This is just a little something I'm working on at the moment, you can see it progress over HERE.
UPDATE: part three is taking quite some time to pass through 'approval' so the department tells me though I am not altogether sure they have been focused sufficiently on the task to land it on my desk as promised last month, in truth it languishes beneath the weight of several b grade movies shown in rotation on movies for men (channel 43 - free therapy - for men of all genders on freeview including death by aeroplane, death by tank, death by indian, death by cowboy, death by nazis, death by allies, death by women and death by surprising aliens) meanwhile I am awaiting mere seconds of progress that take simply an age. There will be pictures with words. OH YES. The next chapter will be forthcoming and notices will be posted.
Study for a painting. Not the man but - the indescribable force, Wakan Tanka, the God of Gods, I Am , Jah, Yahweh and a thousand other names. (This is trying to draw the undraw-able but that never stopped me before. It is actually more like some of my older paintings than I would have expected - before I drew it. Like the hole in the head (but healthier, or like the death one, but not dark, though it is quite sad, but then I imagine God may be quite sad, just with all the beauty of it all and the sadness of watching the world struggle with its freedom - our free will, and the consequences of our choices - I am sure he'd like to intervene more, but then we wouldn't be free we'd just be a mechanical toy, and we are not we are alive. We choose. And we can choose to ask him for help. It's a wonder more of us don't. But anyway.) In the end, what got me moving (as I had seized up like my jaw after the dentist) was my thinking about mitochondria - the energy generating, converting, life giving cells in all living organisms… and I was also looking at a picture of the sacrum bone, because one way or another the truth is right here/here, it just might not mean what you think it does. Maybe God is in our very living cells, is what animates us? Or maybe we are the 'cells' that make up what God is; We are the vibrating mass of energy that comes from him. So I tried drawing that.
We aren't actually in July yet, but it feels very balmy. Reminds me of our native land of Stindia. Ah Stindia, none of us have ever been there, so it isn't our native land exactly - just where we would feel most at home. Still its very warm lately and we hang around praising the Branch and Tree for it with our front arms spread wide. These truly are the MOST delicious leaves we've ever tasted, and so lush and full. The super ape has been going a bit ape though, it has to be said. She had the MOST ENORMOUS STICK you've ever seen and was holding it by it's tail and banging its head on the top of her tank and barking. I think she has a stereo on top of her enclosure like we did last week. She isn't very happy about it but seemed to cheer up when she sat and gazed into our little patch of jungle heaven. I think she'd like to hang upside down with us, except none of our branches would hold her. She is AWFUL HUGE. Imagine a branch big enough for her to hang out. WHaaaa. We could eat for a year.
Kids painter is what MS paint used to be to me in 2003. I used to paint random stuff to pass the time at work when nothing else was happeneing, and I felt life like being squeezed out of a toothpaste tube. You know that feeling of being so FULL and the opening of life being so small and things passing so slowly. I was impatient but drawing in MS paint, somehow liberated me in the moment. It's such a limited way to draw that you can't take it too seriously or worry about what it looks like, you just etch away, feeling satisfied just to be making a mark, a pure moment of fun and lightly touching focus. So look on - with this in mind. It's just there and fun, any time you feel like it. What incredible luxuries our little pocket computers are! In 2003 my state of the art sony errickson phone *which I'd still love to use today if I could* had a black screen with green writing. Heee.
Here is a collage of news paper and magazine cuttings from my ten year collection, which I composed, then highlighted and eventually drew over with oil pastels (created over Christmas this year and just not posted for some reason). You can barely see the collage itself now, but the contents interested me at the time and set my mind going, so that it informed the abstract image that you see before you. It sort of flows like a page of a comic from the top left to the bottom right. I have it on my wall now as you see.
Collagraph(y) is the layering of printable media to a surface... like collage and printing combined. Monoprints are mono- unique because each printing is different and impossible to replicate. The way the ink is applied is more akin to painting, more manual and randomised than normal printing, and items such as cloth, leaves, debris and feathers are used to create textures that add to an already etched surface.
I was able to go to a workshop (at the Leamington Art Gallery) in place of a friend who couldn't go. I found it really refreshing and useful to work in a different media and methodology. On the one hand it was relaxing, on the other fairly challenging. The theme was camouflage or hidden nature.
We started out printing our simply carved card with just one colour, then two, then more.. and I made a number of plates (new templates to print from). The printing inks are usually oil based though the workshop leader also brought some water based printing inks as well as your more common translucent inks that you would use for calligraphy or painting with a brush..
The set above are from my third and final plate which was just an abstract design with a sun or moon and various vertical and leaning lines - a landscape or bonfire - if anything. The plate is messy. as it got layered with paint each time it was used.
This was the first plate I made. I cut the board with a silhouette of glasses (for looking) and long grass like leaf shapes (for hiding), which makes the darker and lighter tones in the colour. and applied a mask to make two different colours on the plate hoping it would print out the same as I'd inked it up... it didn't. The red is oil based and the blue is water, so by the time I got to use the printing press, the blue had dried up. This is the plate and is far nicer than the print which was a bit of a non event to my mind. It showed me that I needed to apply the ink differently or think about how I used the ink at any rate. Also learned that the paper used to print onto makes a difference too - this paper was perhaps too absorbent. It's a lot of trial and error - experimentation, playing basically. After this I got serious (!) and wanted to try to make something look like something...
...which is where this second plate came in. I drew something to carve straight off with no prior thought, but it definitely looks Autumnal, a happy ghost or the personification of the Autumn wind. I like the red and blue print above because it is bold and clean, but the one below is more subtle, and I find it interesting because of the textures (some muslin cloth pulled a little over parts of the cardboard). The orange on the plate didn't show up throughout but left a nice random effect, like an echo of an evening sky. (Again the orange was water based and dried up more quickly) I like the brown-red colour of the oil based ink and I was pleased with how the cloth printed into patterns and textures that augment the mood of the figure.
I'll definitely use this technique again (it might be a nice different way to make book illustrations). I am pretty sure I could substitute the special inks and printing press for some Acrylic paint (or oils even?) and a rolling pin.
The workshop was run by Karen Stephenson who works out of future rabbit studio in Leamington Spa http://www.futurerabbitstudio.com/
Thanks to Kim for giving me her place on the course.
Saw an awesome film about Arizona tonight I'd never heard of it but really enjoyed it - Sedona (2012), It almost certainly inspired these shapes and colours. Also watched over the last few days an anime called Toward Terra. Wow. I knew anime could be good but this was like so many good things rolled into one, I couldn't help being amazed at just how mind blowing it was. Animation really is the best medium for describing metaphysical, emotional and sci-fi stories (well most things if you ask me). Also just a bit 70s, but we love that right?