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Showing posts from January, 2009

visual language - marks, colour, tone. speed and a bit of collage

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Liquid, collage, hand made sketchbook experiment. Vivien Blackburn

I've been talking to friends and students about visual language a lot just lately. Playing a Suzanne Vega CD in the car coming home, some of her lyrics echoed the conversations - so visual and expressive:
If language were liquid It would be rushing in Instead here we are In a silence more eloquent Than any word could ever be These words are too solid They don't move fast enough To catch the blur in the brain That flies by and is gone Gone Gone Gone ........... and Find the line, find the shape Through the grain Find the outline, things will Tell you their name Suzanne Vega, from Language and Night Vision


'too solid'
- 'don't move fast enough to catch the blur in the brain' before it's gone - yes that's sketching in the landscape with our changing English light. Fleeting flashes of sunlight or passing clouds on the sea or a hillside, pure drama . This is why so often I like to sketch in oils, it's p…

Aylestone Meadows, Winter Sunlight

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Aylestone Meadows, pollarded willow, detail I did this mixed media sketch in the leather sketchbook, it's smaller than the one on Watermarks (link at end of post) It didn't photograph or scan very well on the hand made paper so I've shown a detail above which shows the glowing colours. The late afternoon sun glowed amber on the pollarded willows but the surrounding landscape was all cold pale blue greys and dried reeds and grasses. It was a very cold day.
Pollarded Willow, Aylestone Meadows, Vivien BlackburnI'm planning to revisit this area over the course of the year, looking at it as the seasons and light change.

I was sketching near these willows once when I saw a grass snake come swimming down towards me and come out just next to me through the reeds - he just slithered leisurely on his way, totally ignoring me.

There is a larger painting of the same trees on the Watermarks blog.

Do you revisit a place, studying it in different lights? Tina has written a good post …

back to the coast: the lavender marsh at Thornham

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Old tree stumps and sea lavender at Thornham, North Norfolk, oil/mixed media, plein air, Vivien Blackburn
Whilst looking out a large sketchbook (A3) to work in this morning I came across this plein air painting I'd forgotten about.

This is the salt marsh at Thornham in Norfolk, when the sea lavender is in flower it creates this lovely mauve haze over the vegetation with its millions of tiny flowers. The tree stumps were once part of a wood that has been swamped by the sea and are worn, grooved and weathered to pale ghosts.

There is a salt marsh harbour here on the main creek accessible to boats only at high tide. other paintings of Norfolk:http://vivienb.blogspot.com/2008/12/north-norfolk-photographs.html
http://vivienb.blogspot.com/2007/08/seascapes-for-next-show.html

linoprinting and personality tests

Sue at Ancient Artist put this fun quiz on her blog and of course I couldn't resist looking

This is my result


What Does Your Taste in Music Say About You?


Your musical tastes are reflective and complex. yes

You are intellectual to the point of being cerebral. mmmm friends would need to answer that, maybe (though no Einstein believe me!)

You are very open to new experiences, and even more open to new ideas and theories. Yes

Wisdom and personal accomplishment are important to you. yes

You are naturally sophisticated. errr....don't think so!

You are drawn to art, especially art by independent artists. yes

You are likely to be financially well off... and not because you were born that way. huh! I wish!

what's yours? click here to see

I did some 'proper' lino printing today and will scan them in a day or two. They are on the rack drying at the moment.

more linoprinting experimenting

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Night Beach, Linoprint with coloured pencil, 6x10 inches, Vivien Blackburn
This linoprint was done with softer lino - much easier to cut. Again I inked it up with oil paint with a brush. I actually like the brush marks, though I do intend to do some 'proper' prints from it with lino ink, which will give a velvety matte monochrome print, not at all like this one. I have a feeling I'm going to prefer to work this way - it's more painterly and each print will be different.

Coloured pencils were worked over it to give more subtlety and mystery to the night beach - well that was the intention anyway! :>)

c&c?????????

expert linoprinting

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NOT my work I'm afraid but a print I own, one of an edition of 6. It's a large linoprint about 18 inches tall by Sarah Kirby, a fellow member of the print workshop I used to attend. She's a really superb printmaker. This is above my TV and I never tire of it.

I think working on a larger scale is probably easier in lino as I find it isn't easy to get delicate lines on a small scale. Not so easy to get a good quality print without a press of course.

With lino the notion of 'notan' is important - the balance between dark and light and the counterchanges of light against dark and dark against light - I think this print shows this perfectly.

Do you like it?

waterways project: aylestone meadows, winter

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Aylestone Meadows, Winter, sketch, Vivien Blackburn, charcoal, watercolour and gouache on hand made paper 6x4 ish

A small sketch on hand made paper of the water meadows and the medieval packhorse bridge in the cold winter light. The light today is grey/white and leaches the colours, making the world almost monochrome. The bare branches make intricate lacy patterns.

It was done mostly in charcoal and charcoal pencil with a little watercolour, small touches of coloured pencil and white gouache on a pale beige paper.

You can see earlier work in the series here or here. At Watermarks, our group blog, some of us are going to revisit a place throughout the year as the light and seasons change, noting the changes in colour and mood with time. This is going to be 'my' place to revisit. It only takes about 15 minutes in the car and I like the area with its canal, stream and multiple bridges from the medieval through Victorian to modern.

This is to be part of a series on local waterways tha…

doodling with collage

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collage and mixed media, Vivien Blackburn
An experiment with collage. I had some lovely marbled paper that a gift had come in and decided to use it as the start of a small image in my little leather bound sketchbook with the hand made paper.

There are 2 pieces of marbled paper, selected for the shapes printed. I then used coloured pencils, felt pen and a little biro to match colours and extend the swirls, adapt them and add the rocks and sea - I may adjust it slightly yet,

You can see more collages of mine here.

A friend mentioned that it reminded her of those dress prints of the 1960s! it does have that feel doesn't it?

linoprinting update

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A linoprinting update: Experimenting

I've been experimenting with oil paint painted onto to the lino. It has an interesting texture from the brush marks and I think this is something I'll experiment further with,

On the left I worked into the print - done with pthalo blue oil paint - wetting the brush with turps to spread thinner paler areas of tone in some places such as the sky.

I scumbled coloured pencils over the cliffs to get the effect of the vegetation in shadow and the sand to get the grainy texture. It's made up of several colours overlaid loosely.

There is a little more variation of colour than shows here - some slightly greener areas of sea and those stylised clouds are a little paler.

This is all purely experimental, seeing what I can do with the lino, changing it, combining other media.
I don't think the stylised clouds look so good with the more painterly stuff elsewhere - I want to do some stylised prints and then I may cut the clouds out and cut some off…

Influences

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Over on our group Watermarks blog Lindsay has just done an interesting post on Kurt Jackson. Tomorrow I'm doing a follow up to it.

It made me digress into influences on our work and the importance of looking at other artists past and present, learning, but retaining our own 'voice'. We are all influenced, consciously or unconsciously by work we see. David Prentice quotes Rupert Bear (childrens books) as an influence with their aerial viewpoint in the illustrations. :>) His work has this wonderful feeling of flying slightly above the scene but isn't remotely illustrational.

I love marks - splatters and scratches and brushmarks and knife marks, drawing with a twig to get those lovely not-quite-predictable marks I also love colour and masses and line. I spent some time managing to work out how to unite my disparate interests into a cohesive image when I was at college.

Influences range from KJ to Monet, Turner, Gwen John, Joan Eardley, Egon Schiele (love hi…

linoprinting 2

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There were some really good tips in the comments on the last post on linoprinting, so I'm showing them here - I thought they were excellent and I don't suppose a lot of people read the comments on blogs unless they are commenting themselves? Lindsaysaid...
Yes, I agree that printmaking is more process oriented. Sometimes the graphic quality really appeals to me. Very nice explaination here and I'd only add one hint that helped me with multiple prints. I made sure the basement laundry line was clear and readied with cloths pins. Hanging the prints up to dry insured that my flat surfaces in the studio did not get taken up for 24 hours with drying prints.

dinahmow said...
.... Amazing what some people can get with a spoon! I tried the water-based inks, but hate them! They dry too quickly and often don't roll evenly.I don't even use them for proofing (though schools are sticklers for the wretched stuff!) My advice to others is use good quality oil-based inks and el cheapo …

Linoprinting - with a bit of virtual linoprinting too

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Linoprinting
Linoprinting isn't my favourite form of printmaking but I felt like doing something different, something outside my comfort zone.

Lino creates clear sharp graphic images and I am more comfortable with more painterly printmaking methods, particularly collagraphs and etching with aquatint but they do need a printing press and lino doesn't.

This is the lino itself, I coloured the raised parts with waterproof ink to help me to see how the cut what going - the paler blues and mauves are actually cut away -that's just the remains of some acrylics that I tried that you can see.


Printmaking is quite time consuming - there's a lot of 'process' - but once the plate is made, a number of prints can be produced from it. The number depending on the fragility or not of the lino plate .

The idea is that you cut away any area you don't want to print. The areas you leave behind will be inked, usually in one solid colour but it is possible to do very effective gradie…