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!

 

 

 

 

Getting the hang of it

So it’s been over two decades since I was a student. Yeah, I attempted to do distance education in my early twenties (with no success) and again in my thirties (again with no success) but those pursuits were not as inspiring as what I’m committed to now. I’m currently enrolled in the Foundations in Textiles course which precedes the full-on Bachelor of Arts degre in Textiles that I’m absolutely going for. I can’t wait to make time for the course work and am honestly over the moon with the process of exploring and learning.

In our course materials, we’re tasked with keeping a learning log to record our thoughts and insights, ideas and apprehensions about the process of learning. As a lifelong journaller, this absolutely lit me up. I scoured town to find a spiral bound sketchbook that I could use for my log and have spent the last few weeks getting accustomed to making habitual entries. Suffice to say I’m still working on making it habitual but it is definitely fun and as I go through my day, I’m making mental notes of which elements I want to document in my Learning Log.

(note: I will be uploading the entries to the log in my posts so that my tutor who is in the UK can view them. By all means, read them and enjoy but if they seem lame, dull, or just too damned many pages, sorry. I need to keep a digital record somewhere.)

      

So my first exercise was to make a series of marks prompted by some very exciting adjectives using a bunch of my new (yay!) art supplies. That was a fun experience. I noticed how the materials felt on the paper and in my hands. I also noted how the various media sounded and even smelled. That was an unexpected multi-sensory experience!!

      

Of course, once I’d started working, I wanted to just make marks all day but alas, adulting called and I had to pack up the fun and make dinner. So some time has passed since that exercise and I’ve attended evening talks and daytime meetings, I made a short film with friends and attended the screening. In other words, I’m DYING to get back to my assignments!

I’ve gotten more regular with my Learning Log entries and am enjoying having art supplies on hand all the time to record my ideas. In colour!

     
The best part about the sketch at the bottom of the page above is that while on a video chat with another textile artist in Hamburg, Germany, I showed him my sketch and he showed me that he’d doodled the same exact shape during our call. We immediately got excited and all fired up as artists are wont to do.

In preparation for the next assignment, I’ve created a few “paintbrushes” from materials in my stash. I will also have a look in the recycling bin to see which materials in there can be used as “quills” or “nibs” with India ink. Update to follow.

So today, I get to experiment with handmade tools and making marks with new methods. So exciting! Then an afternoon of weaving and creativity in my residency space downtown. I am seriously living the very best life. I couldn’t be happier.

Tell me what cool, challenging creative things you’re up to. I want to know ALL about it!!

Time to get makin’

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working in this glorious space in Downtown Whitehorse. My friend, Emma Barr is an exceptional landscape painter and for the duration of her stay in Nigeria, I’m making the most of her otherwise unoccupied gallery space. I have a spot for my textile work in progress as well as a portion of wall space to display my weavings.

 

I’m treating this as a typical residency where I eat, sleep, and breathe my work. I wake up, do yoga, eat breakfast and head to the studio. I can spend eight hours in this space every day happily spinning and weaving while only barely noticing the passage of time. Yes, it’s my idea of heaven.

 

Today, I spun up two singles of merino (one single was spun with cedar bark) and plied them together for Chilkat warp for my partner, George’s Ravenstail robe that I intend to start soon. I was pretty thrilled to have this particular batch of warp turn out the way it did. I was hoping that by spinning it on the smaller whorl than usual would come closer to replicating the traditional thigh-spun warp that is normally used for Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving. Once this has rested overnight, I’ll wind it into a skein and then I’ll be taking it home and giving it a good soak to set the twist. Let’s hope that a wee bit of fulling will keep it from unravelling when I cut it for weaving!

 

And during my hours upon hours of spinning, I took my newest pair of Ginger jeans for a spin (see what I did there?!). I already have a few pairs of them and they are in heavy rotation in my very limited, mostly me-made wardrobe. I wanted a new pair that fit me just right and boy, do they ever! I used a lightweight stretch denim that I bought at Fabric.com and while my sewing machine and serger both gave me no shortage of attitude (complete with 6 broken needles!) and the whole project took several hours longer than anticipated, I’m really delighted with how they turned out. Just enough stretch that my booty looks as good at the end of the day as it does at the beginning.

And I think I finally have myself organized to begin working on my University courses. I have numerous pens, paint brushes, paints, markers, and sketch books to keep me busy for a long time to come. I will begin my Learning Log perhaps tonight or tomorrow with my coffee. I’m excited to begin recording my thoughts and discoveries as I embark on this new journey.  I hope to have a few pages to share and keep a digital record of within the next week or so, so if that sort of academic nerdery turns you on, then just hang onto your wig because shit’s about to get real!

 

Do you have any amazing/daunting/inspiring creative projects in the works? Tell me about them (Brooke, I know I can count on your participation here)

 

flourishing human

Vanessa

 

SaveSave

SaveSave