Abstract


I’ve been reading The Art of Abstract Painting, by Rolina van Vliet. It’s an interesting book, and guides you through a few different ways of taking an image as a starting point and working it in the abstract. It seems like an interesting technique to use for designing tapestries. (Just in time for the class!)

I started with this watercolor:

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Quick sketch of basic shapes

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Watercolor & ink, primary colors

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Ink sketch, less details

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Mostly monochromatic watercolor

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Moving the shapes around

None of the quick studies I did are anything I particularly like, which is fine, as that isn’t the point. Rather, it’s the difference between the last image, and the original watercolor, the way there seems to be almost no connection between them, that really interests me:

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Pastels, softening the shapes

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Coffee or Tea?

I belong to a lovely FB page, Sketchbooks and Experiments for Textiles, full of talented artists, where there is a July challenge to post something daily. I won’t bore you (there is a you reading this somewhere, right?) with all of them (I certainly haven’t managed daily contributions!), but here are some experiments I did on making the background with tea leaves or ground coffee:

top:silver tip white lower L: blueberry black lower R: Moroccan green

top: silver tip white
lower L: blueberry black
lower R: Moroccan green

I wetted the paper, sprinkled the tea leaves, then sprayed them with water. After it dried, it looked like this:

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A whole page, ready to use:

Blueberry Black Tea-stained background

Blueberry Black Tea-stained background

Finished piece:

Stamped with weeds, dipped in watercolor

Stamped with weeds, dipped in watercolor

Same technique for the background, only using ground coffee instead, then sprayed watercolors around a stencil:

Coffee-stained paper, watercolor

Coffee-stained paper, watercolor

Next, using a piece of cotton fabric:

Coffee-stained

Coffee-stained

Fabric wrapped, soaking in wine

Fabric wrapped, soaking in wine

 

It just looks sort of old and dirty, though more interesting in real life than in the photo. Perhaps another dyeing session, Shibori-style?

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Sketchbook Work

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

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Collage, image cut into strips

Collage, found papers

Collage, found papers

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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!

Exercise 2.5 prep

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

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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

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

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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…

Watercolor TV

I don’t remember who on the OCA FB page introduced me to this, but Matthew Palmer’s Watercolor TV series is great fun. He has a nice teaching style, very relaxed.

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B.C., Lesson 1

Whenever there’s a point where we have to wait for something to dry, he suggests it’s a nice time to get a brew, my kind of guy! I see the potential for an art class drinking game. One shot each time he calls a color juicy, chug a beer when it’s brew time…

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B.C., Lesson 2

Seriously, the videos are well done, and as a complete beginner, I’m learning some much-needed basic techniques.

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A.B.C., Lesson 1

Part Two, Ex. 2.2, Block Silhouette

Block Silhouette

I chose the Teatime theme.

Experimenting with shapes:

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

That raised the question, once cut out, does the shape need to stay together?

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

I am happy with this one. I felt the prints on the pot, cups, etc., balanced well with the bright orange-red of the ‘tea’ and it has the slightly chaotic feel I wanted. Originally I used more pastel/floral papers for the crockery, but felt the steampunk style paper lent more to the overall tumultuous feeling.

The next one did not work well. I liked the notion of the teapots hunting, but overall it’s too busy, with no real focal point.

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

I was thinking about the next exercise, Line, in my journal:

IMG_2025and playing with watercolors:

IMG_2007Which led to another block collage, on a woven newsprint background:

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

I wanted to contrast the innocuous teapot and cup, as well as the fading primary colors with the mesh of dark news in the background, and I’m pleased with the result. You might notice that the cups are completely glued down, and the pots are not. I’m not sure which way is better, though since texture is not a part of this exercise, I suppose I will eventually glue them all flat.

I’d still like to try some version of my original journal idea!