Monday 20th Feb 08.40: A very foggy morning. I tend to dread the fairly early rise of a Monday morning , but today I was excited to get in to uni and start etching my lithography stone. On Friday I drew out the same portrait I used for my aluminum plate etching on the lithography stone, this way I wasn't stuck for an idea and I could just learn more about the process of lithography. I was new to the whole process, and even drawing out proved more difficult than I initially thought it may be. I couldn't smudge the lines the same way I could a graphite drawing and to get rid of a line I had to scrape back the stone carefully- which makes a sound worse than nails down a black board. I had to make sure that every mark I made needed to be there, as the effort of "rubbing out" was too much. However, overall I was pleased with how the drawing turned out, but slightly concerned how it would look once it was etched. - I was sure I had made a lot of grubby finger marks which would come through. Before I etched it I added some tusche to the background of the drawing just to add to the print and also, as it was my first stone I wanted to use all the materials to know how they would look once etched and printed so that I could learn from their effect for further ideas.
Slide-Show below shows the process from me drawing out the stone to once it was etched, It etched slightly darker than I thought, but I was pleased for my first go!
Throughout the day, whilst waiting for my stone to dry so I could etch it, I made more prints of my etching plate, playing around mixing colours and seeing what happened. It's all a learning process, and you never know what will happen until you try it. I learned that as i cleaned my pate with coffee the week before to remove the ink, i left coffee granules on my plate, and when I was etching it more with spit bite, It had created these little tiny dots all over my plate and therefore my prints. It wasn't the look I was going for, but at least if I ever want to know how to create a spotty surface through etching, I now know how.
18.00 Gym with my friends. A lovely way to spend the evening, where you can de stress from work and then feel motivated for more work. - At least that is what I try and tell my self.
Tuesday 21st 05.30: woke up to the flu. What a day.
Wednesday 22nd Feb 15.00: I started to feel a bit better and decided to do some painting, inside a way from the cold!
After being stuck for ideas of what to paint in the first few weeks I began to just paint anything, things from my mind , ideas from music, colours that I like . Anything, just to try and avoid artist block. I came to the conclusion that art is like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it. I had to paint to get better at painting, it doesn't matter what you paint, you'll always learn something from it. I discovered when painting that even my mind thinks of faces and landscapes and eyes. I painted a portrait from memory, this proved to me that I enjoy something about portraiture, what it is I'm not 100% sure, as all it is is two eyes a mouth and a nose - as my lecturer keeps telling me, but I seem to always be drawn to it. I had finally come to the idea I would paint a portrait of as many people who I knew - and who would let me out of those people. This idea could link well in to my printmaking module and gave me the opportunity not to be stuck of ideas of what to paint. As after asking around, a lot of people agreed.
As well as this I have been painting around Aberystwyth, I suppose you can't go far to beat it.
By Wednesday evening I had this painting, as of yet still not complete, but I doubt I will complete it. I don't want to spend so long on a painting, as I figure I'll never be 100% happy with it, and I almost always end up getting angry and painting over it, but if I continue like that, I'd never have any work, only gessoed canvasses.
Thursday arrived and it was back to bed, i was still no better, and decided that it was best to recover.
So after a week of being ill, and a lack of sleep, today (Sunday 26th Feb) I'm starting to feel more human, and ready for the week ahead.... let's hope it was better than last.
As usual, awoken by the wind ruffling against my bedroom windows; one of the delights of Aberystwyth Seafront.
After a group seminar viewing some of the etching prints in the School Of Arts collection, which included works from Whistler and Edgar Holloway, I was inspired by the detail in the marks in their imagery, and composition especially in the works of Whistler. Each piece made me think, "how did he do that?" I was very excited on continuing with my own work.
Aluminum Plate Left, Sketchbook Drawing right.
After drawing both the Sketch and plate out on my train journey last week, I finally got round to putting my drawn out plate in copper sulphate and etching it at three grades to create the depths of line similar to my drawing. One of my favourite parts of printmaking is not knowing exactly how your prints will turn out, and appreciating that each unexpected mark can add to the print, but if it really doesn't look how you wanted it to, you can still change it. Something that is very difficult to do with drawings, especially pen drawings. After a few prints, I felt that they were lacking tone, and there was a lot of empty space left on the plate so I intend to add more to etching, and see what i can learn from this atempt for future etchings.
The beauty of watching the birds fllock together is truly spectacular. On my walk home i was looking for inspiration for future etchings and paintings, something that i always struggle with is developing my subject and it's composition, learning what to leave out is key, as well as knowing how to focus the eyes on certain areas of the image which help bring the work to life. I realised that theres so much going on around us, if it's not people rushing to the train station, cars shooting past, or birds flying from tree to tree, the clouds are constantly moving, the sky is constantly changing colour, the temperature is constantnly changing, there are all sorts of sounds being heard, which made me understand that all of this isn't noticed in a drawing or painting or even a photograph. My task was now working out how to recreate this atmosphere within my work, I took a few quick sketches of some of the streets, and people passing by, taking notes of what i could hear, and what was going on around me (admittidely this proved a task in the wind!). Nonetheless, these sketches will help me develop my ideas, especially when I'm in the painting studio tomorow wondering what to paint...