Learning Log 14-01-20

Having taken a bit of time between the actual work of Exercise 4.2 and posting about it on my website, I’ve had time to reflect on my experience with the exercise. I was very inspired and excited in the beginning of the session. I had researched my artist and learned a lot about his career, his methods and the individual piece I chose to examine. I also had the opportunity to learn about gouache and papers that are most definitely NOT intended for painting, especially not water-activated paints like gouache. 

I experienced frustrations such as the paint pooling in places I didn’t want it, the paper sucking up too much moisture before I’d made the marks I had wanted to, and the scale of the painting really limiting the effects I was trying to achieve but I also experienced adapting to the situation (media) by problem solving with tiny paint brushes, acrylic paint, and experimenting with the saturation/viscosity of the gouache. In the end I was thrilled with the results of my experimentation. 

Before I had started to work on the actual painting, I took the time to “meet” the gouache. I worked with the blue, white, and greet – the colours I’d be using to create the background. It was in these experiments that I came to learn how absorbent the paper was and it was in those moments that I had begun to consider solutions to this challenge. In doing these explorations, I was also able to overcome some of the “Paralysis of Possibility” that can hit when faced with new sketchbook pages. I was prepared to experiment, explore, and make marks using the gouache. 

Because of my extremely busy life, the only time I was able to do this exercise was at our off-grid, remote cabin. That meant that I had to anticipate my needs ahead of time and that if something came up while out there, I’d simply have to adapt. For the most part, I think I managed to do that just fine. When I was working against the super absorbent paper, I was sincerely wishing I had some white acrylic paint that I could use to prime the paper. But in the absence of that, as with every other challenge presented throughout the work, I managed to problem-solve it and achieve an outcome that I was satisfied with. 

I found learning about Twombley’s work and methods to be incredibly interesting and I enjoyed this part of the course tremendously. I think I chose a piece that lent well to this particular exploration and that it led me to make some very exciting discoveries about myself, about gouache, and about trouble shooting when presented with obstacles. This exercise was GREAT fun! 


Learning Log 13-01-20

What I know is that it’s a damned chore to carve out time to work. But having said that, I did get the better part of a day to myself at the cabin last weekend while George set up some new snares (50 of ’em!) in one of our wolf sets. So that gave me a bunch of very quiet hours in the cozy Bear Root Creek cabin. I packed a lot of supplies into my bags and managed to get everything there in one piece despite the -30 ish temperatures. There was sufficient light to do most of the work by the natural light at the window and I only had to use a head lamp for a few little bits. Overall, I was darned happy with the whole thing. 

I’ve just uploaded my concertina sketchbooks from Exercise 4.1 and I have to say that I had a lot of fun with most of that exercise. I didn’t totally love working with pencil crayons despite my familiarity with the media. I think I just really like working in monochromatic palettes but at the behest of my tutor, I’ve been trying to expand my palette to include actual colours. 

In exercise 4.1, I’m encouraged to reflect on how the two (or three, in my case) sketchbooks compare. I liked my first one the best. The one that tells parts of the story of our trip to the Bahamas last Valentines Day. Part music festival, part kayaking trip to a deserted island or five. I loved using the grey-toned markers, especially on the brush end. I love the way the brush tip allows me to vary the thickness of the lines and the range of grey tones allow me to play with depth and shadow in ways that I find colour illustrations to be challenging and easily over-worked.In the sketchbook where I illustrated the landscape of my desk using India ink and an assortment of brushes, this is my second most preferred book. I enjoyed varying the saturation of the black tones for reasons similar to the book I spoke of in the paragraph above. I also liked using brushes of varied thickness. I was able to experiment with tone and shape. This was a lot of fun and full of experimentation for me. I didn’t spend too much time considering my movements and definitely put more effort into spontaneous mark making. 

The third book was my attempt at exploring a varied palette while using coloured pencils. I was personally underwhelmed by the result but was happy that I tried something different which felt a little uncomfortable. It was definitely valuable to go into this sketchbook with a sense of uncertainty as to the potential outcome. I am pleased with the illustrations themselves, just not so much the unrestrained range of colours. But for me, the point was to explore the inclusion of colour. I stretched myself and while I don’t LOVE the outcome, I do love that I did something different and have incorporated tutor feedback into my work. 

 

Learning Log 01-01-20

I’ve spend this week working on researching and experimenting with elements of the first exercises in the unit on Sketchbooks. I’ve created a few concertina type sketchbooks and filled the pages using media such as India ink, monochromatic grey markers and sharpie pen, and pencil and pencil crayons. They were great fun and I’m looking forward to posting the summary of that work on the coursework part of the website. I can see myself using these small books for recording trips and holidays for their handy small size. I also really enjoyed using the grey markers. It’s sort of like viewing old black and white images. Your imagination gets to fill in the colours according to your own perspective and preferences. 

One of the other things I’ve been trying to do is to make one painting/drawing/illustration in my new Moleskine journal every day. I am prepared for it to be a real challenge on the weekends when we’re at the cabin but I’m going to bring along my supplies with the hopes that I’ll be able to still make it happen. 

The two illustrations I’m sharing in this post are ones I made on new year’s day and yesterday, Jan 2. 

I was so excited to make this page. I had brand new watercolour pens by Staedtler that I couldn’t wait to try. This was the perfect opportunity to see what they could do. Granted, I was a little hurried in making this page and didn’t give myself a chance to really explore the potential for the pens in terms of blending but just these tests using single pen colours told me a lot. My trusty water brush was put to the task and I’d say it did just fine. Having a paper towel handy is always wise whether using a water brush or brush with water jar/glass. Always important to be able to control how much water is going onto the page. 

This painting was created after we’d had a salmon and asparagus dinner. I’d never tried drawing asparagus before and since they had already been eaten, I took to the interwebs for visual inspiration. That was super handy as it gave me a chance to look at colours used in rendering but also in the technical elements of the rendering in terms of the sketching of the shapes to how to place the reddish purple bits for the leaves on the asparagus. It’s definitely imperfect but I think you can identify the image as being that of a bunch of asparagus. Also, having my hair dryer handy is pretty key to working with watercolours. 

What I’ve already found with using this sketchbook practice is that it forces me to try new things and do experiment. I don’t have a lot of confidence with pairing colours and so I use mostly greys in my work. I feel like it’s really easy for a piece of work to feel overworked when I incorporate colour and am looking forward to cultivating a better understanding of and greater confidence in using colour. Lots of materials around me these days to foster that learning. 

In the meantime, my work is getting done and I’m making progress toward my goal.

My next challenge is tonight’s sketch. We head out to the cabin aroudn 4:30 and will arrive in the darkest dark. My sketch will be done by headlamp so here’s hoping it’s at least another opportunity to learn something new. This could be a great time for a little blind drawing, maybe. 

Learning Log 01-01-20

sample pages ready for photographing and submission.

I’m actually writing this on New Year’s Eve day in preparation for starting the new year with momentum and a keen sense of gettin’ things done. I’ve assembled each of the twelve cards with my samples mounted and labeled for submitting to my tutor. 

There are a few things I do wish I’d done differently but am hopeful that they aren’t problematic when my tutor looks everything over. I slightly underestimated the number of pages I’d need so ended up mounting samples to the back side of two cards. It makes for a bulky page that is going to be a challenge to photograph because of its inability to lie flat. Also, when I printed the labels, I forgot to turn off the border function which led to most borders not quite aligning with the edges of the labels. I feel like the disrupted borders definitely takes away from the clean presentation that I was going for but am unsure as to whether I’m being too fussy. I’m sure my tutor will tell me.

**the following is written on New Year’s Day

So now that the festivities are behind us and regular life is resuming, I’m back in the studio to photograph the work and upload the assignment for Part 3. I’m frustrated that I have struggled with getting this completed in a timely manner. It would appear that I’ve perhaps taken on too much. 

However, that said, I have the work uploaded in Exercise 3.3 and am ready to write the assignment post. Part 3 done and after submission, I await feedback. In the meantime, I’ll start on Part 4 – Sketchbooks. I’m eager to explore this part and have a respectable collection of art supplies which will live in a zipper pouch that I’m going to attempt to have on hand as often as possible. My goal is to make one entry into the sketchbook every day. Nothing major and probably often quick and dirty sketches but let’s hope I can at least fill one of the two little books I bought. Yesterday’s sketch was a breeze – an illustration of my dress for the Scottish Hogmanay party we went to. A little gouache, some acrylic paint, and some Sharpie to bring it all together. I get it, I think. The point to sketchbooks. Sketchbooks are to visual artists like free writing is to authors. Just do a little bit every day. No matter what it is, just commit to it. Of course, it’s easy to say after just one day but let’s see where this takes us. 

 

 

Learning Log 12-31-19

Twenty years ago, as Y2K approached and the world waited with baited breath to see if our computers would stop working and banks would collapse, Pantone released it’s first colour of the year. According to a CNN article, that colour was Cerulean. Probably not a coincidence that it was a blue hue then, too. Wrapping up a decade, preparing for a new start, this twilight tone defintely depicts the winding down of a day, or time.

This colour is described as a “contemplation of where sky and sea meet;” the taste as “flowering vines;” the touch as a “soft velvety texture;” the sound as “vivid nostalgia.” (CNN)

As an artist who seldom works in colour, I’m excited to see how I can incorporate small, tasteful doses of this colour in various ways into my work throughout 2020. I am looking forward to literally weaving this classic blue into my work. Many exciting new projects on the horizon and I’m eager to bid adieu to 2019 and to greet 2020 with enthusiasm. 


Learning Log 12-30-19

So Daunting!

School is hard. The end. 

But seriously, getting the hang of how THIS school does their courses and how work is to be submitted is breaking my brain. I have these arbitrary rules and limitations in my head that are causing serious interference with my ability to actually do the work. I have been granted an extension but I’m worried that I’m not producing enough of the right kind of work for assessment. I am hoping I’ve not totally mucked up the learning log requirement, too. 

There is one day left after today in 2019. I am trying not to freak out about what my course might be missing but my tutor feedback indicates that I’m on the right track and his suggestions for what to work on are not only legit but also doable. I have to put together my samples for presentation and mount them, photograph them, and upload them to the website and send the links to my tutor. Assignment 3 will be done and once I get my feedback, I can move ahead with Assignment 4. There are only five in the unit and I have until March to wrap it all up. I can do this!! I keep thinking about quitting but that’s not what I actually want to do. I want to complete what I started and I want to do it well. Other people can earn their degrees and  can too. I’m certainly smart enough, I just need to stop being stubborn and I definitely need to stop self sabotaging. 

It’s the damndest thing, looking back on my exercises and re-reading the observations and recalling my insights from each step. I’m definitely learning but man, am I ever hard on myself. I’d love to find a way to silence the voice in my head that’s constantly whispering about my failures because when I look at the actual work, I think I’m doing ok. Not just ok, but I’m learning and expanding. I must persist. I deserve to earn my degree. 

I feel like I need to make a note in here or somewhere that working six days a week, opening a second store, trapping and dealing with the furs we harvest, as well as school is an enormous work load. I’ve got to try and keep all these balls in the air. Juggling with more hands might help? 

In other news, I saw the most amazing textures on the side of my car the other day. Dirt, salt, road grime and the pattern that emerged reminded me of the Atlantic Wolf Fish leather that I use. Who knew that road grime could be beautiful!?

Learning Log – Assignment 2 Feedback

Receiving feedback is such a fraught experience. Submitting my work for evaluation is nerve wracking and definitely an exercise in vulnerability. Having another human measure the quality and quantity of my artistic output is not my favourite thing BUT since my goal is to stretch and grow as an artist, this seems a necessary evil. 

My Assignment 2 feedback has come back (after some technical delays) and there are upsides and downsides to what my tutor had to say. Most was positive and really useful. 

My exercise posts are too wordy and diary-like. I am to pare down the text to speaking about what I’m surprised by and what I’m learning. Less feelings and process and more factual reflection. This is not my writing style so that is a work in progress. I’m definitely not adjusting well to this feedback as this is the second time this has been brought up. 

It’s possible that I need to produce even more volume of work than I have until now which is daunting. I am not sure how to carve out even more time to do this but must persist. I will do my best. 

I’ve been given instructions to vary colours and materials to convey mood. I hope my next assignment satisfies that, however, I am going to review each of the posts before submitting them (as I’ve already done the work and am ready to submit it) to ensure that the journaling style and content is a better fit for the feedback from this assignment. 


Learning Log 09.07.19

I have been terrible at this student thing. I am serious in my heart but when it comes to my day-to-day, I honestly suck. I *want* to be pursuing this degree but there’s just so much to do and somehow, this work seems to be the first thing that gets pushed aside. I’m trying damned hard to change that. 

The other day, I received an email from Textileartist.org and the artist featured immediately grabbed my attention. The interview was with sculpture artist, Meghan Rowswell. Her work is loaded with curiosity, experimentation, and so much texture! I read the article and kept it in an open tab in my browser for two days so I could go back and keep looking at the work. I also looked her up on Instagram so that her posts would show up in my feed. I want to keep an eye on her work. 

The pieces which show techniques such as pleating, slashing, and embroidery were of the greatest interest to me. They immediately sparked ideas for new work and I think I’d be wise to record them in one of my sketchbooks before I forget. I love when I come across an artist whose work ignites that kind of inspiration. What a magical, unexpected experience! 

Learning Log – Assignment 1 Feedback


Well, I’ve submitted my first assignment and received feedback from my tutor. Bless him for being gentle and kind in his delivery of the most constructive criticism I’m probably ever received. He pointed out many of my achievements and strengths while encouraging me to consider my work from other perspectives. He also suggested that I generate more material from which he may form additional feedback on future assignments.

So while what I posted previously was a cross section of the work I produced over the duration of the first module, I did produce far more than was shown in that one post. If more work is needed to meet criteria for assessment, I’ll be posting that and linking to it from my assignment submission post. It’ll likely be a dull post but it may just satisfy what’s currently a bit weak in terms of my submission content.

While the completion of the degree seems like it’s a lifetime away, if I persist and keep putting one foot in front of the other, I could very well get there.

So back to the drawing board I’ll go. Revisit the assignment sections, review all of my work to date, flesh out my learning log, and produce more content. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

Assignment One – Mark Making and Line

Oh man, it’s taken me FOREVER to finally sit down, photograph my submissions and post them. Not exactly expeditious on my part (so embarrassing) but I’m often reminded that forward motion is still motion. So after many months of not actually doing any work (avoiding it, actually), I am now at the point where I’m ready to submit my first works for review by my tutor, Neil Musson.

The below drawings are the result of exploring mark making and line studies from Part One of the Foundations Textiles course at OCA. I’m deeply apprehensive of letting anyone see this work because from my point of view, the work is dull and not all that great. I’m hopeful that my tutor will look upon my submissions with more objectivity and maybe even a kinder narrative. Stay tuned.

Notes to Neil: Learning log pages to date will accompany this submission below.

Right hand Faber Castell soft brush

 

Wool locks handmade brush India Ink

 

Yarn handmade brush India Ink

 

White wax crayon resist, Black India ink wash

 

White wax crayon marks, 6B Graphite gently rubbed to reveal marks

 

Tombow marker

 

India Ink

 

Left Hand India Ink with Toothpick

Learning Log Entries for work done up to this submission:

 

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