Click here to see my full list of goals for 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Sketches

More Sunday sketches and another dose of seriously bad picture taking (What am I doing wrong? I had natural light!).  The poses in this class ranged from 1 minute to 15 over 2 1/2 hours, so I had a chance to practice a number of different styles and create a bunch more base imagery for my graphic/screen printing project.  

10 minutes

15 minutes

My sketches are piling up, but I've been having a serious writing drought and thirty plus degree weather is just not conducive to quiet writing afternoons.  I do have a new grey sweater though and all I need is a crisp fall morning to get things rolling again.  Sacrilege to some, I know, but I just love fall!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Painting Session

So the painting session didn't work out as wonderfully as I'd hoped (although it was great to have Erin's company for the evening!).  I wanted to work on something big, colourful, and concrete (image/object based).  However, after mucking around for a while trying to paint a sari, I just wasn't feeling it.

Not wanting to waste the full set up of paints/paper/water/ brushes/palette, I started experimenting with some abstract ideas.  I worked through a lot of blobs and splatters before focusing on this pattern below. 

It was fun to get to experiment with colour and not worry about making something look realistic.  I'm not sure I'll be pulling out the acrylics again any time soon, but at least I think I can cross Number 86. Experiment with abstract painting off my goals list.  I supposed I'd have to develop this idea a little more to cross of Number 19. That's okay, I still have four months left! 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Painting Afternoon

T has been out of the house all weekend (camping in rainy Algonquin, the poor soul), and I've really been looking forward to having some time to really focus on my projects.  After spending Saturday with my mom and sisters doing some serious shopping and dining, I'm fully manicured (acrylic, of course, I'm sure you've seen the sad state of my 'real nails' in some of my photos) and ready to get down to business.  

I've got some proper origami paper below, but I think I'm going to hold off on any more cranes and make this a painting afternoon.  I haven't painted in a long time, so I'm not sure how things are going to turn out.  I'm also not used to these crazy nails (so many typos just trying to type out this post!).  I'll post whatever I come up with later tonight or tomorrow.

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend despite the rain!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Passionate Scribbly Experiments

This afternoon was perfect for writing.  Torrential downpours!  Dramatic thunderclaps!  I was working away in a Starbucks when the storm hit and it certainly did wonders for my productivity.  Equipped with photocopies of my sketches and unable to escape the coffee shop, I worked through the drafts of two new poems and then started experimenting with how I might integrate image and text on the page.

This process turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected.  I wanted the text to look emotionally written (passionate, frenzied), yet legible.  I also wanted to break away from a straight-forward linear presentation of the poem without making the actual sequence of the poem difficult to follow.  No easy feat!  I ran into similar issues with Pax Familia when I incorporated the poem into the maze and ended up sending the poem as a separate Word document when I submitted it to ensure that the impact of the poem would not be lost.  

I still don't think I found the right balance today, but some of the results were encouraging.  The poem I wrote to accompany one of the nude females wandered into the somewhat dark subjects of sexuality and the internet, which I don't think really suits the image. It begins:

An icon in the modern sense, digitized and abbreviated 
to make room for a thousand simultaneous desires
of which your thighs can satisfy only one

My first attempt was a pretty standard, linear layout, which ensures the text is readable but isn't very visually interesting.

My second attempt was a little more all over the place. You can probably read the whole thing if you click on the image (Let's hope it doesn't end up plagiarized in a Hallmark card!).  The poem itself needs work, but there's a good base to work from.  

The second poem explores themes of heredity (one of my goals, of course!).  Definitely a work-in-progress, but at least it allowed me to practice new text/image combinations.

I like the energy of the image above, but my favourite is this one below.

After today's experimentation session, I'm debating two directions in which I could take this series:
  1. I stick with a more linear presentation and make sure my writing is legible enough that no words get lost in the presentation.
  2. I go totally crazy/messy/abstract, throw all order out the window, and make the text truly an integrated, overlapping part of the image.  Then, if and when I choose to submit the works to any sort of publication, I submit the image and text as two components of the same work.
I would really love some feedback on this, so if you've made it to the end of this ridiculously long post then please leave a comment about which option you like the best (or any other crazy ideas about where I could take this experiment).  I'm really hoping to have a polished idea ready for October so that I can replicate the final version as a screen print.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I was planning on working on some writing to accompany last weekend's sketches tonight, but we ended up having our good friends over for dinner and after some of T's fabulous chicken pot pie and a glass of wine, I didn't really feel like focusing on poetry.  Instead, I opted to work on a more free-spirited goal: Number - 20. Design a repeating pattern.  I'm sure there's a much more technical way to approach this process in the world of graph design, but my plan was basically to meander into a pattern. 

I've mentioned my love of art deco before, but it wasn't until I took a look back through a bunch of my sketches that I noticed how much the style was influencing my work.  All of my favourites from tonight's drawing session were at least a little art deco-ish. 

This circular pattern gets my top vote at the moment.  I actually really like how it looks in this zoomed in shot were you can really see the pen marks.  

To really make good use of these patterns, I'll probably have to carve them into a lino block (or perhaps save them for my screen printing course).  I'm hoping to have a chance to expand on a few of them this weekend and create a full page pattern, but I'm also going to be preoccupied with the updated Toronto Guide that was posted on Design*Sponge yesterday!  Things to do, things to do...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Paper Crane

When trying a new art form for the first time, I think it's important to acknowledge the classics. So, when I decided to tackle Number 3. Learn an Origami Fold, I knew exactly which paper creation I wanted to try: The Crane.

I've never tried origami (unless you count a few very pitiful attempts at paper airplanes as a child), but I've always wanted to have at least one origami creature under my belt.

Of course, next time I try this particular pattern, I'll opt for the thin, highly foldable origami paper instead of my 200 lb art paper. My fingers are a little sore after pressing all of the various folds.

Paper cranes are also prettiest in colour paper, so I'll probably need to make a run to The Paper Place sometime this weekend. There's actually a tiny crane mobile hanging in the shop that at least partly contributed to my desire to include an origami goal on my list.

Now all I have to do is practice the fold a bunch more times and then figure out what I'm going to do with all of the cranes. Suggestions welcome!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Taking Stock

Things were a little too harried to take stock of my goals at the true mid-point of the year, but now that we're heading into the second week of August I've realized that I need to start assessing and making some serious headway on my list. Technically, I've checked off twenty-two items (although, there are nine others that I've at least partially completed, but haven't written about yet).

Of the remaining goals, there are a number that I either no longer have much of a desire to complete (Number 81. Paint an accent wall in the bedroom) or might not get to due to time constraints. I'm okay with this. The point of the list was to inspire me to create, not to shame myself into madly working on things just to scratch them off (although, feel free to insult me in the comments section... I did ask you to after all...).

Now, my focus is moving towards highlighting the things that I really want to get done and making sure that I combine as many of these goals into projects as possible. High on my list are any goals relating to printmaking, painting, and bookbinding. I'll be getting around to more printmaking in October and November when I'm planning to start another Open Studio course and I'm hoping to work on some paintings two weekends from now. The bookmaking goals will be ongoing, partly because I want to include some of my prints into them, but I do want to practice a few new techniques before I have good quality pages to work with.

I have a few traditional-type books in mind, but I'm also hoping to work on a few experimental structures like this one that I made a few years ago.

Luckily, I have some great reference books for inspiration.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Curious Articles Indeed

One of my goals this year was to start following a new blog (8) and there have been a few that I could have already added to the rotation (and probably should). However, I'm so glad that I waited to officially tick this one off the list because I now have the chance to add Curious Articles to the list.

Curious Articles is a new blog created by none other than my best friend and I'm SO happy she decided to join the blogging world. In addition to being a brilliant scholar and all around fun loving gal, Wren is a fellow maker of all things handmade and wonderful. She has begun chronicling her latest creations online (and showcasing some polished product shots) and is the only person I know capable of effortlessly introducing her latest beaded creation with an excerpt from Robert Hooke's, Micrographia (Published in 1665).

Here are a few of my favourites from her latest posts:

Check out more here!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Sunday drawing sessions are great at the TSA because they have two rooms and two models to choose from. Both rooms were frequent pose rooms this morning, so I produced lots of quick, scratchy drawings. I had a specific project in mind for these drawings, so I tried to focus on keeping the drawings a bit smaller.

I really liked this pose.

I'm planning to add some writing to these sketches to create something like this:
I still need to write the poems or stories that will accompany the images (the above text is just practice writing that I filled in quickly during one of our drawing breaks). I'm not really sure what direction I'm going to head in with the narratives, but I'll definitely need to perfect my scrawling penmanship before I start working on the final version.