Warm Up, Mark Making Ex. 0.4 and Summary

The last warm up exercise calls for larger paper, and marks of our own choosing.

Masking fluid, graphite and ink

Masking fluid, graphite and ink

This page is actually from my sketch book, but I liked the way these three mediums worked together, so I decided to try that again in the larger format:

Graphite, charcoal, ink and masking fluid

Graphite, charcoal, ink and masking fluid

It was interesting to plan out the different layers, and adding some marks after the masking fluid came off.

Back and white ink

Black and white ink

I applied the black ink with a sponge first, then used a drawing stick for both black and white lines. I like the high-contrast feel of this piece, the way the white pops out on top of the black ink. I had played around with it in my sketchbook first:

Balck and white ink

Black and white ink

Warm Up Summary

Trying all the different mediums and techniques has been great at helping me relax, and not be scared of the blank page!

The unconventional tools weren’t nearly as effective as the conventional tools, but some did provide a look that you wouldn’t get with anything else, so always worth trying. It was certainly something I might not have thought to do before this course.

India ink is something I can see using again in the future, I love the boldness of it when used undiluted, and the contrast it provides against some of the softer tools, such as graphite.

The warm up exercises helped me feel more confident about trying different mediums and tools, and not worry about whether or not I draw well, but more about using the different mediums creatively. I also moved from using my sketchbook solely to sketch with pencils, and more to experiment with different ideas and techniques, and I can see this being very important for future projects.

Warm Up, Mark Making Ex. 0.3

Negative Marks


Masking fluid, ink wash.

I applied the masking fluid with a sponge, brushes, drawing stick and stamps, then brushed over with thinned-out India ink. The masking fluid is a bit difficult to control, but easy to see while using, and creates perfect negative space.


China Marker (L), Oil Pastel (R), Ink Wash on top.

The marker and white pastel are very hard to see on the paper as you’re drawing. I made the marks a few days before I covered the paper in ink, so it was a little surprise, seeing the designs unfold. These were easier to control than the fluid. They don’t have the same pop of white, instead give a more ghostly feel.

Black ink background, white ink on top.

The white ink over the dark allows some of the black to show through, especially when feathered with the toothbrush. It gives a softer feel, not so stark, though the splatters are bold.

Also tried graphite and masking fluid, which gave a nice clean line against the horizontal pencil marks, when removed. Something I’d like to experiment with further. Used fixative on the graphite, so as not to smudge while removing the fluid.

Note to self: don’t use fixative indoors! Pretty sure breathing that in shortened my life span 😉

Warm Up, Mark Making Ex 0.2

Since I started the coursework weeks before this blog, I’m playing a bit of catch up with my earlier work. In Ex. 0.2, we are asked to explore unconventional tools.

IMG_1674I used a variety of things, including a toothbrush; row counter, point protector and DPN  (knitting gadgets); from the park, spiky balls (no idea what these are actually called), a weed, a stone; a rag; buttons.

IMG_1693This sheet uses India ink with some of the tools. The weed was too flimsy to give the feathery effect I was hoping for.

The row counter (top left) produced an interesting pattern when stuck on the DPN (which allowed it to roll), and held a surprising amount of ink.

The swirled marks on the right side are from the spiky balls, which I liked the look of as the ink wore off.

The point protector also held a large amount of ink, making for bold marks, such as the round circle on bottom, and above that are the ‘chicken scratches’ made with a wire button used as a stamp.

IMG_1694This next sheet is all graphite. Top left, a plain rubbing with feathering using toothbrush (L) and spiky ball (R); bottom left using a sponge (R) and rock (L).

Top right, attempted a rubbing with the dragon button, but between the curved shape and thick paper, it didn’t work.

In the end, I produced 3-4 sheets, using all the items in various ways. I think this exercise helps me think outside the box about what constitutes a tool for art, therefore making me more likely to use whatever I have on hand. Also, to have less attachment to what I anticipate a tool will do, and be more open to its different, unexpected possibilities.

Warm Up, Mark Making Ex. 0.1

These exercises, 0.1-0.4, are all about playing with tools, both conventional and not, and trying different mediums and techniques. The first sheet, I simply tried out the different graphite pencils, to get a feel for range of hard to soft, and the second sheet, I used the word prompts:


This sheet was my first tine playing with India Ink, which I enjoyed using:


Especially using the India Ink pens, here just playing in my sketchbook:


The finer pens are almost like markers. At the other end, SB is more like a paintbrush.

Even though it had less control, I liked the character it gave to the sketch:

IMG_1667I also did other sheets using markers (or Sharpies); black & white wax (combined with ink or graphite); graphite while holding the pencils differently, or moving my arm from the wrist vs. elbow (surprising how much difference that can make).

Chestertown River Arts

I recently went to Chestertown River Arts, a small, community arts center on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore (I may be prejudiced…) that hosts a monthly rotating art exhibit in their gallery. August features two fiber related exhibits, Fiber Finesse and Fabrications 2014.

Fiber Finesse, in the main gallery, featured mainly handmade items for wear and home, such as knitted sweaters, shawls and blankets, needlepoint and cross-stitch hangings and quilts.

Shibori Scarf, by Lesley Campana

Shibori Scarf, by Lesley Campana


This scarf, was handwoven of Tencel, then hand-dyed (type of dye was not listed). The Shibori dyeing technique Ms. Campana used resulted in beautiful, softened geometric shapes. I also liked the shift of color prominence, anchored by the matching fringe.







Supplemental Warp Scarf, by Lesley Campana

Supplemental Warp Scarf, by Lesley Campana

The Supplemental Warp Scarf was handwoven using rayon, nylon and mohair. This is a weaving technique I’m very interested trying, and I think she uses it for a lovely effect here.






I found Fabrications 2014 a fascinating exhibit. There were offerings in pottery, wood & mirror, and kiln-formed glass & steel. My favorite artist there was Joyce Murrin, whose works of fabric used color and contrasting prints to create evocative nature pictures.

Moving Water, by Joyce Murrin

Moving Water, by Joyce Murrin

by Joyce Murrin

Winter Coming On, by Joyce Murrin

Deep Forest, by Joyce Murrin

Deep Forest, by Joyce Murrin



In Moving Water, her use of not only curved pieces of fabric, but the tonal shades gives the piece fluidity. Winter Coming On uses cotton print, paint and pen, and tucking of the fabric for the Birch trees . Deep Forest also utilized machine stitching, and unexpected flashes of color throughout the bottom half of the work.




In Fabric Interpretations of Photos, Ms. Murrin gives us a side-by-side view of the original photo and her fiber version. While it’s very impressive how accurately a photo can be reproduced with fabric, I find the more abstract interpretations to have a greater impact.

Fabric Interpretations of Photos, by Joyce Murrin

Fabric Interpretations of Photos, by Joyce Murrin

Fabric Interpretations, by Joyce Murrin (detail)

Fabric Interpretations, by Joyce Murrin (detail)



(Lesley Campana, of The Celtic Knot Studio, can be reached at lcampana99@verizon.net)

Here we go…

I’ve started this blog to serve as my Learning Log for the Textiles program at OCA. I’m beginning with the pre-degree course, Foundations: Textiles.

It might expand to include other craft/art endeavors, we’ll see how it goes!