Thursday, February 25, 2016

FURTHER EXPERIMENTS IN TEXTURE AND SURFACE RELIEF - Chapter 3

After the first set of warm-up experiments in texture in my sketchbook I concentrate on more considerate exercises meant for inclusion in a portfolio later.


GOTHIC WOODEN SCULPTURE



My first source of inspiration is the same beautiful gothic wooden sculpture from Medieval France used before. The original photo shows layers of soft mellow colours consumed by time that I shall probably consider also for my colour studies at a later stage. But here again it is in its black and white version. It presents several areas that can be texturally interpreted in a great number of ways.

This time I am choosing the beard and mouth area: when enlarged it shows up a very rich surface.




In this first version I crimpled and glued a sheet of kitchen aluminium foil on a gessoed paper creating larger folds in the lower part and shallow wrinkles at the top. To accentuate the beard effect I added long fibers below - I do not know what they are exactly, they have been hanging around for years ... Higher up I pasted what I think are dried chamomile flowers also from uncertain origin. A layer of emulsion paint covers everything, with some golden accents.




Here a detail of this texture


TEXTURE SAMPLE ONE

Then I made a second and more pronounced version of the beard. In this case I used a polyfoam cover I had saved and sprayed it several times with a white acrylic enamel. The spray reacts chemically with the foam creating an interesting potholed surface - of course this must take place in the open air to avoid inhaling dangerous fumes. The texture on top is obtained with tissue paper imbued with white glue to get a rigid finish. This time I brushed on some silver acrylic to emphasise the texture.



TEXTURE SAMPLE TWO

A detailed image




For a new textural sample I use another area of the same photo, in fact the same area I have already studied in my sketchbook. I am reloading it for reference.






My attention is drawn to the tubular forms especially and I repeat them several times. Their main structure is made up of big plastic straws partially covered with gessoed cheesecloth. On the left I have used synthetic petals from an old Christmas decoration, on the right I have applied here and there some loosened up cotton balls. As usual everything is made more uniform by white emulsion. I decided to develop this sample vertically so I flipped my image accordingly.







TEXTURE SAMPLE THREE


A HEAD BY GEORG BASELITZ

For my next experiment I am using another image from my heap: this is a very strong wooden head by German sculptor Georg Baselitz.



It is not a 'pretty' piece, with its harsh yellow colour and its lines that look like they have been stabbed into the wood with heavy blows.



TEXTURE SAMPLE FOUR


I chose rough and straightforward materials in an attempt to translate the intentional rudeness of this powerful head: a rough jute for background, plastic bottles and wood dowels.

Here is a detail





VIRTUAL SELF-PORTRAIT WITHOUT LOOKING

This self-portrait was drawn without looking at my Ipad screen using Art Set app. It is a very simple and intuitive app for drawing quick sketches.

On the left the original coloured one, on the right a black and white version.



On a sheet of white paper I arranged fibers, fleece, string, tulle net and on the right two strips of foamboard which I carved out with a scalpel.



TEXTURE SAMPLE FIVE




ANOTHER SELF-PORTRAIT, THIS TIME REAL, DRAWN WITHOUT LOOKING





First I traced the main lines with white glue and then stitched into them and added some copper wire. I painted everything white and smeared it here and there with silver and gold acrylic. Then I cut it up in four.





TEXTURE SAMPLE SIX






MY JEWELLERY CORNER


This is the silver pendant born alongside this chapter on texture, about which I spoke in the last post. The silver fretwork is suspended above a copper background. The black patina on copper has been created with liver of sulphur.








Thursday, October 22, 2015

FIRST SAMPLES IN TEXTURE AND SURFACE RELIEF

For my first exploration of texture and surface relief I used my collage of Louise Bourgeois' face from my sketchbook.

This is a detail of the original photo with wrinkles and features retraced in black felt pen. Black lines are similar to furrows or cracks on a piece of soil.
And on the right is the collage made from following the main lines.
The black network looks more abstract even if a face is still recognizable and it could be viewed like grooves in the land or streets in a city map.
Below is my experiment at creating a relief on my sketchbook.



I painted a layer of gesso on a page and glued in it the main shapes cut from heavy Vilene. On top white emulsion to get a uniform look.

Along one side of the shapes I punched holes with a needle to make them stand out better.

As I told Sian I would like to develop my research theme of faces as maps and viceversa also in jewellery so I thought I can use the same image to create a brooch or a pendant. I reduced the size of the B&W collage to approximately 7 and 4 cms and cut it out from a piece of hard wax, obtaining a fretwork. These are the first stages. More on this when I get my silver cast back from the foundry!


For my second attempt at texture I used a gothic wooden sculpture from my "heap", copied it in black and white, enlarged and used the area at the top, with the hair and the headdress.



Area enlarged showing different parts to develop into textures.




Interpretation of the area at the very top using acrylic gesso as a background, tarlatan cloth, cotton balls for their fluffiness and some Japanese papers.




This is a combination of textural samples on the same sketchbook page trying to translate the other areas of the image.




When I turned the page I discovered a chance textural effect left from stitching on the yarn string. I do not know yet if it will develop into anything but I like it in its simplicity and choose to leave it as it is.



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

MAPPING A FACE

For my first attempt at 'mapping' a face I chose a wonderful photo of Louise Bourgeois in her very old age, by the famous photographer Alex Van Gelder, but for copyright reasons I'm not uploading it on this blog.

I first drew from it with my left hand and not looking at the page, only at the image. I only looked at the sketch when I was finished. It's a very difficult exercise but really interesting. Also if it was impossible for me to obtain even the vaguest resemblance it was a way of exploring this face in a more intimate way.


FIRST SKETCH IN PENCIL



SECOND SKETCH WITH A FIBRE PEN

In this one I start to see a suggestion of the eyes and the mouth, perhaps also of the ears. I love this exercise, also included in the book Drawing Projects, and I shall repeat it again with real people during my vacations! I am not sure that they will be very happy ....




THIRD SKETCH OF THE SAME FACE

This time again I did not look at the photo while drawing but I used my regular right hand and I felt much more comfortable. I also start to see a real face.





PLEATS AND WRINKLES TRACED


In this case I am trying to find the main lines in the face and moving towards a map. I did not use colour so far because the idea was to look only at patterns.




A MORE ABSTRACT VERSION


Here I recreated the main lines traced on the photo in photocopied paper using a cutter.




Friday, July 31, 2015

FIRST SKETCHES OF FACES

In these days I have been reading and getting inspired by the truly wonderful book suggested to me by Sian - 'Drawing Projects' by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern. I'm using it as a tool to get into the habit of sketching and as a warm up. Here are some first sketches of faces in my Ipad photo library, based on projects of the book.


DRAWING WITH A PENCIL HELD LOOSELY


These are sketched holding a pencil at different lengths, halfway, at its point or attached at a stick of 30 and 60 centimetres, or a mixture of them as in the bigger drawing on the right. The idea being losing control on the pencil the further away it is held.

SKETCHES WITH TWO/THREE PENCILS
Two pencils, or pencil and biro/fibre pen.
Three pencils and eraser

TACTILE SELF PORTRAITS

This is really a very inspiring exercise and I think I shall repeat it again! With eyes closed, you touch your face with a hand and draw what you feel with your other one.

Using pencils

Using a fibre pen


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

FACES AS MAPS AND MAPS AS FACES


A CHANGE IN DIRECTION: FROM MASKS TO FACES

Time has passed and my personal theme has evolved with it. As I wrote to Sian I made a lot of tentative starts but every time I had a feeling I lacked a real sense if direction. I looked and relooked at images collected and noticed that they were most faces not masks anymore and that my interest had shifted.

I started to think at faces like maps that can be read with their features, wrinkles, expressions, attitudes, and at what they are saying of people's past life, places they are from and personal stories. I also thought at the common experience of seeing faces in landscapes, clouds, spots or in the casual arrangement of objects in space.

Sian really helped me out with her words: "Moving from the theme of masks to one of faces could be seen as moving from the negative to the positive aspects of the human face: masks conceal and disguise whilst faces expose and reveal". I think this is so very true and is exactly in tune with my feelings.

She also mentioned to me a wonderful and very inspiring book with plenty of drawing exercises based on the human face,


'Drawing Projects' by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern ISBN 978-1-907317-25-5


which I bought and am starting to use.

Sian asked me to start a new spider map. This time I just let my thoughts go and follow their way without adding images. Like the first I did on masks also this one is sketched onto a square Evolon sheet of around 90 per 90 cms so I had a lot of space to write.
To create a connection between my old theme of masks and my new one I am posting a double drawing/collage that I have in my sketchbook and that I feel is related to faces:

It is a double spread of a Peruvian mask (on the left) and mixed fabrics and oil pastels (on the right).

Monday, October 27, 2014

LET’S MAKE A START ON DIPLOMA: MASKS WILL BE MY THEME



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FIRST THOUGHTS

Masks are going to be my Diploma theme and as such masks will keep me busy for years I think.  I have been mulling over this theme since the end of Module 5 and throughout Module 6, I don’t exactly rembember how it started but the idea never left me since.

Perhaps I was thinking about my surname, Maschera, which is a funny and rare Italian name meaning “mask”. I made some research about its origins but they are unclear. Also I am fascinated by what it seems the universal use of masks among very different peoples and historical ages in religion, funerary ceremonies, theatre, popular events all over the world. The mask is also a very strong psychological symbol of disguised or reinforced identity and it bears powerful associations with concepts like tattoos, makeup, face lift surgery. In fact I have the feeling that this theme might stay with me forever. And of course I am thinking also of my own “layers” as a person.

In the photo above I have collected some of the items and the images I have found, and already the “heap”  as Sian says is a tall one and will keep growing in time. I took a large Evolon sheet (a square of 90 per 90 cms) to jot down some first ideas in a spider diagram (I used Evolon instead of paper since this sheet will have be around for a while). There are four main thought directions for masks in this cluster: ethnic and ritual  masks are linked in red, theatre use of masks in green, artists who worked with masks in orange and psychological connections in violet. Not all these directions will be delved into or even considered, but I believe it may be useful to have a sort of map to help me find my way around.

Let’s make a start!


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 A general view of spider diagram (90 x 90 cms)



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The psycho route



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 The ethnic, religious development



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 The performance side


Some artists working with masks
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