Saturday, April 30, 2011

Drawing - Interiors (cont)

I have spent an hour or so working on my drawing for Drawing class. We have three A2 drawings to complete over the next 3 weeks and there is no way I'm going to get them finished during class time. So here is the next instalment of this work in progress...
I'm going to have to try and do less detailed subjects in future : ) !!!

Friday, April 29, 2011


We were introduced to watercolour in Painting class today. I did some work in watercolour last year but it is not my favourite medium, so I will have to wait and see how using it goes under a different instructor.

We started just playing with one colour and seeing what we could do with it...

This involved using pure colour and then adding more and more water to see the effect we could create. Adding wet on wet, wet on dry and other ways to just play with the colour.

Then, we tried several colours, playing with the paint and just getting a feel for using it...
Mixing colours, laying colour over colour and seeing what happens.

After a break, we then worked with a still life set up by the teacher.

This was interesting. The colours aren't quite right here as the lighting under which I took the photo wasn't ideal. I left most of the page white and just added in the abstract shapes of the shadows to create the drapery. It was a good exercise. I preferred it to painting gum trees, which I did a lot of last year.

As I said, I'll see how it goes over the next few weeks and see if I come to like watercolour.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Art history - using my kindergarten skills!

Today in Art history, to give us a break from the dry old data dump we got to play with mosaics.

We researched some Roman mosaics and then had to re-create one in our visual diaries using paper or coloured pencils. I chose to go with the paper option as I felt like cutting and pasting - see, I knew those kindy skills would come in handy again!

This is from a mosaic at the Villa Guilia in Rome. Not a perfect copy, but it was fun to do and a change from watching dry, info filled videos.

Still Life (Acrylics) - Full Colour Palette - finished

I finally made the finishing touches to this painting during the school holidays...

I'm pretty happy with this for a first real attempt with acrylics. There are things I would try and do differently now, but it was a great experience doing this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back to school - the Easter Bunny has left the building

I headed back to TAFE today. K. has a pupil free day today, so she was very happy that Mum had to go back to school but she didn't. She stayed at home with Dad.

Ceramics was first class for the day, and I have finished the main part of my pot. Just the handles to do now and then on to decorating it.

I'm really happy with it. It is not quite the same as the shape that I originally envisaged creating, but I have gone with how it has unfolded rather than get twisted up about its perfection or lack thereof! lol

I have to come up with a design for two handles now, that will curve from the top of the next down to the curve of the pot. Time to think...

And this afternoon in drawing class it was time to start on our interiors triptych. I had to choose which three photos I was going to work from and then get started.

This is the start. I will be using graphite and charcoal for this drawing. Can't wait to see how it turns out. The compressed charcoal looks so rich on the paper.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Me, Myself & I Exhibition - WSI TAFE

Currently on at WSI TAFE Nepean (Kingswood campus) is the Me, Myself & I Exhibition. It contains hundreds of A4 size self portraits by the students and teachers attending Fine Arts courses at the campus. There is a short article and photo in the latest newsletter from WSI Tafe.

I took one photo at the exhibition...

It is really effective the way they have all been hung in a narrow band around the exhibition space. You can spend hours just working your way around the room. There are some very talented people at Nepean TAFE.

I have three self portraits in this exhibition - a photograph, an ink drawing and a ceramic.

After the exhibition, 101 portraits will be chosen to be included in a publication available next year. The edition from last year is now available from TAFE.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Term 1 down, only three to go...

The first term of my Certificate IV in Visual Arts and Contemporary Crafts at TAFE has flown by. I haven't been this busy in years, and I'm loving it.

It has been interesting talking to some of the other participants - some of them love a particular subject or two and dislike other intensely, some of them don't turn up (in fact, some haven't turned up since the first week) and some of them, who knows how they feel! Me... I'm a sponge, taking in everything and loving it, even Art History, which I hated in high school, so much so I chose not to do art after the first year.

So to recap...

Drawing - We've used ink, graphite and charcoal, working on A2 size paper mostly, to create 5 works which will culminate in second term with a triptych using all three, focussing on interiors.

Ceramics - I've created three pieces so far, all faces, and I'm halfway through building a large vase. I'm learning heaps and I think this is probably my favourite subject. I love creating in 3D.

Art History - even though we are only doing an overview, I am learning so much about Ancient History and how world events shaped the art that was created. Ancient Greece was fascinating - want to learn more about that period and the art/sculpture that is the basis for so much of what we do today. We have handed in two assignments so far, one of which was a review of an exhibition. We have to complete 5 reviews over the year and will have one essay mid year.  I am learning so much about how to look at an artwork... it is not really pretentious art speak - I'm beginning to understand what reviewers are talking about.

Printmaking - biggest learning curve here. Have never done this before. Really enjoyed the monoprints - no control, just have to create and enjoy. Lino cuts are interesting, but I need to do more to see if it really appeals or not. I want to create some hand-made prints at home, so I am going to find out what I need to set up. K. and I can have fun with this at home and create all sorts of things.

Photography - I must have absorbed more about this over the years than I thought. My grandfather was an amateur photographer - he taught my brother so much about photography (I was a lot younger) and he always had cameras with him. He gave me my first Kodak camera at age 8 - an instamatic. He gave me a Canon Demi when I was older - I love that camera. I have always enjoyed taking photos, so it is really interesting to learn how they are processed and what you can achieve in a dark room. It is frustrating to have to wait until I go back to class next term to print the 2 rolls of film I took on Saturday for our next project - I am so used to digital now - I want to see the results. But I'm patient...maybe... there is a photo place I can take it to get it developed... I didn't like getting the film out of the canister in class as they didn't have any of the correct tools to open it... had to pry it open in the dark with my fingers... ouch!

We have completed two projects in Photography so far - Identity and Camera Controls. Identity was a digital print based on something to do with my own identity, and Camera Controls was a project aimed at helping us to learn how to use the camera. I am so happy about a couple of the shots I took for this project. I had to hand them in but I'll post them next term.

Painting - Have completed two acrylic paintings, one tonal, one limited palette and will finish the third one, using the full palette, during the holidays. It was a great relief to find that I can paint using a paintbrush as well as with pastels. Still have a lot to learn but now I can have a go with acrylics and see what I can create in my own time. Next term we start watercolour, which after my experiences last year, I'm not really looking forward to. But with a different teacher, who knows... I'll go into it with an open mind.

The teachers speak about how many who do Cert IV move on and do the Diploma after. Four days a week is a big commitment over two years. Two days a week would make it four years, and twice as expensive. Something to think about over the course of this year.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Printmaking - Linocut Self Portrait

We got to play with colour today!

This was the original black & white print I did with this lino cut.

This is a two plate print using a plain purple plate, with black on the lino cut. The purple was a bit too dark (but I may use a white acrylic ink or something like that and go back and lighten this up) so I added more translucent white to the purple and tried again...

Unfortunately, some one had loosened off the press on one side. The purple didn't take. I didn't know about the loosened press and ran the black anyway (as I thought I had just not put enough ink on the plate) and it went the same way. We checked the press and found out what had happened. So, we fixed the press and I ran the black again - and it was a lucky mistake as I got a really unusual print.

And finally I ran a two colour print, with blue and purple, which I really like.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Ceramics - Ritual Vessel - WIP#2

I was disappointed today that I didn't get to start adding the neck of this pot, but it is taking shape really well and I am very happy with it. Over the break I have to work on what decorative elements I'll be putting on the outside of this, but I have an idea of what they will be so it is just doing some designs on paper ready to work next term.

The pot is about 30-35cm high so far and the neck will probably add between 10-15cm onto this. I certainly don't make small pottery pieces! This one shouldn't crack though as I'm using paper clay which is much more forgiving than the raku clay I used for the pelican.

Charcoal Drawing - Tools

We finished working on the charcoal still life with tools today. I had almost finished one at home on Monday so just had to add some finishing touches in the background.

I also finished a second drawing which I had started the previous week using graphite by accident (or was it memory loss! lol)  instead of willow charcoal as I was supposed to. I decided to play with some different techniques on this one including using water - with a brush and with a spray bottle. I didn't want to waste a good sketch!

When we go back to tech next term we will be starting work on a triptych, based on interiors. Over the holidays I need to take some photos of an interior, and I have decided to take some shots at my local arts & crafts group as it has been important in the development of my art to date. I'll have to spend some time there next week and take a lot of photos. My tutor was pleased with the idea so I'll work with that! We will be working with ink, charcoal and graphite for these three drawings, so it will be interesting using them all together and seeing what effects come out of it.

Drawing - Still Life - Graphite

I have finally taken a picture of the still life with bottles that I completed a few weeks ago using graphite.

Sorry the photo is a little skew-whiff (no tripod set up)!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Charcoal Drawing - Tools

As part of the Drawing class at TAFE we are drawing tools in charcoal, using Jim Dine's work as a reference. I don't know that my work echoes his, but I was intrigued with how he did his drawings.

Our guidelines were to sketch in willow charcoal and use compressed charcoal for the shading. Then we were to remove areas with an eraser and see the effects we could create as we removed charcoal. I had started a different version of this in class last week, but I forgot to use willow charcoal to sketch and used pencil, so wanted to start again. And it was nice to choose some tools from home - I don't usually hunt through the tools to use them so it was an adventure not knowing what I would find.

I have had a really nice morning today. I came straight home from dropping my daughter at school - first time I've done that this year! - and set up in the backyard to do this drawing. I sat in the shade, surrounded by art supplies and cats - very relaxing.

I don't think it is quite finished, but I'm happy with the progress I made today.

(This is on A2 cartridge paper, using willow and compressed charcoal)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Castle Hill Show - Highly Commended Award

Just got back from picking up my paintings from the Castle Hill Show. 'Bree' the Chinese Crested Dog painting was Highly Commended in the Pure Pastel section of the show.

Feeling quite happy right now as I haven't had a chance to do any work in pastel since I started the course. This makes me want to get back to it again.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Still Life (Acrylics) - Full Colour Palette - WIP#1

We started work on our still life using the full colour palette in acrylics today. After completing the colour wheel last week, I realised that I wanted to use the better quality acrylics. Luckily for me, a local art shop was moving and had a sale of 25% off, so I purchased the colours ready for this week.

What a difference the new colours make! I bought Matisse acrylics and they are wonderful. The Chromacryl are great to start out with but just looking at the warm yellow (Cadmium yellow) in comparison in the tubes, there is no contest as to which is the better colour.

The still life is canisters, pumpkins and fruit.

We started by doing thumbnails to ascertain how the set up would best look on the canvas. Then sketched in on the canvas with a light yellow wash. After that we worked tonally with a yellow ochre/burnt sienna wash. And then we got to start using colour!

I hope to get some more work done on this at home before our final class of term next Friday.