Thursday, 25 February 2010

Will Mclean

I’ve attached some sketchbook pages which I produced looking at Will Mclean for inspiration. (Rather than just  attaching pictures of his work and having to repeat what I have already said in my sketchbook !)

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010


I finally got round to making some prints from the plate I produced by removing the hard ground from it with turps and found materials / objects. I’m really happy with how they have turned out. The plate has printed a lot more of the marks I created on the plate than I thought it would. I love how random it is and the fact that it looks like that rusty texture that I’m always so fond of when I come across it !


I like both of these prints. I really like the colour of the second one but I do think the black one is just as nice as the contrast between the black and the white really works with this type of pattern ! I need to think of where to go from here. I’ve learnt so much and produced a lot of different types of work. I’ve got to a point where I just need to take a step back…look at what I’ve done…and consider how I can combine / work with these different techniques or choose a more direct route to go down !

Wood Cut Print

Last week I had a workshop on Wood Cut Print. I have always looked at wood cut prints and thought of them as too “planned” almost and I think this is why I have dismissed working in this area so far in my practice. However I went into the workshop with an open mind. I didn’t really have anything planned for the workshop (again!) so I decided to just use some of my images I had taken of Found Objects as a source to draw from (again!). I think already the photo’s I have taken of Found Objects so far have proven beneficial towards my project (especially for inspiration and sources for drawing from!). Once I had drew onto the wood I then had to cut out areas I did not want to print – this was the hard part ! Using what was very similar to lino cutters I removed certain areas of the wood. It was quite difficult (which is what I expected) and parts of the wood splintered at times which was pretty frustrating – especially when removing detailed sections ! The first wood cut we all produced in the workshop was just to print in black and white so we didn't have to think about removing specific areas at different print stages.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This is how my print turned out. This is the second black and white print I produced – the first pint had areas towards the bottom which I didn’t really like so I removed. (This is one of the good things about woodcut – you can remove areas that don’t print as well as you thought they would !) I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I was surprised that I could produce a woodcut print that actually appealed to me as examples I have seen before (even though they have been really well done technically etc), I have never really been fond of. This is not how I would normally display this work – I just tacked it up in my studio onto here as there’s not much space ! I actually think it’s quite interesting displayed on this newsprint – however I would have to do something else with the display to make it work !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I really like the texture you can get in the woodcut. Although it is very striking there are still ways you could make the print more subtle by using thicker / thinner lines etc !

So after we had produced our one colour print we were told we were going to be producing a second woodcut – but this time using 3 colours so there would be different stages of cutting the wood out / printing. I always find it a bit confusing when it comes to layers so I found this a bit daunting at first however I knew the print would probably be more interesting than just a one colour print so I was pretty keen to produce a 3 colour one !

We were given another piece of wood and again I just used my photo’s of found objects to draw from. Obviously for the first print I didn’t cut too much out. I wanted the first print to include a textured background so I only cut this part out roughly. One I had produced a few prints using the first and lightest colour I then cut out more of the wood thinking about the areas I wanted to have a darker colour. I then made my second prints over the first prints using the second darker colour. I then had to think about what areas I wanted to be the darkest and then cut out the sections of wood taking this into consideration. The darkest colour (3rd print) was then printed over the others. The colours we used were not really the ideal colours I wanted to use. However I considered this workshop as a learning process and I wasn’t too concerned about the final outcome (although I did want a half decent print !).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This was one of the final prints I produced. I had quite a bit of trouble with certain areas of the background. It was supposed to be the first lightest colour however even though I had cut pretty deep into the background the second and third colours were still printing in some areas. Pete explained to me this may be because the board was slightly warped – pretty frustrating ! This was the reason why my board often had trouble getting through the press as well ! I don’t really like the colour prints – I much prefer the black and white. I don’t know whether it’s just because of the colours used or because the black and white is just more simple but in my opinion more interesting !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Because my print was quite abstract I thought it would be interesting to print over one of the other prints but the opposite way. This worked out pretty well and I really like the results – although the colours aren’t really what I’d normally go for !


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I tried this technique on some of the other prints as well – with a few of them just resulting in them being two colour prints. I think wood cut is something I may return to but I would have to plan out what it is I wanted to do in advance first !

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Some Sketchbook Pages

So….since foundation I have had this struggle with Sketchbooks. Even though I never have trouble using them and always do, I am never happy with them ! I think it is because in A level I done Art and Design (Textiles) and we were basically told to have our sketchbooks  like a piece of art….every page with a background…all textural…pieces of work dipslayed in them as well. I loved doing this at A level as it did look really good – however it was just so time consuming and when it come to Foundation it was alot more about concept and ideas….and for this reason I started writing a lot more notes. There was not as much visual stuff at all and there seemed no point in working in the way I did at A level – it didn’t get you any extra marks and although at the end of the day I’m not too worried about a grade I would have fell behind if I carried on working in the same way as I did at A level. At foundation I ended up writing crazy amounts of notes – noting down ideas and how I felt. Although this is good (getting ideas and thoughts down) I got so frustrated with not having a visually interesting sketchbook ! Okay there were some photo’s etc in there but most of my pages were just notes ! Towards the end it got a bit better but I still felt I wasn't working in a way which was allowing me to have a sketchbook which I actually enjoyed ! I see peoples sketchbooks and they contain notes ….but lovely visuals as well (little paintings, drawings, sketches etc) and I really wish I could work in that way again…it seems like its one or the other…..really visual (as I was in A level) or a sketchbook just full of notes (like Foundation)

This has continued into this year however I got to a point were I had to do something about it ! I decided to split things up a bit ! Have a sketchbook in which I put my research, notes and ideas in and then have a separate sketchbook which is basically just for visual stuff – sketches, doodles, paintings etc. I’m enjoying working like this so far…..however there is a lot of separation and I can’t work out whether it’s a good thing or not. I feel as though NO notes atall can go into my visual sketchbook as each page seems to be it’s own piece of work and I feel I can’t really make anything too visual in my research / notes sketchbook. Anyway enough going on about it….it’d be good to know what people think and how they work. I’m really trying to find a way of working in sketchbooks that suits me and I feel if my notes and ideas are in the same sketchbook as my visual stuff it just wont work as notes will soon overtake !

I’ve included a few pictures from my “Visual” Sketchbook below. I now have have a method of overcoming the blank page syndrome ( well for this project anyway) – I have been pasting newsprint onto the pages of the sketchbook before working onto them. It’s been nice having something to work onto and with – found newsprint is especially ideal as you get little images and patterns that you can develop on but you can also produce images or collages on it that have no relevance to the newsprint at all and it still works well ! I have tried not to think to much about what I produce in this sketchbook but to simply use it as a visual retreat that ideas and ways of working can spawn from. Some of these pages are not finished at all – I keep coming back to them and working more.



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P2180081 I think this is the page I am most unhappy with so far….I think it’s because of the colour. Over the past few days I’ve come to realise that I am quite fussy when it comes to colour ! Blacks, whites and greys always work for me but when it comes to colour it has to be right !

P2180082 I’ve also noticed how much I enjoy doodling and how graphic I can be sometimes. Ok I’m probably working with newsprint left over from Illustration students however that doesn’t answer for the doodles – although I do really like the visuals also and working into / developing them !




P2180087I really enjoy working in this sketchbook and actually being able to enjoy working in a sketchbook (not becoming tied down in ideas and thoughts) is something I’ve missed a lot !  

More Etching !

I didn’t really think I’d get into Etching but since doing the last workshop I’m really keen on it. I was both surprised and happy with the results I achieved last time and that was without actually thinking much about what I wanted to do with the Etching plate ! After having a tutorial with Arthur I decided to produce another, but larger Etching plate. He explained how you could get some nice effects by removing hard ground with turps. I decided to prepare a plate with some ground and then experiment removing it at home. This wasn’t such a good idea as the turps I bought was not odour free and I think I nearly died ha-ha ! However I did get the plate done and from what it looked like once I had finished I was pretty happy with it. I used a piece of cloth I had in my box of textiley stuff at home to apply some turps onto the plate and then used different objects to remove parts of the ground, for example; plastic bags, hessian, cloth, scrunched up newspaper. I was unsure on exactly how this was supposed to work at first but I picked it up and I noticed how different textures could be created by using this method. So once I had removed parts of the ground I wanted I went back into the print workshops and went through the process of putting the plate in the acid / stopping areas out several times. I have took a few photo’s of what the plate turned out like after it had been in the acid and had cleaned the remaining ground off. Obviously you cannot really tell how it will print but there’s just something about the plate itself that I really like when Etching.

P2120012 I knowwww you can see me taking a picture of the plate – however I couldn’t do it in any other way ha-ha. It’s the only way I could get a picture of the whole plate.  Some close ups are pictured below to try and show the textures etc. I wanted to get that rusty effect that I’ve been going on about and using found objects to remove the ground from the plate was the perfect way to get these types of different and random patterns / shapes.

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P2120015  P2120016 I’m really pleased with how the plate turned out. It’s this type of effect you can see in the close ups that I was really going for !


So whilst my dad was up for a bit we went on a pretty good walk up around Glen Shee ways (unfortunately the cloud was stupidly low so we couldn’t see a thing and basically were tested on our navigational skills !) which was nice…went out to the Union on Saturday night….which was an experience….and then went on a stroll along Stonehaven beach on Sunday (my dad was pretty keen on seeing the highland fault with him having done a geology at uni etc.) But anyway there was some cool things along the beach which I thought would relate well to my project so I took some photo’s. Rust will always make me take pictures of it !



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This thing was amazing ! I have no idea what it was but it is the epitome of what I find visually exciting ! Rust and random marks created through decay and weathering – beautiful ! There were parts of this object that looked as if someone had sat down and purposely painted it in that abstract way as the way in which the marks, patterns and colours were placed together was just so right !



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I plan to use these patterns found in rust some way in my project. I have already started thinking about recreating similar patterns on an etching plate using a random way of creating the marks (similar to the random way rust forms.) The patterns and shapes are intricate enough to be used just on their own however I think there is a lot of potential to use them as either a texture or background for some more detailed work to be displayed with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Okay this doesn’t relate to my project that much as it’s not really a found object as such – it’s just rock ! However it is a found pattern I suppose and I’m up for letting that count just as much as a found object ! Some of the rock formations were crazy in this place. The formations in this rock face have obviously been caused by water – and again that random abstract effect that weathering causes is just so visually amazing to look at !

P2070106 The colours on this log were crazy ! The orange colour was so bright – I’m unsure what had caused the colour on this log but it looks like some sort of rust staining ? But again, just the colours and the patterns found on it I found really nice !

Monday, 15 February 2010

More Found Object Photo’s

So I decided to take some more photographs but this time I brought a desk lamp into the studio so I could play around with lighting. I really enjoyed taking photographs in this way again. The fact that you have control of the set up – allowing you to create interesting compositions and control over the lighting is something which I have missed ! 


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I plan to use these as just pictures to work from however I would like to use them in some other way as well. I really liked the shadows that were cast from the objects so maybe this could be another thing I could experiment with. It brought Cornelia Parker’s work to mind (pictured below)


I love this piece of work. I think there is a lot of potential for using objects I have found in a similar way to Parker. I first learnt about this piece in a history and theory lecture back on Foundation – If a remember correctly Parker blew up a shed and then hung all the pieces together in a gallery space. The shadows are an integral part of this work and I think they have just as much (if not more) importance to the piece than the shed parts. This brings back one of the ideas I had of dismantling objects and then putting them back together in a more interesting and visually exciting way.