Walter consults the Water Nymph
I try to update this often with images, projects pics and adventures in drawing.
Last week I was fortunate enough to return to the Isle of Lewis. I had plans to create new work in situ, and with that in mind I had lots and lots of art materials with me. Unfortunately, a nasty flu bug ensured that none of the art materials were touched, and instead I made a number of new iPad paintings from the comfort of my bed. Revisiting the Procreate app on the iPad was a lot of fun, as was pushing around imagery and motifs that echoed my experiences of the island.
After a long period of producing very little on the Surface Pro (partly due to misplacing the power pack), the past couple of days have seen a flurry of activity on the much neglected Windows device. I have revisited Fresh Paint and Sketchtime, and tried out Mischief for the first time.
Each app offers a very different experience for me when creating digital doodles.
I had forgotten how very different the Surface Pro 2 screen is for drawing on when compared to the Cintiq Companion or the iPad, and I realised that I quite like the solid glass screen and the lightness of the flimsy pen.
Enjoyable sketching fun!
I must put the power pack inside a fluorescent sock and nail it to the Studio wall so i don't misplace it again.
Great to see the Bird Boxes on display at Huddersfield Art Gallery, apparently they could be there for the next 3 months. I made / designed them in collaboration with 10 schools across Kirklees as part of a commission for the Huddersfield Festival of Light 2014. Great photographs by Yvonne Roberts.
After a hiatus of several years my sore eyes have returned (inflamed red and itchy skin around my eyes), and with them my character SoreEye. Around four years ago when I first had this problem I realised that if i drew SoreEye (the character) my sore eye symptoms subsided. So here is a selection of my first self medicated series of SoreEye doodles for 2015, all snapped in haste on my iPhone.
Last week as part of my 'rest and relax' December regime I took myself off to this lovely cabin in Dalby Forest.
The plan was to rest, do a little drawing, maybe a bit of animating on the iPad, but nothing major. Following a brief walk in the forest as the light was starting to fade to a wonderful turquoise blue I started to play around with Tagtool Classic on the iPad, aiming to make a couple of cinematic loops utilising a limited palette. Much of the imagery I had created the previous week in Inverness was still very fresh in my mind and fed straight into the Tagtool images I created. Over the course of the next 24 hours I put together a number of sequences all based around a similar theme and colour palette. The resulting images felt like they would hang together well as a short animated piece, although I was thinking projected immersive installation rather than a small screen based work.
I fired off a request to mobygratis.com hoping I would be granted permission to use the track '18' as the template for the edit. The answer was yes and the final edit can be seen below.
Following a full on year and a huge amount of wonderful projects I have decided to take a step back during December and leave aside any deadline related work until the new year. Having not taken any time off in the summer I am certainly feeling like my batteries need recharging.
So first stop Highland Print Studio in Inverness. Great facilities, great people and a lovely creative positive environment. The first day was a bit hit and miss with a couple of overworked prints as i wrestled with the process of mono-printing (which I hadn't done in quite a while), but then things started to click, I found my rhythm and the outpouring began. Eighteen prints by the end of day two (at which point I realised i needed to stay on for a couple more days) and now I am looking at a body of work containing over 30 mono-prints and drawings.
Mono-printing is a fantastic process which gives lovely rich results, subtlety of mark and tone and seems to really complement the way I work - upward and onward! A big thank you to Highland Print Studio for accommodating me and for inviting me to present a talk about my work to their 'Wise Guys' older mens group. It was a blast!
Here's a lovely commission that I completed this week. I was contacted by the daughter of a dear old college friend and asked if i could create an image for her Dads birthday. The starting point was a tiny (literally thumb nail) photograph, but it was a real joy to make. The painting started as a watercolour and pen drawing which was then scanned and completed digitally.
In my experience there's always a buzz in collaborating and improvising with people you trust. The point when everyone lets go and lets the work take control can be really magical, and although the piece may not work as a 'whole' there are always a few morsels if not gems that can be picked from the remains that have huge potential for further development.
During the last few occasions that I have worked with Maho in Bradford several gems have surfaced through the process of improvisation. Looking back at this handful of images I think that there is real potential to develop some interesting and visually arresting work.
As I often do, I spent a good few hours yesterday drawing in the studio, working through ideas and playing with shape and colour. Drawing for me is such a positive way to connect my thoughts and feelings with the world and it truly is a buzz! As I worked I got to thinking about drawing and how it manifests itself in the different work I create. My current practice embraces drawing in so many different forms, across many different mediums and approaches. I draw on paper, in sketchbooks, using a variety of digital formats, on cardboard, with wire and through live projection. It's something I am hardwired to do, and I believe it's something we are all hardwired to do; to share thoughts and feelings through mark-making.
It's staggering the number of people I meet who are adamant that they can't draw. When this view is questioned and you try and drill down to the source, decoded it tends to mean I can't draw in a representational way and render a finish piece that looks like a photograph. It also turns out that many adults I speak to have had a bad experience with art at school and were told they couldn't draw at a relatively young age (actually I was one of these pupils and was discouraged from studying art at exam level). Somehow a good drawing has become synonymous (to many people) with a slick super realist representation of something. The reproducing of photo-like images through drawing certainly has its place, and requires a certain amount of skill and technique (which can be taught), but it's just one small example of what drawing is and what drawing can be.
For me drawing helps in reflection, in thinking, in working through ideas and in making sense of the world. It's a great process for observing, exploring and understanding. And it's also a great outlet for expression and individuality. In the same way that we all have different handwriting, we all have a different way of drawing, and every single one is valid.
I was talking to an art teacher friend of mine recently and she was expressing her bewilderment that her 11 year old son during his first art lesson at his new secondary school had been asked to draw his shoe, as a way for the teacher to assess the level each student was at in terms of drawing. Like the age old practice of drawing crushed coke cans during 'creative' art lessons, this exercise offers up a 'norm' of what good and bad drawing is, especially when used as a way of assessing skills. This type of lazy and unimaginative teaching really undermines drawing as a practice and only serves to sideline a large percentage of pupils as bad at drawing. People everywhere (and especially children) should be encouraged to draw more, have fun with line and tone, to express themselves through making marks, and to use drawing as a tool for exploring and maybe sharing ideas about the world we live in.
So go on, doodle, scribble, make marks and Draw More!!
Fun Beta testing a new app from Hansol Huh with these pylon / yoga combos.
A few more from the Power struggles Series
Yesterday saw a full on day of robot making madness as I was invited by the March of the Robots Team to lead a Junkbot making workshop as part of Leeds Den Fest . In and amongst a mini city of cardboard dens and structures a dedicated team of robot technicians (mostly family groups) were hard at work breathing new life into interesting piles of junk. Great robot making support came from Anna Connor and Joel Standeven. All the wonderful photos are from Lizzie Coombes.
Works on paper continue with Robots and Birds...
Great rehearsal with MAHO and the Jung Witches today.... Tagtool projection, live drawing, posca body painting, movement and awesome sounds!
I am really please with this illustration and design work completed recently for Barnsley Museums.
Over the past 2 weeks Jonathan Grauel and I have been delivering a series of workshops for children based on my exhibition 'Chatting with the Fauna'. Wonderful pupils supported by a great bunch of adults, all willing to dive into two hour workshops full of drawing activity, animal related imagery, experimentation and fun!
A big thank you to Natalie Deane for organising the school sessions, and to Creative Arts Hub Mirfield for hosting the exhibition and workshops!
New work made using the Fresh Paint app on the Surface Pro, kindly sent to me by Microsoft.