My hands down favorite printmaker is Angie Lewin. Her style and the techniques that she uses both appeal to me tremendously.
First I am drawn to her subject material, the natural world. She moves between ecosystems, capturing their complexity in simple black and white print layered on color blocks. In her book, Angie Lewin, Plants and Places, she shows her process. You can see the transition from photograph, to sketch to addition of watercolor, then on to the creation of the various print blocks.
Her style is bold, a result perhaps of the tools used, primarily wood engraving. I’ve not tried wood engraving my self (but have been planning to try this product sometime soon). It seems to me that though you can get very fine detail, a thicker line works better when you are layering the blocks to build up the print (it makes registration easier if you have a bit of “wiggle” room). This is me talking, Ms. Lewin is much more skilled than I’ll ever be and I’m sure the need for “wiggle room” never enters her mind.
She layers her prints perfectly adding color and texture in separately carved blocks. In her sketchbooks she paints a sketch of the print with watercolor to show where the color should be or alternatively, will sketch with black ink and add the color with watercolor after.
This month I am sketching flora and adding watercolor and ink details. This week I’ve let myself copy the prints of Angie Lewin to gain a better understanding of her style and to inform my own printmaking.
To learn more about Angie Lewin check out her website at http://www.angielewin.co.uk/
Her amazing book can be found here.
I am hooked on making these little bracelets. They are so simple but when you wear a few on your wrist they look lovely.
You can find the instructions for these are other simple bracelets here. I followed the instructions (materials and all) to the letter (I never do that) and they turned out perfectly. Oh, and I used a clipboard to attach one end to, this really helped. I imagine you can use other materials to make them but the waxed linen holds it shape so nicely.
I am so excited to once again be accepted into Plush You! and on it’s 10th anniversary no less.
Last year I submitted these “Oddities of Nature”, and sold them all!
This year I’m going to do something similar, but a little more complicated. I love working in jars, creating miniature worlds. I’ve done some with mushrooms, which are quite fun, but too pedestrian for an event as fantastic as Plush You!
My sketch book is already filling up with ideas. This year I’m working with my daughter, she is also researching and sketching. I have a feeling I’m going to have many more than the three that I’m allowed to submit!
I am a huge fan of Vera Neumann. I have an embarrassingly large collection of her table linens, an umbrella, a few sheet sets and numerous scarves of her design. I was telling a friend the other day about Vera as I also described the awesome tablecloth (seen above) that I scored at an antique market.
You can learn oodles more about Vera here. This month as I pursue watercolors for my year of creative habits, I am searching out Vera’s images and letting myself be influenced by her amazing style, the bold colors, the line work and the the use of flowers, vegetables and other flora in her work.
For this month I am switching sketchbooks and reaching into my Moleskin Watercolor Notebook.
I’m going to concentrate on paint and ink sketches (okay, technically, pencil, watercolor then ink). I’ll focus on flora, both real and imagined. I love the look of this type of watercolor technique and want to develop my skills. The Year of Creative Habits is the perfect opportunity to do so.
While waiting for my son to finish his tutoring session (pre-algebra, sigh, it’s now beyond me but luckily young college students are always looking for tutoring gigs) I found 12 beautiful magnolia trees in the courtyard. They were in full bloom and smelled amazing.
I’m so pleased with the first results. I need a finer micron pen but other than that I think I’m set for April!
Spring is making it’s way slowly to the Pacific Northwest. This past month has been the rainiest March on record, and my soggy garden is proof. There is lots of color though, magnolias, camellias, daffodils and tulips all in bloom. My blueberry plants are covered in leaf buds and my rhubarb is beautiful with it’s large curly leaves and bright red stems.
I finished up the month happily sketching the flora and fauna of the seaside. Sadly, I didn’t get to the shore this month so this helped to fill the gap! I really enjoyed the exercise and am gaining more and more confidence in my skills, which really is my goal in all of this. Here are two more examples:
So, a few lessons learned,
- I’m getting more and more confident in my sketching abilities’.
- I’m finding this to be not only a wonderful habit on its own, but one of mindfulness. I block out everything around me and sketch. Fifteen minutes, an hour, the time slips away.
- I love this style and using the stippling as a shading technique. I learned this way back when I studied manual cartography.
- March rains and skies are still depressing.
For those of you just joining in, I am following along with Crystal Moody’s Year of Creative Habits. Crystal is amazing in her discipline to the project and I love her work. You can also follow her on tumblr, twitter and Instagram.
Lately I’ve actually been completing projects! Of course the proportion of works in progress to completed projects is still about 50:1 but dang it, I finished this last weekend.
In my previous post I talked about starting this piece. I finished the embroidery that came pre-stamped on the pillow case. I used one of the iron-on transfers to add the little froggy guy. I couldn’t resist him. I then used yarn leftover from knitting a scarf to make a bunch of different sized pompoms. There was really no rhyme nor reason to this, I just made pompoms until I ran out of yarn then scattered them around the edge of the pillow. (I did consciously choose my embroidery thread colors to match the yarn though.)
I’m so pleased with the results.
And what is even more exciting, Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching and Mark Allen (the illustrator) complimented me on my work in putting together their design. I’m a little overwhelmed to say the least. Here is Mark’s post.
I continue to participate in the Year of Creative Habits. Keeping all my supplies and sketchbook handy has been key as has setting the time aside each morning or afternoon to sketch. Yes, my sketches take longer than 15-minutes, but the mindfulness of the work is so wonderful and important to me that the extra time is worth it.
Here are a few updates to my sketchbook.
A week ago a dear friend asked me to make a very specific art piece for her husband for his birthday. She has bought my soft sculpture before so knew what I could do, even if there are days I’m not quite so sure. Anyway, I finished the piece with 2-hours to spare (oh yeah). Here are a few pictures…
Yes, that is a stogie that he is smoking. He’s about 12” tall.
For the pattern I started with the raptor pattern from Abby Glassenberg’s book, The Artful Bird. However, by the time I finished I had totally changed the head, I wired the wings to give them shape, I reshaped the body and did the feet in a slightly different way. But Abby’s book is amazing so if you are interested in creating your own beautiful birds, you should check out her book.
For this project I used real glass eyes ordered from an online taxidermy supply company. They are relatively inexpensive (almost the same price as a pair of larger plastic eyes) so totally worth ordering.