Monday, January 20, 2014

Collage and Figure Drawings

It had been a long while since I had checked into the Sketchbook Challenge blog to see what was happening there. I sort of stopped reading when the themes got too cutesy for me. I am not really into sketchbooks the way they are urging people to use them. From what I remembered they were pushing folks to create sketchbooks sort of like scrapbooks but with more personally created art/drawings.

Not my thing really, I did make a scrapbook way back when I was a teenager and continued it for a while when I was in college but eventually work got in the way and I outgrew that phase of my life. My sketchbooks are either practice drawings or doodles that may or may not become something else. Most are not meant for anyone other than myself to see. And even those meant for other to see are basically just drawings, which is my preferred artistic voice.

Anyway checking out the blog I found the theme for this month is Collage. Not my favorite kind of art work, either to create to or to look at. However I happened to have 4 cards with Japanese prints that I had been saving with the idea of one day using them in a collage. Also I had purchased some specialty wrapping paper for that purpose. Since the card images represented the four seasons I had my theme ready made.

Above are a couple of photographs showing my early stages of developing the collage. Top image is of my collected materials before I started to work . Obviously some work had already been done, separating the Japanese prints from the card stock (they were glued along one edge and were separated easily by using water to soften the card stock), selecting the colors of paper, printing out the season names and kanji characters.

Next step was to mostly cover a 90lb 11x15 in sheet of watercolor paper with various bits of my wrapping paper. I tore the wrapping paper not wanting shapes with finished (cut) edges. I selected a color for each season, blue - spring, red - summer, yellow - autumn and white for winter. I also started cutting the kanji characters and season names out of the paper they were printed on. Not wanting a lot of extra white I mostly cut around letters leaving just a bit of white paper showing.

Top photograph above show how I was arranging the cut out words and characters with the rectangular prints. Looked OK but I felt that something was missing. Lines, I though some black lines might help to link all the areas together. First impulse was to add them around the areas where the prints were going to be, but realized it would probably be better to just draw the lines on the background so that is what I did, you can see the background with lines in the bottom photograph above. I used a Japanese style brush and India ink for the lines.

Almost there, I re-positioned all of my objects but still felt there was too much open space. What to use, I thought why not some seasonal poetry. I pulled a book I have off the shelf (Little Pictures of Japan, a Book House for Children publication) and selected 4 poems that were applicable and short. Next step was to print the poems out, cut out the lines and arrange them on my collage. One of my last steps prior to gluing it all down was to use my watercolor pencils to tone the white paper for three of the seasonal names and characters, blue - spring, red - summer, yellow - autumn.

Everything was then glued down, the paper was a bit warped so I brushed clean water onto the back of the paper and stuck the whole deal under some books. When it dries I will apply some acrylic matte media to the surface to protect everything. Note that the printer I use is an Epson Ink Jet with permanent inks that won't run if they get wet.

Above are some selected figure drawings from last weeks short pose session. Top grouping were 2 minute poses, yes I know the one looks pretty sketchy, that is because I started over when the first start wasn't working out. I like the energy in this sketch even if it isn't very finished.

The middle grouping shows one minute poses. One of the other artists who attends the sessions is taking a class in downtown Boston and had homework to draw 100 gesture drawings of people. Scott though he would help her out so had our model do one minute poses for about 20-30 minutes. They are work, but fun, not sure I want to do this all the time but it was a good change.

Bottom section of drawings shows some 5 minute and some 10 minute poses.

In closing another photograph made in my local community. This tree as I recall is still alive even though it seems covered in Ivy. I will have to go back either in the spring or summer and make another photo of it . If we get more snow it might also be fun to make a photo of it snow covered. Hmm will just have to wait and see on that one.

That is it for today. Time to get back to my still life's and other drawings.