

While this does ring a bell with me (having tried many arts and crafts over the years), I feel that I tend towards the ‘laboratory’ method for generating new artwork, while still being evaluative and reflective about which experiments I take forward. I have seen that constraints can be introduced at any stage in the operation to refine ideas and techniques. The cyclical nature of the process means that we move from research to experimentation to selection and reflection and perhaps repeat the process several times before producing a finished piece of work.

Regarding Chris Ofili’s comment that an exhibition shows the results of experimentation, but is not a conclusion: I would have to agree with that. Although an exhibition may show one complete collection, there are hopefully more ideas to be explored, worked up and exhibited in future. The exhibition is a time to put your ideas and technical achievements on display, and to receive feedback and possibly validation from viewers.

I hope that at the end of Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary, I will be able to look back on all my coursework and reflect upon what I have learnt and can take forward into the next part, and integrate into my practice in the long-term. I have put an emphasis on experimenting with as many new media and techniques as I can, and will continue to do so in my own ‘laboratory’. I will also put my work forward for formal assessment, for which I aim to demonstrate my learning and the ideas that have come from my experiments. In the final part of this course, I hope to expand on the work I come up with, by suggesting further developments for the yarns and textiles created, which is a conclusion of a sort.

Chris Ofili has been back in his laboratory, as he has a new exhibition at The National Gallery, starting on 26 April 2017, featuring a handwoven tapestry art work, made in collaboration with Dovecot Tapestry Studio.


References:-

Publications/Websites:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Factory Accessed 30/03/17

Younge, G (2010) After The Elephant Dung: Chris Ofili http://www.garyyounge.com/?p=753 Accessed 30/03/17

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/chris-ofili-weaving-magic?gclid=CLeRqdmB_9ICFcVAGwodSmkNlQ

Pitcher, J (2017) Are you a textile technique addict? http://www.textileartist.org/textile-technique-addict/ Accessed 30/03/17

http://womanwithafish.com/ Sue Stone’s website Accessed 30/03/17

Key Aspects of Part Five: Building A Collection

This part of the course is laid out as three linked projects, with one research point, followed by Assignment 5. The key aspects of the coursework are to refer to earlier coursework and make new drawings, yarns and textiles exploring the source material with the knowledge gained so far on the course.

Visual evaluation of the source material through new drawings and sample-making will feed into the development process, along with contextual research of my chosen artist or designer. Documenting the process through reflection in my Learning Log (LL), keeping technical records, and taking clear photographs will be necessary for presenting the work.

Research

Research artists mentioned in the course guide.

Introductory Task

Reflect in my LL about the ‘laboratory versus factory’ quote by Chris Ofili.

Project 1: Developing Visual Research

This project involves selecting drawings from my previous coursework, or new, related, inspirational material, to draw from, with the benefit of my learning in this area. The key tasks are:-

1 Review visual research from the Introductory Section, and Parts 1 and 2 of the course).

2 Reflect on the stronger and weaker aspects of the work in my LL.

3 Select a project from the three options provided, considering which will be the most satisfying to work with and build upon.

4 Email Cari with my choice and a brief action plan.

5 Describe how I plan to approach the project in my LL.

6 Make 10 new drawings in any media and any size. The emphasis is on generating new information (marks, lines, and colour palettes) and taking an experimental approach.

Project 2: Building A Response

In the second project I will be developing materials to enhance the information gained in project 1 in presenting a textiles capsule collection. Key tasks are:-

1 Observe the drawings from project 1, paint and present paint chip or stripe designs from one or more of the drawings. Give consideration to the proportions of colours in the palette.

2 Research 1 or more artists, designers or design companies that I admire. Compile a small research file containing both visual and written information. Reflect in my LL on what I can learn from this person/company, to influence my approach.

3 Create a series of 10 – 15 textile concepts using paper and other surfaces to develop ideas, textures and structures.

  • revise work carried out in Part 2 and re-read the course guide for this section
  • refer to my colour palette to guide investigations
  • translate the range of qualities shown in the drawings
  • source new materials to work with

4 Develop 8+ yarn/linear concepts, with reference to the techniques learned in Part 4 of the course. (Translate linear qualities from drawings into material explorations).

  • yarn designs should be combined with, and applied to, textile concepts
  • keep a sketchbook/workbook specifically for this project. Show developmental work/ideas
  • present key pieces and larger-sized pieces separately from the workbook

 Project 3: Experimenting and Taking Risks

This project encourages me to experiment and take risks with the translation of qualities in my drawings, through to the creation and manipulation of materials, and stitch exploration. Textile and yarn concepts will be developed into textile results.

  • revisit earlier processes if appropriate
  • select a focus for the experimentation (eg, a material or technique, different scale, colour, etc)
  • one experiment should lead to the next sample, including analysis and evaluation at every stage
  • be sensitive to the materials, processes and techniques employed, and learn from explorations

1 Make 10+ experimental textile samples.

Assignment Five: Your Capsule Collection

This assignment involves presenting my work to clearly show the developmental aspect, and to communicate the most interesting and attractive findings and outcomes.

1 Study and evaluate the work created so far in Projects 1 and 2. Decide which can be further refined and improved upon.

2 Make a capsule collection of 6+ related samples (minimum size 30 cm square). These pieces should show an increased perfection of technique and finish, building on the previous samples.

3 The capsule collection should be presented simply and appropriately on white/pale card. The order and unity of the collection should be considered. Samples should be attached by the top edge/top corners only.

Written Reflection

500 words reflecting on learning and development achieved; strengths and weaknesses; future work, added to LL and sent to tutor.

Reflection

Performance against assessment criteria for this course (500 words), added to LL and sent to tutor.

Rework The Assignment

After feedback from Cari, I should rework parts of the work according to her guidance and reflect on this in my LL.