The little pamphlet on Blurb has grown a bit and comprises now 80 pages instead of the 72 pages in the previous one. The price is unchanged as I stayed within the 80 page limit. The text was edited and extended and in total improved I hope. The chapter on tree trunks is longer also a chapter on drawing foliage was added with some of the latest step by step drawings.
I also added three two page spreads of charcoal drawings which are printed nicely. The paper in my copy is a nice cream white which I like much better than the cold white paper that came in the old version. However I do not know whether Blurb will use same materials in all printing facilities. The coloured front and back covers have been printed very well too.
Recently I found the water soluble linocut colours by Schmincke in the local art supply store. I could not resist to buy a basic set of magenta,yellow,blue,ochre,sepia and black. The colors are 4 times as expensive as the Schmincke academy gouache. The colors I selected have a minimum of 4 stars for light fastness out of 5 stars maximum possible (black).
Testing the colors in a plein air landscape study I learned that only very little colour is needed. The 35 ml tubes will be enough until end of this year. As white I used the titan white gouache by Schmincke. The small painting is on a 24X30 cm VANG multi purpose paper at 300 gsm for acrylic,water-color and gouache. I did not pre-stretch the paper, but fixed it with adhesive tape on a plywood sheet. The color was applied in layers. The paper was flooded with water 2 times without much rolling. The colors are vibrant, but will dry to matte appearance. I got the impression that these colors tend to look flat on first use and that it is necessary to work in thin layers to obtain some depth and life. Compared with the simple Caran d’Ache gouache colors the highly pigmented linocut color make a big difference.
The many spring greens already merge into the more or less uniform,saturated and dull summer green. The images above show how the latest sketch developed. The advantage of gouache is that it is opaque and it is possible to paint in layers. Especially for depicting foliage this property can be very helpful as it is possible to put in dark or light any time you want. Also in this case I started with the background and worked from there to the foreground.
By squinting I try to discern areas of dark and light tonality. Then I try to discern 2 tonalities in each of those areas so I would have two lighter and two darker tonalities. In the end I would add two final tonalities lightest lights and darkest darks. As a result the sketch should have about 6 different tonalities,which is not very skilful the least, but for someone like me with a limited graphic mind quite pleasing.
I removed the color information in a photo editing program and separated different grey values. Indeed the version with 6 values was the best. A final hint on composition: I was not too happy that I added the bare tree trunk on the very left. The comparison with a manipulated version gave final prove that the trunk is superficial. The big trunk was placed with purpose aside from the image center to open the center for the viewer’s eye to wander to the horizon.
There are some books one has to have. The tree of codes by Jonathan Safran Foer is one of those for me. Cover graphics and title got my attention immediately. There can be some sort of magic in books, especially in art and artists books, they can spark off ideas or close missing connections.
Visual Editions seem to be an amazing bookmaking company.
The barcode like tree trunk ink drawing is the first of a series that shall go into an artists book to be published on blurb later this year. Drawing or painting in the forest is confusing in a way (so many things and details) and liberating at the same time as there is no composition, no picture unless you force it. It is easy to let the picture go and grasp the abstract graphics instead.
This is a little slide shows a line drawing of a pear and an apple tree in several subsequent steps. The first image is a grey scale photograph edited in photoshop elements to make zones in different tonalities visible. On site one can simulate this effect by squinting. After drawing the outline I continued to describe the foliage more detailed and tried to represent different tonalities with a more or less dense grid of lines. I tried to follow the pattern I saw in the foliage with the gel pen and represented the leaves on the outline of the tree top as little dots. On this occasion I noticed again how much information and insight on a subject is lost in a photograph.
Taking measurements is not a shame :). It helps a lot to train the hand and eye co-ordination for proper proportion estimates.
Thanks to painting perceptions I learned about Stuart Shils a great painter and monotype printmaker. His portfolio of monotype prints is awesome. But do not miss to have a look at his drawings and sketches.
Read here the interview with Stuart Shils on painting perceptions including a 2 part video showing the artist in making a monotype print. Stuart shils uses a real heavy press. For those who are interested in printing monotypes without a press here is a link to a website about monotypes and my way to print from a glass plate.
The opening monotype shows an abandoned workshop in my home town, which now is rebuilt.