Thursday, January 27, 2011

Revisiting an old friend

Over the last year I have been trying to re-embrace my artistic inner child. I guess it's a way to make sure I stay "tuned in" to beauty around me, an excuse to stop and ponder the shape, pattern, colour or texture of something. Then to wonder how on earth I might attempt to recreate that feeling in two dimensions. Some days I don't feel inspired to draw anything in particular so I just pull out the pastels and blend colours, get pastel dust on my clothes and under my fingernails.

I love the way kids give pictures, for no other reason than they thought of you and wanted to give it to you. I love getting pictures - they brighten up my life, my fridge, my office cubicle and put a smile on my face. Today I was thinking of my niece and so thought I'd make her a picture.

This print comes from a lino cutting I did quite a few years ago....I dug it out of a dusty old box a little while ago and printed a few pictures with it, it even made it into my sketchbook. I have tended to print it in bold colours on crisp white paper. Today I wanted to give it a bit more mood, some of that sepia toned olde worlde look I like so much. I think maybe that is one of the joys of lino, you can revisit an old friend and give it a reinterpretation depending on your mood and.... your colour obsession of the moment.

Happy playing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Final sketchbook sketch

Well, this is my last Brooklyn Art Library related post. I think I've decided to keep my blog going,and blog a little more often : ). So expect more varied media (yay for pastels!!) and some larger format pictures.

So, onto my last picture. I decided for this one to do another lino cut, since I have been loving them so much. This time, however, I picked a more ambitious subject - the New York city Cloisters. I visited the Cloisters during my recent trip to the northern hemisphere. I was most enamored of the arched ceilings and so have focused on them. The progression of my pic follows below.

And one cup of coffee later I had this much done....

And the finished lino....

And finally, the finished picture....

I added some detail in watercolour to try and get some depth to the picture. I think next time I'll play with creating more shading in the actual lino cutting process. I also think this picture could do with some more work, and I wouldn't mind seeing it in bright colours...naturally!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pansy and butterflies

Another (slight) obsession of mine is fabric....and how can you not with this gorgeous stuff!! I had a few scraps of this butterfly fabric left after cutting out a skirt pattern, which I faithfully hoarded away. A little while ago I was perusing through this amazing book I have called Painting with a Needle by Young Yang Chung. I decided I wanted to embroider something over a patterned fabric, so I picked a simple flower motif and dug out the butterfly fabric scraps. It took a while to finish because I haven't embroidered anything in an age, and I'm not sure what you'd do with it if not stick it in your arthouse sketchbook, but never-the-less I am quite please with the result.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some architectural details

The sketchbook project is coming to a close....only two days left, so I've been getting busy putting some more "faces in the crowd" down on paper. I've just realised some people who check out my book at the Art Library might be sad to find there isn't a single portrait to be found in it. I hope they like my take on the theme anyway.

The first picture is a quick pen sketch of a window I saw in Beacon Hill, Boston on my recent holiday. I would so love to live in this suburb, I thought it was just gorgeous with the narrow streets, old buildings and big trees. I was really taken with a few of the details in the ornate metalwork on the front stoops, curved facades and shuttered windows. I was visiting in the fall so I also had the pleasure of lots festive decoration. This window really took my fancy...the pumpkin and flower decoration added a lot of colour to my day.

After a few mostly black and white spreads I thought it was definitely time for some colour again!! This is a picture I've been meaning to do for quite a while - and luckily I'm really pleased with the way it came out. First, the colour. I finally got around to the lime and magenta combo, yay! I was at the National Gallery of Australia on the weekend and remembered why I love this combination so much. There is an Andy Warhol painting of an electric chair in these colours. Such a horrid subject, but an incredibly (to me) appealing painting.
The nuts and bolts detail is from a bridge in a small town in New Jersey. I was there many years ago now, visiting with a friend, and was very taken with an old footbridge. I'd post the original photo I took too but it's from back in the day when I used a (non-digital) SLR and black and white film.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Colorado Aspen

I think stands of aspen and birch so serene...and soothing. I love being in them at any time of the year. In winter they are ghostly and still and create amazing shadow play on the snow. Spring "leaf out" is a phenomenon I think I'd never grow tired of. Watching the leaf buds form and waiting in anticipation for the emergence of green after so long surrounded by a bleached landscape. And if you don't pay attention you can miss it, you can go outside at lunchtime with no change, then home in the afternoon to find whole mountainsides are covered in glorious colour. Summer is laying under the trees in the dappled shade listening to the shake and rustle of leaves. And glorious autumn, all that yellow! My particular joy is walking tracks in mixed forest...the carpet of gold that winds its way through stands of spruce...really quite magical.

Although I have wanted to draw aspen and birch for a while now I've always been a bit afraid to. About not getting the mood or detail right. Today I swallowed my pride an gave it a go.....I was trying for mood more than anything. I'm not sure how I feel about the outcome but I am very pleased to have finally tried. I started with watercolour, then added some pencil and felt tipped pen detail to the foremost tree. Next to work on some autumn trees!!