Wednesday, 24 March 2010

River to the sea


The movement of water over rock carved out this little curved pool at the base of some high cliffs near Red Head.   A stream wound its way from miles uphill through barrens, woods and rock.  It hugged the rock, mixing with a trickle oozing from the rock face that joined it on its journey to the sea.

It picked up speed as the ground sloped downwards over time and water smoothed rock leaving little bubbles of are and creating bands of foam then darkening as the stony hollow deepened.  It  became more still ,as if deciding what to do and where to go.  It hesitated before taking the final plunge into the salty ocean, relinquishing its sweetness to the cycle that would go on forever.

Water in Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the least polluted in the world.  Its clarity always amazes me, whether in streams like this or at the ocean's edge where I can see to the bottom as long as light permits.  Not all rivers remain pristine as industry encroaches on wilderness, but with a land so full of ponds and lakes and wilderness, we have a better chance than most to access natural water that is still unpolluted.
 This pastel has more work left in it, but its heading in the right direction I believe.  This pool was found after travelling down a path that only mountain goats would go, that lead to the water and leave you at sea level literally.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Waterways Project: It's Easier to Forget

paper and watercolor

If you are a regular reader, you know I've been struggling with what to do for the next step in Waterways. After much discussion with friends and rumination, I had an idea hit me like a thunderbolt yesterday.

At one time, it was possible to dip ones cup into the Des Plaines River and DRINK clean water. As modern people, we just assume that no body of water may be drunk from safely and it's much easier to forget that fact.This is a painful reminder that it was not too long ago that clean rivers, streams and waterways were taken totally for granted.

I am suddenly flooded with ideas for projects and this small, fragile paper cup is going to be part of 300 other cups placed on the floor somewhere (don't know where yet!) as part of an instillation illuminating the above fact. The cups will be arraigned like a meandering river across an expanse of space and remain vulnerable to crushing underfoot, the wind of an open door, etc.

Studying the work of William Kentridge. has inspired me to think larger and more fluidly about my art practice. I'm feeling almost giddy about the possibilities. Working on my police project has really given me the confidence to branch out and think about working with large government departments as art partners.

So do something to support clean water today!
Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
Don't flush the toilet as often. (OK, I know it's not polite to talk about but it helps!)
Purchase a rain barrel and use it.
Write to your legislator and demand stricter clean water laws.
Write to companies that persistently pollute the water.
Savor your clean tap water.

Here is a page from my sketchbook with my initial thoughts and ideas about the instillation.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A day at the beach

The interaction of sea against shore fascinates me.   I think it appeals to most people.  There is something primal about standing on a shore and feeling, hearing, tasting the waves as they roll in.
The water sculpts the land and the rocks near the shore to create peaks and valleys and it carves out openings, eventually collapsing rock til it returns to sand once more.

I have revisited this pastel that I did a couple of years ago of a stone archway on Laguna Beach in California.  The action of surf against what looks to be a fairly sandy stone created an archway through it.  What it doesn't show is the scale of this arch.  Its large enough for 2 people to walk through easily.

I wasn't satisfied with the first pastel, so went back and reworked it a little.  I wanted to intensify the colours in the rocks against the blue sky and now I think the piece is about where I want it to be.  I'm not proficient in pastel simply because I haven't used it enough.  I enjoy it when I do, so perhaps I should be picking it up more often.

There is benefit in revisiting a piece and creating it in several mediums.  There is always something new to learn with each visit.  I have recently created another painting of this view in oils which is on my blog and am considering a full size charcoal piece of it also.

And more explorations of the ocean on rocks with my digital sketch using the program that Vivien mentioned yesterday in her post.  It is a very useful way of dropping quick ideas as thumbnails for future use.  Yes, I could have used paper, but this way is even quicker.  This is from an image taken at Topsail Beach last month.  Watching the waves wash over these rocks is an endless pastime for me.  Bell Island and Kelly's Island are in the distant background.  Bell Island is still inhabited and was once famous for its mines, now more as a tourist destination, as the mines closed in 1949.
Still with a watery theme, but on my blog, is the work in progress of an aging dory that I spent time with last summer. I played with digitized manipulations of this boat, trying to decide the best medium for it.  I finally decided on pen and ink and a pointilissm technique.  You can have a peek at the progress here.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

online sketching and using photoshop

Sketches/doodles done online here Vivien Blackburn

Julie posting a link to this fabulous time-eating site - sketching with the tools is so fluid and the marks it makes delicious! Click to see it larger and you'll see what I mean. I did this quick sketch from memories of walking through the dunes and down to the sand on the Norfolk coast. (I must get over there with Spring on its way) I used the shading, chrome, ribbon and long fur tools in this.

then combined with colour on my computer .....

making it more wintry

I could play for hours! I'd love this as a proper programme, actually on my computer, that would produce large scale drawings.

It's really worth clicking on them to see the lovely marks it makes properly. And play have a go ..........

oh dear .... Julie this is addictive

Thursday, 11 March 2010

another illusion

... of a seascape.

Freire, WIP, monotype, 24x50cm on Tosa Shi paper

other than the water to clean my printing tools with, there hasn't been any water in sight of my artmaking over the last months. i am busily working away on another round through fields in the landscape. chilean ones, this time. while the main project is in a lemon yellow/orange/cyan palette, i wanted a counterpart to be much more sombre, autumn-haze like. and oops, it looks i ended up with something else altogether.

the print is a build of two layers of raw umber, one dark purple grey and a light blue grey on top. they are markings with a knife on an inked up sheet of perspex. much of the effect is in fact due of the paper - it's a very fibrous japanese paper with a lot of the inking sinking into it. so while the top layers where in fact rather light and opaque, they sunk into the previous (still wet) umber layers and neutralised the value contrast considerably.

there's a lino layer to go on top as in this one here, but i think i will leave this one print as it is - the illusion of a seascape at night.

this is the end of this particular printing project and i have written up some more on the process here, if you are interested

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Waterways Project- Origami Canoe

Today, Dear, Watery Readers, I had a lovely knitting date with my good friend Kelly who also happens to be gifted in the "bright ideas" department. This conversation along with caring, intelligent suggestions from our band of Merry Bloggers here has helped me to shake up my art making practice. This little tutorial is an homage to all the enlightening ideas I have been feasting on and a tiny hint of things to come in the Waterways Project.Here's a very LARGE thank you for your support and good wishes!

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

What's happening here is that you gently turn the whole form inside out (without ripping the folds!) to form the canoe.

Using a bone folder helps set the creases more firmly.
If you want the outside of your boat to have a pattern, fold with the pattern side of the paper down on step one.

Here's a You Tube video with a slightly different approach.

Now I need to figure out how to fold a paddle.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Koi studies, part two!

I am so glad I decided to make a series of 30 small studies (emphasis on STUDIES) of koi in water ---you cannot imagine how much fun I'm having!! I have painted in acrylics on a large-ish scale so intermittently over the last few years, that I had really forgotten a LOT about technique. The same thing happens when I don't cook ambitiously for a while. I forget nuances of flavoring and method. Which is odd since I've been a pretty avid cook all my adult life, but there we are.
I have already moved on a bit, technically, from this batch of four, so I thought I'd better share with you THESE in a batch, so whatever progress and direction my process reveals will be clearer to you and to me.
At this point, I promise you that I have NO idea where all this is leading! That it will lead somewhere interesting, I have no doubt---fish by fish, swirl by swirl.Koi study series:ochreKoi study series: yellowKoi study series: concentricKoi study series: multi
I have to stop myself from fiddling endlessly with these, stop myself from wanting to get everything "right"----they are teaching me so much as they are. Now, on to the next group of four!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Where Queen Matilda fell in

Old Ford Lock, River Lea, East London
7.5" x 7.5" coloured pencils on Arches HP

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The title of this post references that the story that in 1110, Queen Matilda, wife of King Henry I, fell while crossing the ford while on her way to to Barking Abbey - more or less at this spot.

I developed this drawing from a sketch which I did last year and it was part of my 'backwaters' contribution to the recent Alleyways and Waterways of London exhibition at the Barbican. I'm not quite sure why but this image seems a bit indistinct and the original is now behind glass which is not the best place for getting another scan!

I've drawn and redrawn this about four times so far and this is just the latest version. I think Constable may have got in on the act as I was reading about him while doing the drawing!

Anyway, having looked at it hanging in the exhibition - which I find always provides me with a fresh perspective on a piece - I'm sure there's a better drawing in there somewhere but I'm not quite sure what I need to change to bring it about.

This was the original sketch in my sketchbook blog post Old Ford Lock - and some ancient tales.

Old Ford Lock, River Lea, East London
8.5" x 11.5", pencil and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Monday, 1 March 2010

Waterways -Thinking About a New Direction

I've had a small series of paintings I'm ashamed to say I started.....last November.
The reason I've taken so long to finish them is because I've not only been busy with my other project, but I'm in transition with the Waterways Project. My very patient spouse drove all over the South Loop with me this last weekend looking for some grit to inspire me in my new direction. I'm enjoying inching my way along conceptually to a new direction.

You can see more images of the South Loophere on my blog.