Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hey, brain, please SHUT UP!

Drawing day forty-two

Drawing day forty-three

The ideas-generating portion of my brain seems to have slipped into overdrive and is coming up with ideas almost faster than I can write them down. While I was completing yesterday's drawing (late in the evening whilst watching the footie on tv), thoughts on what I could do with it kept floating to the top of my mind: screenprints on cards/clothing/fabric, sculptures using boxes and wire as found objects, then their title(s) popped into my head. They're imps so each with have a name like IMPasto, IMPortant, IMPressed, IMPeril. Then I couldn't stop thinking about all the words starting with "imp-", on and on! I had to go fetch a pencil and visual diary to put beside the bed just in case I started awake in the middle of the night with an idea that would disappear with my snores if I didn't write it down :) (which has happened, and recently).

Not complaining, though - I have enough ideas to work on for a couple of lifetimes, and there are more coming.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Second excursion for the week - tired!

Drawing day forty

Drawing day forty-one

We had another class excursion yesterday, this time into the National Gallery of Victoria International and some small galleries in Flinders Lane, to research our current painting project: found objects. Saw some amazing work, which set up such a set of ripples in my brain that I woke at 6am (most unlike me and neither pleasant nor welcome since I was so wide awake there was no chance of dozing off again) with three ideas in my head that I had to write down before I forgot them (to do with screenprinting text onto fabric and using it to make one of my drawings-a-day into a soft sculpture).

With the unexpectedly early start, I'd made today's drawing by 8.15am and had to time to reflect on what I'd need for painting class today (as opposed to the usual mad rush as I recall all the things I've forgotten to prepare the previous evening). Painting is a misnomer this year, as we can use that class for sculpture or photography or pretty much whatever takes our fancy (not printmaking so much, as we have that all day Wednesday). I'm mostly planning to work on sculpture, and there is no shortage of existing found objects in my house already. But did I use them? No, 'course not! I decided I wanted to disassemble soft toys and use the carcasses to make a "dress", using the larger pieces of pelt to patch together for the body of the garment, with feet and tails adorning the hemline and perhaps some sort of stole affair to utilise the heads and accessories. I'm using mostly pastel creatures, playing on a lost innocence theme. I think I'll line it in scarlet.

I scored a bonanza at St Vinnies op shop earlier this week, when I found two GINORMOUS sacks of soft toys for a mere $3 per sack - so ginormous that they stand chest high on me. Those things were heavy, I almost gave myself a hernia dragging them up the street to the car, heaving one into the boot and the other into the back seat (they were too big to both fit in the boot!). I took this as a sign from the Powers-That-Be that I was meant to do this project :)

The reactions of others to this work-in-progress is veeeee-ry interesting, ranging from horror and disbelief as I wield the scissors and behead, gut and disect teddy bears and bunnies (and a Snoopy!), to evil laughter.

I have two more definite found object works in mind, one involving bread tags and the other small cardboard boxes and Alice-through-the-looking-glass. I am having fun (wicked grin)

Drawing day thirty-nine - still going!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Drawing day thirty-seven

Kind of a found poem piece. If you can't read the print, it says:
The thought
his scheme
was gathering
the flames

Drawing day thirty-eight

Instead of two lecture classes today, we went on an excursion to the bayside suburb of St Kilda to the Linden Gallery to see their Postcard Show. The title of the exhibition is a bit misleading: the works are not postcard size, but six are selected to be made into postcards to sell to raise funds for the gallery. There is a limit on size (30cm x 30cm x 30cm) but it's not juried, everyone who enters has their work hung (there is an entry fee - it's the gallery's main annual fundraiser).
Perhaps I'll enter next time...

The sheer volume of works was mind boggling, with pieces hung almost from floor to ceiling in four rooms, plus sculpture on every surface. Some wonderful, some inspiring, some not so great. Every time I re-entered a space, I'd see something new, something I'd missed the first time (or the second, or third!). Gave me LOTS of ideas :)

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Drawing day thirty-six

I've been working, on and off, at a collage drawing. I've been doing these since the 70s (!!!) in one form or another, I like to do one now and then just because they're fun :)

Collage before

I begin with a magazine photo, usually of a face. I've been trying a full figure one this week, too, but I'm not sure if it's really going to work.

Collage during

Then I cut it up, this time into uneven strips. Sometimes I cut it into wavy strips, or little squares, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

Collage after

Then I draw over and around, through and beside, joining up some of the disconnected lines of the face, adding others, sometimes using what I've come to think of as my trademark crosshatching in the wavy shapes. Mostly I use black, some red, sometimes a little blue. Draw till it looks done :)

Drawing day thirty-five

Drawing day thirty-five

Friday, February 8, 2008

Too pooped to post

Drawing day thirty-two

Drawing day thirty-three

Drawing day thirty-four

I've been drawing but time has been at a premium since school started up again - I suspected the frequency of posting would decline as classes occupied me :)

Woo, tiring going back! I hate the alarm clock, I hate getting out of bed, but once I'm up I'm rarin' to go. We haven't done very much practical hands on work this week, mostly talking about expectations for this first semester, and setting up administrative stuff. Except for painting today, when we actually got the paint brushes out and applied paint to paper.

On portraits, ugh. Of each other. I loathed painting self portraits last year (I think I'll burn mine and mix the ashes into paint to use on something else!) and portraits of the class aren't much better. Have I mentioned I suck at painting? Oh, and have I also mentioned how much I dislike painting? We did some preliminary drawings then worked up a portrait including aspects of the drawings we liked. I liked the chunkiness of my pastel drawing using tone but no line, so tried to replicate that in paint.

Ew. I swear, I whined and bitched and wandered disconsolately about the studio for an hour, trying to get inspiration from what everone else was doing, in between bouts of daubing half-heartedly at my own painting. The brush wouldn't do what I wanted (as I moaned and groaned endlessly), so Tony (the teacher) slapped a palette knife in my hand and forced me back to work. Yuck, didn't like that either, the paint just sat there in big boring slabs no matter how much I poked at it.

Finally I lost my temper with it. I dragged out my ginormous housepainting brush, stabbed it into the paint and went a bit Rolf Harris on the portrait. Slash. Slash, slash, stab, slice. Swoop, slash, slosh the brush brutally around in the water jar and dash in some washy shadows. Stab and slash at it a bit more. Ten minutes and I was done.

I stood back and looked at it. Hmmm, I think I like it. Yes. It works. I do like it!

Apparently all I needed to do was get angry with the paint and treat it mean :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

School days, school days...

Drawing day thirty-one

So, back to school today - it was HARD to get out of bed at 7.30am, don't think I've been up that early since November :)

Today's classes were Arts Business, and Contemporary Art Studies. Arts Business sounds like it'll be interesting - we'll cover things like applying for grants, setting up exhibitions, intellectual property plus more mundane (to me) stuff like tax, business statements and so on. The other subject is basically art history from the 1960s plus. Today we covered minimalism and op art - I enjoy history, though some of the op art pieces make me motion sick! We've already got an excursion to an exhibition scheduled for next Tuesday. Right back into it.

Didn't sleep well last night, my brain wouldn't shut up with school stuff swirling around it, and my weary fingers are making multiple typos. Time to cook dinner and have an early night, I think :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Back to school tomorrow :)

Drawing day thirty

My last day of "freedom" (joke). Tomorrow classes start again and I'm excited about going back. I have a list of at least a dozen ideas I want to work on in printmaking - including a linocut based on yesterday's moon drawing - and several less developed ideas for painting (I suspect my painting is going to be more sculpture and mixed media than your actual paint). Today I bought three visual diaries for the year for painting, printmaking and drawing (may need one more for Studio Materials, not sure). This time I went for the larger A3 size for painting and printmaking; I ran out of space last year. Woohoo, back to school!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Making up for missed day

Drawing A day twenty-nine

Drawing B day twenty-nine

Two drawings today, to make up for poor neglected Friday. The seond one is my version of the moon, inspired by the art of the North American northwest coast. My stay in Canada has long tentacles, still emerging to surprise me after my first visit there in 1994.

Drawing day twenty-eight

Drawing day twenty-eight

Didn't do two drawings today, maybe tomorrow! It was a busy day again today, grocery shopping in the morning, a social catchup with some fellow students this afternoon - it was great to see them! I'm looking forward to classes starting on Tuesday, then finished the fourth of five skirts for pick-up in the evening. Almost didn't make the deadline, but my customer got delayed en route so I had a little extra time and finished sewing before she arrived. She's decided on one more, but I don't need to have that one done for a couple of weeks. We're both pleased with the way they've turned out, so much so in my case that I may need to make a similar one for
myself :) Perhaps in some of my collection of cat fabrics with a different fabric in each panel...

Missed a day

Friday was a really busy day and I didn't manage to make a drawing, but I'm not too disappointed as this is the first time I missed. I'll aim to make two either Saturday or Sunday to make up :)