Sketchbook pages shown in chronological order 4 November 2011 – 1 March 2012.

Click here to go to previous sketchbook (23 August 2011 – 3 November 2011).
Click here to go to next sketchbook (starts 2 March 2012).

4 Nov 2011

11 Nov 2011
Notes and cards from Sensorial Loop exhibition. (click here to go to post).

12 Nov 2011
I wanted to go further with some exercises related to Project 3 Stage 2 (click here to go to related post).

13 Nov 2011
Notes etc related to Touch: the portraiture of Dani Mari exhibition. (click here for related post)

25 Nov 2011
Card from Elemental Reckoning: The art of Tim Storrier 1981-2011 exhibition. Collage was attempting to explore sparks in night sky. (click here to go to related post).

27 Nov 2011
Trying to mix the right yellow. Click here for related post.

5 Dec 2011
Looking at colour. This page is based on a plate of Claude Monet’s “Yacht Races at Argenteuil” (1872), page 48 in Kapas, M. (ed) (1991) The Impressionists: A retrospective (Beaux Arts Editions). First I tried to look hard at the image and record the colours I saw in words. Next I went through my envelopes of coloured papers and selected those which were close to what I was seeing.

Below is the image in the book, together with the painted paper colours I selected.

10 Dec 2011
Planning for a stitch sample, based on the image and colour selection done on 5 December.

14 Dec 2011
Trying to get back to good sketchbook habits, playing with wax crayons. The rubbings – two on tracing paper of the same large pot, overlapped – I find interesting. The visual texture from ironing onto paper could be useful.

15 Dec 2011
This colour combo has been lurking around in my head a while. I thought I was seeing it everywhere, but once I became conscious of it I couldn’t see it again. I found the process of going through the envelopes and folders of coloured papers fun, and was surprised at how clear I was in my head of the colours I wanted.

16 Dec 2011

Our 30th wedding anniversary.

17 Dec 2011

Creating texture using ink. Most of this will go into collage supplies.

18 – 19 Dec 2011

Some more colour analysis, followed by sketching some earrings.

20 Dec 2011

I’ve bought some new inks, nibs and pastels, so had a quick try-out.

21 Dec 2011

My dates got muddled this week, but I’ve stuck to the plan of at least a little sketchbook time each day. This is more pastel try-outs, based on a photo of bark – trying to create some texture.

22 Dec 2011

Wanting to build some skill, I went trawling in youtube for a tutorial in pastels. A very bland result – where is the love and care??

23 Dec 2011

24 Dec 2011

I was eating some lychees and thought the peel looked beautiful – colour and pattern. I got very frustrated – trying to draw and having no idea what I was doing.

25 – 26 Dec 2011
An attempt based on one of the shapes identified in Project 4 Stage 1 here – third row, left. Pastels and pentel gel metallics. The colours were meant to be reminiscent of the lychee peel the previous day, but veered off plan. Some of the texturing marks – the striping, the little punch marks (but triangles instead of squares) are based on the original Tutankahmen image.

27 Dec 2011
This was inspired by some of Jane’s work. I want to continue to improve my observational skills.

28 and 29 Dec 2011

Some more attempts at the hand, in ink then back to pencil. As well as improving observational skills I’m hoping to generate some interesting lines and shapes for future development.

30 Dec 2011

After recent reading about Picasso and Matisse (mentioned here) I wanted to learn more about Cezanne, who has been claimed as an influence by these and many other artists. I found one book on the shelf and suspect I have others lurking somewhere – shortly after leaving school I spent a couple of months working in the country in France, nearest large town Aix en Provence, and have loved Cezanne’s work from that time. While thinking about tension and energy in shapes, I wanted to take a look at some Masters and try to get an idea of their structures.

This is a tracing of major lines in Paul Cezanne’s “The Lac d’Annecy” (1896), as reproduced pages 52-53 in Copplestone, T. (1998) Paul Cézanne. Rochester, Kent: Regency House Publishing Limited.

31 Dec 2011 – 1 Jan 2012

My post of 1 Jan refers to this experiment and the thinking behind it. Acrylic paints, making marks and texture by scraping through layers.

2 Jan 2012

The Frensham school roofline. I drew this sketch the first evening at Sturt Summer School. See the blog entry about the class here. From my bedroom I looked out over various school buildings and a huge jumble of roof lines over them all. The corrugated iron roof created lines heading in all directions.

3 Jan 2012
Liz Williamson had brought a pile of books for inspiration and interest. One about Sheila Hicks was full of really interesting work – I like the idea of weaving as a diary. What an incredible commitment.

Danto A. (2006) Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

4 Jan 2012
My bedroom was in a tiny flat above the kitchens. The bare wooden floor looked old, repaired in parts, a mixture of polished and unpolished, and creaked quite a lot.

5 Jan 2012
No photo. I did a series of rubbings of the floorboards, trying to capture their texture, but the 5 pages are all boring.

6 Jan 2012
I found the cotton quilt cover in my room interesting. There was a basic geometrical flower shape on a striped ground. Lots of overlaps and colours.

7 Jan 2012
This very ordinary effort was done late on Saturday night. A group of us were in the weaving room until well after 10 pm, finishing up things ready for the final morning exhibition of work.

8 – 9 Jan 2012
This was based on an idea I saw in student work in the final exhibition at Sturt (Suzanne Archer’s class). I don’t know how it was done in class, but this attempt was a base of inktense pencil, washed with water (it was raining outside!). The next day I covered the page with white conté pastel, then removed areas with an eraser.

10 Jan 2012
Playing with ink and brush. This was the first and most interesting of a series of pages (didn’t bother with photos of the rest). The drawing is based on a little container my boss gave me from his holiday in Thailand (I think).

11 Jan 2012
A shell. I tried to develop the basic shape into various geometrical forms – possibly thinking back to that quilt cover a few nights ago. None of these are particularly successful, but it’s an idea I want to return to in future.

12 Jan 2012    .
These were done looking at some of the work I did in Liz Williamson’s class (post here). I think there’s some excitement and energy in the quick sketches.

13 Jan 2012
Following the previous day, I wanted to generate some more excitment. I drew these standing up, using my whole arm to draw. I rather like the shell shapes, I think they have some possibilities for development.

14 Jan 2012
After a couple of free and fast days, I went back to an attempt at “proper” drawing. Very ordinary.

15 Jan 2012
I was thinking vaguely on the bus about possible themes for future exploration – for example there has been a lot of shells lately. Overall I’m more interested in ideas than places and things. I started generating a list: inner worlds; continuity; perspective; time; courage; balance; connection; rightness/flow; consideration; order; choice; space; thoughtfulness; purpose; respect; contemplative; passionate; centred; measured; integrity; strength; serene; meaningful; individuality; personal; relevant; spontaneous; responsive; lively; flexible; journey; exploration; understanding. How does one convey this visibly?

I thought about a maze, although writing now I’m not convinced. Then I thought about ammonites, their spiral, the chambers and sutures. Possibilities of metaphor for some of my word list, and a nice connection to mum and some silk painting I did for her.

16 Jan 2012
Or shells!

17 Jan 2012

18 Jan 2012
At work Bec was talking about chickens and some of her photos have the most amazing and beautiful patterning. Lots of possibilities here.

19 Jan 2012
More feathers.

20 Jan 2012
After a few weeks with no progress on OCA assignment work, I finally had some otherwise-unallocated hours to continue with project 4 stage 2. Unfortunately one attempt went very horribly wrong – I wanted to get some interesting hard lines from watercolours but didn’t have the technique. Then I went a bit crazy with those broken lines. Totally unacceptable for the assignment exercise, but I decided to play around with it as sketchbook experimentation. Nothing could actually rescue the thing, but some of the metallic pen lines are interesting, especially over the columns on the right.

21 – 23 Jan 2012
Working from a calendar photo of an ammonite, I focused on drawing the shadows and dark areas. There was lots of potential for doing more, but after 3 evenings I had some shapes I think could be developed plus I wanted to move on.

24 Jan 2012
Just little fragments, trying out various pencils and trying to improve my fluency in handling them.

25 Jan 2012
Coming home on the bus we were stuck in rain and traffic. I tried to do lots of little sketches, particularly of windows and facades, and later some faces. I kind of shielded what I was doing from people on the bus, but I like the idea of increasing my observation generally.

26 Jan 2012
During the day I was drawing shells for assignment work. I wanted to continue and take a more graphic approach. I think the bottom ones have some potential for stamping.

This used some of the leftover diluted ink – first a wash of black overall, then dots of purple and blue (using a brush and going from one to the other). I like the way the colours split.

27 Jan 2012
During assignment work I thought my handling of the inktense pencils was improving, so I kept playing.

28 Jan 2012
Shells in wax crayons, trying for a looser and more lively line. I also went back to A3 paper (more recently A4), to encourage openness.

29 Jan 2012
Pen and ink sketch of celery (just before cooking dinner!). I was planning to use ink washes, but it went straight through the paper onto yesterday’s work.

Working in gimp – a combination of an ammonite drawing and part of a rust image behind it.

Tiling a drawing of shells.

30 Jan 2012
A work day. I’ve been under some time pressure lately, so have decided trying to do my “at least 10 minutes a day” sketchbook work at lunchtime. This is A5 paper, working with PITT brush tip pens, sitting in the QVB (Queen Victoria Building, completed 1898 – “The elaborate Romanesque architecture was specially planned for the grand building so the Government could employ many out-of-work craftsmen – stonemasons, plasterers, and stained window artists – in a worthwhile project.”) Part of column capital, tiling (probably not original) and balustrade (definitely not original).

31 Jan 2012
Still A5 paper, trying out a pencil sketch / multiple brush-tip pens combo.

1 – 2 Feb 2012
Work in progress – it turns out 10 minutes is not a long time! Day 1 was a rough pencil drawing, day 2 was starting on shadows and highlights. I was surprised to find not all the finials are the same (maybe a result of different restoration phases over the years?). I used an alarm, so I didn’t have to worry about watching time – just not enough of it 🙂

3 Feb 2012
A3, charcoal

Working in gimp. A drawing of “happy” through the kaleidoscope filter.

More kaleidoscope.

Using the Polar Coordinates filter on a photo from Kings Park.

Back to kaleidoscope.

The base of this was some texture created in Assignment 1 by putting clingwrap over wet watercolour (or something along those lines). I tried to isolate the texture, then do various reflections and recombinations. Not an exciting result at this point.

4 Feb 2012
The original “sketch” was some pen and ink I did 10 January, which I didn’t even bother photographing since it seemed nothing very much. Added now because I spent some time using it as a base for gimp’s kaleidoscope filter.

4 Feb 2012
Returning to the idea of studying the underlying structure of paintings, this is my impression of lines and shapes in Monet’s “Sailboats on the Seine”, 1874, from a plate in Maloon, T. (editor. 2010) Paths to Abstraction 1867 – 1917, Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales.

5 Feb 2012
Working on Project 4 Stage 4, exploring aspects of a drawing of a shell (drawn on 27 January 2012).
Charcoal, looking at lines, simplifying shapes.

Conté crayons, another simplification of shape and line, introducing some colour.

Moving to wet media, first some purple ink, which I didn’t like so covered with acrylic paint.

At the time I thought it was dreadful, and my inner critic was having a field day. A few days later, while preparing photos for this blog, I accidentally hit the “Threshold” colour function and got this result, which I like very much.

More in acrylic paint.

Feeling out of control, I returned to A4 paper and inktense pencil, brush-tip pens and some red crayon.

I thought the black and red had possibilities. After a brief play with mirrors I scanned it and started playing in gimp.
The base image, cleaned up.

Using the Map/Make Seamless filter

Paper Tile

6 Feb 2012
Continuing from yesterday, inverting the colour

Some combinations


Using one of the designs I recorded here, I used the Seamless version as a background, variants of the kaleidoscope as the round shapes, and created a quiet grey space as the path through the design.

Next another shell drawing


Made seamless. I think something like this could look wonderful digitally printed on silk and in a jacket.

Capturing ideas for using the shell-derived work on a jacket or pillow.

7 Feb 2012
Two A5 pages of fast sketches, on a bus in slow traffic.

8 Feb 2012
I bought some extra colours of conté crayons at lunchtime, so took them for a spin.

9 Feb 2012
I’ve finished the work specifically on developing design ideas, but want to keep using and developing the approach taught. This A3 has lines drawn in red crayon then watercolour and was based on a section of a shell drawing. My intended focus was the combination of round and linear shapes, overlaid loosely with complementary colours – blue and orange. The crayon dissolved in the watercolour, the colours are uninteresting and while working I once again lost focus.
Afterwards I started the much more controlled work shown further down (11 Feb).

10 Feb 2012
On Friday I visited the Picasso exhibition again – taking my sister and nieces as mum’s and my Christmas gift to them. Given the previous day’s colour disappointment, I tried to focus on colour use in the exhibition. Sketchbook work was on A5, on the bus and in QVB.

11-12 Feb 2012
I worked on this A4 design over a number of days – 9, 11 and 12 Feb. It used as base the same shell sketch as 9 Feb, but this time very much more controlled on A4 paper and using CarbOthello chalk-pastel pencils and conté crayons. I wanted to use a red – green colour combination.

I find the overall design and shape interesting, I was pleased with my continued learning in using the media, and the colour combinations are generally attractive. However overall it’s much too neat and controlled and pretty for my taste. I also got into trouble in a few places with colour choice.

13 Feb 2012
I came across a plate of Cézanne’s painting “Still-Life with Apples and Biscuits” (c. 1880) on pages 30-31 in Copplestone, T. (1998) Paul Cézanne. Rochester, Kent: Regency House Publishing Limited. As printed in the book it has really beautiful, complex use of reds and greens, plus oranges and muted blues. I wanted to understand the colour use better, so tried to copy part of the image using conté crayons on A4 paper. Nothing like the inspiration of course, but I was very happy with the colour effects I was able to get.

14 Feb 2012
I wanted to take my colour learning from the previous day and use it in the shell-based design.
Oh dear. What a peculiar, heavy lump of orange across the top. What a wierd mixture of flat / linear work with shaped and shadowed areas. Not nice. I was really excited by the idea when I started, but the result makes no sense.

I tried again, this time trying to keep the shapes flat on the page (still A4) and playing up the graphic quality of the design. I love the blue area – lines in different greyed blued and greens blended using a white pastel. I achieved the flatness I wanted and I think that strengthens the image. There’s still a problem of some kind on the lower right. The blue bumps somehow don’t attach properly to the main design. I attempted a rescue with the extra dark lines in the orange, trying to contain and include the blue, which helped a bit.

15 Feb 2012
I still felt the design had possibilities. The idea was to get interesting, complex colours – this time moving to yellow and purple – with a dynamic, flowing linear design layered on top of it. I thought this could help the awkward shape boundaries of the previous version. I had fun with the colour – the last few days have reminded me of how visually interesting overlaying multiple close colours can be. Then I lost focus again. I had a few minutes while dinner was cooking and rushed at the black lines. Really dreadful and clumsy, and so unnecessary. I’ve attempted to erase the very worst bit, but the lesson of this one was to pay attention to what I’m doing. It’s just silly and devaluing the whole thing otherwise.

16 Feb 2012
I decided to focus on the lines of the design, using an 8B pencil on A4 paper.

I felt I was getting closer to something, so tried again – this time faintly in 4H pencil, then brush-tip pen over. It’s getting closer, but I couldn’t really correct the lines that went wrong, do decided to photograph everything, review where I’ve got so far, and continue later in electronic versions where it’s easier to overlay and erase.

17 Feb 2012
Thinking about stamping etc for the current project, I flipped through ? (1983)”Raoul Dufy 1877 – 1953″, London: Arts Council.

18 Feb 2012
I took one of the leaf shapes from yesterday’s work and recreated it in gimp. I printed a page of the shape, including flipped and resized versions. I then played with the cut-out leaves, trying different layouts. Nothing particularly appealed, but it was an interesting exercise and I’ve kept the paper leaves for possible future use.

19 Feb 2012
I used the same leaf shape and made a stamp using a plastic eraser and lino cutting tools – something I’d read about and seen before but never tried. The prints are on paper, but using the new textile paints I bought recently. I also tried the stamp on fabric, but will show that later when writing up the project.

20 Feb 2012
A small effort after a long work-day. This was trying a printing tool I’d made a night or two earlier. It’s the insert from a roll of toilet paper. I used some kind of caulking-in-a-tube that’s meant to be water-resistant, spread out to protect the cardboard a bit plus left in raised dots and lines to create a printing tool. I have a small rolling pin (a toy) which fits into the tube and makes it easy to apply the stamp. The results are rather disappointing, but I think worth experimenting further.

21 Feb 2012
I find it hard to work with intent and energy in the evenings after the day job. This was tracing around my hands, shadows etc. I often wonder if it’s worth doing little things like this, but still feel it’s a good habit to do at least something each day, as long as I make sure I bring all the energy I have – whether low or high on a particular day (that is, I don’t want to get lazy on the good days). I quite like the overlapping – there could be areas for future development.

22 Feb 2012
This is inspired by my bus reading this week. Looking at a shell, I first did a couple of quick sketches to get an idea of the outline, then tried distorting it to fill different shapes, using a number of different felt-tip pens and charcoal. I think some of these could be developed in an abstract.
Dunnewold, J., Benn, C., Morgan, L. (2007) “Finding your own visual language: A practical guide to design & composition” (Committed to Cloth & Art Cloth Studios)

Latest update (loaded 2 March 2012)
23 Feb 2012
These results are from searching over recent work using paper L shapes, looking for potential design ideas. Nothing immediately thrilling, but I want to keep practising and building up material.

24 Feb 2012
I went to a painting workshop with Peter Griffen. The first day was meet-up at the Art Gallery and a couple of hours in the Picasso exhibition with Peter. Arriving early, I wandered into an area I haven’t explored lately and found a beautiful warp-faced weave cloth from the Philippines. I made a quick sketch and took some notes on the spot, then worked them up into this page in the evening. I think the gallery labelling said it was brocade work, but to my eye it seemed more likely the decorative elements were added after weaving. In any case my diagram catches some shapes ideas but really is nothing like the original.

25 – 26 Feb 2012
The work these two days was done in a studio workshop with Peter Griffen, “Ways of Abstracting”. We worked in acrylic paint on cartridge paper, generally A2. Most pages were started with drawing lines and shapes in black. They are shown in rough chronological order, but I kept going back through earlier work, sometimes making small changes or continuing after the earlier layer dried, sometimes a complete over-paint or cutting up for collage. Nothing is a finished piece in itself, but it was a very freeing experience and it’s all material for future use / rework / mining.
This was done on the back of previously used paper – Peter had a pile which could be used as a base, or palette, or collage material.

Lines, collage, paint pressed on from clingfilm (used to keep my palette moist overnight)… Just a mess in itself, but there could be something interesting in the detail.

This was so many things. Paper from the previously used pile, white paint over, line drawing of a carved bird on the top of a very elaborate easel. I really liked it, but it wasn’t exciting. The next day tried to push myself adding colours outside my normal range. Dreadful result so I poured on thin paint and tilted the paper to move it around.

I can’t actually recall the base drawing – perhaps lines based on a gourd. Anyway I quite like the shapes and colours, but then I added a background of greys made using the original colours. So, so boring and drab – not the greys really, but the amount of it and the original drawing a lump in the middle. So I tried to do more with it. Let’s call it a learning experience and move on!

Peter had a table full of interesting objects for us to draw, including a marble (I’m assuming) head.

This was abstracted from a carving on a large piece of tree trunk. I really like it and have already developed it in a couple of things.

This started as a drawing of the marble head. Loved the colours, couldn’t see how to deal with the lump at the bottom, so turned it on its side and added a line from the earlier work.

This started as two pages – line sketching of some of the inspiration material, and a painting of a large vase of flowers. There were elements of the flowers I really liked, but overall it was incredibly pedestrian and awful. I had trouble sleeping on the Saturday night, trying to figure out how to progress it and eventually decided to try using what I know – weaving. The two paintings cut up and woven together (plain weave – one day I’ll try something more adventurous) were more interesting, but too jarring. Peter gave us a demonstration of glazing and I tried that, getting an improvement but probably over-integrating the two different sources. I think possibly just a line or two and a touch with colour would give the focus and contrast it needs. Maybe one day I’ll go back to it.

Vase with collaged elements – some of the dried acrylic peeled off a plastic bucket, plus areas torn from my paper palette from the previous day. Again it’s not quite there. Peter suggested lightening the grey area to the right. I like the idea but it was getting late on the last day and I felt too low on energy to attempt mixing the colour I wanted.

The marble head, trying to be adventurous with colour and shape, plus scratching back into the paint.

Playing with colour and brushstrokes. A possible background.

Other people were getting really strong colours and mine looked washed out, so I created a strong background from golden yellow to reds. I’d already made a page of purple for collage work. Unfortunately I rushed it and put the collage on before the reds were dry, so didn’t think through how to use the shapes interestingly.

My dried palette from the second day.

27 – 28 Feb 2012
Back at work, I took a little time in the evenings trying to play with the bird lines I got in Peter’s class.

29 Feb 2012
Trying to capture some of the colour schemes use by Sonia Delaunay. (McQuaid, M and Brown, S. (2011) Colour Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delaunay. New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution – see book review posted here.)

1 Mar 2012
I finished cutting an acetate stencil printed from designs based on shells. I’ve already used the larger shapes in practise printing on fabric. This time I worked on paper and used conté crayons – scribbled through the stencil then rubbed over using kitchen paper towel. I was surprised by how interesting the shading was on the small green and black shell. Until then I’d been using flat colour. Definitely something to remember and play with.

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