BP Portrait Award 2013

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Self-Portrait with Clown Face by Lisa Stokes

(Lisa Stokes website)


Some cultural activity, now. I visited the BP Portrait Award 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery the other day. Given that it's free, air-conditioned and not too huge it made a perfect place for a brain holiday away from the crowds of Trafalgar Square.

I find it hard to look at the paintings without thinking about photography, and whether the artists have used photographs to work from. Everyone seems to have a camera, nowadays, especially thanks to mobile phone epidemic. I use mine for quick visual 'note taking' so I do appreciate its convenience and find a need for one for my own work. Every so often, though, a piece of work captures my attention enough to not make me think at all about the mechanics of its creation.

In addition to Self-Portrait with Clown Face by Lisa Stokes, I also liked  'Net No. 10' by Daniel Cloves, and all the work by Carl Randall, particularly the section for the BP Travel Award: Onsen by Carl Randall (Carl Randall website)

I did notice a strange labelling convention, though I realise its all part of the rules of art exhibiting. The blurb on the card by the work is always an artist's CV and career path. Only after you have learnt that they are pukka and not taking the piss are you passed onto the paragraph below that explains the work. I'd have done it the other way around, myself.

The BP Portrait Award 2013 is on until 15th September 2013.

Borough Market Ideas Give Away

Advertisement in SE1 I popped along to Borough Market, SE1 last week to see if I could get some ideas for some new art work. I'm very keen to develop my monoprinting further. I think the marks you can make with ink are really interesting. The trip was fruitful - I'm currently producing five pieces based on what I saw down in The Borough: coloured monoprints with black ink details drawn over the top. Hopefully they will evoke something of the hustle and smells you can get down there - seemingly every day of the week, but I know that's not 100% true. Borough Market is closed sometimes. Here are some photos that I took along the way, but the work itself will be much more produce/stall focussed. Coming soon.





Drawing For Life - 3

Life Drawing 15th July 2013

Life drawing evenings continue (despite the dense London heat we have at the moment) at Betty Frankenstien's Drawing Room in Crystal Palace. I found an old pad of coloured, slightly textured paper that I think used to be my mum's (!) It even has the price written on the front in pencil: 10/- which I believe is 10 shillings. I've had it for years, but never found a use for it - until now. I thought I'd try my hand at using soft pencil, white chalk and working more tonally. I'm still wrestling with the speed that I have to work at during the poses but I guess that's all part of the Life Drawing Game. Learning that economy of line and tone to convey the human body as succinctly as possible. Anyway, it's all for the good causes of Art and Illustration.

Rowney sketchbook

Printing in mono

I've been trying out some monoprinting at home, to see what results it might produce.

Monoprint. Blue printing ink (diluted, neat and wiped). Printed on damp 220 gsm paper.

This is what I did:

  • Monoprinting basically involves painting (with water soluble printing inks) on a water resistant surface (I've used glass).
  • I placed a printout of a photo of mine (taken in Borough, London SE1) underneath the glass, to give me something to paint over as inspiration.
  • Using either: neat ink, slightly diluted ink, ink that I scratch into, or ink that I apply then wipe off - I created my image.
  • I then place either a dry piece of paper onto the inked glass (or a piece that's been soaking for a few minutes in water but with any surface water wiped off before printing).
  • With a small roller (normally used for linocut printing) you give the back of the paper a few good rolls.
  • Carefully lift up the paper and voila! Your print.
  • Monoprinting is so called, because each print is unique, a one off. You can try to get two or three prints from one 'inking' but they will each look significantly different to your first (but still interesting if you're lucky).