FLORAL STYLISATION

Continuing on, I decided to utilise some of the skills I had acquired during my previous floral explorative studies; now was the time to incorporate colour, line and pattern.

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This study used a stylised approach to flowers you would see in a garden, specifically within my Mum and Dad’s garden. Poppies have been stylised, and the Forget-Me-Not’s and Viola within the rockery section of the garden have been described with Derwent INKENSE pencils and a Derwent Water Brush, with a particular use of the pencil and brush to create texture. Faber Castel PITT Artist Pens were also used to suggest the quality of grass/fronds/leaves. This was an enjoyable experience in mark-making, but more than that it gave me the confidence to use these new instruments, having never used them before.

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Having applied the principle of vibrant and exploratory mark-making with the INKTENSE pencils and FABER CASTELL pens, I decided to draw directly from life. I  picked up a reduced bunch of flowers from Aldi (only a few were still in the land of living, but considering I only paid 5p for them I couldn’t complain) and spent no more than 10minutes on this ‘sketch’. I was really bowled over by how fantastic and descriptive these instruments could be when used in conjunction with each other; a dynamic texture, colour and pattern has been created. A cohesive, fluid mark-making exercise turned out to be really successful.

Creating surface pattern/background with simple INKTENSE pencil shading and Derwent Water Brush. The image on the left is the original design, whilst the image on the right has been enhanced in my Mac ‘Photoshop’ via the Enhance tool. I absolutely love the colour and texture of the design and will experiment with applying some of my designs over the top of it; printing directly onto the surface and cutting out shapes and adhering them to the surface will allow me to explore the possibilities of the proposed final digital design.

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Playing around with stylisation and motifs; layering and mark-making. Additionally, I have incorporated a kineticism within these designs which draws the eye all over the page…allowing the viewer to choose favourite elements and interpret patterns, which would be incredibly useful when researching for a future client/s.

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Observational studies of one leaf at various different angles. The skill of observational drawing will be essential to me as a practitioner as it will differentiate me between the designers who cannot draw. Drawing is paramount to an artist!! It allows ideas to be conceptualised and carried through to a full and thought out design.

WHAT IS VISUAL HANDWRITING?

Hand-writing is your own personal style. It’s the bit that sets you are apart. That’s the mark-making you employ, or the medium you use. It can also be affected by the style/ genre you are working within.

It is vitally important to have your own Visual Handwriting, what are you without it?

What is Identity? The characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is.

Synonyms of Identity: INDIVIDUALITY, SELFHOOD, EGO, PERSONALITY, CHARACTER, ORIGINALITY, DISTINCTIVENESS,  DISTINCTION, SINGULARITY, UNIQUENESS

What is Identity important? Well, it differentiates between me and the next person. Imagine a world in which we all dress the same, look the same, come up the same ideas and create the same designs; not a world in which I want to belong in. But why is it so important to have my own unique visual handwriting? It defines who I am as an artist and is a direct result of how I interpret the world around me.

I decided to conduct a little experiment of my own today. If I copied the work, specifically floral designs of other artists, would the work look identical or would my visual handwriting create a new story?

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Is my identity the marks I make in my art? Is it how I interpret the subject matter through my own two eyes? I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this Tulip/Floral arrangement; it allowed me to expand my mark-making repertoire, which in turn will allow me to become a more experienced and creative artist.  Cabinet (Oak, veneered with marquetry of various woods, copper, pewter, tortoiseshell, horn and lapis lazuli), 1680 – Andre-Charles Boulle. 

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I was instantly drawn to this design; having spent nearly all of my childhood spring/summer in my garden,orchards or woodlands abroad, the imagery of apple blossom is synonymous with warmth and magical nature adventures with my Dad. Drawing this allowed me to pour some of my happiness into the drawing in the form of adding a little pink and purple, which strangely in the past I would not consider. Apple/Pirus malus en Peer/Pirus communist, 1905, Lithograph – Theo Nieuwenhuis

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I did not want to incorporate the colour from this design, but rather tried to encapsulate the essence of the corolla and large petal size (looking at the WGSN Trend forecast from BUSY BLOOMS). For me, the most important aspect of this exercise was learning which of my own preferred techniques could offer the most dress, unique and new take on a traditional process. For example, I would love to see how COLLAGE could transform this linear drawing into a fully rounded and highly textural design.

What medium would I use for the collage? Could I spend a day creating a varied amount of different exploratory mark-making studies? Could these studies serve as the medium I use to deconstruct and then reconstruct this design?

Spending time utilising the visual handwriting of others has been invaluable; not only have I a new found respect for the creative processes of others, but I have also improved upon my own way of working.

OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING: THE POWER OF FLOWERS

All my life I have crippled by the idea that I cannot draw properly, when in fact I could. My Father, Hugh Thomas, an incredible artists in his own right, has always championed the idea that drawing is representative, and that there is no ‘correct’ way in how we visualise our chosen subject matter.

Today I decided to utilise images I have found within an incredible book, RIJKS MUSEUM AMSTERDAM: BLOEMAN FLOWERS, my Mum recently gave me and try to encapsulate the mark-making and patterns found within so many of the floral observational/representational/stylise studies. Initially trepidation turned into elation when I found that I could create these wonderful lines, patterns and textures mandatory to describe flowers.

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Yes, these are only simple continuous line drawings, but I feel they encapsulate the essence of a flower. The next step will be to draw directly from life, so a trip to Aldi to buy some flowers is a must.

I think I will concentrate on drawing ROSES, PEONIES and IRISES.

First of all I have given myself a set of guidelines, which I know will improve my drawing and observational skills:

  1. Keep a regular diary. Write down what I want to achieve, and how I want to achieve it.
  2. Make sure I have the correct materials, in good condition.
  3. Keep collecting interesting material, objects true, photographs, typeface and lettering, and fabrics and materials.
  4. Set up directional lighting, especially if I am undertaking work with texture, pattern , shape and form.
  5. Practice mark-making every day, especially curving and flowing lines.
  6. Look carefully at scale, size and underlying structure.
  7. Proportion is vitally important. Plan out your work, and practice it until it becomes second nature.
  8. DON’T GIVE UP!!!! I CAN DRAW.

WET FELT FLORALS @ ART VAN GO

Wow, what an incredible 2 day workshop @ Art Van Go, Knebworth. Yes, it was a long way to go for a workshop, and Yes I am CRAZY!! Crazy, but dedicated to learn more of my craft.

Having had more or less no exposure to Felt making, and none to wet felt making, I undertook the challenge with gusto. Luckily, I had been in contact with the tutor, Ray Reynolds, for the last 6 months, so I I knew what I wanted to explore within this workshop. Ray had brought in a range of coloured felt yarns and an assortment of wondrous materials that I had not been fortunate yet to use:

WOOL NIPPS, RAFIA HUSKS, SILK THREADS, REMNANT COTTONS AND SYNTHETICS, NYLON COPPER, SARI SILK THREAD & ANGELINA FIBRES.

I decided that I would continue with my (Busy Blooms) Gender Fluid theme, and purposely chose colours that could represent both men and women.

The process involved brushing a few hues of blue felt together, using of all things 2 dog slicker brushes!! The brushes are used to combine the felt colours to create a wonderful fusion of the chosen colours, not to mention a far more even colour than if placing the individual felts on top of each other.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: WATER SPRINKLE BULB, BUBBLE WRAP, PLASTIC MESH SHEET, A BAMBOO PLACE MAT, WARM WATER & AN OLIVA SOAP BAR.

The felt was arranged (over bubble wrap) with chosen fabrics, threads, nipps and yarns and sprinkled with warm water via the water sprinkle bulb until saturated. Mesh matt was placed over top and olive soap rubbed over the mesh surface until lathered and soapy. The felt was flattened by wrapping the bubble wrap within the bamboo place mat and rolled in one direction for 2-3 minutes one way and 2-3 minutes the other. The felt was then watered and lathered again and its edges pushed in and surface patted to allow shrinkage. There was something so incredibly receptively tactile about the wetting process…I loved it.

The first workshop day entailed wetting the felt in preparation for stitch the following day.

The texture, linear qualities, colours and patterns created by wet felting are beautiful. I really felt at one with the fabric when undertaking this technique. I can see myself becoming addicted to the serendipitous results of this wonderful medium.

DAY 2 – Now that the felt had dried overnight, it became time to incorporate a stitch element within the fibre. I was surprised to find how much more detailed the surface pattern was on the felt, initially I would have thought the result to be less vibrant and texturally rich.

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Free Machine Embroidery was used to embellish on top of the felt, specifically Straight and Zig-Zag Stitch. A lot of these designs are a little more stylised than I am used to, not to mention that the process of stitching onto/into felt was little alien to me; the raised surface became a little problematic to stitch over in places, but Ray told me that as I became more proficient in the rolling element of wet felting these problems would be ‘ironed out’. I will also endeavour to practice drawing with stitch; being able to draw proficiently with stitch will allow my ideas to metamorphose easily from concept to final design.

I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise, and will endeavour to hone its many observational facets into my own practice.