Thursday 28 July 2016
I didn’t churn out so many samples today as I was mainly working on my main piece, hopefully to be finished by tomorrow afternoon. However, while waiting for things to dry, I did make a bit more progress on some of my experiments, like this one:
Red and Gold
That is gesso painted on cartridge paper, imprinted with some block designs and then various layers of colouring added over the top. If I get time, I’ll do some more on this – perhaps even a simple ink wash will be enough to bring it all together.
First thing tomorrow though we are doing a show and tell exhibition for the other students on this course. We’ll take turns to share our work and talk about it – it should be interesting although hopefully I won’t be flooded with so many new ideas that I don’t manage to get my own work finished.
Wednesday 27 July 2016
Pink and Blue
Today’s work at my Oxford Summer School course has mainly been brought to you by the colours pink and blue. I have been working on a number of experiments working towards how to colour paper with shades of pink and blue and then weave them together, which will create a sunset effect in one of the finished works I have in mind. It has felt like a relatively unproductive day although, looking back at the photos (click the image to see more) I realise I have still covered quite a lot, including a few more pieces that haven’t yet been photographed.
All things being equal, I’ll have one final piece reasonably complete tomorrow and another one underway. Even if not, I’ve still been enjoying myself, which remains the main aim of the exercise.
Tuesday 26 July 2016
Here is one of my favourite samples from today’s work at the summer school:
Indian inspired printing
After spending a lot of time on some other pieces, this started as a bit of a throwaway. I had been using the card sheet underneath the tissue paper I was printing on. I used it to clean off the foam roller I had been using and spotted an opportunity to do a quick experiment with a piece of textured wallpaper (the plant-like fan shape). I was looking to make some sort of impression on the surface but someone else had previously used a purple pigment on the wallpaper which printed onto the wet paint. A few more presses in different locations added interest to the surface and I finished this off with copper paint and an Indian woodblock.
It is always worth taking a few chances in the art room and making notes on what works – I could well end up incorporating some ideas from this brief exploration as I try and work up some more considered pieces later in the week.
Monday 25 July 2016
I’m doing another Oxford Summer School week of art this year. The course I’m doing is called ‘Out of India’, led by Polly Woolstone, and is using a range of techniques to respond to design inspiration from India.
A new one on me was painting with bleach. Many types of pigment, such as ‘Quink’ ink, respond strongly to bleach and so you can use it to create patterns. We started the morning making monochrome patterns with ink and blocking in empty areas with black; later on we added further layers of design with bleach, which creates a magical golden colour in the ink.
No photos to share just yet but they will be coming!
Sunday 24 July 2016
Back Garden – July 2016
The picture I took this morning of the back garden doesn’t look hugely different from June’s image… until you start paying attention to the details. Some of the plants are looking quite autumnal already (the browning mop heads of the Euphorbia in the bottom right) but I’m excited to see some of the summer heat coming through in those dark red rudbeckia (centre). Another couple of weeks, already into August, and the hot display should be out.
Saturday 23 July 2016
When I started using computers with graphical user interfaces (half a lifetime ago!) setting up a screensaver was both the acme of cool and quite important to avoid the cathode ray gun at the back of the monitor burning a permanent memory of a static layout into the screen, hence the name. Fast forward to the present and, although modern screensavers would have blown my mid-90’s mind, they seem less remarkable and are certainly less necessary. With LCD monitors, the pixels won’t burn in over time but there is one way in which they can be useful – to prevent others reading what is on your display when you need to pop away but don’t want to suspend the display more deeply.
Since starting to pay more attention to the temperature my MacBook reaches (see Blissful Silence from April), I’ve become aware that all of the built in options on OS X work the machine hard. I can’t think why, since many are just displaying photos and I could happily live without extraneous animations, but all of them produced a spinning fan. However, there don’t seem to be as many options for downloading free alternatives as there used to be – or perhaps I’m just getting more security conscious about what I download and install.
I did find one that met my requirements though – Fliqlo. It is a widely recommended screensaver that displays a simple flip-display clock. Nice and simple – one change every minute – and easy on the CPU. A modern computer ought to be able to run something that looked awesome twenty years ago without lifting a finger but I’m happy to stick with something much more minimalist (and retro-cool to boot).
Friday 22 July 2016
So, Donald Trump has been given the Republican saddle for the US Presidential election later this year. I’m tempted to puerile mockery, because it seems so ludicrous, but the thought that damps me down to the point of a chill is that there is a very real chance that he might ride his horse to victory. Donald Trump is the celebrity candidate who says what entertainment-gorged masses want to hear. It would be true to say that he has never made a mistake while in senior political office but that is only because he has never been in senior political office; I’m sure his opponent, Hilary Clinton, will suffer in the coming months because she was allowed to ‘get away’ with an egregious breach of information security, one of several chinks in the armour of the woman who is the more serious candidate.
The question that should be asked to Mr Trump loud and clear, again and again, is just how he intends to fulfil his promises. Build a wall against Mexico? I’d like to see his costings and I’d like to see his analysis of how other wall strategies have worked out. I remember the world celebrating when the Berlin wall came down. How is the self-proclaimed “law and order” candidate going to bring an end to crime, given that no-one else in the world has managed it?
Trump paints a very bleak picture of the present state of America and the world; I am concerned that he seems just like the kind of demagogue depicted in numerous timelines of imagined dystopian futures. And, given the recent example set by the British people in the EU Referendum, I have very little confidence that unfounded guff won’t hold much more sway than reasoned decision making in the choice the US makes in November.