Friday, 25 October 2013

Work in Progress

Skeleton leaves, gessoed and painted.

I came away from my last West Dean course with an absolute mountain of work in progress.  We were given so many new techniques to try that there just wasn't time to explore each one as much as any of us would have liked.  No matter, I've spent the weeks since happily playing with gesso, mod roc and spray plaster.
We stuck snippets of deconstructed fabrics on to board and gessoed over the top, we applied gesso directly on to the board and made marks in it, or embedded things in it, then we sprinkled stuff on the wet surface or let it dry and painted it with acrylics.

Partly sprinkled with sand and ash.

Our tutor had a great way of applying the paint in several washes with lots of sandpapering back after each one.  She also had some interesting warming up exercises, where we would be given an object and asked to sketch its essence. Weird, but fun!
I made a series of samples using crumpled up scrim, hessian with lots of threads pulled out and various plant parts.  Some are still waiting to be painted
Naturally, I soon wanted to get away from the flat surface of the board so I made a start on a vessel, using mod roc.

  I'm going to add some extra, scrunched up, bits to give it more texture and I've left some gaps in the plaster so that I can stitch into it after I take the balloon out.  It'll look good when its finished.  I just need to find a very sturdy needle.

In other news my first assignment for my present OU module was submitted yesterday and my story book went off to the printers today.  The publishers have produced files for Kindles too!

Sunday, 6 October 2013


I've been making a lot of these recently, and to be honest I'm not sure why, except that they are fun.  When I started I had some idea of joining them all together, but I'm not sure I want to do that now, I rather like them just as they are.  What do you think?

Anyway, to get back to the title of this blog-post ...
Friday was my most recent West Dean day and we were in the Orangery playing with the technique of sgraffito.  If you are as old as I am you will remember the scratch art cards that we used to buy as kids where you scratch away the black layer on top to reveal the colours underneath.  Our sgraffito day was a posh version of those cards, where we applied the colours of our choice using oil pastels and then covered the whole lot in black acrylic paint and left it to dry for a few minutes before scratching.

I made a lot of studys of leaves, flowers, twigs, feathers, etc, picked up in the West Dean gardens, but I think my favourite designs of the day are these few abstracts that I did late in the afternoon.

Next Friday I'm back to West Dean for a long weekend entitled 'Exciting Surfaces and Textures',which I believe will involve polyfilla, so I'm really looking forward to that.
Meanwhile I have an essay to write on the 'Constructions of Childhood' for the OU.