Tall weepers and other inspirations

For a few months now I have been joining a group of people via Zoom for Sunday Art Time. They live on the other side of the world to me and I didn’t know any of them when this started.  That hasn’t stopped us getting together for an hour each week just to chat and make art.

One of my earlier mini-zines made from various pages from Mindfood magazine.

Working with collage and simple book forms let’s me make work that can be finished in one or two sessions. I like the ability to make a work quickly, given most of my serious textile work takes ages to complete.

Featuring adventure penguins.
More adventurous penguins on luxury yachts!
And concluding with the one and only Mr John Waters

I have also found some good ideas from the broader reaches of the “junk journaling ” movement, such as cutting up large print books for useful phrases.

“A wild ass from North Africa “, a work in progress.

These mini-zines and collages give rein to the less formal (aka sillier) side of my art and has given me a lot of enjoyment in these grim times.

Sound advice for the masses. A mash-up of paint sample chips with rose names.

You can find some other examples on my collage|books|zines page.

Van Gogh’s box of wool

A red painted box with balls of wool inside. I wondered what the box was used for. Vincent Van Gogh used the balls of wool to consider possible colour combinations.

Van Gogh’s box of wool, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Synthetic dyes were discovered in the 1860’s, influencing both fashion and the colours on the palettes of artists.

Up close to Van Gogh

While in the Netherlands in 2018 we had the opportunity to binge, in person, on the works of Vincent Van Gogh at both the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.  The latter is the largest private collection of Van Gogh’s work in the world and the second largest collection after the Van Gogh Museum. Unlike the Van Gogh Museum, the Kröller-Müller does allow photography so I was able to take photos and details of some of the works I saw during my visit.

The reason I am posting these photos now is that a fellow blogger, Rose Davies, has been spending some of her recent time attempting to copy Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night. As she commented in her recent post, “it’s so interesting to analyse a famous artwork and see what has gone into it”. So I thought I’d share a few of my detail shots and two drawings I made in the Kröller-Müller Museum.

Please note that these photos were taken standing back and using a close up lens, rather than with my face on the painting. Although I did see a man literally lean over a barricade, place his hand on the wall next to a Van Gogh self portrait in the Rijks Museum and literally stick his face only a few centimetres off the glass!

Enclosed Wheat Field with Rising Sun, late May 1889,

Detail from the left side of the painting (as we are looking at it).

My notes on the painting, Enclosed Wheatfield with Rising Sun.

Wheatfields in a Mountain Landscape, early December, 1889,

Details of the tree from the left side of the painting (as we are looking at it).

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Detail of the tree in the centre right of the painting, (as we are looking at it).

My notes on the colours of the tree on the centre right of the painting

Terrace of a Café at Night (Place Du Forum), circa September 1888

Detail of the street and figures to the far right of the painting, (as we are looking at it).

You can see those black arcs of ‘dry brush’ skipping over the other layers of paint.

Portrait of a Young Woman, late June-early July 1890

Detail of the left shoulder, (as we are seeing the painting).

I love how we are so simply led over the contour of her torso by those blue brush strokes, something that I noticed Van Gogh often does in his self-portraits as well.

Let’s hope that in the near future we will be able to see such art in person again.

 

 

Inky Fingers

I’m not sure if ink is the latest “thing”, but it certainly seems to be on trend at present. Wherever I turn there is a new range of inks and new companies to discover. Alas I am a frail spirit and I easily succumb to the enticement of new art products.

This time it’s ink from Van Dieman’s Ink in Tasmania (Van Diemans Land being the Dutch name given to the island after they ‘discovered’ it several tens of thousands of years after the indigenous Palawa people got there). But I digress. I hadn’t heard of the company but the inks looked interesting and I was able to buy 2ml sample size bottles which inspired me to try 4 colours.

I chose Cradle Mountain Grey, Blackened Seas, Azure Kingfisher and Howl at the Moon. The last two are ‘shimmer inks’, that is they have tiny fine particles of glittery stuff in them. None of these inks is waterproof. The company does list them as light and age resistant. As I am most likely to use these in my sketchbooks that shouldn’t be an issue for me. I have tried the inks out on my 300 gsm cold pressed Arches watercolour paper. Although the nibs that I tested them with really don’t do well on the toothed surface I wanted to see the initial colour and whether bleeding on damp paper would yield secondary colours. You can see the results below.

The Cradle Mountain Grey is the colour I find the most versatile of these inks. It also has some interesting secondary colours when drawn out with water. I really dislike the definite-ness of the black ink line and watercolour approach that many sketchers use. This grey backs off a fraction from that dark insistent line. It will be interesting to see how it goes when I am sketching with it in my fountain pen. The Blackened Seas is also an interesting colour, that I could see myself using.

The two shimmer colours I will likely only use with a dip pen and brush as there is no guarantee that I can fully clean them out of a fountain pen. I can see the silver shimmer in the Howling at the Moon colour, but there wasn’t much obvious gold shimmer in the Azure Kingfisher. It might be that I didn’t shake the sample up sufficiently well, or perhaps my sample didn’t containmuch gold in the first place. If you look at the photo you can see how the shimmer inks settle out after sitting for a while.

The 2ml samples give me plenty of ink to play with. I am looking forward to further expermentation.
Further information about the inks and the full colour range can be found here.