with the help of an industrial machine and the grumpy but helpful teacher down in the fashion shop I got the big canvas ready to stretch on the oops-too-big-I-suck-at-measuring frame. Thanks to the intolerable swelter I was a putrid sweaty blob of blurgh by the time I’d finished stretching it, but yay! Tackled the tidying & finishing touches and all of a sudden, just when I was about to give up hope, the face totally came together. Painted the extensions so they didn’t scream “hey lookit, my maker is a dufus!” quite so loudly, fiddled with the veil stuff & a couple more wee flowers & greenery, scruffled up the hair a bit and called it done. We’ll pretend the feet aren’t so obviously in need of a bit more work, because frankly I just ran out of time. Er … I meant to do that, honest! I re-hung the drawings that ended up face-down on the mucky floor and did my best to tidy them up, but they’re a bit the worse for wear. Boo hiss. I’ll put up a few of the monoprints etc on Monday morning and be ready to go. In theory. Some time over the next few days I have to sit down and talk my way through my concept & execution & blah blah, practice run basically, so I don’t turn into an umming and ahing and youknowing fool as soon as I open my mouth. I swear it’s all articulate and beautifully laid out in my head and then it goes … guh. Uh guh? Youknow. Thing. Um. Sort of. Thing.
So. Now I guess I have to concentrate on packing and moving. Blech!
Assessment next week! It’s kind of astonishing how different works look stretched. Got my 3 stretchers finished today, two of the canvases stretched and one of those completely (for now, anyway – can’t guarantee I won’t modify later) finished. One probably should have been a bit narrower, so I hid her (in a barn?) – we’ll see if it works. If it doesn’t I guess I’ll have to take it off & put it on another stretcher, but not until after assessment – meanwhile I got brownie points for being brave enough to just slap some paint on over what could have been considered a finished painting lol. Will stretch the big one tomorrow and hopefully it won’t need much work to call it finished. Have included some in-progress shots of the not-an-angel piece for anyone interested in its development.
a little more work on the most recent painting.
I took the wedding dress precipice off the wall to stretch, and to take a bit of a break from it. Got the bug in my ear, needed to do something looser and more immediate. Apparently inspired by my daughter & a black swan taking turns to follow each other around at Billabong zoo* on Sunday, I started this yesterday afternoon:
and then today finished(possibly) it:
which is pretty damn fast for me lol. It will look more like this when it’s stretched:
Then, since the day wasn’t over, I started this one:
* surprisingly enjoyable day. Maybe I should post pics. I got some good animal shots
been thinking about Blodeweudd (I should check the spelling on that, hey. But I’m not going to*. The interwebs have certainly made it easier to be right given a few seconds googling, but apparently at the cost of me actually remembering stuff I used to be able to blather about without fact-checking). Anyway. So yeah, I think there’ll be an owly flower-maiden in my future one way or another. Meanwhile, in between being tediously unwell and riding an emotional rollercoaster re moving house and worrying that my poor MIL is bored out of her gourd, I’ve done a bit more on the big painting and got the top nearly finished for my new grandgirl.
First painting day this (very short!) term … you may notice I got brave and tore off the red, having decided it was unnecessary a while back and being sick of the distraction. Woulda been good if I hadn’t torn off quite so much, since it’s going to be a bit of a shit to stretch now …
Found some gorgeous little roses (I think?) up the street last week, some kind of throwback bramble that’s absolutely perfect. Perfect. Clusters of wee delicate unassuming beauty. With sharp bits. I thought the original roses they bred all the fancy ones from were much bigger, had no idea they were so sweet. They found their way onto the brambles, of course … they probably need significant knocking back, will see how it all looks when I’ve done a bit more work.
and last but not least, the owlyboo quilt top is ready for borders:
It’s astonishingly difficult to make photos of so many spots & checks & stripes look any good at all. It’s more subtle in person – bright and busy, but not scary. I daresay it’ll be easier to get a good pic once it’s quilted.
* okay, I couldn’t resist in the end, and it’s supposed to be Blodeuwedd. Got my u in the wrong bizarre spot. Boo.
sneak peek at what I’m working on for a certain wee somebody …
… has come into the world! Meet my new granddaughter, Emily Louise:
couple weeks’ work. There’s probably more I should put up, but I dunno where it is. Besides, I’m tired :) Posting some “sustained drawings” (one still a WIP), some life drawings, some quick painting play, and some work on the big jumping painting. I’m obviously playing w the background again, and still painting the face over and over again, and repainting the undergrowth to suit the fairytale nature of it all a bit better. Mostly so I could replace the terribly acidic yellows & greens with shades of that bluey green I loathe. Am probably also losing the red at the bottom, or at least most of it. I really am half asleep, and for all I know I’m posting complete gibberish, so I’ll say g’night!
I was going to have most of the brambles below the edge with just a wee tentative foray into the top panel, but it makes sense that the brambles will invade childhood if you try to stay there. Wendy suggested I put lots in, lots of really fine/detailed ones to sit against the painterliness of the dress and background and bottom panel, which I’m still trying to figure out (they’re always at me to loosen up and get more adventurous, so when they tell me to do something really finicky and detailed I get kind of weirded out heh). Anyway, so it’s interesting to work on, and gives me another excuse to procrastinate on doing anything serious with the face … I promise that the colours aren’t *quite* as intense in the flesh (although maybe I’m just blind? lol) but I still worry that no matter how much I muddy them up I’ve still got a lot of “pretty” colours there. Then again, I like pretty colours. I like some not-so-pretty colours too (there’s an awful lot of “OMG what is WRONG with the baby?!” brown & green in there, for eg) … eh. I’m just being neurotic again I guess, that because I like doing figurative work and doing it in a somewhat realistic way and my subject matter of the moment is pretty at least on the surface and because random non-art-educated people come up and tell me stuff is amazing then it must not be elitist enough to be Twue Art. Or something. Which if somebody else said to me I’d debate passionately, but you can’t really punch yourself in the neck. Anyway so BAH on all the head noise that’s making me not want to put the ghosts of butterflies and flowers up around her head in case that makes it even MORE “decorative” or “too pretty” or whatever, maybe even just too illustrative, even though any butterflies and flowers I paint are likely to be a bit nightmarish.
Four days painting & drawing is obviously too much (at least when one of the days involves being attacked by the wildlife and getting a prize lol) and I’m feeling all manic and spazzy. Must be time to go lie in bed and relive every embarrassing thing I ever did and listen to my brain go BZZZT! So much fun in my head, for trueness. Oh hey, I got the blurb thingy the judge wrote about Grove:
An intriguing and complex work that draws the viewer in. Gnarly yet ethereal, I liked the scale and ordered arrangement of the forms. The formal presentation balanced the chaotic layering of lines that gave form to the trees. The Work also shows a skilful and appropriate use of materials and techniques.
Gnarly yet ethereal. I dig that.
and a bit of stitchery and thorny painting.
yes, I know it’s garish atm; it will be toned down as I work on it more.
inter, that is.
some drawings based on the monoprints we did the previous two sessions, and two exploring different methods of making “fine” drawings.
Interesting fellow. Totally different approach to Geoff (in whose absence genetic imperative insisted that I take up the mantle of class shitstirrer). I told Curtis he was going to spoil us for Geoff, wandering around finding something great to say about everybody’s work (I half expect Geoff to give me shit about that comment next week lol – cracked the model up though).
I missed the starting talk (just don’t even talk to me about Book Week parades and not enough notice to make a new disneyprincess dress as well as get my own homework done resulting in two v late nights and early mornings and me putting the finishing touches on a very bodgy outfit this morning and hurriedly sewing a gold crown at 8.45) but I gather it was all woo-woo metaphysics and zen and everything’s connected and when you draw the model you’re really drawing your self/experiences/feelings/whatever. After nearly falling over a couple of times I piked on copying the model’s motions because I have the world’s stupidest performance anxiety issues and apparently no sense of balance any more, and stuck with what I know: micromovements, tensing this or that area, shifting weight and doing imaginary poses (I do that stuff all the time anyway, both as an observational/understanding thing – whether I’m drawing or not, just for – and I suspect it’s connected with my overactive sense of consequences). Really, if you know your own body and are conscious of how things feel when you do X I don’t think flailing around is going to do much, but most people don’t pay a great deal of attention to their bodies (I’m a lot less “in” mine than I was 20 yrs ago, which might be why I have shitty balance these days lol). Anyway, where was I … observing, feeling, then drawing. Drawing gesturally, then blind contour, then blind drawing form/shade only (no line), then not blind lights & darks with paper as midtone, then go nuts with some combination of the above. Very enjoyable exercises, even if most of the drawings themselves aren’t great and a few are hilariously bad, and I’m actually pretty happy with some of what I ended up with … sometimes just a small section of a large drawing – it’s a bit like film photography, where you count it a win if you get one good shot per roll – and sometimes the happiness stems from having “got” something or made a particularly nice line even if the drawing as a whole is pretty shite.
didn’t actually get to doing any actual painting until fairly late in the day, everybody running around like headless chooks trying to clean up the studios & organise entries for next week’s open day/art week/student union art prize thingy. Got to hang around late though, and got some positive feedback from Wendy late in the arvo – I’d been quite neurotic since she hadn’t said boo about me starting a big one after she was so insistent about me working with the fragments lol … not that I’ve stopped working on the smaller pieces, I just want to see if I can apply some of the things I’ve learned/discovered/developed recently to a larger more descriptive/illustrative work. Yet.
end of day
Am madly in love with Delacroix all over again lately, but also very enamoured of Wendy Stavrianos (teacher’s recommendation) and Lucien Freud (who promptly died; following on the heels of me getting interested in Leonora Carrington just before she died, I’m feeling a bit jinxy!) and Käthe Kollwitz. All much much meatier painters & drawers than I am, which may or may not mean anything (I’m also digging on Schiele and Munch – so much more to him than the Scream lol – and I’m never going to end up painting like either of them) … I am trying to be a little more immediate and layered and “let the viewer fill in the blanks” illusiony rather than “make it perfect” illusiony these days though. Monique has been in my head saying “sometimes I just want to go [*splodge!* gesture] with a big thick swash of paint on your work” every time I start grinding my paint into the canvas since around 1993, which always makes me grin, especially when I start being giddily excited about how some brave splodge is vibrating against its background. Many brave splodges, and bizarrely bright colours (I swear, none of them are pure; I mix rich muddy tones and somehow they go baDOING on the canvas). I am getting a very big kick out of seeing what happens if I [xxxx] and experimenting with cloth textures and slabby brushstrokes describing toes and how to imply light and suggest without detailing and yada & so on. Mad funs.
more monoprint drawing adventures, this time using a board and later a piece of canvas as ink surfaces. Brown – “lemon” yellow (moldy rotten lemon maybe, really stinky colour), red and smidge of carbon black) – Akua relief ink on cartridge, brown kraft paper and buff academia. Really nice textures & line quality imparted by the board & canvas (one or two of the drawings on the back of the paper are kinda nice too, albeit simple; should get some pics). The one with the giant staring eye on an otherwise quite subtle tonal page (in the grouped shot) was the first of the day & I’m quite tempted to tear the eye right off and pretend it never happened lol.
no life model, and due to all the swapsy-changy stuff lately pretty much a teacher-free day, so we were set a drawing exercises and let loose in the studio. Everybody bar Sue & me stayed home, the pikers, so we had the studio to ourselves. We inked up aluminium sheets with relief ink and lay cartridge on top and drew on (what would become) the back of the paper with whatever – fingernail, pencil, finger, paintbrush-end, whatever; lift off the paper and you’ve got a kind of print with rather nice line quality and serendipitous tone. Enjoyable. Would have been easy to do three times as many as requested but I wanted to paint and I think I’d rather tackle the exercise again with some halfway decent paper and maybe a glass sheet rather than buckled & abused aluminium. We’ll see re the latter. Anyway. So. I put them aside to dry and bit the bullet and cut into my precious canvas (scary!). Fed my face, pinned a piece up and did some lairy red under-painting and blocked in rough lights & darks before Dad turned up, did a bit of fiddling while we talked and then left it to dry while I tried to help him sort out his stupid DET portal password (seriously, why can TAFE not get that shit right??). A coffee & password successes later I got back into the pic. Long way from finished – I suspect it’s going to take just a wee bit longer than the teeny canvases I’ve been working on so far lol. Worked with a big slabby brush and layering colours to get that pop & vibration thing happening with the colours, and tried not to blend & overwork the paint too much on the canvas. Bit of sgraffito on the bottom section. Paint is yummy.
had that stoopit song stuck in my head all afternoon, so I thought I’d share.
painting today. Good morning (favourite effort yet), and meh in an it’s-getting-there-slowly kind of way this arv on the eyes one. Need to make a certain small(ish) person sit still enough for long enough that I can get good macro shots of her eyes before I can go any further I think.
Wendy liked that wee study of just a corner of E’s face, and suggested I explore that idea a bit more. So I did :) Only the mouth is finished, but I’m pretty happy with how the idea is going.
Still working on getting a real feel (in painting terms) for the subject(s) in prep for the paintings. Even if I ended up with nothing else useful from this diploma (which is not and will not be the case, just saying) this insistence of Wendy’s on drawing and drawing and painting and drawing and drawing the same thing (where thing = the object/focus of your interest) over and over again would be worth the price of admission. I’m surprised at how much difference it’s made to my drawing – I’m pretty sure the improvement in my life drawing & portrait sketches can be credited to that absorbed observation, first of those bloody bowls and then of the shoes. Somehow it flows on: training the eye-hand in the task of accurately recording observation of a pair of shoes doesn’t just mean you will forever after be able to draw those shoes, or even any shoes; it translates to an increased ability to accurately observe & record anything including faces & figures. Which when I write it down like that seems like the biggest DUH in the world, but it didn’t seem that way ahead of time. Anyway, so I’m procrastinating on doing the other thing Wendy insists on by talking about how valuable I’ve found her insistence on drawing something until you could draw it with your eyes closed, so here are the studies I did last night & today.