Honesty & the Craft of Fabric Printing

This is a post about drawing honesty from my garden and trying something new – fabric printing. But first…

A monumental change has recently taken place in my life. I’ve not made a big announcement  because, although I’ve been very excited about these developments, I wanted to take some time to quietly become accustomed to the possibilities that have now opened up for me.IMG_20140812_134942

After 15 years working as a lecturer in adult and further education I have taken voluntary redundancy. As some of you know, I have been writing this blog and teaching an on-line drawing course for a couple of years now. Recently, I have been increasingly frustrated at not having sufficient time to develop new courses or even for my own art work!. When the college asked for volunteers to take redundancy it seemed as if everything was suddenly falling into place and I have no doubt that this is the right decision for me.

That said….

What is the best therapy after 15 years of being the teacher?  Turning the tables and being a student of course!

I love learning new skills and, along with a friend, I booked myself onto a  one day linen panel printing course. The workshop was taught by Liz Lippiatt and organised by the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen.

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The day before the workshop we both spent some time sketching plants in the garden. Initially, I found it difficult to make the mental switch from art to design. Simplifying, altering shapes to better fit a space and not being able to use tone were, initially, all quite tricky for me to feel comfortable with. Soon I began to relax and play around with the drawing and began to enjoy the process.

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We spent the morning exploring and drawing from the Arts and Crafts collection at The Wilson where the course was held. Although there was an amazing array of source material to choose from I decided to go with my original drawing from the garden. The design was first cut from paper, which was laid over the linen to create a stencil. The fabric ink was then passed across the screen using a squigee to print onto the fabric. Liz was very supportive throughout the process and kept everyone calm, even when we were convinced our designs would all go wrong!

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Above is my finished print…

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And here is the finished cushion!

Now back to my neglected watercolours…

The Watercolour Journals Facebook Group Competition

Every month over on The Watercolour Journals Facebook group  there is a competition. All group members are able to enter simply by posting their art work in the group. Four winners are chosen and each has their work featured as the group banner for one week.

The winners of this month’s competition have just been announced and they are: Catherine Aston, Loretta J. Hamilton, Fankaar Nagesh and Shama Amjad.  Many congratulations to them all!
Each artist’s work will be featured as our banner image for one week during July.

The first is this beautiful poppy by Catherine Aston.

Poppy by Catherine Aston
To enter the contest to have your work featured on the banner during August, simply post your work in The Watercolour Journals Facebook group before the end of July. Four works will be chosen and each will be featured for one week each. The next winners will be announced on 1st August. Good luck everyone!

Acrylic painting techniques – glazing

The students in my college evening class have been producing some amazing work this term. Especially so because this is the only the second term and half of them are beginners who have only started since Christmas. We began this semester by exploring some new drawing techniques and have moved on to basic acrylic work.

Our final lessons involved making a monochrome under-painting and then laying down a series of glazes to create beautiful, rich, deep colours. Here are some examples of their work showing the various stages:

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With thanks to Sharon, Sara, Jane, Roger and John

We have a wonderful, thriving Facebook group that you can visit by clicking here. We would love for you to join us – beginners through to experts are all very welcome!

Mata Hari and Datura

I’ve been working on the portrait that I was making sketches for a couple of weeks ago; the subject is the exotic dancer Mata Hari. Steady progress is being made, but I have to admit that the going is slow, especially, when using a ball point pen to make such a detailed drawing on A1 paper! I need to smooth the tone transitions in some areas and complete the shading on the left side of the face. As this is the side in the light, hopefully, it won’t take so long as the right.

Erica Lowe, Mata Hari drawingI’ve also been giving some thought to the motifs for the background/border for the piece. As is well known, Mata Hari was executed by firing squad in France 1917 after being found guilty of being a double agent and spying for Germany. Bearing this in mind, I have chosen the plant Datura, representative of “deceitful charms”, which I felt was good match for this alluring and yet duplicitous woman.

Below is a quick watercolour sketch of a Datura flower.

Erica Lowe, loose watercolour,flower painting,Datura painting

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to brush up your drawing skills, this might just be what you’ve been looking for; Enrolment is now open for my on-line drawing course, Exploring Drawing.

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Beginning by drawing the eyes

This is the first sketch for a new portrait I have planned. Sometimes I make a sketch of the whole composition before I begin, but I felt that I just wanted to  begin by trying out the drawing techniques I will use. I’m going to use ball pen & also watercolour in this piece.

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I always begin a portrait by drawing the eyes & build the rest of the face around them. For me the eyes are usually the focus of a portrait.

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If you would like to improve your drawing skills please click here for more information about my Exploring Drawing course - it’s perfect for both beginners & those who just want to brush up their skills!

Sunflowers in January

This is a painting of sunflowers that I have been working on for some time. It’s by far the largest still life watercolour that I’ve ever attempted, measuring 23″x 33″. I also tried to in a new way for me, not planning what I wanted the finished painting to look like, but letting it evolve naturally. Although I didn’t plan it as a whole, I did spend a lot of time waiting for the direction of the next stage to make itself known to me (sorry if this sounds a bit strange!) It was an interesting experiment, but I think I have more work to do on letting go of the control of the process if I want to develop this way of working.

The pictures below show the stages & I hope will give some indication of the size of the work – some also include my feet standing on a chair to take the photos!

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I have two on-line courses currently enrolling - click here to find out more  or send me a message!

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