Sunday, 8 March 2009

Getting somewhere practical

Field study no 1, 45x37cm
Soft Pastel on Japanese paper,

... with this post eventually. But first off a few thoughts on group dynamics (again).

I mentioned a few times before how my Saturday group has been changing from the exhibition last June onwards. This term, it is even more different. The group runs as an adult education class, so people register for it - and for the past few years, the group always consisted of about 8 people who had gone for a long time and about 4 new people who would change from term to term.

Not so this term: it's pretty much the other way round and it's intriguing to see how that changed the dynamics from an open group very much into something much more structured and tutored. We would turn up some time after 10 am and usually Tom, Irene and myself are the last to leave at about half one. I tended to be one of the early ones there, just at the back of ten.

Yesterday I turned up at 10.08 am and I was the last one. That has consequences: the room is generally cramped; with poor lighting, there are about four places close to the windows and the sinks - I would always try to get easy access to the sinks because of the water-based, frequent handwashing mix-fest that much of my work is.

But: there has never been a space close to the window. Bummer. So, it's somewhere in the middle of the room, taking up some of the flexible and improvised corridors that form throughout the morning.

So, in the middle of the room, it was busy - so many people, so many projects, so much busieness. I could feel myself getting all worked up within five minutes. Oh dear, - it often takes me some time beforehand to figure out what I'd like to do. And it was all clear: I wanted to do pastel drawings of some new scenes. But instead I was quickly developing hectic spots all over my face, crunching up my forehead and breathing far too fast.

And then I remembered: I packed up my sketchbooks, took my box of pastels and some pens and left. Went out to the corridor with a great view across the West end and sat on the floor.

So: their projects aren't mine, their worries over how to mix that paint weren't mine, either; instead I wrote pages upon pages with the ideas kicking around in my head. Very good ideas, but they need to get out of my head. So, they went onto paper.

But where do they go? I've begun to use an A4 wire-bound sketchbook to record ideas, work out prices, and collect stuff. - All done verbally, in text.

Immediate and urgent plan:

To move my writing into something more visual. Work out my ideas more in sketch/drawing/visual form.

This means I need to rearrange my sketchbook scenario again: not so long ago I decided to just work in one at a time - the large-sized Sketchbook Moleskine. I like the smooth paper and the format. Yet: it's is just not large enough for my ideas - so I find it easier to write them out rather than to try them out [and I know that some of you will say: yes, we told you so ;)]

Thus: a sketchbook order is called for: Katherine has a good post [here] with lots of comments on what sketchbooks, and I took note:

I want a smooth, perferably Hot Press, relatively heavy paper - for dry media but the occasionally oil/gouache/acrylics; it needs to lie flat when open (but hardbound so that I can easily work across the pages) and it needs to be LARGE.

In addition, I want a smaller one [A4 or square?], wire-bound with similar paper to carry with me - for bigger sketches and experiments when outside.

People also mentioned cutting, redrawing or pasting work from the portable sketchbooks into the main one. Sounds good to me. Will try that.

I think I will order a couple of books from Green and Stone, and try them out.

As for the painting class, I eventually did some pastel skecthes, as you can see at the start of this post There's a crit & comment to follow soon, along with some further ideas for where this may go.


chrisbellinger said...

You might like to try Seawhite of Brighton Sketchbooks. Yhey use nice catridge type paper that takes water based things like watersoluble crayons.
i have not been that keen on wirebound as they get caught in things.
You could also keep all old sketckbook stuff if you really wanted to past them into something in a lever arch file. Get some card first though and pop them into clear plastic.

vivien said...

As I tend to have several projects running at the same time I always have lots of sketchbooks on the go.

Each project has a large (A3 sometimes but at least A4) plus a smaller one like the large moleskine (that's my small book) or an A5 or I like the square two thirds A4 books - spiral bound cartridge paper and about 11 ins square.

At any one time there could be a dozen sketch books on the go from A6 to A2.

One favourite is a Canson watercolour one, hard backed with a lot of pages and about 12 x 8 ins, smooth paper that will take any medium

Yes, I stick pages in from odd books at times to keep research stuff together.

The Waterways project has an A3 landscaoe, hard back book and an 11 inch square book. Odd work has been done in others and then pasted in to the one it fits. Or sometimes I scan it and put the print in, just so I have the information if I don't want to remove it.

Gesa said...

Thank you, both - Chris: I've ordered some fairly heavy cartridge paper in hardback - it's called Seawhite too, but I dunno what that means? Lever arch files still make me think of years of studying, so I'm intend on avoiding them (possibly wrongly so) - but yes, I've seen quite a few people using them successfully.

Vivin - yes, I saw your sketchbook addiction laid bare in Katherine's comments section - consequently I looked for some fairly heavy paper; and ordered a square format. I am curious what the larger size will do - but I think it's time to diversify. Plus: for my plan I am probably needing some more comprehensive sketchbooks. So: my large Moleys will become the small ones as of now.

Thanks again!