Thursday, 24 February 2011

Module 2 assignment 1 -Apeture drawings

The following stage of the assignment was to draw through the aperture from the previous module.

I was apprehensive at first about doing these drawings as I am not terribly confident about drawing facial features from a photograph. Especially not my family. But then the technical realisation hit me that it was not the actual picture of the face we were drawing but the tones and shades and shapes. Well, that's what I drew!

Above is the first view through the apeture from the family values picture. I soon got into my stride and drew exactly the shapes and tones that I saw and really enjoyed it!

The following pictures are from the section that I took from the second collage which had the thick black words applied in pastel.

This was my favourite as I really like the image of Anna from behind and I think it is very effective contrasted with the black pastel line of the words. The black pastel line upon closer inspection is obviously not thick black and the fact that it is drawn on to the bumpy texture of the cardboard helps to bring out lots of different tones and shades of grey.

I have really enjoyed this assignment a lot more than I initially thought I would, on first inspection I was dismayed about it being all black and White because I Love Colour!! But once I got stuck in I have realised that there is a lot of " colour " in black and White with all of the different tones and shades of grey. I really loved working with all of my photographs and although I could be criticised for using the same sized and slightly similar styled I did attempt some different styles with the second stage by using paint and permanent marker pen on one and pastels on the other. This created very different results in the end and I was extremely pleased with the results of these pictures. I shall continue to "embrace black and White as the new colour." and cannot wait to start assignment 2 .

Holding Up Traffic - Videos - 48 Go Green

Holding Up Traffic - Videos - 48 Go Green

Module 2 assignment 1 - Value Family - Family Values Part 2

The next stage of my development of the family values piece includes some addition of black permanent marker pen outlines around saying Value Family and Family Values again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This looks interesting and I like the contrast. It actually forces you to look closer at the pictures rather than not being able to see them which is what I thought would happen! I did not block the black pen in as I wanted to be able to still the photos behind even if they now have black lines on them.

The other picture with the Apple of my Eye writing has had apples chalked in White pastel added all over the photographs. These were just outlines as well - I am finding it much harder, mentally, to draw over the top of photographs of my family (even though they are just photocopies) than I would with any other images.

The reason I have not used very many images of other peoples art work or magazines is two fold. The first is that in magazines it's proved actually quite hard to find any black & White photographs, and the second reason is that with the Internet at ones disposal you can find ANY image within seconds that you require. I find this overwhelming - I feel like there is too much choice which can make your mind go blank. Also if I use my images then it's all my own work ( except for the Snoopy images and Ruth Orbach drawings) and cannot be easily found anywhere else.

The picture below shows the original lay out.

I took the plunge next with bold black pastel graffiti style words on top of the apples. I used pastel as I had done with the apples. It was psychologically easier to do this rather than paint which seems more suffocating to the pictures. The pastel is chalky and as the whole thing is based on cardboard which is a bit bumpy it has now got lots of texture!

I am in two minds as to whether I like the black words- We Live Like This written over the apples and photographs. It fits the brief and does cause contrast and tonal changes but I'm not that keen on the actual final look of it. I think that is because of who is lurking underneath!

I actually prefer these photographs to the finished piece! But that's ok as the next task is to take a section through the Apeture and draw the section so the indication is good that I might like those pictures!!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Module 2 assignment 1 - Value Family - Family Values.

This assignment is in black and White. I am using old family photographs and images that are particular to me in relation to my family.

The first stage of the assignment is to arrange the images that are in black and White on a sheet of A3 card or paper.

Above is the first collage which I wrote about in the previous blog post. Below are the sections that make up the second collection. The second collection is made up of photographs of my children, my husband and one of me. They are all taken fairly recently ( within the last 6 months) and are all favourites! The other images I will explain later on.

This first section shows photographs of Anna, my husband and a collage I made of the phrase ' apple of my eye' which I particularly like - this section is laid on a black background with images of a lady putting on stockings. ( This is from a blouse that I own and really like, I was also imagining me as the woman putting on my clothes ready for another day with the family -who are -always- on -my -mind.) I see myself as the "engine" and co - ordinator of the family. I am the person who fits all the daily jigsaw pieces together and no matter what they are all independently doing I am in the background, like the lady with the stockings!! These are photos of Anna that I adore, her asleep after a dancing lesson. In Daddies arms on the beach at Dunwich, a place my family have been going to for over 50 years so my Mother probably has photos of me in my fathers arms on that beach. At the top of the stairs, not only a great perspective shot but the light works really well behind her and she was so engrossed in trying to put a teddy on every step she wasn't interested in what I was doing. There is also the collage from the previous assignment and her hand prints from a painting session last week.

In the section above there is a couple of flower brooches in felt which I made, a section of my workroom, a picture of the silver wire shoes sported by many of my dolls. One of my Bygone Vera dolls which are paper mâché puppets. The crochet blanket I made for Anna, there is also a section from the back of it with the word ' scream' embroidered onto ribbon.

In the section above we have Snoopy dominating on a pure White background. The significance of Snoopy looms large in my life. My sister and I are massive Snoopy & Charlie Brown fans and love the tv cartoons as well as anything Snoopy related.

It was also the nickname we gave to our Dad as he managed to walk through the noise and chaos of the house populated by three women completely absorbed with his task in hand and oblivious to the noise around him. This was how Snoopy always struck me in the shows and so my Dad became Snoopy from when I was about 12 years old!

Also in this section is a picture from the book " One Eighth of a muffin" this was our favourite book from our childhood, sadly now unobtainable.( My sister does have our copy from our childhood which is priceless!!) Suzie and I have refered to the story and the illustrations from this book the whole of our lives. The beautiful images of the girls in the book are drawn by Ruth Orbach and my sister recently got in touch with her and she kindly allowed Suzie to reproduce prints of some of the images from the book from her originals. Suzie had these images framed for me at Christmas which was one of the most treasured and fantastic presents I have ever had.

There are also two more puppets as well as two of my eldest sons and my god son in the snow.

This section shows another puppet, brooch, picture from ' One Eighth of a Muffin" and Anna on the stairs.

In this final section here is a very handsome photo of my second eldest on Henry in a crowd at a football match. Also one of my teacup appliqués and dog appliqué and a picture I made for Suzie of a man with a penny farthing. A pair of Elliotts boots cast aside on the middle of the kitchen floor, I also like the way they are sat the wrong way round- typical boy!!

The first collage has now dried and I have written in White acrylic paint over the top of the images. Now I will explain why the images are all this size- don't get excited though as it is simply the size my printer turns them out if I place them on a contact sheet. The quality of the definition between black & White has not come out as I had hoped either as everything is really different shades of grey. I am not sure if this is down to my printer or whether I need to edit them more definitely although at this stage I didn't want the photographs to be abstract.

The contrast between the White acrylic paint, with a black border of marker pen, works brilliantly on top of the photographs. I have chosen the words Value Family and the upside down it reads Family Values. I think these phrases speak for themselves.

Another interesting development has risen from this project as I have had a request from one of my cousins to develop a cushion using a print of the first stage of the college of photographs. From this request another friend has asked me to develop a collage using her own family photographs and in turn to create a cushion or wall hanging. I have suggested that some areas are enhanced with machine embroidery or fabrics with colour ( I will not be confined to a brief set by the college then!!) Someone else has suggested I could make a commercial enterprise out of this which might be worth looking into!

I am going to develop the second piece with either apple shapes in outline over the photographs or the words " We live like this" maybe an amalgamation of the two - apples in black, words in White?

I have also got a plan from this idea to do knitted squares sewn together or individually framed, with a photo printed on fabric sewn on to occasional squares and they would be titled " tight knit family,"

The following phrases are ones that I like and would like to incorporate in a family based textile piece:

Chip off the old block

The family that walks/ eats/ holidays/ etc together, sticks together.

Let's stick together.

In my other creative journal I have an extensive list of family phrases that we put together which I think would be great to use in a textile piece, maybe with the words machine embroidered or appliquéd on. I was thinking about sewing onto the paper in this project, I may do that on the second piece which is drying as I type, or I might do a third piece which is completely different, if not at this time then in the future. I like the pieces Tracey Emin has done with appliquéd words and phrases such as " All the people I have ever shared a bed with."

Conversely I am not usually keen on words and phrases on clothes at all and often on textiles I find them twee. There are a few artists who do use words beautifully in textiles, one lady whose work I especially admire is called Caren Garfen. Her work is all hand embroidered pieces which are based on domestic home life, exquisite!

I will be following up this post with what happens next to the second collage.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Module 2 - Black & White ( or the therapy post!?!)

I have started in earnest with module twos first assignment which asks us to explore pictures in black and White and to create a collage which in turn will have graffiti style words again in black and white on top.

The first set of photographs I have chosen to use are a selection that my Uncle Jeff has archived from his childhood, he was my Dads brother. Very sadly both my Dad and my Auntie Linda together with my Nanny and Grandad have all died and so these photographs have a very special significance in our family. They show Martin, Jeffrey and Linda as children, and as teenagers and young adults. There are lots of the three of them together and several with one or both parents present. There are photographs of my Nanny as a very beautiful young lady in the fashions of the day and several of my Nanny and Grandad together on a beach in Suffolk and in front of their house in Holly Drive, Chingford.

There are a couple of pictures of my Dad and me and one of my sister and I when we were very young outside the house where my parents had their honeymoon on the Isles of Scilly. I have often wanted to do something with all these photographs, I have quite a collection from my mothers side of the family too which need to be organised. But something along the lines of a wall hanging, or as my cousin suggested a cushion would be in order. I have decided to use this assignment as their first outing in the medium of textiles!

The pictures are interspersed with crosswords and photos of black and White fabrics aswell as collages made up of newsprint on fabric saying
"You are my Sunshine" and " Apple of my eye" both of which were expressions my Dad used. My Dad was also never further than a few feet away from a Telegraph crossword so I put some of those in too ( although mine are the Guardian but I think he would approve of the irony!)

I am always shocked at how much time is taken up by the actual mechanics of putting the work together - the photography, printing, editing, printing again!, the layout, design , collating other materials, the planning of where it all goes and finally putting it down with glue. I seem to have this idea in my head that once I've visualised it there then I've seen it as finished and the actual process of getting it down on paper shouldn't take as long as it does - and I am a fairly efficient and effective worker.

I must get over this problem I seem to have in my head that it isn't ok to actually enjoy doing it, that it should feel like work and it doesn't, it feels like heaven! I think it's that typical age old mothers guilt and I can appreciate why I feel that way but also I find I have creative bursts and you have to go with them and make everyone fall in to line. Luckily most if my family are old enough to appreciate it and actually for Anna, she doesn't know any different and so when Mummy is drawing Anna now sits and draws too! There are are times, such as now at 11O' clock at night when everyone is in bed I can create without anyone wanting me and without interruption or feeling guilty. I usually find that is when I write my blog and commit it all to the Internet!

You are my sunshine. Could there be a nicer saying? On liberty fabric in newsprint and on a blackboard in newsprint.

Nanny and Grandad in front of their house in Holly Drive, Chingford. Near Epping Forest where my father & uncle would swim in the ponds with their Dad and he would invariably lose his glasses!

Nanny and Grandad on the beach

Nanny and her classmates I think at Lady Eleanor Hollis school for Girls.

Nanny in a glamour pose, I wonder who got her to do this as I wouldn't have thought it would be in her natural nature!

My Nanny and Joyce her younger sister.

Nanny. Florence Ethel Nicholson. Or Nicky to her friends. Inexplicably my father called her "Elaine"

My Nanny, one of my favourite people ever in my life and a truly inspirational character.

My Dad and his Grandmother, she had fostered 13 children!

My Dad on his beloved scooter

My mum and dad when they were courting!

Linda, Dad and Jeffrey on a log in Epping Forest.

Three in a boat, Dad with the oars!

In Epping Forest with Grandad.

Dad, Jeffrey and Linda as a baby with Their parents.

These two girls on either end were family friends. Look what happened years later when they were asked to recreate the photo!

Don't they look jolly!?!

This is one of my favourites. Suzie, my sister and I can see all our children in these three here.

Jeffrey and Lynne, my Uncle and Aunt who have been together since about age 15!

Lynne ( on the right) was Lindas friend at school. The first time she came round Jeffrey hid in the shed!!! You can see he was happy to come out eventually!!

Finally my Nanny and Grandads wedding. They courted for nine years before she finally said "I do!"

I miss my father, Nanny and Auntie Linda more than words can say every day but I am so fortunate to have such a close immediate and extended family who all keep in touch on a daily basis! My sister & I together with our cousins and all our extended families have a weeks holiday together every year, which is something we did as children and is something which is fairly unique now, I think!

And we are so lucky to have Uncle Jeffrey who has archived all these wonderful photos and more, which I hope to reproduce into something fabulous and eye catching in the world of textile art.

I am aware that this post has become rather personal than artistic but that is the meaning behind this piece and it felt important to me to introduce them to you and to give them character. As the piece develops the people will be slightly hidden by the words I am going to add on top, but I'm sure these wonderful pictures will surface amongst my work again and again.