Monday, November 04, 2019

Do you make tests?

I think tests are important. These little booklets are where I store information about each paper. They can also lead to interesting discoveries. When I buy a new paper I like to make a little pamphlet bound book of eight or so pages. They are usually tied with a bow so I can easily take them apart later and add pages. I sometimes run a page through my printer, often paint on one to see how it holds up, then do some score and fold tests to see if the paper cracks. It's also good to draw, doodle, or test out things like rubber stamp inks, which go through a lot of papers.


An assortment of test booklets. The largest are 5.5 inches high. All images will enlarge.


Fabriano Artistico. I do like torn edges on my pages. I like the look and I prefer to not have waste if I can help it. When I tear the pages I test for grain and make a note of that. Not all web sites list the grain of paper they sell. I also make a little tearing diagram. Sometimes I note how many sheets I have although that hasn't worked so well because I forget to update that information.


Fabriano Artistico. Two layers of acrylic paint, fold tests with notes. This paper formed a few small cracks on the fold.


Fabriano Artistico. I chose this image to print because there are some very subtle areas that might not show up. There is a largish face in the lower right that is too hard to see. I could possibly increase the contrast but it might not work for low contrast images.


Fabriano Artistico. This is from a marker phase. I note the specific materials so I can see later which work and which don't.


Khadi Nepalese Tsasho Dark. I love this paper and I haven't made a book with it yet.


Khadi Nepalese Tsasho Dark. Which materials I test depend on what I'm working on at the moment, so it's a little random. I do leave extra blank pages so I can go back and try out other stuff.


Khadi Nepalese Tsasho Dark. Sometimes I just can't stop testing.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A tour of my studio

I have been working on my website, for all of this year. One thing I want to add is a section with photos of my studio. Here are a few. I sometimes envy people who have neat beautiful studios, but I don't know if I could actually get work done in one. I used to know a woman who kept all her stuff in lovely baskets. It really was a nice place to hang out. But then could you splash paint around?
Looking in from the door. I am very lucky to have a large and small upstairs bedroom. My current space is smaller than my previous studio, so I had to make adjustments. I wish there was more light, but it's a nice space.

My current project. I have a large table to work on, but it's always covered with stuff so the working space is small. Right now I have a silicone mat under my collage area. It's very easy to wipe up PVA spills. The downside is that it's soft so I have to go to a different spot to draw or cut.

On the other side of the table there is a drawing and cutting station. I don't sit for long, I have to keep walking around the table to the other station. Which is good.

Random stuff. The red and blue books are old abandoned projects and a few books I made to experiment in. Their pages are left overs from other projects. The white pamphlets next to those books are some of my paper tests. The doll on the top shelf was from ReClaimIt. She was billed as a creepy doll. ??? Creepy must be in the eye of the beholder.

On the bottom shelf is storage for little bits of paper. Those are bamboo desk organizers. I can bring these flat boxes to my work table for projects. It's also pretty easy to sort the left overs back into the boxes because they are labeled. The cardboard boxes above hold file folders of larger paper, partly my old image file, and partly things I save for collage.

The boss sleeps under the table.

Some storage for rulers and stencils. Also cards Jim has made and various things that I love. The wooden ball hanging on the wall to the right held string in my grandmother's pantry.

Around the corner are more cards from people, and drawings by my nephews.

There is paper storage and a big desk in another small bedroom, these dinosaurs from my pinhole camera projects accumulate on the top of the paper storage.

a Pteranodon from eBay. Actually eBay is the source for all my dinosaurs and godzillas.
You can probably guess - I picked up a little bottle of high flow acrylics, and started shaking it on my way to the sink. Ooops! I forgot to close the top. There are splatters on the floor and the door too. Some day I'll have the wall paint out and will have to fix this. Or maybe it will become some thing...

Monday, September 30, 2019

Collage and Bricolage by Aldywth

I only discovered Aldwyth in 2012. I am so glad I did. She does large and small collages, and bricolage, which I would call assemblage (is there a difference?). I find her collages especially inspiring. She uses ordinary materials to create little worlds I would love to visit. Or in the case of the larger collages, the worlds are vast.


Above: Postcard collage by Aldwyth. She made a series of postcards from two boxes of National Geographics. They were mailed to friends with the instruction to send them back with any mark they wanted to add.


Above: Moon 3 in small collages. Eyes and hands appear frequently in her collages.


Above: "Return to the Blue Peninsula"


Return to the Blue Peninsula open.

Aldwyth's large collages are spectacular, but I can't reproduce them here. They would be too small and not interesting. Unfortunately her website isn't much better, you can enlarge them by running a magnifying window over them, but the magnified image is blurry. My monitor is pretty big, maybe the magnified images would look better on a smaller monitor. If you like what you see, check out the book "Aldwyth: Work V./Work N. Collage and Assemblage 1991-2009."

Friday, September 20, 2019

Elizabeth Layton draws herself

Another artist I hugely admire is Elizabeth Layton. I like the looseness of her drawing style, her compositions are often great. And I love the personal nature of her content. She started late, almost accidentally. And drawing turned out to be the cure for her manic depression. Some of her drawings are very serious, others are playful and funny. There is a book of her drawings on Amazon: The Life and Art of Elizabeth (Grandma) Layton. The text with each image below is her words.


Garden of Eden - November 1977 "Women have had the blame all through the ages for everything. You know that's not right. Now a woman would not listen to a snake, she'd run, wouldn't she? This is Adam, he's got a Band-Aid where his rib came out. This was my first E.R.A. picture. I was just objecting to being blamed for all of the sin of the world." Elizabeth Layton


CINDERELLA - July 30, 1982 “Fairy tales end. “Cinderella and her prince get married and live happily ever after.’ Not necessarily so. He sits there, glued to the television set. She pouts, feeling neglected. She consoles herself with chocolates, romance novels, and the thought that she is a pretty little thing whose tiny pink foot slips easily into the treasured glass slipper.”


Intensive Care Room - January, 1978 "This is the room where my son died. They had all these tubes... you know, terrible. There was always blood coming down. I couldn't draw the face, so I put the pillow there. They gave him four gallons of blood. I had always given blood and I couldn't wait till I could go again and give for somebody else. They wouldn't take me because I was taking medicine for high blood pressure. I felt so helpless." Elizabeth Layton

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Eileen McGarvey


I'm going to do a few posts about people whose drawings I admire. These people inspire me to try to get more interesting content in my drawings. When I was studying drawing at San Jose State, I loved it, but eventually got disenchanted because drawing reality wasn't that compelling and I didn't seem to have a talent for coming up with more interesting content. I still struggle with that.

Eileen McGarvey, e-mcgarvey on Instagram, is doing wonderful intuitive drawings. Although she has art training, and lots of art skills, her drawings have an outsider vibe that I love. I have her permission to put a few of her Instagram photos here, each image will enlarge. Some of these seem more finished than others. But sometimes the less finished art is more compelling. I think she works longer on the ones that resonate the most with her. Perhaps she does a lot of trials that don't pan out? I'll have to ask her. Still all the images resonate with me. I think she is taping into something universal. I removed all other people's comments for privacy reasons.


"image from a guided meditation during an amazing video call from Barb Kobe's Transformative Healing Doll class." This one grabs me in a wonderful way. This is the unfinished version, the finished one has blue around the figure, making the figure and text bubbles stand out. I love them both.


"Riding the bus with tachycardia, butterfly dreams and a kiss from a fish." I love the composition in this one.


"Calm" Yes, it is calm, very comforting to look at.


"Talk to the mitochondria" I love the clasped hands. At least that's how I see it.


"Who's driving this thing?!? intuitive drawing" Life often feels like this - the bad baby seems to be in charge. We're in trouble now.

What a crooked smile you have


I have been playing with more contour drawing. It's actually partial blind contour, from a photo. Someone was asking about my process so here's a detailed explanation. Number one started at the eye, and ended at the two, where I went off the screen and had to make the image a little smaller. (this wouldn't be a problem with paper - I could have just started with a large sheet.) Two ended at the lower left shoulder with no easy way to get to the other side of the neck. Three started at the neck and includes the shirt on the right.


Here I have a little hatching filled in. The notes in the upper right refer to the brush I used. It's called rusty nib 4, a very scratchy looking nib. I rather like this state.


Here I'm done with the complicated parts, filling in the forehead and neck shadows is relatively easy.

Here's it's close to being done.


And here is the finished drawing. I tried to keep all the wonkiness, but in the end decided I like to have the metal bar joining the glasses lenses connected. I wonder - is it creepy and weird, or just fun? I like this one - it seems lively to me. I do have a crooked smile, due to a dental mishap years ago. The drawing took 3 hours 2 minutes. There are 16,841 strokes. I'm not that compulsive, Procreate keeps track of that stuff.


Here is the photo I used. It's poorly lit and out of focus but that didn't matter.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Favorite Drawing Books

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I have been playing with doing blind contour drawings and then filling in with cross hatching, as if I was happy with the proportions. I'm finding this very fun, the distortions I get with contour drawing are often interesting. Above is an example. This one was done on my iPad with Procreate.

I am working on my website this afternoon but I keep thinking I'd like to stop and draw some. (I try to work on the website when I feel fresh, and draw in the evening when I'm getting tired.) Why is drawing so distracting right now? I found a new book - Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. It's reviewed by Teoh Yi Chie on youtube. The examples are very loose, Bert Dodson's approach is clear and easy to follow. There isn't much emphasis on perfection. In fact early on he says restating lines (when you make a mistake) can give the drawing more life. I find his approach very inspiring.

My other all time favorite drawing book is Sketch Book for the Artist by Sarah Simblet. She has written other books that are very good, but this is the best. The examples are very nice drawings, her descriptions are clear and inspiring. The link goes to Amazon, where there is a "look inside.