Thursday, May 29, 2008


Drawing 131

Hmm, I was attempting to draw a monsterish back view but it seems that my life drawing class made a big impression on my subconscious. That doesn't look so much like a tail...but she is wearing a frock!

Drawing 132

Drawing 133

Be still my beating heart: I have a new love.

Ink on canvas.

Or, more specifically, ink on canvas sealed with (stinky) rabbit skin glue. Today I started drawing on the canvas I prepared last week (at least, I think it was last week - end of semester is looming over me and the days are beginning to blur) and I LOVE it. The surface is so lovely it was hard to make the first mark on it. I sat and stared at it for several minutes with a pencil in my hand before I could bring myself to begin, but once I'd drawn the first line I was hooked. This surface even takes an eraser well - with a gesso primed canvas a pencil mark is all but impossible to remove, it just makes a big ugly smudgy mess - but on the rabbit skin glue it's easy to erase a mark, hardly a trace left. I'm inking one of the monster shapes that have been appearing in drawing-a-day, a bulbous bodied, two legged beastie with two eyestalks at the top.
Using a small paint brush (but NOT painting, inking!) the ink flows so wonderfully, and it looks great against the parchment coloured base. And I like drawing big :)

I'm itching to get going on it again tomorrow. Plans are hatching for at least two more, perhaps several more...

Monday, May 26, 2008


Drawing 126

Drawing 127

Drawing 128

Drawing 129

Drawing 130

Hmm, went missing in action for a bit, just busy. End of semester is coming up and everything has to be handed in for assessment in a couple of weeks. I had two presentations on Powerpoint plus written papers for both presentations to write, and I think my head is about to explode :)

I dreamed drawing number 130. Or its undies, at least. My drawings have taken a definite "monsterish" trend, and now they want clothing. Or lingerie, at least. My subconscious has a lot to answer for...

Monday, May 19, 2008


Drawing number 125

This morning I went to an auction. Not my first (the first was a sherrif's sale - all sorts of goods, I bought a desk for $10 and a four drawer filing cabinet for $30. Bargains!). Today's auction was for all the plant and contents of a maternity clothing manufacturer that went out of business, so industrial machines (sewing, overlocking, button sewing, buttonholers, cutters), HEAPS of fabric, buttons, trims, elastic, dressmaking mannequin, display mannequin, computers, tables etc. etc.
Went to the viewing yesterday and marked several items, some just out of curiousity, some to bid on.

I came home with a $5 drawing table and a four wheeled flatbed trolley for $15, with a spade and a tub of drill bits and blades (The Bloke was pleased!) thrown in on the trolley. Last of the big spenders, eh? Put bids in on more lots, but they went past my self-assigned top limit, some only just. It would be easy to get carried away, but I stuck to my budget - several large lots of fabric were tempting, though. Two or three thousand metres of material for a couple hundred bucks! I bid on the mannequins, too, but was just pipped. I suspect if I'd gone a bid or two more I might have been successful - see note about sticking to budget :)

The cats are on a sniffing frenzy: new stuff!

Rabbit skin glue

Drawing number 122

Drawing number 123

Drawing number 124

On Friday I stretched a canvas for the first time (with some help from a more experienced classmate). I didn't make the stretcher, I re-used one I stripped a canvas from last year (originally I intended to restretch it, but plans changed), but I daresay The Bloke could show me how if I want to make another. Not as hard as I imagined, just a matter of using the staple gun and making sure the canvas is taut.

Then I cooked up some rabbit skin glue to seal the canvas - it makes a nice surface to draw on with ink, I've been told. And yep, the stuff IS made with rabbit skins, among other gelatin-providing substances. It looks like little flakes of shellac in the bag. You soak it in water for five minutes then put it in a double boiler with more water and cook till all the crystalline flakes dissolve. It stinks. A bit like wet dog, only worse. Then paint onto the canvas with a brush before it cools (it gels up when cold). My canvas now has a lovely off-white finish and is taut as a drum.

Next class I may use the epidiascope to transfer a drawing (or several, it's a fairly large canvas) onto the rabbit skin glued surface to ink up. I love me some technology :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blah blah blah

Drawing number 117

Drawing number 118

Drawing number 119

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Drawing number 114

Drawing number 115

Drawing number 116

I seem to be on a bit of monster drawing kick. Everything is developing little feet. Perhaps to run away on...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The alarm clock is EVIL

Drawing number 113

This is my alarm clock. It is EVIL.

I hate getting out of bed (I was going to continue that with "in the morning", but the truth is I hate getting up full stop, any time of day). Once I'm up and moving, I'm fine, but the actual dragging myself from my cosy cocoon of blankets is hard, particularly now the weather is cooling down and the mornings are darker. Even more, I hate the alarm clock. I'm not fond of clocks in general - I haven't worn a watch for a couple of years now - but the horrible noise of the alarm shrilling, wrenching me from the blissful arms of slumber, is sheer torture.

Given my general aversion to clocks, I find it interesting that I'm drawn to the white rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland" - it pops up again and again in both my art and writing. I was rewatching "The Matrix" this afternoon and grinned at the white rabbit references. Mmmm, Keanu Reeves...even more mmmm, Keanu Reeves in that coat...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Drawing number 112

Curvy models

Drawing number 110

Drawing number 111

Life drawing class yesterday was a good one for me - made one ten minute drawing that was rubbish, then (grimly) waded into three twenty minute poses and turned out some that I'm happy with. It helped that the model is a lovely large lady with wonderful curves :)
And that I like working with different surfaces. I seem to be seeing things differently, composition wise, this year - less awkward, editing the pose to work for me. I'm getting quite good at editing out hands/feet (draw big! Oops, look at those extremities end up off the page). They're hard! I really should practice them more...

The morning class was cancelled (the teacher was sick), but we were allowed into the computer lab to wrestle with photoshop despite the lack of supervision (or help, which was much needed).
I seem to understand one process in photoshop, think I've mastered it and ten minutes later can't remember for the life of me how to repeat the action I just performed. Frustrating. I much prefer Irfan view.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Getting over the funk

Drawing number 109

I think I have worked out some of the things that were preoccupying me, at last :)
When I'm worrying away at a problem (or set of problems) all my words desert me, as if they're absorbed by analyzing, disecting, gnawing, digesting the thing that is bothering me. I can't articulate it till it's done.

So, moving on. Ideas are flowing once more, now that the dam of words has been breached.

One of my themes this year is turning out to be found paper, or more particularly found surfaces because it's not all about paper all the time. Today I prepared some large A1 sheets of paper for drawing class tomorrow, pasting down some pages torn from an old Sydney UBD (street directory). I like using maps to work over, the lines form an interesting background. I plan to use more UBD pages in printing, in a smaller format. I also glued down some dressmaking pattern pieces (from an incomplete pattern, not one I could use or sell or pass on to someone)
- I drew over some of this last year and it makes a lovely, soft surface for charcoal. Not sure how it would work with pastel, but I'll try it tomorrow. The Bloke brought me a roll of wonderfully aged paper (not newsprint, might be butcher's paper), all speckled and brown and spotty, some sheets with holes or tears, and I'm taking a couple of those sheets, too.

This term we have life models for drawing, and boy, am I out of practice in just a few months (last time I did life drawing was last November). I just felt like I was beginning to get it after the terror of life drawing all last year, only to stop. Once this course is over, I may have to find a private life class to keep my hand in; it's hard, it's scary, but it's very good for my skills.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Drawing number 107

Drawing number 108

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Day off

Drawing number 103

Drawing number 104

Drawing number 105

Drawing number 106

Got to painting class this morning to find the day's classes cancelled - the teacher was sick. So, bonus day to myself. I managed to read the newspaper in one hit instead of a few minutes here, a few minutes there, accompanied by an early second cup of coffee. It was a cold and wet morning, a pleasant day for sitting at the dining room table with a hot drink, reading matter and two cold cats, glancing out at the raindrops.

I made two skirts to list on Ebay, made my drawing-a-day (the last one above, which I think, with adaptation, will be just the image I need to finish a print I'm working on, and would also be good printed multiple times on fabric), worked on the current drawing in my artist's book, finished reknitting the toes of the Bloke's socks (inferior yarn on one of the stripes which literally disintegrated with wear - I ripped it back to a good stripe and just reknitted as it wasn't worth darning. I hate darning, anyway, I'd rather reknit than mend!), and had a nap :)

In tomorrow's painting class we present our current project, Mechanical Reproduction. I'll need a computer to present mine: I made an animated .gif of one of my drawings. I'm so chuffed that I managed to navigate the program (with the Bloke's invaluable aid) and actually make the thing, I could burst...though it wasn't half as complicated as I feared. Now I know how, I may make more!