Archive for May, 2012

Have you ever thought about drawing in this way before ?

Yes and no.  Whilst I have always been aware of other methods of making marks – I have been equally a little too conservative and constrained in any drawings to date. I imagine this stems from fear of making mistakes or creating something visually unappealing.  I would like to think I am on the way to managing this fear now.

Were you able to be inventive about the range of marks you made ?

I would say that whilst I have begun the process, I think I could spend a whole year on developing marks (as many others have done).  To be honest, I did not think too much about the the range of marks – I just did what seemed natural considering the materials.  So – yes and no again….

Did you explore a wide range of media ?

I explored a variety of materials to draw on – however I did stick to the media that I had available – e.g. wax crayons, coloured pencils, pastels,  graphite, paint etc.  I did not have any bleach or gouache …. I am aware that I am uncomfortable buying in too many new materials due to the costs involved and like the idea of using up what I have.  If anything I think I got more excited about the variety of paper I found in my kindling basket rather than the drawing media itself…if that makes sense.  I realise this is not necessarily the desired effect of the exercise.

Are you pleased with what you’ve done ?  Will it help you to approach drawing more confidently ?

Yes I am pleased with the work generally I would say – it has definitely helped me loosen up a bit.  I recognise there is much to be gained from experimentation but I would say I am eager to get on with creating my own work.

Which exercise did you most enjoy ?  Why ?

I enjoyed exercise 3 for the simplicity of using various materials and mediums of my own choice – I particularly enjoyed making burn marks.  I loved the colours and the slight lack of control you have with regard to the shapes.  I love the sepia colours created which takes me to another time – I also enjoyed using my typewriter to create imperfect repetition.  

What other forms of mark-making could you try ?

I am eager to experiment with more blind drawing as it like controlled scribbling.  I like the even weight you naturally apply to the pen/pencil with this method (a good strong line) – and I like the vaguely shaped chaos that ensues.

How will these exercises enrich your textile work in the future ?

I imagine it has freed up my drawing style a little… I would also say that I am finding myself looking much more intricately at textures I see everywhere rather than just gliding over them with my eyes.  I do not look at everything and wonder how I can reproduce it as a piece of art – but I am looking at everything in a new way…in fact I can’t stop looking at the world around me – which in itself is a very exciting development.  



I have reservations in that I have only just begun and am worried I spend more time uploading work to my learning log – than actually creating the work itself.

I need a little help with self-motivation and creating a timetable to work against.  Sometimes I find it very hard to get started and work, equally sometimes it flows..


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Exercise 1

I have only included 1 example of each texture…naturally the more successful of my attempts..

Trying to create the movement in water is tricky – but by twisting the cork on paper I started to achieve the circular movements which droplets of water create within a fountain…i think.   Fountain image.

Fountain. Acrylic paint applied by twisting cork on paper to create circular marks

Source was a shutterstock image of blue marble from the internet.  I like this one.

Blue marble. Inks on paper applied with a small paintbrush

I again used one of the photos I took at Torosay for the tiles.  I am not very pleased with this one – it looks messy and the colours are too twee and green for my liking.  Tile photo.  I feel like I have butchered the real image by trying to imitate life too much.

Torosay tiles. Acrylic paint on paper applied with cotton bud

Exercise 2

I enjoyed this more than exercise 1 – working from life seems more fun to me – a little more spontaneous and perhaps easier as a result.

I also tried pastel on newsprint…which was fine – until I added fixative and then it turned into a sopping semi-translucent blur.

Kitchen tiles. Acrylic on newsprint

I am absurdly pleased with the basket weave.. maybe that is because I sketched for half an hour with pens on newsprint and in my sketchbook with only very average results.  Then after simplifying the image by just scribbling the negative shapes I was able to achieve a simple pattern and texture that I liked.  I also used an old potato sack which was dirty and creased and somehow helps to create an element of old age  associated with a woven log basket.

Basket weave. Felt pen on potato sack.

I often laugh when adding titles to these samples I am posting…I really struggle with how lame they often sound.  ‘Raindrops on a windowpane’ just sounds ridiculous to me.. but that it what it is, and I cannot give arty or cryptic titles as this is reference material …Oh well.

The pallet paper I have was effective (I believe) in giving the impression of looking out to the grey sky as it has a blurred translucency.  I just added some pencil drawn spots to show the rain.

Rain on old windowpane. 3B pencil on crinkly acrylic pallet paper

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In my recent post ‘Mark making research…work I like‘ – my final example of work was by a Canadian artist named Val Nelson who uses the ‘blind drawing’ technique in this example of her work.  When I emailed Val to request her permission in using her work as an example – she was very kind in her response, granting me full persmission and encouraging me to try it myself.

After finding an old red moleskin diary from 2011 (completely empty as per each preceding year) – I am using this as my mobile sketchbook instead of throwing it away.   Over the years I have collected many old scrappy books so this seems the perfect opportunity to start using them…recycling makes me feels good.

Learning to draw from the beginning again is frightening.  I read in the college guide that you should draw anything, anywhere and practice, practice and practice more… and so it begins.

One of the things I am trying to learn is to sketch quickly without hesitation or fear of making mistakes…so I take less and less time on each drawing..

Starting in the kitchen…


Kitchen at work. 5 minute sketch.

Craignure Pier. 5 min sketch.

As my blind drawings are a little chaotic, I often end up scribbling over them to create some kind of form.  I like the freedom of line that drawing without looking at the paper gives you – it becomes much more exciting visually.

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Alongside my textiles course, I am also working part time on the other end of the island on a farm with a weaving mill called Ardalanish.

Ardalanish is a very special place… an incredibly picturesque well maintained farm right next to a beach on the Ross of Mull.  It is the only ‘organic’ weaving mill in Britain and by using mechanical ‘Dobby looms’ from the 1950’s (original design from 1826), they retain the look of a museum.  The farm keeps a herd of 200 Hebridean (small black sheep) and 25 highland cows, the spun fleeces of the sheep are used in the weaving studio along with other native breeds like the Manx Loaghtan and the Bluefaced Leicester.


Manx Loaghtan

Bluefaced Leicester

If you are ever in Mull – I would recommend you to visit.  If you are unable to, then see images below….

welcome room, office and shop

weaving mill

cotton loom used for bothy mats

The shafts of the loom

mechanical detail

warping wheel


pattern frames for the looms

bobbin winder

mechanical detail

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