Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A New Challenge

I think that an artist needs to try new things. In order to grow in our craft and to keep our art fresh, we have to stretch our artistic muscles. It doesn't matter if what you try works or if you plan to ever do the same thing again, just the doing will teach you something.

Since I started my Facebook pages I have seen a number of pieces of art that have inspired me.

Little Girl & Umbrella
 Although I have done similar negative paintings in the past I have usually worked with what I saw in the background. For this painting, I superimposed the image on the mottled background using both negative and positive work, adding color where it was needed. Only the flowers in the foreground are picked out of the colors of the background.

This painting is only mildly reminiscent of Patricia Allingham Carlson's art but seeing her wonderful paintings moved me to try to see what I could do.

Fluid Movement
Another artist from Facebook whose art has got my fingers itching, is Tanner Pruess. His painting with fluid acrylics are a wonder of freedom and movement with colors mingling or pushing each other around.

Yesterday I had some liquid acrylics left over from another project so guess what I tried? I must admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I simply poured the paint, sometimes overlapping, sometimes just beside each other. Then I picked my canvas up and twisted it this way and that. I added a few more drops of black and white and did more twisting. When I liked what I had, I stopped - this was hard as I have a tendency to overwork things. Today, once the paint was dry I decided it needed a touch of glitter so I added some smudges of gold paint. I'm please - what do you think?

There are so many things in the world that can give us that new challenge that helps keep us fresh.

I was recently re-organizing a cupboard in my studio and found an old book of my Grandfather's, "Ornamental Designs and Illustrations'.  My Grandfather was an engraver and I assume that he used this book as a reference. It has a wide variety of illustrations and I am starting at the beginning.

Here are copies of the two
pages I have worked from. I find the work very time consuming and hard on the eyes - I know why my Grandfather used a magnifying eyeglass ( I don't really know what it was I just remember he used something when he was engraving).

My first two attempts were done free hand with a .005 micron pigma pen.

They are a fair bit larger than the examples in the book and they are a little rough but I though they were decent for a first attempt.
I have decided I will need to use a magnifying glass the next time I try something this small.

Today at Art Club I tried something a little larger and I drew the designs in pencil first. I would never have believed how difficult it is to draw curling leaves.

Once I had the drawings done I went over them with the pen. The pen is easier to work with - it sort of flows.

I am happy with all of my recent challenges. Some I will use again, but all of them have filled me with the enthusiasm to get into my studio and create.


  1. These pen and ink works are lovely, Val - it's a very difficult thing to do, and your first attempts are meticulous and lovely!

  2. Thanks Win. Someone asked me the other day what my favorite medium is - I replied 'the one I am working in at the time'. Maybe, if I didn't jump from one to another, I would not lose my touch on them. Pen work is one of those that slips away without constant use.