I have made a rubbing of my mountboard plate by lying layout paper (which is very thin) over the top of the plate and using a graphite pencil to get an impression.
I scan or photograph the rubbed image onto my PC and open it in Photoshop. Since the lights and darks of rubbing itself are the opposite of what my final print will look like I invert the black and the white in Photoshop to see what it looks like.
This gives me a very good idea of where the lights and darks will be when I do my final Collagraph print.
See now how the wing is now the highlight and the underside, eye area and lower beak is dark.
On the plate itself these highlights also have wood glue (or you can use PVA) which help to create brighter highlights on the finished print.
I am happy with this; now for the inking and printing!
How does your creativity come to you? There are so many different ways and means for us to form our new ideas. If only (sigh) we could produce utterly original work from referring only to the inside one’s head this is in reality impossible. ldeas cannot possibly arrive from nothing can they? Even if you suddenly have this visual composition roaming in your head based on mathematics or a fantasy style painting inspired by a walk in the woods last week, or an abstract work depicting the feeling of being by the sea since your beach holiday these refer to information already stored which has been absorbed from the world outside of you. And of course we are also informed by seeing other artists’ work; whether that art is produced by your friend or your art group or an Old Master of times gone; this could be incidental or deliberate. It is wasted energy trying to avoid what has been seen or done already!
I usually get a pretty fixed idea of how I want something to look and try to find reference for this from all manner of things. I have stores of actual photos, reference books, lots of my own photos of nature despite how rubbish they might be, snaps from TV programmes, and holiday pics on my PC and also digital storage of old drawings and my paintings. Of course the internet is really useful in figuring out the form of say animals in action, or the way the moon reflects on water, plus there are photographers who allow direct referencing to their work too on Facebook, useful obviously if you really have not seen an alligator up close or such the like.
Sometimes I forget about looking at my own work, most of which will not have been used for final work and even if it has I can use bits of it again.
I am in the process of creating a collagraph plate and looking at fox references at the moment. I want one loping along, with a purposeful gait. I had been looking around on the internet to translate my imagining into some sort of reality but (yet again) could not find the exact form I was looking for. After procrastinating (yet again!) I found a photo taken a long while ago of a fox by chance in a lane local to my house. Unfortunately he was looking back so his head is effectively missing.
Thanks to the search documents facility bringing up everything with “fox” in on my PC I could then see that one of my finished paintings could be useful for the fox head. The Fox and The Grapes below is an original painting still and it is for sale.
The painting is 29 x 33 cm priced at £150. If you are interested in the painting please email me here firstname.lastname@example.org or message me here on facebook .
Fortunately I have photoshop so a quick flip and some mucking about with the shapes I have pulled them together and have a perfect reference point to move forward to the next stage of putting my next Collagraph print together. Ta da!
More of my foxes FOR SALE here –
THE DUCK AND THE JUG FOR SALE £75
THE FOX AND THE GOLDEN BELL FOR SALE £150
If you are interested in my work please email me here email@example.com or message me here on facebook .
Yesterday I was watching a Brian Cox programme about the discovery of treatments for diseases; catching up on things recorded last summer! Brian Cox was describing how these days our investment in research is focused only on the cure or solution to the problem, ie discarding any negative results as irrelevant. The unfortunate problem with this is that scientists and researchers are not being given free rein to discover things by accident when inadvertent discoveries can also lead to the creation of useful results.
The permanent dye for the colour mauve was accidentally discovered by a scientist (William Henry Perkin) who was trying to create a synthetic quinine which is a cure for malaria. He made his future wealth out of producing this dye particularly after Queen Victoria wore a silk gown dyed with his creation mauveine. He failed in his original task, yet this discovery was deemed to be a success!
Essentially, both successes and also the detailed records of failures can be of great use to other research in the future.
The same could be applied to artistic endeavours couldn’t they?
I do divide my failures into those which are possibly useful to refer to in the future and rubbish definitely to be binned! It just would not be possible for me to store everything especially since switching from painting to printmaking. Photos of work in progress and experimentation can make it easier to store information, or even just notes.
I hung onto this trio of tom cats below which was created simply to test a printmaking texture. It was useful yesterday in convincing me to use a particular texture for some mountains on a new piece I am working on at the moment.
Sometimes you choose a background that drives you a bit crazy because of its’ design. This is not a commission and so I only have myself to blame. Here is a close up of my current work in progress about 1/4 of the total A4 size, the area around the pebbles for the whole image took around 5 hours.
At times we get so focused on getting really good at an activity that time seems to run out for experimentation and playfulness.
I swim regularly and know that playing in the pool doing roly-polys or attempting handstands increases confidence and can stretch me out of my comfort zone. Yet on a day to day basis I only allow enough time to use the water to keep fit.
As an artist I like to create pictures that have a fair chance of being successful and that must mean following a well practiced strategy for getting a decent drawing transformed into a painting.
Playing with materials and ideas helps to break these predictable patterns and although there is a much greater chance of the exercise ending in an image that is far from perfect it is a route to discovering new techniques and allowing pursuit of different ideas.
The most difficult thing of course is allowing ourselves to have this time to be playful rather than pursuing a direct course to being predictably productive. The process of discovery through playfulness allows us to develop our practice further rather than stagnating and ultimately becoming bored with what we do.
Yesterday I allowed myself time to play; above is a print of my son’s drawing of an eagle which I transferred onto mdf board alongside is a print of my photo a well known local tree. I tried putting gold leaf on some buttons as a addition and sprayed around the board with gold laquer. Who knows where I will go with this, but my nominated play-day is over and now I must get back to work!