Tuesday, 25 May 2010

A fishy project

  Ocean Perch on kitakata paper

As part of my plans for 2010, I applied for a grant, heart in mouth.  I was lucky enough to receive it and for the full amount, as often amounts are reduced to spread the wealth a bit further.

My project is to produce a body of work in gyotaku (fish rubbing) using species found in Newfoundland waters.  I will also be offering a workshop next spring to share what I have learned with other artists. I applied for a longer project time frame because working full time, I need sufficient time to produce work to the quality that I want instead of feeling rushed. 

I'll be experimenting with various Japanese and traditional papers to determine the best for gyotaku as well as backgrounds and techniques. I have feelers out to various fishermen who can supply me with fresh fish and oddities of the sea.

Today, which was a holiday for me, I started experimenting with a local ocean perch, also known as red fish, that I had in the freezer.  I love the patterning on the gill plate of these fish even if they do have pretty spiky fins.  I have a sampler of Japanese papers as well as newsprint and masa that I worked the initial prints with.   I love the Japanese papers!  They are so soft and flexible, especially when dampened and the two that I used, kitakata and chiri printed beautifully.

 Red fish prints

I'm currently researching and accessing a variety of papers  and best techniques for using them to print and am looking forward to the project unfolding and seeing what the ocean will provide for me to print.  I have the seed of Part II of this project in my head which may need another grant to fulfill.  Time will tell.

Monday, 17 May 2010

quick sketch of tiny covelet next to Porthcurno beach

watercolour and coloured pencil sketch, tiny cove next to Porthcurno beach. Vivien Blackburn

The sea really was this colour, even though the wind was cool. The cliffs were covered in flowers - especially pink seathrift and these white flowers that I always thought were wild garlic but I think are actually called Three Cornered Leeks. (Sarah may know?)

A slow worm (small legless lizard that looks like a snake) was basking on the path in the sunshine.
by Sam, aged 2yrs 8 months

This is Sam's version of the sea - I really like it. I have to admit I loaded the brushes for him - I wasn't actually doting enough to let him loose on my watercolour box :>D

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Photos of Cornwall, May 2010 - The Cot Valley and Porth Nanven

Just back from Cornwall - it has been hectic with work hours being long and then going down to Cornwall with the whole family.

I didn't get enough sketching done with family around but took loads of photos.

The one above is the stream running down the Cot valley, past the farmhouse where we stayed. and below are the little Cot arriving at the sea at Porth Nanven and joining the sea. (I painted her last year on a sunnier day)

view from the moor, moorland farms

and the view from up on the moors in the centre of Cornwall - in places you can see both coasts - Penance and St Michael's Mount to the south and Cape Cornwall to the north.

aerial map of the Cot Valley - though it flattens all the very steep hills :>(

Monday, 10 May 2010

Watery sketches from Turkey

I had the great privilege and pleasure of visiting Turkey in April, as a guest of wonderful British/Iranian friends. Though it was a short 6-day trip, I sketched as much as I could. I was enchanted by the places and people I encountered. One glorious day was spent sailing along the Aegean coast. The water in early afternoon was purely turquoise in shallow spots.Turkey, sailing along the Aegean coastTurkey, the Aegean coast near BodrumTurkey, Easter Sunday sailTurkey, lunch in BodrumTurkey, orange sailboat

Monday, 3 May 2010

Pelicans in the wild in central London

When you think of birds you might find in the wild in central London - pelican isn't a word which comes to mind quickly!

Pelicans grooming - on the rocks in the lake in St James Park, London
8.5" x 11", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in large Moleskine Sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

However if you go to St James Park and sit on a seat at the Horse Guards end - right outside the Foreign Office and near to Duck Island Cottage - then you can frequently see the Pelicans of St James Park engaged in their grooming and posing activities.

I sketched them on the way back from picking up my pictures from the Society of Botanical artists exhibition last week - and on the way to the RI exhibition, as the route basically involves walking along Horseguards! It's not a very good sketch - but then it is my very first sketch of pelicans!

If you go between 2.30 and 3.00 each day, the St James Park website indicates you can see them being fed. Although getting fed somewhat compromises their 'wildlife's status.

Apparently the first Pelicans were given by the Russian Ambassador in 1684!
There are currently five Pelicans in the Park; 3 Eastern (or Great) White Pelicans and one American White Pelican, which is distinguished by different colouring and a crest on its bill. They're gregarious, social creatures and there are numerous stories of their entertaining antics. One rather mischievous Pelican used to fly over to London Zoo in Regent's Park to steal their fish for his lunch and they're often seen climbing out of the lake to sit on the benches
St James Park - Pelicans