Stretched canvases

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I have the canvas, but I don’t have the inclination to paint. I could use the excuse that its been too  hot (it has) or that I’ve got into watching daytime tv (I have, specifically cagney and lacey) or I’m mooching about too much on social media, like Instagram and Facebook and here (I am)….

But if I explore a bit deeper, pick the scab off the wound so to speak, its more from fear. Fear of rejection, fear that I’m doing this for nothing, fear that it won’t be good enough. Leaving work seems to have made me shy, to all my friends that know me that may sound strange. But I think it’s my default setting. It’s easier to sit at home than involve myself.

I need to fight the tendency to relax. I’ve always been a bit reticent about getting out and about, there is always that book I haven’t read, or the radio play that’s just starting. Or distractions such as doing the washing up or cooking food. Now I’ve got a new kitchen I’m doing more housework for goodness sake. I’ve swapped my paintbrush for a broom!

So, I’ve got to redouble my efforts to be an artist. Try and work round these moods. Be more positive, follow up leads. Or I will just end up sitting in my armchair and vegetating!

My Triceratops

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Im not sure about the juxtaposition of these objects, and I’m certainly not sure if this is a poem, but I thought I would try and write something…..

Come drink at the mirror pool, my Triceratops

Dip your horned snout deep into its glassy surface.

Remember Rhinos or Elephants hidden in time drinking here.

Plastic, printed, broken foot….night light shines to light the way.

My Triceratops, a whim when bought, now friend.

Each brick and brack gathered and coveted. No space for you?

But still you stay….

Triceratops, on a tray, on the microwave…

How random is that place, how chaotic….

My Triceratops please stay.

 

Patterns

What can I say, I love patterns….drawing in one app then modifying it in another couple of apps. Then multiplying the images…….something in my brain makes me keep going, changing, creating new iterations. Playing with the colours, the tones, the sharpness of the images.

You don’t know when you start how they are going to turn out, but I want them to be satisfying. I do like to add spirals, curves and shading.

 

Multiple photos

It’s really interesting taking a photograph and then multiplying it. I tend to take pictures of trees, but here I have looked out of windows at Spode or multiplied every day objects like my glasses and a mug. I have even drawn over  one of the photos using a simple kaleidoscope app.

I think what makes these interesting is the underlying structure, ridges on the roofs or the metal frames of the windows ….the white triangles and diamonds on the multiplied glasses photo adds a surprising pattern.

The trick is to rotate the pictures until you get the most pleasing composition.  Sometimes it’s interesting not to be completely symmetrical, you can use shadows and spaces to create a different feel. Always look at negative space, for instance the sky, patterns can appear here too….

Be creative and you can bring out so much interest even from a mundane photo…..

Changing the filters, colours, going from colour to black and white can all add to the final image. If you are not satisfied you don’t have to accept the picture…maybe take a backwards step and try something else.

There are so many apps out there, and just using a mobile phone you can get pleasing images. Curiosity is a good habit to have. A sense of playing with the subject and not being afraid to experiment……

Pastel workshop

I went to a pastel drawing workshop today. We were shown how to use various grades of “toothed” paper. It was like drawing on fine sandpaper .

The smoothest grade was used with soft pastels (not the oily sort but the dry powdery ones). You could use a silicone spreader, I think it was called, or your fingers and hands to blend the colours.

First you make broad sweeps of tones, all of similar colours, so a light blue, mid blue and dark blue or grey for instance. You smudge them on the paper, then you add layers, working into each layer and dragging the pastels about with the spreader/smudger. You can get interesting marks and edges using this tool.

Then you overlay other colours to contrast, say an orange or a pink, adding detail as you go. Finally adding the darkest and lightest colours, which seem to float on top of the others.

The second paper was rougher and you must not get it damp or the surface will come away. It was coloured a turquouse blue. This paper was so rough you were not supposed to smudge it as it would destroy the texture. You had to draw with thinner layers of pastel and in a much more impressionistic style.

The third paper was really rough like sandpaper. The tutor said sometimes people fetch the skin off their fingers blending it. Better to swiftly smudge it with the flat if your palm. This paper could be wetted with an alcohol based liquid which allowed the pastels to blend and run. As the liquid quickly dried you could draw over it and smudge it with the silicone spreader. or use a pastel pencil for more definition.

I gained a lot of information from the workshop and will be doing some more work in pastels.

Playing with trees

I do like to use apps to multiply images.

 

Using an app called layout (other apps will be available ) …I have multiplied the misty trees that I photographed a couple of days ago. Sometimes if you get it just right you can make something that looks like a reflection in a lake. Other options can help you create confusing images such as the twin driveways above. I particularly like turning the photos so you end up with a tangle of branches, a web of twigs, with patterns entwined in them. Like old fashioned wallpaper you can sometimes find alien animals creeping into the edges of your vision.

Changing the filters on the pictures adds to the air of disparity. Also by changing the level of the position of a duplicated photo, you can make something that appears more natural, for instance the picture of a lone tree where I have included more of the foreground in the upper photo while including more if the sky in the lower, inverted, image. My only concern with the picture is that there is a sharp line cutting across the middle but I did not want to try and smudge it using another app like picsart.

I think the use of colour in these images can make a difference to the overall effect. Colour can be jarring or it can enhance the picture. In these I have muted the colours, or even removed it and relied on variations in grey to give a mood to the pictures. This gives a spooky, ethereal look. If I wanted to make them more cheerful I would probably enhance the greens and try and bring some blues into the photos. By taking them later on in the evening on an overcast day I found that there were no shadows to contend with, the Sun was starting to set but was completely obscured by the cloud.

All in all I’m glad I took the photos of these magnificent trees… It was a productive use of my time while standing around in the cold for an hour waiting for my friends x