Friday, 19 May 2017

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook six - In the forest

Imaginary treescape, acrylic (knife painting)

Lone Hudson's In the forest theme was the last book I worked in. I do like trees, and I had been looking forward to this theme. The book was a smallish hardback guide to trees, with plentiful pages of nice quality paper. The text and line drawings made an interesting counterpoint to work placed directly on the page, and others in the group had made inventive use of the colour illustrations as well as doing some marvellous cut-work and additions, including manipulated leaves from trees.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook five - Shadows

This, selected for Charles Burns' Shadows theme, was a different class of book. It was a beautiful period hardback about photography, with elegant typography and full page monochrome photographs. It was also printed on nice paper - thick, matt and creamy in colour, it took every media we collectively threw at it - it had enough "tooth" for pencils and enough integrity for watercolour.

It was a book that demanded to be worked with rather than to be worked on, or against.

Shadows and reflections. Cello: woodblock, printed in the Japanese style, with fountainpen inks. Wineglass: Molotow One4All markers.

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook four - Experimental paint and weathered effects

I found this book, initiated by Jane Skingley, rather daunting, and not just because of its size. I suppose I'm not really much of a mixed-media experimenter. My rather bland contributions were all added directly to the glossy pages and I didn't photograph them. I rather think that the array of textures in this book needs to be leafed through for maximun effect.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook three - The Unexpected

The next book was unexpected. No, it really was The Unexpected: Sue Crook's theme, for which she had been given, uexpectedly, an old Private Eye annual.

I went straight to the popular culture for my inspiration, starting with Roald Dahl's Tales of The Unexpected (a 1970s TV programme that was surely far too scary for me to have watched as a child, yet nonetheless, watch it I did, with my parents).

I discovered that Indian Ink sticks to glossy pages. Mysterious splodges of vaguely flame-like acrylic ink on top of it to indicate the flickering titles of the TV show...

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook two - Love

Molotow One4All marker and fountain pen (yes, that fountain pen).

Love is Gail Davis' book. It was once a mass market paperback edition of "Out of Africa". I found myself reading bits of it; I must get a pristine copy sometime.

These photographs show only some of the changes that I made to the volume. After the constraints of Classical Mechanics, Love, with its hundreds of pages that accepted most media (sometimes very enthusiastically - some inks soaked through multiple pages, but that was done on purpose) was wonderfully freeing. As, indeed, it should be, given the subject.

Cover 2 Cover 2017 - sketchbook one - Classical Mechanics


These drawings are my contributions to "my" collaborative Cover to Cover 2017 sketchbook.

This year, each participating artist chose their own sketchbook theme, and second hand books that suited those themes were bought for adaptation by the group of six artists. My theme was Classical Mechanics. The book was (once) a Child's A-Z of Technology. It was an A4 paperback, roughly the size of a glossy magazine, with slightly more substantial (but no less glossy) pages. The paper proved difficult to work on, and I ended up gesso'ing several pages (sometimes leaving choice images or text).

Top: cover (old jeans, Molotow and One4All markers) and
title page ('found' image from the book, acrylic ink, fountain pen and bad joke)

Newbury Spring Festival 2017: Leo Popplewell, Cellist, lunchtime recital at the Corn Exchange

Last year, I participated in a collaboration between the Newbury Spring Festival and the local Open Studios in which artists were invited to sketch at performances and rehearsals. The results of last year's collaboration (which involved six artists in total) are on display at the Newbury Corn Exchange until 24 May.

I really enjoyed the sketching, and I found working from those sketches to produce finished artworks a very satisfying process. So I was delighted when I discovered that I would be able to do it again this year. I was only able to fit one sketching date in my schedule, and that date was today's lunchtime recital - a performance by the young cellist Leo Popplewell.


There were, by coincidence, a lot of cellos last year. I have come to like cellos; they have beautiful curves and make a wonderful array of very lovely sounds. Young Mr. Popewell certainly teases out a fabulous noise from his instrument. He was accompanied by Mikey Pandya on piano for the first part of the show (when they performed Sibelius - Malinconia Op.20 and Fauré - Sonata No.2 in G Op.117), but played alone on stage for the second part (Britten - Cello Suite No.1 Op.72).