Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gyotaku workshop

Today I delivered a workshop in gyotaku for a local art association.  My ability and interest in the subject has grown over time since I first learned about the technique and started in earnest pressing cold fish bodies onto paper.  The image above is a demonstration piece that I completed during the workshop.  I enhanced the initial print with watercolour washes and then added some detail with a Rapiodgraph pen.

I did start several other pieces but haven't had a chance to do much more with them yet.  The squid, complete with tentacles, were interesting to print as they made interesting, almost sculptural patterns on the paper.

It was a delight to spread the information to others and see what they produced during the day.   Capelin, squid and scallop shells were the subjects and the morning was spent learning and practicing inking and printing to get a clean, clear image.

The afternoon was spent working on enhancing the original prints from the morning and exploring backgrounds and printing over the them then enhancing the print.  As with many things what you originally think is lots of time turns into never enough time.  But I believe that enough information and ideas were soaked up that people went away, anxious to continue with the technique and experiment more.

The workshop was messy and full of smells of the sea.  The participation level was high and the quality of prints that were produced was excellent.  I will look forward to seeing more of this technique around St. John's now that more people understand it.

There is nothing more satisfying than sharing information and watching others produce something beautiful with that information.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apple challenge results

My challenge to draw and paint apples finished yesterday and I am delighted with the response.  Twenty-two apples have appeared in addition to my own contribution of ten.   If I have missed anyone, please let me know and I'll add you in as soon as I can.

The final piece from me isn't new but a painting from last year. A still life of an antique jug that belonged to my grandmother and a apple.  Its classical in composition and brings back memories for me.

One of the best ways of learning is to revisit the same subject over and over again.  Each time, a new perspective appears.  The light is different.  A different medium calls you.  Each piece that I did taught me something new.  And each piece that was submitted helped me learn how others approached the same subject and gave me inspiration for more pieces.

I'd encourage you to visit the links and see an amazing variety of skills and interpretation of this simple fruit.  To everyone who took the time to add a piece, thank you. 

Jeanette Jobson
Apple Study
Apple Macro I
Apple Macro II
End of Palette painting
Apple experiments continue
Yes, its another apple
Oil pastels and apple cores
Deconstructed apple
Graphite apples
The last apple

Robyn Sinclair
Apple Watercolour
Apple sliced watercolour

Nicki McRae
Apple Challenge

Irina Rekhviashvili
Apples on blue cloth

Autumn Accordian Fold

Gary Nemcosky
High country apples

Silvia Williams
Autumn Delight

Martine Pittet

Ann Nemcosky
Apple Time

Apple challenge

Apple challenge

Ernest Friedman-Hill
Charcoal apple

Jo Castillo
Acrylic apples
Apple II

 Rose Welty
Apple Challenge

Jennifer Rose
Apple Challenge

Stacy Rowan
Watercolor Apples

Tracy Wall
Apple and Baseball

Leslie Hawes

Vivian Blackburn
Apple I
Apple II


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tripod study

Its been nearly two years since Tripod decided he would befriend me and I thought its about time for another portrait of him.

I like to do a study first at times as a warm up to the portrait.  A study gives me a sense of the pose, the composition, size, palette and whether it will interest me enough to continue on to completion.  This is quick start at a coloured pencil sketch.  I'm not sure if I will use that or not.  I may even go with watercolour as I haven't used that for Tripod yet.  Or it may be back to pencil. 

I do need to try to get another couple of reference images of him, but he isn't that keen on the camera anymore.  I've tested his patience once too often with it and I get 'the look' when I pull out the camera.  I may be adventurous and do a really large portrait in colour this time now that I have my projector that makes scaling drawings up sooooooooooo much easier and quicker.

Despite his disdain for me and my efforts to immortalize him, he does translate well onto paper or canvas and I have drawn and painted him several times.  The first drawing of him sold and won me 'Best in Show'.  Tripod's only concern was that it would provide sufficient funds to keep him in tuna and dry cat food.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The last apple

This is a final reminder to all the procrastinators out there that the Apple Challenge ends tomorrow, October 15th.  Has it really been a month?  Too long?  Too short?

I started it for my own selfish purposes - to explore apples in different media and forms and I think I've succeeded in that.  The big learning curve comes from seeing what others produce and gleaning ideas from that.

I started a little sketch today then pushed it further tonight. Its done with carbon pencil and white charcoal on brown paper, my current favourite sketchbook.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Uncle Richard's church

 Gower Street Church sketch

In downtown St. John's, nestled among old buildings and within a stone's throw distance of the harbour lies a little part of my heritage.  George Street United Church as it has been known since 1925, was originally built as a Methodist church in 1873 and survived the Great Fire of 1892, making it the oldest Methodist church in the city.

Constructed with rough Newfoundland stone hewn from the Southside Hills (a gift from the Hon. Stephen Rendell), George Street United Church was designed by Elijah Hoole of London, England (who was also the architect of the present Gower Street United Church). The simple, modified Gothic style church was built in 1873 by master mason Richard Atwill of Devonshire, England, and joiner William Campbell of Queen's Road, St. John's.
 Richard Atwill was my great great uncle on my mother's side and had moved from Broadhempston in Devon to St. John's, Newfoundland  employed as a Master Mason.  Shortly before the church was complete, Richard was inspecting work, fell from scaffolding and died later of his injuries.  I had found his grave in the cemetery last year which told some of the story behind him and the church that he worked on.   So while technically it wasn't Richard Atwill's church I always still think of it as 'Uncle Richard's church' when I am in that part of town and see the spire rising above the rooftops.

Looking back in history, its interesting to see and hear about the past and it also see something tangible that has survived like this church.  Even now, 106 years after his death my great great uncle still lives on though this building.

Interestingly Richard's parents, Richard and Eliza and a brother George died all within a week of each other in 1882.  Presumably from some contagious disease.  I don't imaging that January in St. John's in the late 1800's was a warm place.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Italian leather

Last year I bought a beautiful Italian sketchbook.  It's 9 x 12 and covered in soft red leather, filled with cream smooth paper, each page interleaved with a what seems to be a type of glassine paper.  I hadn't done much in it, but pulled it out the other night and decided to try a drawing or two.

This is an amusing little drawing of two siblings, one at a distance from the other, the sister pretending to kiss her brother. 

So how does the sketchbook perform?  Fairly well.  The problem with any very smooth surface is losing your layers too quickly and the inability to obtain really dark values. The paper is quite sturdy and may hold up to some water or even oils, which I'll experiment with later.


It is the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I thought it would be interesting to look back at posts done on this date (or close to) over the last four years of my blog and leave you with a view of a the leaves on the maple tree near the house and the ocean.  The day wouldn't be complete without the ocean...

2006 - Katherine's Moose

2007 - Decisions

2008 - Rejects.