I have to confess, its been a struggle over the last week or so for a few different reasons. One, I have been back in work. Normally, this won’t be a problem, but with the job I do, my work is very, very busy over the first week or so after a break. Also, my wife has been working very many hours because she is on the leadership team of a brand new school that is opening in a couple of days and the builders have been very late in having the site ready. As a consequence, I have been with the kids a lot, which has been fantastic, but not too productive! I know, all first world problems!
Also, I have found one particular aspect of this quite difficult to get into. Drawing the textures. I just haven’t found I can sit down and get on with it, so I have made the decision to share what I have done, and then move on and make some progress on the next set of exercises. Maybe I can come back to this, but if I don’t bypass it, it will become a big barrier. I particular, the bit that I have struggled with is the first part of the exercise. Really bold, varied attempts to recreate the textures that I see around me. As I said, I am a little ashamed to say while I got really interested in looking at the textures that were around me, I just couldn’t get into using experimental style marks to make them.
The second part of the exercise involves frontage, or rubbing patterns through the paper so that they make an impression. I remember doing this when I was really young, and it was actually very refreshing to go back to something and have some fun with it, but also understand how it can help us to gain a better understanding of how texture can be represented. I am sure that was the aim of my primary school teacher when I first did it, but I have to confess, that was probably wasted on me at the time!
Image 1 shows a range of frontage squares that I did and then stuck them into my sketchbook. I chose to do them on paper and then present them like this so that I had a bit more manoeuvrability when actually making the rubbings, but also cam back to my sketchbook so that I get used to using it as a genuine reference and foundation for my work.
Image 1 – Sketchbook Pages Showing Frottage
Top left, to bottom right: (1) Leaf – Oil Pastel, (2) Lego Base (Front) – Watercolour Pencil, (3) Lace Pattern – HB Pencil, (4) Leaf – 4B Pencil, (5) Lego Base (Back) – Watercolour Pencil, (6) Apple MacBook Logo – 2B Pencil, (7) Patterned Wallpaper – Pastel Pencil, (8) Wooden Post (With Knot) – 4B Pencil, (9) Wall Pattern With Repair – 4B Pencil, (10) Indoor Brick – Watercolour Pencil, (11) Laminate Floor (Mock Wood) – 2B Pencil, (12) Welcome Matt (Bristled) – Watercolour Pencil.
Image 2 – Apple MacBook Logo – 2B Pencil.
Image 3 – Lace Pattern – HB Pencil.
Image 4 – Leaf – 4B Pencil
Image 5 – Welcome Matt (Bristled) – Watercolour Pencil.
Of the four frottage samples that I have included detailed images of, I really like the leaf and the Mac logo. The marks that were made are clear and a very nice clear and consistent pattern has been produced. I also really like the lace material. I used a small section of lace, and it was one of the first that I did, so it isn’t the best, and also, because the lace has movement within it, it was hard to make a rubbing of without it loosing shape. Finally, included the matt rubbing because it was so bad! Despite the hard, bristling texture of the matt, it made a terrible subject to try to create a rubbing against! Lesson learned!
To try to move beyond just making rubbings, I decided to have a play around with some materials and when I unpacked my new printer, there was a very interesting polystyrene (I think) think layer that was protecting the glass of the scanner. Immediately, when I saw it, the texture that I could see on the sheet look liked a layer of skin. I decided to have a play around and experiment with this to see how I could use it to depict skin in some way. Image 6 shows a section from a research sheet I completed with this.
Image 6 – Skin textures (development of ideas)
Initially I did some basic frottage with the layer, but probably because of my choice of medium, these didn’t really work the way I had envisaged, but then I had the idea of actually just creating a print from the material. I decided to use a flesh tint acrylic paint and painted a layer onto the material before trying to get a nice print. The first attempt, which can be seen as #5 on the sheet was a little two thick to really make a good impression, and number #3 was using a lot less paint. This was too thing in the end. However, when I had finished this printing I realised I had accidentally created quite a nice representation of skin when I looked at the colour that had stained the material when I had been doing the printing. So, I played again, trying to see if I could develop this, seen as #4 and #7 on the sheet. Finally, I worked with the image that is #8 on the sheet where I tried to combine a print with some drawing, in the form of representations of fine hair (as was seen in my photographs and research images.
Image 7 – Skin print and painted material
Image 8 – Skin print with development work
Finally, while I was working around this task, partly when I was away staying in a small stuga, the owners had a couple of fantastic ‘metallic coasters’ which I decided to have a bit of play with. I made a partial rubbing, and in part drew round the shape, developing a few little ideas around it. On reflection, when I had access to the coaster I wish I had done more with it rather than rushed. I thought I’d include it, just for show as a development or work in progress.
Image 9 – Development work with plant shaped coaster