Saturday, 27 October 2012

class pictures

It seems I have to wait till the w/e before I can get a handle on what happens.  Culture shock.
So this week……had to give a 5 minute presentation on Monday for the painting module, chose Marlene Dumas.  I was called unexpectedly early so hadn't had too much time to get nervous and it went OK. Am working on pieces reflecting her style this w/e, which if you look her up you will appreciate is interesting.
This is her work based on a class photo from her childhood.  I am working on a 1903 class picture from the local village school
One mature student got into a wrangle with tutor about positive and negative, exasperated [in a quiet way] tutor [pink tie] finally asked, do you all want to be brought up to my level or for me to come down to yours?  Ouch.
Tuesday we did some dry etching, which is a quickish way to get a professional looking result and involves scratching into a perspex [tracing if you wish from a photo/pic] then rubbing printing ink into it, cleaning up and pressing in the printing press. 
Technician smiled and said he liked the quiet economic style, so I suspect I could have been bolder.
Wednesday the cohort trained up to London to do some History of Art research at the Courtauld and then visiting the Tanks at the Tate for some performance art and installations. 
I couldn't go [dentists] and am excused study as I already have the credits for this subject. They had a great time it would seem, I know some were dying to get to Camden Market [some had never been to London before, which explains] so I hope they enjoyed exploring.
Thursday I pottered in to pick up a blow up of the photo of the class in grand dads village school, 1903, to work a bit of Dumas magic on.  £14 to pay for A2 size technician had not even expanded to fit, harrumph.
Any extras this 2 semesters are to be paid for and from then on, all materials. Mutter, on top of my extortionate fee situation [no-one else pays, as they don't have a previous degree]. 
Any retired un-degreed person really should consider a university course as the loan will not have to be paid back.  
Did a lot of splashing about with printing inks and rollers for use as backgrounds to grenade, but so far they are not dry! At least that was free.
Friday I went to my textile group SLAPPERS, reassuring to be with people of same age for a change, stitching and nattering.
Previous Sunday I did an Embroiderers Guild day course with Jae Maries, charismatic textile artist, she  made us do some Fine Arts exercises re colour, form and tone and then tear up photos and mingle with fabrics, dunno when I will have time to finish that tho.
one more week then we have a week of assessments, so spending more time getting cold feet in conservatory painting and worrying.  Less time spent on Facebook however so a result.  

Friday, 19 October 2012

stitching plus week 3 of Arty farty

We did screen printing this week, this is my stencil of a grenade; the pics I took of the print were accidently on video, so I will have to re-visit the scene of the crime.  I used black ink on a scarlet backgound and now I have to try and think of what contemporary comment to make when I am adding my next stencil. 
Any suggestions?
The grenade is my theme for a longer project about a "Found object" that reveals a narrative........I found a grenade in the lean-to when we first moved into this, grand dad's, house. He was in the trenches in WWI.  This one was empty, but we didn't find that out till the Army had come tramping down the Lane to inspect it. 
Sadly they still took it away.
It was satisfying to work at one project all day, but annoying that I failed to get a clear background print, when at home [without all the technical accoutrements] on my own small screen, it isn't usually a problem.
Life drawing was chiaroscuro  [spell checker ignored that, had to use the dictionary] covering paper in charcoal then drawing a portrait of another student by candle light,  by rubbing out or chalking highlights. Was quite fun, makes me less fussy, but got actually exciting when another student actually managed to set herself on fire from the candle.
Sudden shocked silence as flames rose, then clumsy attempts to pat her out and throw various belated glasses of water.  She has ruined trousers and a nasty blistering. 
The tutor was mortified, I was left wondering if she had made an accident report [head teachers never die it seems, they just drift into bureaucratic whimsy] but managed to shut up.
Rabab drew me at length and I did a quick sketch of her. Interesting results.
My other project is Sense of Place, based on an contemporary artists work.  Did I say this, I was pleased to see the number of women artists suggested and chose Marlene Dumas.  In 2005ish she was the highest paid female artist, before Louise Bourgoise took over. Who knew? She does some muscular painting, but I chose an earlier work of hers of a school photo, called The Teacher, for obvious reasons.
I am working on a photo of grand dad's school photo taken in 1903 at the village school, emotive, as most of the boys in it would have gone to WWI. so there are links between the 2 projects.
What I am learning I think is
a] to look at my own work for longer rather than staring at the source in a panic  and b]questioning why I am doing it, what am I saying, what is the relevance.  I think these are good things, tho whether they are worth the fees I have to pay is still moot.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Knit and Stitch and other excitements

 Another Fine Art week bites the dust, each day feels like a brick in ……my yellow brick road?  Maybe. 
Monday I used the Huge drills and sanders to make a rather wonky box, and get ticked as being proficient with the machinery.
Not in the least true. 
Afternoon was a lecture on the theory of colour, absorbing but very cerebral and definitely over the heads of the Kennel Club [pet lovers] who chatted up the back.
Tuesday we should have had an outing in the pm, but that got postponed, so we spent all day in the Print Room, again supposedly getting to know the Huge Printing presses and various techniques.  This means Lots of small sketches, [or sketches of cats and skulls from the Young Ones] and dashing round printing them up in various ways.  Very irritating and I spent an increasing amount of time sulking in corners and dripping blood over my lino print.
Wednesday was better, Life Drawing naked man, plus a side order of skeleton.
The Knit and Stitch on Thursday [source of all these pics].  Coach was quite swish and full of older ladies I had never seen before but must live locally, as no-one spoke to me I still don't know who they are. 
Ally Pally was good, interesting stitch artists shows and I didn't spend too much IMO
Friday at SLAPPERS [my textile group], so good to touch base again.   

Saturday, today………….knackered, and with piles of homework.  hope this gives you a link to a rather gorgeous video.

Monday, 8 October 2012

We have a base in the drawing room and also a section of wall on which to stick up some of our work.  very embarrassing.  This is the result of a mono printng session and a life drawing morning. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Re Fine Arts Degree
Well I've done my first week and rather strange it was too.  I seem to be getting on with the other 3 Oldies, and the young ones are like frisky puppies - friendly, but sort of in their own reality.
We did mono printing on Tuesday which was OK, and Life Drawing on Wednesday which was abysmal for the first go [my view was all fore shortened] and then OK  for the second, when I persuaded him to turn sideways a bit.
Most young ones drew him with a HUGE head for some reason, and one drew a dead baby hanging from the ceiling in front of him.  This was greeted with some interest by tutor, so now I know what is expected………
Have at least two projects to complete in next few weeks. 
Painting - A Sense of Place…….take a contemporary artist and paint something in their style, from a photo as a source.  Have you looked at contemporary artists lately, doodles!!
Printing - to reveal a hidden history, physical or metaphysical, a memory/artifact from family or whatever, we are going to an archaeological site on Tuesday to develop this. Joy.  I spent years married to an archaeologist, memories not to be unearthed.
There is an annoying feeling that there are no boundaries, any kind of image making will do, as long as it is "honest" apparently.
But then the tutor demonstrated the most academic skill in the life drawing I have ever seen, much measuring and single point perspective, without anyone, including me, understanding one iota of how she was achieving it.
It's as if they went to the proper Art school decades ago and learnt the skills, but aren't going to pass them on, in case we are inhibited .