Sketchbook Work

This is my starting image, from our recent trip to Ireland:


Collage, image cut into strips

Collage, found papers

Collage, found papers


Collage, image cut into random shapes

Watercolor, painted and rolled on

Watercolor, painted and rolled on

I like the last one best, but the others give me more ideas to work from in the samples I’m working on for the Fabric Manipulation section of the course. Especially when they’re all viewed at once:

IMG_2916 Describing the relationship between the arches and the view, framing was the obvious choice, but also limiting, revealing/concealing, focusing, obstructing. One of the themes I’ve chosen for my samples is Stacked & Layered, and my material is tulle. How, or even if these images will inform those samples, I’m not yet sure!

Final Collage Exercise

Exercise 2.5

This exercise called for “a series of simple stripe or spot designs in repeat using the techniques you’ve discovered in Part Two.” These are all A5 size collages, in order of preference, beginning with my least favorite.


paper, white ink applied w/sponge


paper, ink applied with homemade stamp


paper, ink


newspaper, paper inked with homemade stamp, yarn


paper, ink applied with homemade stamp


paper, marker, ink applied with homemade stamp


paper, thread

Exercise 2.5 prep

The last collage assignment is Stripes and Spots, so I’ve been looking at images for inspiration:

IMG_2244 IMG_2245

The assignment says to “select some of your strongest collage drawings to develop your design ideas.”

These are the collages that I feel are strongest:

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Part Two, Exercise 2.3


I also think this work I did for the Sketchbook Development Course could come into play:


You can see how these sketches developed from the photo of umbrellas in the crosswalk at the top of this post!

Now to get some input from my tutor before moving forward…

Looking Back

Exercise 2.4, Reflection

Did the process of working in collage bring new challenges in terms of observation?

Absolutely! Collage is so very different from sketching an item. The choice of paper is so important. Solid or print? Which combinations? White, solid color pr print background? Layering small pieces, or larger pieces cut into definite shapes?


Whether block silhouette or line, I felt trying to accurately depict an object would be near impossible, and not the correct approach for me.

Did it affect the way you observed?

It moved me away from attempting to recreate the objects realistically, and opened many other possibilities. What could the object represent? How could the scene unfold? Would the object’s true purpose be important to the scene:

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

or would it simply be part of an overall design:

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Were there unexpected qualities or effects?

Yes, the way an object could disappear into the scene, almost to the point of not being noticeable as itself:


Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Or the way the shape, which I thought meaningful, really didn’t bring much to the table.

For example, the landscape in a bottle could have been in any shape:


And the bottle shape that seemed to represent the ‘good life’, would have worked just as well, perhaps better, in a traditional snow-globe shape:




Moving on to the final collage!

Christmas in the City


Christmas in the City

The last collage for Exercise 2.4, this idea came to me after a weekend of Christmas preparation. My husband and I had started with buying our tree, and carrying it home through the city with our son. The next morning, we went to the Farmer’s Market for wreaths, all very idyllic. On our way to lunch, we inadvertently drove through one of the worst sections of Baltimore, and the contrast between our Christmas and what I expected it might look like to the people in that neighborhood seemed striking.

The assignment asked for it to be an A2 size, but the design I had in mind didn’t lend itself to being folded for assessment, and I didn’t think the design gained anything from the larger size. I made the background from tea-stained pictures, contrasting that with the bright, primary colors of the wine bottle-as-snowglobe tree. It doesn’t have the impact I had hoped for. I wonder if it’s the lack of people. Perhaps a smaller ‘snowglobe,’ with a Victorian scene of Christmas morning, and people in the background scenes?

Collograph, Part One

Here’s what I’ve been working on for Rosemary’s course, all leading towards a collography project:


Using different tools, stencils

IMG_2186 IMG_2185

IMG_2184 IMG_2183

Rosemary recommended that I make photocopies of my work so far, cut them up and rearrange them:

IMG_0075 IMG_0076

I chose to copy them in B&W to get a better sense of the values.

(It had nothing to do with low ink levels. Nope, not at all.)

Not much to look at, but it did make me feel that at least one element of the picture should be less random.  That shaped my next sketches, along with these images:


I liked many of the sketches on this next page, and could see coming back to them for a different project, especially the one on the right side of the page:


However, I missed the more organic, natural feel that was in the original photo that started all this.


I think the bottom sketches are what I’m after, though maybe somewhere between the two. I intend to choose materials for the collograph base block that will give the result a less structured feel. So, mix of neutrals vs. one bold color? Wavy lines across the whole image or shorter ones? Lines angled, horizontal or vertical?  Decisions, decisions…

Bottled Up

Exercise 2.4

My tutor gave me the green light to move away from the tea theme, though I was told by someone else at OCA that it should still apply. So I decided to keep a theme, just not tea, as a compromise. Perhaps having a specific parameter to work within is important?

Anyway, I moved to using a wine bottle as my starting point. It’s certainly a shape I’m very familiar with! I’ve already posted some of my sketchbook work for this assignment.

I toyed with idea of the shape representing something else, which was fun:


Ultimately, I think what the bottle can contain is more interesting. I like the way the landscape feels when enclosed. The black framing the view makes it recede, and cements the feeling of distance as you move toward the top of the scene.


 One more piece to finish!

Mary Delany

Mary Granville Pendarves Delany

(May 14, 1700-April 15, 1788)

Portrait of Mary Delany by John Opie, 1782.
Mary Delany, born in England, practiced the traditional crafts of her time, such as needlework and silhouettes. It wasn’t until the age of 72, four years after the death of her second husband, that she tried a new technique that was the beginning of collage as we know it today. Delany called it a ‘flower mosaick’, and went on to produce close to a thousand of them, which can be seen at The British Museum.
Pancratium Maritinum (Hexandria Monogynia), formerly in an album (Vol.VII, 45); Sea Daffodil. 1778 Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Gloriosa Superba (Hexandria Monogynia), formerly in an album (Vol.IV, 96) Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Delany made almost all her collages against a background of black, creating a striking effect quite different from most botanical drawings. She used layers of watercolor to create the background papers, as well as most of the paper used for the flowers. Delany meticulously layered small pieces to create shapes, shading and colors that are very realistic and still admired by botanists today.

Phlomis Leonorus (Didynam: Gymnos:), formerly in an album (Vol.VII, 62); Lion’s Tail. 1777 Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Not only is Delany’s work breathtakingly beautiful, I was also (as a 53 year-old art student) drawn to the fact that she started so late in life. Her attention to detail, the subtle shading and painstaking nature of her work all impress me greatly. Mary Delany created a body of work, as well as an art form that lives on today.

Peacock, Molly. (2011) The Paper Garden: An Artist [Begins Her Life’s Work] At 72. New York: Bloomsbury
Collection Online. [Internet]. The British Museum. Available from: [Accsessed 18 November, 2014).
Explore/Articles. [Internet]. The British Museum. Available from: [Accessed 18 November, 2014]