Yet again, I have not produced anything new to post (sigh), although I have been doing some drawing (yay). I happen to have some pictures of some an experiment I did based on an Art Nouveau poppies I found, probably somwheres on the internet. First I basically copied the poppies, which was quite pleasant
Then I got excited and stole some images of flowers from good seed catalogues, stylized them and added some half-assed Art Nouveau-y lines. I left the backgrounds with the wood texture, which makes all the colour stand out.
Unfortunately, it never occurs to me to sand the wood, so edges come out a little more rough than I’d really like. Or maybe they would just come out a lot differently if I were to do another.
By the third one things were starting to get a little fairy-tale style, which appeals to me on another level. I really should work more with these. I know that there is another, unfinished, of geranium; maybe soon I will finish that.
I’d really enjoyed creating a linoprint last year when I was working at Harbourfront Centre, and had been thinking of buying some supplies and trying it out again in a slightly less rushed situation. While I was home a month or two ago, my mom and sisters and I went to an auction, where I was lucky enough to snag a box full of linocutting supplies – carving tools and breyers, some (very old) ink and lino.
This past weekend I finally made it an art supply store, and picked up some fresh ink and some of the newer, rubbery lino. I sketched out an octopus and transferred it to the lino. Unfortunately, I find that this rubbery lino is a difficult medium – it’s not so bad if you’re using it to carve lines, but if you’re carving away a lot of material, it becomes quite annoying. I probably just need to work with it more, and learn how to work with the medium instead of struggling against it.
In the end, this turned out much better than I thought it was going to, but I’m still annoyed but a few things – the octopus’ highest tentacle didn’t turn out right, even in the sketch, and a lot of the lines aren’t very clean. I also don’t quite have the printing technique down, so I’m not getting a very clean print.
I may do some more work on the linocut, to see if I can clean it up and make it something that i’m happier with, and I may add some elements to the final prints with a pen or some other inks. We’ll see.
For now, here’s my octopus!
When I moved to Toronto, I had the vague plan to draw a postcard every week to send to my mom and sisters back home. I’ve lived here a year, and so far I think I’ve sent three. This is a drawing of a sugar skull or Calavera. In Mexico, they’re used as part of the Catholic celebration of the Day of the Dead. They’ve kind-of become a popular decorative design, and I’ve been seeing them pop up on things like purses and t-shirts.
I’m not necessarily the best at drawing – you can see a lot of pencil lines, and the inked lines are a bit inconsistent. I’m fairly happy with it anyway; it was a lot of fun to draw.
This is my Owl Linocut Print!
This pas Spring, I sat in on one of Harbourfront Centre’s School Visits workshops. This particular day, they were visiting the Museum of Inuit Art (a terrific, small museum full of great work, and which I’d totally encourage you to visit), and taking inspiration from the exhibits on display there to create their own linocuts.
I chose this guy as my inspiration (an owl sculpture by artist Joe Talirunili):
Then I tried to sketch out my own version of an owl (inspired by the Inuit carving, but differently cute), and transferred the image to the linoblock (you press your drawing against the block, rub vigorously on the back of the drawing, and the pencil lead leaves an impression in reverse that you can then re-trace):
Then you cut it out with a carving tool; I hadn’t done anything like this since I was in high school, so was re-learning how to carve the rubbery lino as I went.
Once you’re done carving, you use a brayer and ink to ink the linoblock, and then press it onto paper very carefully. I don’t have any photos of that part, since I needed both hands. In the end, I was pretty happy with the end product, and I’d love to get some more materials and work with this medium again.
Here is my watercolour of Gremlin, AKA the baby. Usually I like to paint in oil, but it seems to take too much effort, so I am experimenting with watercolour.
An in-progress picture of my map of the house and fields around Fowler’s Corners where i grew up.