Pages shown in chronological order, 23 August 2011 – 3 November 2011

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24 and 25/8/2011

lower part attempting to learn from Dobell


more "looking to" Dobell

related blog post here
on my work table


Trying to reflect other activities. I won a raffle prize today at the Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild meeting. The prize was a set of four knitting looms, which I put to use as a tool on this page.

Decided I needed to learn more about watercolours and brush use.

More watercolour experimentation – layering colour.

Bought a pen and some nibs (calligraphy and sketching) at lunchtime. Tried it out tonight using black ink and some old orange silk paint. Really enjoy using the pen – the flow of ink.

Really keen to try ink pen and watercolour together. Decided to attempt a sketch of my pied piper jug.

Shapes on belt embroidered by mum, plus gallery visit

Visited an exhibition at the Art Gallery – The Mad Square: Modernity in German Art 1910 – 37

5 – 8/9/11

Pages moved to Project 1 page here.

I did these rubbings of various parts of the wall in St Andrew’s Cathedral ringing room. Visually there is a lot of variation in the texture of the stone, but it is not really apparent in these rubbings. A thiner paper might work better.

Wax crayon rubbing of wall in St Andrews belltower

Wax crayon rubbing of wall in St Andrews belltower

Wax crayon rubbing of wall in St Andrews belltower


Wax rubbing and a sketch of patterning on a floor vase.

I was doing preparatory stitchingfor Project 2 and liked the shape of the chain stitch. I used a calligraphy scroll brush, thinking of the shadows of the stitches.

Thinking about chain stitch


15 – 16/9/11
I hoped to get the effect of the light shining through red and orange by using wax crayon as a resist under dense watercolour. This wasn’t successful, but was improved marginally by scratching back through the paint. It wasn’t until I had mixed green that I realised the leaf I was looking at was actually more a purple.
Strips of paper glued on the page give a better rendition of the glowing colour. I didn’t like the scroll brush leaf until I focused on the negative shape up the middle, which I find interesting.

I printed out some photos taken in St Andrews earlier this year, looking at some of the textures and lines that can be seen. It’s so automatic I couldn’t remember exactly how the knot we use on the rope worked, so made a little model to try it out.

Inside St Andrew's belltower


I’ve been browsing through lots of books on stitching. It’s easy to flip through the pages, even read the text, and not really see what’s been done. Taking notes in the sketchbook really helps me focus. Related blog post here.

Chain stitch ideas

18/9/11 (continued)
I took some thiner paper into St Andrews, still trying to capture the texture of the walls. It’s better than last week, but still doesn’t give visual richness that’s there.

St Andrews wall texture

St Andrews wall texture

St Andrews wall texture


More sketches from books on stitching, focusing on chain stitch (for Project 2 Stage 2).

Chain stitching ideas


I’ve moved on to a straight stitch example, so spent some time with book and pencil. I’m finding it works well to do a bit of experimentation first with the needle, then go looking at the books for inspiration.

Straight stitch ideas


Having found it so helpful to sketch ideas before trying to stitch, I decided to go outside and try to sketch using only marks that could be made in straight stitch. Really, weeds and leaf litter never looked so good! At one stage I was just picking up a direction for the next mark, not looking at the “thing” (leaf, twig…) at all. An effective approach I think – will try it again in the future.

I like the texture and effect (and scratchiness!) of the chalk pencils, but didn’t realise the smudging I was doing. I guess everything has a price.

Sketching in "straight stitch"

24 Sep 2011
I’m going away for a few days with my mother next week, so did some playing around thinking about what sketching materials to take.

Started 24 Sep 2011
This page was done during Project 2 Stage 3 – a sample. After selecting and printing the image, I did a rough sketch to help focus on the major areas. I’ve learnt to sample for weaving, so it was natural to try out the look of various fused fabrics and overstitching before committing to something on the actual work.
25 Sep 2011
Embroidery and appliqué on a skirt I bought in Paris in ’82.

26 Sep 2011
Still playing with the idea of storing colour from watercolour pencils on a page for use with one of those brushtip pens with a water reservoir.

27 Sep 2011
Back to pen and ink. This time I focused on drawing shadows rather than shapes. I find the marks interesting – with a bit of effort the eye can interpret it as a hand, but there is a level of abstraction.
28 Sep 2011
Encouraged by the previous day’s effort, another hand plus a doodle.

29 Sep 2011
Where to go after hands??

20 Sep and 1 Oct 2011
Attempting to bring in some colour.

2 and 3 Oct 2011
Some doodling with my favourite pen and ink, plus some more experimentation with inktense pencil colour.

4 Oct 2011
I’ve bought a couple of extra pencils – 8B and 4H – so decided to revisit early experiments with pencil and eraser. I like the sharp marks made by the plastic eraser.

I was enormously uncomfortable earlier in the course when trying to work based on pieces by major artists. Klee’s Pastorale felt a bit more approachable, perhaps because I can see all of these in stitch.

6 Oct 2011
While travelling on holiday I tried to keep up sketchbook work, but moved to A4 paper instead of my usual A3.
The first night I spent at my mother’s flat, so we could travel together to the airport in the morning. She has some beautiful items passed down to her, including some mother of pearl markers which we think must have been used in some game. The three shapes – fish, round and lozenge – all have the same image of 2 birds engraved on them. When mum saw the drawing she was surprised – she’d never noticed the birds before!

7 Oct 2011
Waiting at the airport, I noticed the interesting geometric lines of one of the buildings. After multiple attempts I still didn’t have proportions right.

8 Oct 2011
Little odments near Hyden in WA.

More from 8 Oct, working from a photo of lichen on a tree, using inktense pencil colour. I gave up in disgust.

10 Oct 2011
A first attempt at drawing rust. This was from a photo of a rusty cot at the Australian Inland Mission Hospital in Lake Grace. The photo can be seen on my Rust page. The shape isn’t too bad, but I wasn’t able to capture the texture of the rust.

11 Oct 2011
Random bits from various photos. I quite like the spike of flowers (not the leaves), and can see potential for stitching. The rust is still way off and I decided to move on to stitch. The rust photo is included on my Rust page.

12 Oct 2011
The exciting bit about this is how normal it felt to sketch out the stitching plan and think about what I was doing. A positive step in working method.

20 Oct 2011
Since returning from holiday I’ve found it difficult to re-establish routine and spend time daily in the sketchbook. This was a very disappointing effort to see a photo from the salt lakes near Lake Grace. I need to research ways of using the inktense pencils. On the plus side, I think the failure of the colours made me take another, more careful, look at the image and revise my mental interpretation of the colour.

21 Oct 2011
Another attempt at the salt lake photo, this time using watercolour and heavy structure gel. It was my first use of the gel and I like the texture it gives and that the watercolour colour is captured. I’m not so keen on the plasticky look and feel, especially given the crunchy original. My colour mixing is much better in this. I also moved back to A3, which I found better for this image.

27 Oct 2011

29 Oct 2011
A rough sketch while trying to rescue Project 2, stage 6 sample.

31 Oct 2011
Rubbings of some glass animal ornaments. I think some areas are very interesting.

1 Nov 2011
Some offcuts while preparing work for submission. They looked interesting on the worktable, but I think I need to find a better method than glue-stick covering the page.

2 and 3 Nov 2011
Thinking hard about texture.

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