When I began my journey as an artist about two years ago I was inspired by the book illustration of Peter Hay; with a remark something like ‘I could do … ‘
For a while I did, I mean make prints out of erasers … not illustrate books exactly! I soon realised I would need some sort of artistic instructions. Pete Hay, I think a Fine Artist and of some acclaim … I hadn’t picked up a paint brush since 1966.
So having found a dedicated teacher and attending various workshops I have spent the last year or so learning the theory of art and all types of print making. While, it seemed I was going away from my original plan as book illustrator (in a good way) ; I did continue to study the art of book illustration, jackets and design. I looked closely at the works of wood engravers and print-makers of the middle 19th century to middle 20th.
I would like to begin illustrating to use and develop my new found skills.
However this is easier said than done! My art did begin with Peter but it was more to do with the painful space in my ‘being’ that remained when motherhood was not a full-time option. Being a new artist has been a comfortable alternative. Stepping out of the comfort zone and to show my finished work (if that were to happen) is a bit daunting.
I have shown my rather juvenile works in local shows but now I would like to expand a bit; today I am meeting with other illustrators and graphic artists where we can share knowledge and experiences.
A week or so ago the Museum here at the MERL closed for refurbishment. However, the Reading Room and Special Collections have been functioning as normal. Although if I was honest I have been wasting a little time in the name of ‘work’
On Tuesday I popped into the Studio where a group of art students from a local school were painting some of the ‘not so rare’ items from our collections as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. I didn’t record there wonderful achievements (not so polite perhaps at the time) but I will return and with their permission …
The next day I learned the delights of Gifmaker and look forward to practicing, and using it as a way to promote the library and the museum while it is closed.
I also learned about Tumblr, another den of procrastination if ever I saw one! Nonetheless it was a fun way to spend an hour in the working day.
So while I have no images to demonstrate any of the above probably a best strategy if my line manager is watching; here is a snapshot from the museum that was.
I was a bit premature last week with my blog post for which I apologise. So I will will post a ‘Y’ for the Brave Old Duke of York this week instead.
Oh! the brave old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He march them to the top of the hill,
And marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half way up,
They were neither up nor down.
The author, who is unknown was set on giving Frederick Duke of York a bad name. The hill in question may have been Mount Cassel in Belgium ; but the Duke never went there. He was associated with the Flanders and Helder campaigns where the countryside is very flat and there are no hills nearby.
It suggested that the jiggle compares with another rhyme ‘the King of France went up a hill with forty thousand men’ and considers that a detractor of the Duke adapted the old song to malign him.’ This was an unkind gesture as it would seem the Brave Old Duke was popular with his troops
La Rigole du Lampy by Jane Roquet is a print quite different from those I have featured of late. Its is described by Patricia Raffe as ‘a shimmer of light … as liquid as a scraper board drawing’. Also the decorations by Helen Knapp are different. Those by Lettice Sandford are influenced by the work Eric Gill who she admired. I know nothing of these women engravers and would value any glimpses into their lives and inspiration.
I pass this fallen tree on my way to work in the library. Its mighty trunk, 10 years since its demise still has a hug impact on the natural life at the path edge. Most days I give it little more than cursory glance. But recently in the sunlight I noticed the fungi that had inhabited it and then the tiny ‘forests’ of moss; minuscule but perfectly formed.
It began on Friday with an art class after work. I had mixed feelings about my attendance; as the event is for members of the Reading Guild of Artists. As a new member I am invited to go along. However, with such eminent and experienced painters I expected to feel at least inadequate and most unwelcome. The class was about composition, while I didn’t have a problem with this, it was good to get an understanding of the reasons and theory of putting a picture together. So while I got over my class room fears ( another issue that doesn’t easily go away) I did paint a picture and now have a handle on the theory.
As regards my ‘other’ concerns they were completely unfounded. It was a wonderful experience.
The next day I went to Jackson’s Art Studios at Stoke Newington, where I learned the art of colour mixing with Laura Fishman. I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about the course itself; more the long journey to and from. However the travelling went like clockwork and the weather was kind. Also Stoke Newington is a very nice part of London and I will return to check it out further.
The workshop was a delight; colour mixing for me (unlike composition) without formal training has been horrible more ‘muddy’. Laura opened lots of doors or rather a few paint pots. So in theory, I am able to make beautiful colour combinations, a colour wheel or more, mix a wide range of colours from a small palette and make informed choices when buying paint.
So a couple of successful sessions on my wondrous journey.