Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Artistic Explorations: Self Portrait (1)

For my next project at Life Drawing class we were going to do a self portrait, one of my least favourite subjects! It would be my second attempt in two years. Again, I wanted to create an interesting surface first (perhaps to redirect the attention to that instead of my actual portrait?). Coincidentally at the same time I had asked my father and aunt whether they had any vintage articles from magazines and newspapers. They are both very interested in history in general so I thought they might have something for me.

Well, I was happily surprised that my dad had just gone through a pile of old newspaper cuttings, officially typed documents and magazine articles they found after his mother passed away. They were all about my great-grandfather who retired as director of the Post Office in The Hague, The Netherlands in 1941.
He had selected the ones he wanted to keep but there was many more left and I could have these!

I had so much joy reading these articles and selecting cuttings for my collage. I was especially moved by his personal speech looking back at his career as a director. Before I started to cut and tear I took photos of the text of course and this collage is what I created.

Paper collage on grey board

Close-up collage

Close-up collage

Then I added gesso and sketched my portrait in pencil first. The final drawing includes brown indian ink, pen, Cretacolour Chunky Charcoal and Golden liquid acrylics. It doesn't look like me at all and some proportions are not correct but somehow the drawing is intriguing. I hadn't planned it but the way the words " De Wachter" (which is the title of a newspaper and means Watchman) are placed on my forehead and my left eye reflecting a picture of my great grandfather is quite symbolic!

Self portrait on collaged paper

Self portrait close-up

Self portrait close-up

Self portrait close-up

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Artistic Explorations: Figurative study (2)

In the first few weeks of my figure drawing class I realised that when using a medium with a fine nib such as a pencil or pen I have the tendency to focus too much on detail. As mentioned in my previous article about figure drawing I enjoyed working with indian ink but I wanted to experiment with some other mediums too. I love the texture and effect you can create with charcoal but black is not my favourite colour. After some research online I found Cretacolor's Art Chunky Charcoal. These are large sticks in 12 wonderful colours, they hold well in the hand and can be used to cover a large area (on the long edge) or to be more precise (with sharp edge).

Cretacolour Art Chunky Charcoal

This medium really suits my style of drawing and they are in particular great in combination with a textured surface such as collage. Recently I made two mixed media drawings on grey cardboard using the charcoal sticks;

"Fibrous" is a drawing of a part of a cast (statue) on top of a collage of scraps of a painting, woodchip paper and old cycle toute maps from The Hague. Apart from charcoal I also used indian ink pen.


"Fibrous" close-up

"Fibrous" close-up

"Hermes" was created with a male model in the class room. The collage consists of sheets of A5 paper printed with a travel theme which I bought online and sections of my expired passport with travel stamps and visas. I also used some White liquid acrylics from Golden for the sheet and pillow and indian ink pen for the left hand.


"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Fabulous Fabric: Upholstery

Since my small but wonderful art studio is finished end of last year I'm spending time in there regularly whether it's preparing for my workshops I organise every Monday and Tuesday, preparing for the life drawing class at Grays School of Art I attend myself or just working out concepts for new creative projects.

One of these projects was already getting shape the moment I finished the interior. The colour scheme of the office chair (black plastic and red furnishing) was really bothering me in the light interior and it made my wee studio even smaller!

Office chair before revamp

My collection of scraps and purchased fabric is gradually growing so it didn't take long to find the right combination. After I dismantled the furnishing from the plastic backing I measured the amount of fabric needed by covering it with a newspaper, traced around with a pen and cut it out. This was my pattern. Then I put the various pieces of fabric on to the newspaper pattern, moved them around to get the right design, cut some pieces to fit properly and sewed them all together.

Close-up of  sewed pieces of fabric

With a staple gun I fitted the fabric around the furnishing surfaces tightly (without taking off the old furnishing) and kept them apart. For the plastic parts of the chair I used Plastikote Antique White spraypaint. Several layers were needed to make a good covering. Et voilà, this is the result; a great revamp of an old office, if I may say so myself.

Revamped office chair

Top view revamped office chair

I used the app Instamag to create a professional look of my "new" chair, almost as if it was published in a real magazine!!

Magazine lay-out of revamped office chair with app Instamag