watching paint dry

…and photographing it!

As I type to you the final drippings and runnings of this page a doing their thing, which give me the chance to show you some more bits of page.

After scribbly ink and doodles I wanted to knock back some of the busy color and detail, which I did with a mix of acrylic and guache. Sliding and scraping with palette knife.

I wanted to liven up the texture, so used coarse pumice gel and – what’s to hand? – aha! leftover dyed rice! Then a swish of spray ink…

Only drying time will tell if the rice sticks, but even if it doesn’t, it’ll leave some nice rice-scars behind. Happy either way!

I love the way the wet media allow the pigments to travel, gather, collect together in bands. In these colors it reminds me a little of malachite

trekking round this learning curve

Embarking on a project like a page a day, without an aim in sight, more a stretch of the journey traveled in a new fashion, has to be done without expectations.

I’ve doodled and made art since before I can remember.  Habitually, obsessively, because I love the process, and because (probably like all artists) I have to.

This is a different approach: One book that daily documents my trials and tribulations of the moment in color and shape, tone and imagination. Day in, day out. And then spilling out the results out into the interweb.

Having pondered if the pages might soon look samey, I’m starting to realise the range and variety of imagery that can be created.

By observing small slices of each page on screen, perspective changes. Fresh ideas emerge.

The inspiration from something touched upon days prior can be reignited afresh when a blank page beckons.

And an unexpected bonus is to be blessed by the delightful and encouraging words from folks who join along the way, Big thank you! 😀

the what and the why of ‘a page a day’

When I began this project (a month ago today) I had no idea how long I’d stick with it. Or how easy/difficult, much fun/much of a slog, it would become.
Or for what reason I wanted to do it.

But I did want to.

So I began.

A Page A Day, the project.

Ingredients:

  • New A3 sketchbook
  • All my paints, pens, inks, dyes, brushes, forks and sticks… if it makes a mark, it can join the game
  • This blog. To record and evaluate, to review and assess, keep track in a different medium of unfolding development. Regularly (I thought maybe daily, yeh…)
  • A spare 1/2 hour or so each day to fill that day’s page

That’s it, no rules.

Just one page at a time. One day at a time
(With maybe a little to-ing and fro-ing in between, but with the majority of today’s page being created today.)
Day 1, Page 1

Day 1: 16 March 2012. A Friday.
Home from work with the whole evening set aside to arty things, with the possibility to spill out over the weekend.

And wow did it spill! Everyday is painted, collaged, drawn on, doodled on, written on; dripped, splished and splatted on.

(I’ve posted previous pages if you’re interested here, here, here. And here n here!)

There are days that I’m more pleased with the result than others, but isn’t that a metaphor! If I find something really wanting on a page I’ll go back and add it. Using my sketchbook as a work surface (no drips of color go to waste in my world!) means some ‘new’ pages will begin with splishes and spills of color. S’okay.

Today ‘s page looks a lot like a page with inky paper towels stuck to it.


That’s cool. Cos I’m not so interested in what the page as a whole looks like.


These are the bits I like.

The miniature landscapes,

The inter-mingling of inks and dyes,

The light and the shade cast by wrinkles and dimples.

adventures in color: ingredients

In response to the feed back on my paper dying project, thought I’d share some inspiration and some of my fave ingredients if you’re interested in doing something similar.

Firstly I must introduce you to an artist I find enormously inspirational, Ruth Issett.

Ruth has authored several books of mouth-wateringly delicious adventure in color and frequently runs courses and workshops.

Take a peak at her Glorious Papers: Techniques for Applying Colour to Paper – this is one of my fave books to set ideas flowing.

Dyes

For real vibrant colors, both for fabric and paper, I use Procion dyes. These are available at some art/craft stores, or the trusty shop that sells most everything.
The dye powder needs to mixed with water, and the colors blend beautifully. If you’re using them for paper there’s no need to use any fixative, just treat them like an ink.

Inks

I also love to use Brusho inks. Again these come in powder form to be mixed with water.
If you sprinkle the dry powder (a little goes a long way) on damp paper you can get some fabulous starburst effects and color separation from the individual hues of pigments . Try it and find out!



Then there’s the Ranger Adirondack Color Wash sprays.
These can be used on fabrics too if heat set with an iron.
Ready mixed, these come in spray bottles.



Dr P H Martin’s Bombay ink.

Having picked up a bottle of this at my local art shop, in a fit of extravagance I got myself both full sets of 12 colors and have to say it was a great investment.

They come in dropper bottles, perfect for dripping onto paper!

The colors are vibrant and strong, so again you don’t need to use loads, and a bottle lasts a long time.

Paints

Koh-I-Noor paints are fab for several reasons.

The colors are rich and intense dye-based paints which come as 4 stackable palettes. The middle bit of each palette, along with the lid, can be used for water or mixing shades, and they are perfect if you want to take your colors out and about with you.

NB Koh-I-Noor also make stackable palette sets like this with regular watercolor – this is the one in the illustration. The ones I use are the intense dark dye based ones. Check out the comparison of colors here. Read more about playing with these here



I hope you’ve found this interesting/useful and it may have sparked some ideas for you. Til next time, happy creating, folks! 😀

lost in pages of color

it’s been over a week since the last round up of daily sketchbookery, here are some of the last week-and-a-bit’s additions…

Scraps of  dyed paper are beginning to crop up

I’d been hunting through old magazines for some silhouettes to use, I’ve a feeling these might make a few appearances in pages to come.

The faces were cut out from some over-printings (more on this later)

If I had to choose a geometric shape, I would choose the circle.

These doodlings are a form of meditation.

the words themselves are unimportant

The pen walks around, and my bitty thoughts are released.


I’ll add some more later 😀 Thanks for looking

Bubblewrap, Buttons & Rice (Oh My!)

The anticipation of unpeeling and revealing the results of the paper dying exploration is magical!

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Of all the results, I think it’s the rice I’ve found most inspiring.

It’s simple: You take so…

It’s simple: You take something and do something to it, and then you do something else to it. Keep doing this, and pretty soon you’ve got something

In adopting this premise put forward by Jasper Johns that to create is: ‘take something and do something to it’, and I like to suspend expectation, then just  ‘keep doing things’.

Popular wisdom cautions us that creation can go too far – ruined by not knowing when to stop, fidgeting and niggling the spontaneity and spirit away, from whence it cannot be reclaimed.

Unless you choose otherwise.

I’m playing with a new attitude.

One in which there cannot be a point where I step back and tell myself, after critical consideration: This is shit, this has failed, I can’t do this, this is not what I planned, followed up by I give up. If, at the time I observe and consider progress, there is no judgement; either it’s done, or it isn’t.

And even if it is, maybe some more will be done to it another time.

It’s all ephemeral.

 

 

“It’s simple: You take something and do something to it, and then you do something else to it. Keep doing this, and pretty soon you’ve got something”

In adopting this premise put forward by Jasper Johns that to create is to: ‘take something and do something to it’ (I like to suspend expectation) then just  ‘keep doing things’.

Popular wisdom cautions us that creation can go too far – ruined by not knowing when to stop, fidgeting and niggling the spontaneity and spirit away, from whence it cannot be reclaimed.

Unless you choose otherwise.

I’m playing with a new attitude.

One in which there cannot be a point where I step back and tell myself, after critical consideration: this is shit; this has failed; I can’t do this; this isn’t what I planned; followed up by I give up. If, at the time I observe and consider progress, there is no judgement; either it’s done, or it isn’t.

And even if it is, maybe some more will be done to it another time.

It’s all ephemeral.

 

 

“Obstinate & Concious”

I’ve shared some little snips and bits of my doodlings with you over the last few days to introduce you to my projects. Today I thought I’d explain a little more of how some pages come about.

I advocate the belief that art materials can be made of pretty most anything. Beyond “making use”, “recycling” or other worthy intents, this is closer to a manic scavenging, edged with disproportionate glee, in discovering a source of free material that is unwanted by the world.

The basis of this page is a case in point. I work in an office, everyday there’s a delivery of interestingly patterned paper. Business envelopes.
Opened up, inside outed to see the squiggly abstract patterning, the best of the bunch get flattened and hoarded up for later.

I’d already dyed some envelopes, by layering them in a plastic tray (yup, scavenged from the kitchen) with dilute Procion dyes and inks in shades of blues and green. Purely experimental. Or just mental? Whatever, in their soggy state the pre-gummed bits re-gummed themselves to their neighbours. This page made use of the scrappy torn bits, picked apart shreds + the borders around the windows, (window frames?) deemed too bitty to save for future who-knows-whattery.

detail from page

Collaging with Mod Podge, I built up a background for doodling on. Before it dried I added more color with little sprinklings of dry Brusho powder in gamboge, lemon and orange. Swishing with water got the colors to liven up a bit before being left to dry.

Layered up 3-4 deep in places, the overlaps and natural crunkling of the paper caused by heavy dosing with liquid, gave an undulating surface. Less camera-friendly (at least at the time of light I chose), but pleasing to draw on as the contours and furrows guide the lines on which the patterns build.

The doodlings take on a life of their own in a setting like this. Torn edges and inky tide marks sew the seeds from which the lines grow. The padded quality of the surface make biro doodles dimensional as the pressure of the ballpoint makes indented patterns. Marker pen sits on the surface and gives iridescent sheen at the right angle of light. Felt pens glide over the surface and make subtle marks.

Torn words grow new meanings, Private & Confidential became Obstinate & Conscious.

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