"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Tiny Brushes and Faint Owl

Last week I attended a workshop with Dr Veeda Ahmed looking at 2 different forms of Middle Eastern and South Asian miniature painting, Neem Rang and Siyah Qalam. “Neem Rang, meaning ‘half-painted’, is a style of miniature that features finely shaded images with selected bursts of colour. In Siyah Qalam or ‘black pen’ paintings, figures are sparingly and subtly shaded.”
I have always loved these beautiful drawings so was very keen to take the chance to learn something more about them. On many levels it was fascinating; the history, the techniques and the materials and the possibilities of learning classical techniques and then using those techniques for more contemporary imagery.

I was most interested in the technique of drawing with a brush, but I had not quite appreciated how very tiny the brushes would be. I could barely see the tip of this tiny thing with its curved hairs squirrel hairs.

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In the right hands it can give a super fine, precise and most elegant line. In my hands it did not. However after a couple of days I began to get the hang of it in a very rough and ready way.

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We worked from copies of traditional images which is a good way to learn but a copy can be deceiving and what appears to be one beautiful ink line is, in fact, made up of many tiny lines starting with an almost ghost image in pale grey, the thickness of the line being built up in certain places to emphasise and describe form. The originals are exquisite.

Needless to say I did not finish anything but just trying these techniques made me understand and appreciate even more the skill and finesse of these wonderful artists and probably improved my hand eye coordination quite a bit.

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3 practise pieces.I think I have now done just 6 of the 10,000 hrs of practise.. way to go.. 

Meanwhile I am working on some much bigger, bolder, woodcuts… vive la difference!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Colour Sketches from the Wood

Some small sketches from the wood to make some colour notes as the weather changes. They will help so much for printmaking. I start with a pen sketch just quickly getting down some main lines and lights and darks and then follow up with the colour notes.

I have wanted to do this for some time dithering about what paint etc as I need a quick drying paint for working outside. In the end I used gouche. Gouache is still my go to paint for these quick colour notes. I love its thick slightly chalky texture.

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Its a small square sketchbook 5.5 inches square 14 x14 cmss

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There are 60 pages.. I hope to fill them all.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Autumn Jess

Sometimes I would really like to get another dog. A few days ago I saw a lovely brindled whippet/cross scampering about in the woods. I could not help thinking on my late, much loved lurcher Jessie who I drew and painted so often.

So just for the sheer love of her and of course of a bit more printmaking practise I made a small print. I liked doing this so much that I plan a few more Jessie tributes.

It’s a two plate lino printed with blend rolls on Japanese paper.

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Jessie sleeping amongst falling autumn oak leaves. image 16 x 11cms