Saturday, 14 May 2011

Print class at Herts

I had a lovely time at college on Thursday and Friday. 

I've been printing with a theme, taken from my husband's camping kit.  I've been working with this theme all semester, and I've come to understand what my work is all about.  For me, it is all about family, emotion, relationships, and colour, and how this is portrayed in art work.  My practical assessment this semester showed how I've drawn the cups in various media, then printed them as shapes, lines, and textures in various forms.  I've come to associate Jim's camping cups with my Mother, and how the countless cups of tea she made him, and the cigarettes he bought her (much to my disapproval!) symbolised the relationship between them.  My Mum adored my husband and the ability to juxtapose these disparate items, using the turquoise of her Players No 6 banner, and her favourite orange has been uplifting in a strange sort of way.

My latest piece is developing an aspect of this theme.  I've  been working with multiple layers of colour - very bright with some wonderful colour blends.  This time, I've restricted the colour range to blue-green-yellow to see how many different colour blends I can achieve.  By moving from ultramarine-turquoise-green-lemon yellow-golden yellow, and overlaying them, just how many tonal variations can I achieve?  Then I'm going to cut up the piece into 14" squares, work into individual pieces in different ways with hand and machine stitch, and mount them on 12" frames, to see how they look as multiple variations on a theme.

I've just been told my assessment results for this year.  For my theory module - Design & Decorative Arts post 1950, I achieved 72%, with which I am delighted.  I worked hard for this module, found the lectures fascinating, and attended a 1950 design day at the V&A and went to the Warner Textile Archive for a lecture on Warners Fabrics of the 30s, 40s and 50s.  I very much enjoyed the research and thoroughly enjoyed myself, even if the background reading took forever!  And for my practical module, "Defining Identity", I also achieved 72% - which for a student finishing 2nd year part time, (equivalent to end for 1st year full time) is astonishing.  Makes me feel a bit of a hostage to fortune though.  Can I keep this up?  But I have to say, I feel alive like I've not done for ages.  I feel blessed to have all these opportunities, and I'm going to really get stuck into it all and make the most of it.

I have learned lots of new study techniques and the reflective journalling has been most helpful.  Particularly writing down the eratic thoughts that go through my head, when ideas about family relationships, and realisation of how disparate objects and events link together inside my head.  And it is the discipline of writing it down in my sketchbook that formalises it, and reinforces it when I go back through my work to see how far/whether I have travelled with the idea.  And all this stuff takes a lot of work.  It's no good just playing at it - I have to work hard and in the middle of "doing" whether it be drawing, printing stitching or whatever, when I've achieved the state of creative serenity, realisation of something fundamental comes to me.  And trying too hard stunts it too.

V&A Museum - Drawing Inspiration class

On Monday, I started a 6 week series of classes at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is designed to discover the huge variety of drawing as a medium across time and culture, and to develop a range of skills. 

I had a lovely time.  The first class utilised items in the new Ceramics Gallery and we trialled different drawing methods with pencil, charcoal and pen and ink.  I discovered a new technique - cutting back into charcoal.  We were shown how to create a fast background in charcoal then use an eraser (or cheap white bread) to cut back into the charcoal, which when used on bold shapes, gave strong clear definition.  I was working on an aboriginal ceramic piece and the image gave the strength and character of what I was viewing very well. 

It was very inspirational as a potential screen print. My drawn screen prints to date have been positive images, but this would work really well as a negative image. Definitely one to work up further in later classes. 

Also, I've recently been to Ayr and was inspired to start a sketchbook from some photos I took there.  The new pen and ink, and charcoal techniques could be utilised to good effect in this sketchbook, maybe focussing on just these new techniques.  A lot of the Ayr photos were of rusty items on the seafront.  What about using sepia tones, pastels, brown ink, bleach .... Lots of possibilities.  So little time! 

On Tuesday, went to class to see our end of year assessment.  There is some truly amazing work on display.  I was quite pleased with my work, and now have to wait to get the results.  This is some of my work in progress - print being embellished with stitch.

I received my academic reference for my Study Abroad application at Curtin University, and was very, very flattered by it.  I took all my application papers across to the Study Abroad office, in time for the deadline.  It takes c3 weeks for Curtin to decide whether they want me(!), then I get my Student number which I need to quote on the Visa Application.  Then it takes about 3 weeks for the Visa to be approved.  Then, and only then, is it sensible to book my ticket to Aus, and I think I need to be travelling on 27 June to get there in time to get accommodation sorted before International Induction starts on 4 July. 

Stay calm.  It's too soon to panic!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cathy, Love the blog so far looking forward to following you over the next year and seeing how your work develops.

    Em x