Are your colour/color pencils lightfast?

This is not a question that I thought I would be asking, except that I recently read an article talking about the low lightfastness rating of many of my favourite Prismacolor pencils. Given how important I think lightfastness is for watercolours it’s somewhat strange that I haven’t considered this as an issue before.

All my Prismacolors

I had a hunt through my pencil box for my Prismacolors and checked them against the lightfastness chart that the company has released. I discovered that just over half of the colours that I own are in the top two lightfastness ratings categories. Phew! Those pencils I can continue to use without worry. The rest are in the bottom three categories. That means I wouldn’t use them for any work that I would be likely to sell, but I can use them on casual projects or for general ‘colouring in’ activities.

What I am confident to use long term.

Presently I am using my pencils to make colour interpretations of photographs of statues taken by the German artist Aglaia Konrad, in her book Schaubuch: Skulptur. (Yep, weird, but so me). As this is an exercise for me and all the drawings are in a sketchbook I will continue with using the lower rates colours, but I won’t replace them.

My colour pencil interpretation of an Aglaia Konrad photo of sculpture fragments in her book Schaubuch: Skulptur

As an aside, when I dived into the depths of the world of colour pencils (I don’t recommend it, it was terrifyingly obsessed), I found out that 4 of my pencils weren’t included on the lightfastness list. It turns out that they are considered ‘rare’ (sadly not rare enough to get me on Antiques Roadshow, or upgrade my lifestyle). They are discontinued colours from a previous incarnation of the company and were made in the late 1980’s. These colours were later discontinued when the company changed hands.

In the end my other half decided to get serious and order a set of lightfast Caran d’Ache Luminance 6901 pencils. I have swatched them out below and I am pleasantly surprised by some of the colours this set of 20 includes.

Artists – Women, Art Gallery of South Australia

It’s a big year for women artists with the National Gallery of Australia showing, rather belatedly, a program featuring women artists called Know My Name. Works have been borrowed from around the country for the exhibition.

National Gallery of Australia
25.48% women represented (down from 27.12%)
72.97% men (up from 68.68%)
No data on non-binary artists recorded

The Countess Report 2019*

Meanwhile in other parts of the country State galleries are also turning their collective eyes to the work of female artists both within and outside of their collections. During a recent visit to Adelaide I took a look at the Art Gallery of South Australia’s offerings.

State galleries and museums continue to significantly under-represent
women in their collections and exhibitions.

In State galleries and museums the representation of women decreased
from 36.9% to 33.9% from 2016 to today.

The Countess Report 2019*


Leading the way in S.A. is this year’s Tarnanthi 2020: Open Hands exhibition, which is all by women artists


1. Warwiriya Burton, (born 1925), Pitjantjatjara people, Ngayuku ngura (My Country), 2018 synthetic polymer pigment on linen.
2. Warwiriya Burton, detail of No. 1

Warwiriya Burton, (born 1925), Pitjantjatjara people, Ngayuku ngura (My Country), 2018 synthetic polymer pigment on linen.
Detail of above.


3. Iluwanti Ken, (born c.1944) Pitjantjatjara people, 2030, Walawulu ngunytju kukaku ananyi (Mother eagles going hunting), pigmented ink on paper.

4. Iluwanti Ken, detail of No. 3

In the Chromotopia exhibition:


5. Naomi Hobson, (born 1978), Southern Kaantju/Umpila people, Touch the River Floor, 2019, synthetic polymer on linen.

Naomi Hobson


6. Virginia Cuppaidge, (born 1943), Second Transition, 1974

Virginia Cuppaidge


7. Annabelle Follett, (1955-2019), UN Knitted Forms, 2000, wool and plastic knitting needles

Annabelle Follett

Elsewhere in the gallery:

8. Dora Chapman (1912-1995), Head Studies, partial image, 1969 and 1970, gouache and polymer paint on board

Dora Chapman


9. Top, Grace Crowley (1890-1979), Abstract Painting, 1953, oil on hardboard;
Below, Dora Chapman (1912-1995), Abstract, 1943, synthetic polymer paint on board.

Grace Crowley
Dora Chapman


10. Bessie Davidson, (1879-1965), Artist’s paintbox with French coastal landscape, c. 1930 Guéthary, France, oil on wood panel in wooden artist box

Bessie Davidson

My completely subjective view is that the work of women artists is definitely more visible in the galleries that I have visited this year. But 25% National Gallery of Australia???

* The Countess Report

The Countess Report is Amy Prcevich, Elvis Richardson and Miranda Samuels.

They are an independent artist run initiative that publishes data on gender representation in the Australian contemporary art world. They believe a focus on gender is a focus on power.
Countess works in the legacy of institutional critique and research based conceptual art practices. Their goal is to inform and influence systemic change through data collection and analysis.
While their evidence is often cited, they are not data analysts. They are artists and activists who are interested in investigating dynamics of power, value, labour, and collecting through the lens of gender.
The work of Countess is both art and advocacy.

Seredipitous conjunctions

I always enjoy Claudia McGill’s poems for their quirky nature, none more so than her ‘Little Vines’, which she has been propagating for a number of years.

This one from her recent post reminded me, of one of my all time favourite cartoons by Clement. *

4338.
Simpering clams, you said?
No, simmering clams.
Oh. I did wonder how you could tell.

* I think this cartoon dates from the early 1990’s. I have kept it in my recipe book since I cut it out from the newspaper.

Loungeroom Residency Inspirations

This post was rather delayed. It was meant to go with the previous posts on my Loungeroom Residency, which you can find here, here, here and here.

In this last post on my recent Loungeroom Residency I thought I would share some of the inspirations that I’m drawing on in relation to this work.

I have been to several master classes with Dr Ruth Hadlow, where a big inspiration is the impromptu library created by the participants. Everyone is asked to bring along a few books that they are interested in to create a small reference library that everyone can share for the duration of the masterclass. In this way so many different sources of ideas and images are brought together (although the downside is that I always leave with a massive list of new books to buy).

I love this book of photos of sculptures by Aglaia Konrad, which consists of a series of black and white photos of sculptures in museum collections. The only text is the list of museums where the photos were taken.

Inspired by this approach I decided to go back and take a look at the many books I have that sit unread on my bookshelves. I found several that were relevant and even just took my fancy. It doesn’t matter what gets the creative juices flowing.

A spread of pages from Aglaia Konrad’s book.

A seredipitous reinforcement for this approach came from this post by Rob Walker The Art of Noticing on Crate Digging, where DJ’s and hip-hop artists literally go through crates of old records looking for the one sound that will inspire them and throw up new ideas. Now this is not a culture that I am very familiar with but that isn’t the point.

This is vividly illustrated in a bit with DJ Shadow, talking about poring over over the surreal selection of sounds, many of them rejected or forgotten, in a record store’s basement. The important thing to remember is that this basement isn’t packed with treasure. It’s packed with junk. You have to spend the time to sort through the junk to find the treasure. There is no shortcut. There is no algorithm. There is only time, attention, noticing digging. Shadow says:

There’s the promise in these stacks of finding something that you’re gonna use. And in fact most of my first album was built off of records pulled from here.

He talks about the “karmic” element, finding this or that by chance. (He also observes that there is something humbling about this hoard. “It’s a big pile of broken dreams, in a way,” he observes. I could write a whole separate essay on that riff, and maybe some day I will.)

One of my favourite sources of inspiration come from regular weekly posts like that from Austin Kleon. Kleon roams across different areas of art, music and stuff than I do, so it’s good to have a shortcut to see what else is going on that I might find interesting.

During my residency I also received recommendations from friends who, having seen my posts, passed on links to reading materials such as this article on Vija Cilmens and her intricate drawings. Cilmens is an artist that I wasn’t familiar with, but now I find her work popping up quite often.

Like DJ Shadow says “There is no shortcut. There is no algorithm. There is only time, attention, noticing digging.”

A Loungeroom Residency

Over the next week I will be undertaking an artist residency in my lounge room. It wasn’t planned, but an unexpected injury to my back has made it otherwise. The toughest call was having to withdraw from the formal residency I was about to start under the auspices of the Craft ACT Spring Residency. But then, I realised that I could undertake an artist residency in my own home.

Day 1 shadow photograph.

At this point I have to acknowledge that before I became concerned over my own temporary setbacks, I failed to acknowledge that many artists deal with such problems on a daily basis due to a whole range of physical, social or psychological reasons. I apologise.

A model, a theme

For my residency I have used the model proposed by Lenka Clayton for A Residency in Motherhood. Her model provides both a format and concrete examples of ways to work under constrained circumstances. This excellent resource was drawn to my attention by the fabulous Dr Ruth Hadlow whose master classes have been a major and ongoing inspiration in my work .

At this stage my daily exploration of shadows has become my default theme. I support this proposition by a quote from Ellsworth Kelly who said:

I realized I didn’t want to compose pictures, I wanted to find them. I felt that my vision was choosing things out there in the world and presenting them.

Resources

I have all the resources of my extensive library to select from and all my materials to use. I didn’t have to pack anything to take to this residency. If anything the greatest danger is paralysis from too much choice.

Day 2 shadow photograph.

Limitations

The biggest limitation I have at present is my physical ability to sit up for only limited periods of time and having to be careful not to overuse my dominant arm. I have finally discovered using the microphone on my tablet in order to reduce additional stress through typing. It works! Sometimes.

Interruptions are another cause of problems I would unlikely to experience in a formal residency. Social media management is also a major issue for me.

Work so far

Yesterday I made some collages inspired by one of the photos I took earlier this week. I used a clothing catalogue, which I am inordinately fond of making collages with. I will show you these in a separate post.

Enough for now I need to rest up. I plan to attend a screening of a documentary on Rembrandt this afternoon. Hopefully rest and medication and my wheat bag will get me there.

I would be really interested to hear of your own experiences of working with limitations and constraints in making art.

D3 shadow photograph

PS

I just wanted to say that I’m in good hands and my back issues seem to be slowly resolving so no need for anyone to worry about my condition.