At the end of this project there are a series of questions to consider that review the work done through the project.
Firstly there are notes on using sketchbooks on a daily basis and how to approach drawing – in this project new ways have been taught and suggested that I will be able to build on to use in textiles. During the course of this part of the course I have finally been able to get a key recommended book ‘Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists’ and this will prove invaluable when used in conjunction with the lessons learnt – using sketchbooks in a way other than just to doodle is relatively new concept to me.
I am learning that a sketchbook is not necessarily a place for a complete drawing or painting but for ideas, recording small areas, observation or collecting photographs or articles of interest which can then be used for design ideas.
My major hurdle is working from real objects rather than photographs and then to develop ideas from them – as I write I am looking at some tulips on my mantelpiece and will be happily be spending some time drawing and sketching them over the coming days. I know drawing from objects in the way this project has taught will come with confidence and practice will enable it to become second nature.
Crucially for me during this stage observational and visual skills were being emphasized and this is backing up what was taught in the section on colour and colour mixing/matching. My observational skills are without doubt improving and I am noticing tones and areas of colour I might otherwise have looked over – this also applies to texture and shape too. Obviously time and experience will continue to improve these but I must also ensure I make notes in my sketchbooks about what I see – a simple pencil sketch can have notes alongside it detailing colours or textures that my drawing skills have not yet been able to convey but I can in turn use as I develop designs and concepts.
Reviewing the work done in this project I will do as I have before and answer the questions asked as they are logical.
Did you manage to ‘make space move’?
I felt I did with using the squares as I was able to relate this exercise to how I have seen watercolour painting with sail boats – if you place a boat in one spot in a painting it will have a very different energy to when placed in another. Static arrangements are straightforward to do but energetic takes a little thinking and playing around with where the squares are placed. Where I struggled a little was with making lines seem peaceful or energetic – I understand what you are meant to do and feel I did achieve it.
What are your thoughts about the drawings you did in Stage 3?
My understanding of this Stage was to select the drawings and mask off areas for drawings developed in Stage 4 – I was to pin the selected drawings up with masked off areas and develop my designs from there in Stage 4. I spent a considerable time looking at my work so far to find the ones I really liked and the ones that I felt had the contrasts necessary to create dynamic tensions and also balanced with harmony. This is easy in theory than it is in practice but by standing back and looking at my work over a period of time I was able to choose drawings that fitted the criteria and that I could work further from.
What I did find useful was using different viewing frames that I could use as masks (I cut my frames with quite wide borders to enable me to blank off the outer areas) and this meant I could move them around freely until I found an arrangement that worked. The only thing I am regretting now is not taking photographs or enough photographs of these areas for my learning log – some can be seen in the post on Stage 4.
On the whole I am really pleased with the drawings in Stage 4 and in particular the collage taken from a very small area of a Malibu bottle label – I have struggled with collage and felt with this one I managed to achieve the balance of contrast and harmony reasonably successfully.
On some of the other drawings I am not entirely sure if I achieved the aforementioned balance but understand the principles behind it and this is very much a learning curve at the moment.
I cannot sum up my feelings on this stage any more than what I put at the end of the post at the time: “I am very much trying to experiment with colours and shapes and textures and trying to be looser in my approach with more flexibility and freedom to just play with the designs. I am learning to realise that not all disasters will remain so and some can be re-ordered or re-invented in such a way that they become working pieces with strong possibilities of further development.”
In my sketchbook work I now want to experiment further with getting this balance right in particular with understanding how scale may play a part for me – in my drawings earlier in this Part 2 I found scale was a major factor for me in whether I could get a drawing to work or not and likewise with proportions of colours or textures and shapes. Some drawings were disasters but experience is teaching me that they will in themselves teach me and looking at something after a break can mean I can use it in another way as stated above.
Were you able to use your drawings successfully as a basis for further work? Are there any other ideas you wish to try?
I think I have just answered that question in the above two paragraphs – I feel I was able to use the drawings reasonably successfully but I do still want to try using different proportions and differing scales as this is where I am lacking confidence.
This section of the course has been done during a time of personal stress and do wonder now if this has had an impact on my thoughts and the way I have drawn and it will be interesting to see what will change now that stress has gone – I feel freer to play and just spend time experimenting and re-reading this section, I want to play and experiment with harmony and unity and also try purposefully taking these factors away so it clashes and feels wrong to see what happens.
Now you have a good working method, do you feel confident that you can carry on working in this way independently?
Yes without doubt on this question – I understand the methods and how I can develop the designs and it is a matter of putting these skills into practice and working more thoroughly in my sketchbook. I am beginning not to try and do a fine art style sketch but rather to get my ideas down on to paper and record what I see and not what I think I should be seeing. Breaking the sketches into colour, shape and texture is also helping me break down what I see so that it is less daunting and I can record more accurately. I can then co-ordinate these sketches into a larger or different drawing that can then be viewed with a viewing frame and worked on. I am learning to step back from what I am doing and pinning the work up – this helps particularly when I have hit a block and am struggling.
Experience will come with practice and with practice my eye for what will work as a composition and design will come. I do understand some designs will be easier than others and some will be intuitive.
Overall this has been a challenging but fascinating section to do and one I will be coming back to and repeating the exercises as I feel I need to.
As a final point I can see 2 diverging styles emerging in my work – I am enjoying working with shapes and outlines with colour and texture within and also love sketching and painting softer landscapes where I concentrate on colour and texture. The first style is influenced heavily by the 1920’s art deco style of which I am a fan (and will do work on and a separate blog post) and love stained glass windows from which I take more inspiration. The second is a love of nature where I see colour and texture before I see shape (except with trees which I love in winter). The interesting factor is going to be whether these two styles combine into one or whether they continue to be two different sides to my work and studies.