Friday, April 22, 2011

Self portrait - multimedia

I decided to go for broke with the self portrait and add some more layers using acrylics.  This paper is a star in holding up to layers of mixed media and moisture.  I'm impressed.  Of course the layer of coloured pencil helps act as a base I'm sure.

Experimenting using multi media can lead to interesting effects and surprising results.  This may still be tweaked a bit more, but for now I'm calling it done and moving on to the next piece.  The drawing is about 7" x 12".

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Its only paper

I picked up the self portrait I had started a couple of weeks ago.  I had been picking at it here and there, adding a few more layers and it was at a point that I wasn't really happy with it.  The texture was too grainy, the colour not where I wanted it to be.  So I decided I would play around with it a bit more, using the 'its only paper' concept that allows me to be free.

I brushed paint thinners on over the coloured pencil, timidly at first to see how what happened, then more heavy handed and was quite interested to see how the thinners change the colour and brings out the reds that I had added as a previous layer.  It turns it into a different piece entirely, one that I'm not too unhappy with.

Yes there are muddy sections, but there are also passages of colour that I like too.  The surface is too slick to add something like pastel over it, but it may take a little more pencil or perhaps some acrylic.  Its on a sheet of Rives paper I believe, I can't remember, but it seems to stand up to the moisture of the thinners well, but may be just too textured for decent coloured pencil application.

The difference between the two is pronounced, almost a Jekyll and Hyde.  Which is the real me...?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The watching window

There is something about derelict buildings that draws me.  Peeling paint, cracked windows, glimpses into the past life of strangers amongst overgrown gardens and rusting mail boxes.

I came across this house in a narrow road near the sea.  An elderly man had lived there, died there and with no family, no one knew what to do with the house I was told.  So it sits.  Silently watching the ocean, waiting for the man to return or for nature to reclaim it.

This window faces the sea. Peeling paint on an old fashioned storm window, the type that is screwed onto the frame, is slowly letting the world in instead of keeping it out.

I need to paint this.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Leaning into the afternoons

Yesterday I took a walk on the beach to clear my head and get some new images of the water that I hoped would inspire the next painting.  It was a pleasant day, not overly warm, but the snow is gone and spring is in the air.

The spring run off cut a swathe across the stony beach on its way to the sea and it was flowing fast around larger rocks, creating great movement and light, just what I needed.  I love the light play across the colours of these rocks as the water moves over them.  Maybe a painting in its future, though quite complex.

The surf was fairly calm for the Atlantic and I only had to jump out of the way once or twice when it warned me that I was getting to close. 

The cliffs that surround the cove were shades of purple greys, but the water caught my eye. It looked almost tropical with shades of blues and turquoise shot through the grey and silver.  The last vestiges of winter are still clinging to the crevices of the cliffs in the form of ice.

Each trip to the shore reveals new inspiration for drawings and paintings.  I am  lucky to have the ocean on my doorstep.  Another of my favourite poems by Pablo Neruda - Leaning into the Afternoons.  The film, the language, the music, all paint a better image than I ever could with paints.  That sound of gulls is so evocative of the ocean.  I know it in my sleep, I hear it every day.  Neruda was a genius with words.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gyotaku workshop

I had the pleasure of delivering a gyotaku workshop to 13 hardworking individuals on Saturday at the Anna Templeton Centre for Craft Art and Design.  The Centre is a hub of creativity in downtown St. John's as well as a historic building.  Built in 1849 as the British Bank of North America, the building at 278 Duckworth Street was Newfoundland’s first bank building and is now designated as a national historic site.

The day long workshop gave a lot of information in what always seems to be too short a time frame, as workshops fly by.  The group was so hard working and prints were flying off paper.  The amount of information really is too much for one day and in future I will break it down into two days, one for print making and the other for the additional techniques of colour and mounting.

Here are some images from the workshop and as you can see it was heads down and working hard all day.  Many thanks to everyone who attended.  For me, workshops are a two way street for learning.  I learn as much from those who attend as from what information I provide.  Thank you everyone!