Abstract Sketchbooks

This concertina sketchbook was painted on a gloomy afternoon.
I think I was in a bit of a bad mood, I call this one my 'Mardy Sketchbook'!

17/7/11: More Sketchbook Rememberings...

Just looking back through last year's sketch book has brought back those holiday yearnings...

I love using watercolour paint and ink tense pencils on top of a gessoed ground.
The watercolour resists the gesso slightly and produces a lovely speckled surface.

24/6/11: Whitby: Part Two:

Well, having scoffed fish and chips, crab sandwiches, pizza, my own body weight in Mr. Swizzles' finest and, of course, the posh breakfasts, I thought that it was nigh on time to be a bit 'creative'. (The fact that I actually couldn't physically move after all that carbohydrate also helped in me deciding that I now should sit down and draw!)
(oooo Letitia, you've excelled yourself now, poor punctuation and one of those copious brackets that  seem to scatter across this blog in a confetti-like manner!)
Anyway, so there I reside on a secluded beach in Whitby, sketchbook, Inktense pencils and Mr.Chews at my side. A very happy girl indeed.
Lottie and Ian scuttle off with fossil-fever (once, when we went to Lyme Regis, Ian foolishly promised a T-Rex skeleton and we then spent the rest of the break consoling a heart broken five year old. Needless to say, this time I made sure that Lottie was fully briefed before the fossil extracting expedition and had slightly more realistic targets.)
And then there was peace, and I drifted off into that fuzzy place where time slips away and your scalp gets burnt in the searing heat and you don't even notice it.

For two whole English hours I worked in my Moleskin concertina sketchbook and I had the best time. It felt great to actually make marks in a book that was almost too lovely to work in. (I had bought it at St.Ives last summer, I am a dreadful sketchbook hoarder, why do I buy books that are too beautiful to defile with my drawings?)
I think that this sketching session was one of the most useful that I had ever done, I've got so many ideas for shapes and colour combinations and I know that I will keep looking back at this over and over again. Now the book itself is certainly no show stopper, she won't win 'The Winsor and Newton Sketchbook Babe Award 2011' but I actually felt that I was using a sketchbook properly, not for anyone else's approval but just to capture ideas (and after a rather gruelling half term it also helped to get my mojo back.)

The blissful period of creativity was then rudely disrupted by Ian's rather over zealous fossil hunting technique, which now involved dropping huge lumps of rock from great heights.
So off we headed, back to our (rather stately) home, Ian and Lottie proudly clutching hunks of Whitby's finest cliff face, and me, with my little Moleskin of happiness.

PS: Further feelings of euphoria ensued on my return to the studio (yes, I really am calling it a studio now, ok?) I twiddled and tweaked a little, adding some acrylic paint and cutting out areas of general horridness with a scalpel and such like, and then I made an amazing discovery. (Now before I reveal this 'amazing discovery', please do not become too excited, as things that I may class as such, to others seem completely and utterly obvious. Much like the time I realised that it's much easier to apply double sided tape onto the thing you are trying to stick stuff onto and THEN peel off the annoying paper backing, instead of wrestling with the damn stuff for half an hour and ending up with a sticky, skin encrusted ball of uselessness........yes, I realised this about two weeks ago, much to the amusement of my students, with whom I shared this revelation in the middle of a class.)
So, back to this (possibly) amazing discovery. When you draw in Moleskin concertina sketchbooks you can mess around with the compositions! (A bit like that game you'd play as a kid when you'd draw the head of a parrot, fold it over and another kid would draw a snowman's body, fold it over, and then another fun - seeking kid of the 'seventies, remember there were no DVDs and nintendos then, would draw a pair of hairy legs and stilletoes, all resulting in great hilarity and general states of high jinx.)

27/11/11: As Promised:

I think that I promised you a little while ago that I'd let you sneak a peek into my little summer holiday sketchbook.
Well, us girls always keep our promises (and I really should be cleaning the bathroom now) so, make yourself comfortable, pour a cup of tea, put that 'Take Hart' gallery theme tune on the turn table and off we go....
I started my little moleskine concertina sketchbook of happiness at the beach in Mousehole, here's a few of the sights that kick started things off: 

Then I just carried the little book around with me all summer, making a serruptitious scribble here, dibbling a dab or two there, so by the end it's become like a diary of the whole holiday. 

If you wipe a wet brush over an Inktense pencil and then flick it over the page it makes a really fine speckled effect.

I used white gouache on this sketchbook, which is a media I haven't used for years. I was really happy with the crackled surface that magically appeared when you painted the acrylic over the gouache. Woo! Hoo!

I'd bought this rather intriguing wooden clay tool at Penzance and I used it to scratch into the wet acrylic.
To emphasise the texture I then scribbled Inktense pencil over the top and wiped a damp tissue over the top.

Happy days, full of illuminous paint and Inktense pencils.......sigh!

Cornwall Summer Concertina Sketchbook 2012:

28/2/12: Cathedral City (Not The Cheese Mind You!)
Yesterday was the BTEC art trip to Lincoln Cathedral, so off we bundled in the trusty mini van, boiled sweets and sketchbooks in hand.
We were greeted by the rather rotund but very cheeky Cathedral robin (who was practically sitting on my boot as I took photos) and our feathered friend enjoyed Karla's 'pomme bears' very much indeed!

The Cathedral is such an imposing structure to draw and the aim of the visit was to produce fluid, quirky and unselfconscious drawings, so the students were asked to:
draw with their non-dominant hand.
produce continuous line drawings (no taking that pen off the paper mind!)
draw with a pen in both hands(!)
not look at the paper whilst drawing.

I did a couple of drawings in my Moleskine of happiness (I loved watching the people float around with those audio guide things attached to their ears.)

Now that I had loads of primary sources from the Cathedral I wanted to develop my sketches further.
When working from photos I find it more helpful to look at all of them strewn around me, kind of like looking at them with my peripheral vision.
If I only look at one photo as I draw I get far too concerned with the details, and I usually end up with one of those tight little drawings that screams 'hello! I've been copied from a photograph, don't you know!'
I wanted to play with mark making and used garden wire, plastic lids, off cuts of MDF and Indian ink.

Printing with the edges of the MDF dipped in the ink created some interesting textures that reminded me a bit of the stonework.

Well, and I had to add some of my beloved fluorescent pink acrylic (I guess it could always link to the stained glass windows I saw!)

I really enjoyed the repetiton of motifs - something that is apparent in the Cathedral's architecture.

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