Thursday, April 17, 2014

Drawing Trios - to celebrate a third of the Kickstarter campaign

It's one third of the way through the "Sea, Sky and Stone" fundraising book/studio campaign and you've all made it a roaring success!

Here's some trios of drawings celebrating the trio of subjects this project entailed: the sea, the sky and the stones. Coast, astronomy and geology inspiration.

Crashing wave - Black Nab rock formation - Moon through binoculars 

White surf abstracted - Erosion of rock formations at Saltwick Nab - Sunspots on a cloudy day

Ripples of water - Shale of Black Nab - Moon and Pleiades 

Have a peek at the campaign to see the newly announced stretch rewards too!

Have a great Easter!

See the coast paintings

The pull of the print - revenge of the screenprint!

So I'm sure you remember when I said I'd found "my" printmaking method to achieve what I wanted with translating my geology inspired drawing to editioned prints?

Well, I was tempted back into the printmaking evil scientist laboratory...

New Creative Markets offered a subsidized screenprinting weekend with the folk at Jealous Studio. (hi Danny!) Which I enjoyed so much I did the advanced weekend too! My exact reaction after the first day, verbatim from a text to my friend Jo Oakley:
"Damn. Screenprinting rocks. All change!"
Although I did end up doing one super secret editioned print as a reward for my Kickstarter supporters (see the campaign here!) mostly I created my own films and screens just to do proof prints and test textures and markmaking tools.

Jealous originally gave me True Grain film to work on. It holds pretty much any marks, including paint and water washes. The image above shows red marker on True Grain for a line drawing - and the resulting screen after light exposure.

Here's an example of a wash in ink - solid ink in the centre with lighter areas moving towards the edges. This didn't expose as well as it could have, but it gives a good idea of the effect you can get. A screen of cross-hatched pencil lines is printed on top.

This print shows better the lines I achieved by drawing with soft dark (4B and 6B) pencil on film. Two different screens printed on top of each other.

And here is a trio: a film where I painted a solid area with ink, then scraped into it with a scalpel to create lines. The resulting screen and printed proof.

Not to be beaten by expensive supplies, between the weekends I made my own screens and my own True Grain.

Screens were easy - screenprinting mesh is quite inexpensive by the metre on eBay. I found variety packs of cheap stretched canvases at The Works and Lidl and just tore off the canvas and stretched the screen on with my staple gun! Voila! Less than £20 for 8 screens.

As for the film... very expensive! So I experimented trying to texture some overhead transparencies and laminating pouches. (a benefit of having a primary school teacher as a housemate) The pouches worked best. I tore them apart and used steel wool to texturize the matte side of the film. (wet/dry sandpaper didn't do as good a job)

I then did pencil marks, marker drawings and ink washes on both my film and True Grain and there was little difference in the finished exposed printing screens. The True Grain holds the ink washes slightly better, but not enough that it's a deal breaker for me.

I get the lines. Pencil texture and all. I get the washes. No inking plates again for each pull. No solvents.  And best of all, it's not an intaglio process so I can actually combine screenprinting with my lino etchings if I want! Best of both worlds.

If you missed the earlier posts on screenprinting experiments you can catch up with these links:

See the coast paintings

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A week of drawing - plywood and gesso

Drawing inspired by parasequences

As part of my self-imposed Drawing Sabbactical (see the April newsletter) I've decided to start with a week of sharing some new drawings. And please  do share some of your drawings too! Put a link or image in the comments. :)

These are sort of an experiment in progress. After the Tokyo hotel commission was finished I had just over 4 meters of high quality plywood. Borrowing a friend's jigsaw, and trying to remember what I learned about using one when I was about 13 years old!, I cut the plywood into smaller pieces. I gessoed these, and have been drawing on them!

Drawing inspired by faults in fining up sequences

The slight grain of the gesso gives a nice 'grabby' surface for the pencil. But it also smudges very smoothly. I use a silicone tipped blender to smooth and darken some of the thin pencil lines.

Inspired by faults and basins

One thing that works very well with the gessoed surface is erasing to create lines or just change my mind! I don't usually use an eraser at all when drawing, but was reading an article about "hollowing out" in sculpture and thought I'd play with that concept in pencil.

Looking through eroded rock formations

Fault in fining up
A few other drawings are also being shared daily, around 2pm, on my Facebook page.

See the coast paintings

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Big (Art) Plan - Live on a screen near you!

We interrupt this usual blog for a super stupendous exciting announcement....

The 3 year ambitious Big (Art) Plan™ (TM stands for Tina Mammoser of course) is a GO!

Sea, Sky and Stones:

8 hours into the 30 day campaign and it was 35% funded. I'm just in shock. You people rock! (especially the geologists) 

In fact it was 10% funded this afternoon before I told anyone publicly. Which is just... weird.

So take charge! Make me do drawings, send me on personal requests, and share with friends. You have the power to send me to Scarborough!

Thank you, thnk you from the bottom of my heart. And the bottom of a cliff. And possibly in a cave. (depending on where you send me to draw) 

See the coast paintings

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

3 Things about Colour

1. The colour wheel is a myth.

Colour is light, and it runs on a spectrum. It's a continuous line. Most people think of the rainbow when they think of a spectrum - the series of colours that our eyes can see. But colour is also wavelengths of light past the violet or red ends of the rainbow (visible spectrum) - ultraviolet and microwaves could be considered colours!

Of course, artists work with pigment colour - not light (unless they are video/film artists) - so we can still rely on that good old colour mixing wheel. Whew!

2. Blue is hot; Red is cold.

We associate blue with cold (ice, water) and red with warm (fire) from objects we encounter day to day. But in reality, the colours - the wavelengths of light - are the opposite! Blue is a higher frequency - hotter in temperature - than red. So relative to blue light, red light is cold! If you look at a fire or match you can actually see that the hottest spot, near the fuel, burns blue.

Lucky for artists, we're working with visible reflected colour rather than temperature. Because it would probably take some doing to convince people ice is hot.

3. Stars are different colours.

Twinkle twinkle. Stars come in all sorts of colours. Blue, yellow, white, red, orange... their colour is related to, yes you guessed it, their temperature. Hot stars are blue, cold stars are red.

But for fun, look at some stars very close to the horizon. (Sirius is usually a good one.) A lot of our atmosphere gets in the way and bounces around the light from the star until it reaches our eyes. So it can flicker in all sorts of colours!

So physics gives us an artistic impression all on its own.

Photos by Bob King,

See the coast paintings

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Big Plan - sneak preview

It's been a long time since I mentioned the Big Plan™. Over a year actually!

That's because the Plan has shifted... instead of aiming to have a second drawing studio the bar is raised and I'll be completely moving north to the coast. Of course new grand ideas have evolved along the way... thanks to the help and support of people at the New Creative Markets mentoring programme and the non-help of the London housing market.

I've decided to take a huge leap with my work and studio.

So keep an eye out in the next few weeks for the launch of my Kickstarter project Sea, Sky, Stone.

See the coast paintings

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sound and film art in Newcastle - review of the AV Festival

This month's coast trip included a few days in Newcastle exploring some of the AV Festival themed "Extraction" - geology and mining art and film.

I only took in the free events, none of the cinema film showings, and it was worth the visit. I haven't been to Newcastle since the Christmas of '96 and to be honest most of what I remembered about it was a cat that sat on my lap most days and watching the opera on BBC!

Sunday I arrived in town late, so stopped in The Mining Institute to catch the 15 minute film adaptation of "The Weavers", by filmed live at a Polish mine. Plus the theatre of the Institute is lovely! I admit that despite the film being interesting I don't have much cultural understanding of mining communities. So I appreciate these works purely on an aesthetic level while trying to learn a bit.

I also took in the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art but was more than underwhelmed.

Monday was a day trip out to Sunderland to see two shows at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. The disappointment of the Baltic was definitely balanced out by this little gem!

There are two displays: "Cathedral" is a single artist work and "Stone" is a group show of several film artists, a sculptor and geological models by engineer/carpenter Thomas Sopwith from 1834. The absolute stand-out piece is Yuri Ancarani's Il Capo, a beautiful mesmerising 15 minute film of the head quarryman in a marble mine.

Tuesday was spent in Newcastle itself with a few shows dotted around centrally. My top picks are the sound sculptures -sculptures that make or reflect sounds - by Akio Suzuki at the Globe Gallery and the piece by Susan Stenger at the Laing Gallery. Stenger created a 58 minute musical composition based on a geological drawing. I did stay and listen to the whole thing! Trying to follow the sounds along the drawing (which is longer than the room so is in a curved display) I estimated each page of the drawing represents about 2 minutes. (It restarts the top of every hour and make sure you hear the ending!)

I visited The Globe Gallery first and picked up the map to follow Akio Suzuki's sound tour of the city - he's left stencils on the ground at various places so you can stop and listen. A great way to spend the afternoon as you go from venue to venue. Plus you'll discover some pretty hidden bits of town. I jotted down what I heard at each point on the map as a personal 'recording' of the project.

The festival is on until the end of March and the gallery exhibition portions of it are free - so stop in and have a look and listen.

See the coast paintings

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Art for National Astronomy Week

Happy National Astronomy Week!

It's a week to celebrate Jupiter and all things astronomy, so here's an excerpt from my "History of Drawing in Astronomy" talk to inspire you to get outside and look at the stars - and even draw them if you fancy!

All you need is paper and pencil, and ideally a red flashlight (or regular flashlight with some red cellophane over it).

So here's some starter tips:
  1. Use a red light so you don't ruin your night sight

    Every time you turn a light on your eyes readjust. You want to adjust to the dark night sky and have your eyes stay sensitive to the stars. A quick DIY lesson.

  2. Look slightly to the side of the stars,“averted vision”

    The advantage of averted vision - the most sensitive area of our eyes is actually part of the fovia away from the centre.

  3. Freehand or use a template - either way is fine!

    Ideas for templates:
    Clock faces (to help with directions), blank circles, blank page (because you're too creative for a template!), or download a premade template.

Jupiter is of course the star (figuratively speaking) of the show this year! It's bright in the sky and the best view of the planet in years. You can easily see it with your naked eye and it should be the brightest thing in the sky except for the moon. With binoculars you can spot dots of the moons around it. With a telescope you can see even more!

Galileo's drawings of the moons of Jupiter

Did you know that Galileo was the first person to draw Jupiter's moons? He kept track of where he saw the specks of light around the planet. With this he realised that Jupiter must have moons! That orbit the planet! More evidence against the doctrine that everything orbited around the Earth. Our own Moon was okay, because it orbited around us - but no other planets should have orbiting moons.

So, got your pencil?

Jupiter and 3 (possibly 4?) moons, through binoculars

If you are just looking with your naked eyes, then draw that big shiny Jupiter and then the stars you see around it. (it might not be as many as this - this was in a very dark sky on the coast)

Jupiter and neighbouring stars, iPad drawing

I've been sharing astronomy + drawing posts all this week on my Facebook page, come join me!

If you're in the area of Stanford-le-Hope, Essex and would like to attend my talk (which also helps you start a star journal, and then actual telescope viewing up on the roof afterwards) then get in touch with Essex Wildlife Trust Thurrock Thameside centre - the evening was cancelled last Friday due to weather and is rescheduled! You can find updates here.

See the coast paintings

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