Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending March 30

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Saturday, March 24 – This week will be one of catching art on the run. We have out of town guests coming on Monday, so, we’re busy getting ready and then during the week it’s hard to say how art will fit in. Let’s see how it goes.

This afternoon my husband and I stopped by Home Depot; I took some pictures of ordinary things. I have always loved how they display mundane objects in such interesting ways – there are patterns and vistas galore. I took shots for two reasons: some of them were for references for paintings or drawings.

and some of them were for the pattern or arrangement, just because I liked the look.

See what I mean? Visual carnival.

I had some time to work on small tiles this afternoon. First I put black on all the edges of the ones done the other day. It makes a nice finished look.

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Next I worked on the new set. I use a Chinese brush and a pointy tip small brush, as I see fit.

I also did these three round clay disk things. They are made from the clay left over from the tile making session, being bits of clay too small to make another tile. Roll a ball and smash it, that’s what I do to make these.

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Sunday, March 25 – More tiles.

Monday, March 26 – More tiles! I’ve finished up the white clay tiles and am moving into terracotta. Given the way I’m working with them, the change doesn’t make a difference – you may remember I was using the remainder of the bag of clay in each type when I originally made these tiles, and I knew the actual clay didn’t matter for what I was going to do.

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I was a little better at some process photos this time. My working style has settled into this: Usually I work through the whole group, then go back and add more details, and so on, until I tire out or time runs out or… they look done.

I also opened the erosion bundles I had set outside last August (for info on what they are and how I got started on this path, look here, and I give credit to Evelyn Flint for the idea).

I admit to three things: first, I forgot all about them until not too long ago, when I went around the yard collecting them. Oops! So I took them inside and I dried them out in preparation for opening them.

Oops #2! I realized today that there was still one outside, soaking wet. I grabbed it. No waiting.

Oops #3: I was hasty in making up these bundles and slapped together any old papers. Well, now I’ve learned some things (such as, pay attention to coatings on paper, bind the bundles more loosely so that more weathering can occur, etc…) and I’ll do better next time. Because in the end, it was fun.

Here’s the dried out stuff:

and here is the still-wet one (remember, we just had 9″ of snow that’s melted in the last couple of days). It consisted mostly of a notebook, one of the many I use to jot down notes and reminders. Flip through and take a look.

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I’ll let it all dry out and then I’ll see what I can make of these weathered veterans.

After I cleaned up from that experience I started on a gesso project – I recently bought a lot of these 6″ x 6″ masonite panels for painting. Now, these are dirt cheap, about 60 cents each, I think. So I can use them as freely as if they were paper, pretty much, and I like durability of the material much more. My painting style is hard on brushes and on supports, so paper is not a great option. And when these paintings are done, they are easy to store, to give away, or to sell at very reasonable prices.

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Tuesday, March 27 – More tiles. You know, when you do a project like this, you are in a different mood each day and your work process and results reflect it. Today I needed some structure.

I lined up the tiles (I’ve been doing 20 at a time) five rows of four. I chose a color, did a bit on each tile in the row, and then changed colors.

I then made another pass, working in columns this time. Alternating rows and columns, I repeated the process, skipping tiles as I felt they were finished, until all were done. I managed to keep them in the same positions so I can show you the progression.

Wednesday, March 28 – I needed a rest from tiles. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I went to my studio and looked over the offerings strewn across the table tops for inspiration. I decided to pick up a book I’ve had for some time and work with it.

This book:

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I had borrowed a copy from the library and I liked it so much that I bought one to keep. The book consists of all kinds of ways to draw human figures – illustrations and a line or two of explanation on each page. I intend to go through it and try everything. I haven’t had the time to do a thing about this goal, so I decided today was a good day to start.

I did some brush figures – this came very easily to me. Love making the swirly figures.

I also did these scribbley figures.

I will be working from this book again soon. It is easy to pick out one technique and try it, and it was especially good for today, when I am somewhat mentally scattered. I want to devote good attention to it, though, when I come back to it, and take my time. I think I can learn a lot from this book.

I then went to my current Large Artist Sketchbook and worked on another one of those pages where I pasted in an image with the idea of adding to it later. I got a good start on this page, using acrylic inks (they are growing on me) and some of those cut-up pieces from last week:

I also ended up with an interesting page (a piece of bristol board) that I used for excess ink, or to mix it. I’ll see what if anything can be done with it, or I can cut it up, too.

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Thursday, March 29 – My out-of-town visitors left today, and I had some time this afternoon for art. I’m a real creature of routine and it will take me a little time to get settled from the activity of this week. I decided to putter around and work on this little thing or that, nothing too involved.

I gessoed some more of those 6″ x 6″ panels.

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Now I’ve got a good number to get some painting series going with. I like this brand of gesso:

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It is so goopy. Somehow that appeals to me, plus it covers well in one coat.

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I got out the figure sketching book I mentioned yesterday and tried another technique. The idea was to be outlining figures. I went off in a bit of another direction (I couldn’t help adding details) but I’m going to take that as a sign of how the initial inspiration of the simple figures in the book was able to involve me so fully.

I also did some blind contour sketching, at the book’s suggestion (now it’s speaking to me?) with photos of mannequins for inspiration – they were what I had right there at hand. I liked these; I cut them out, and I think I might color them and put them in a composition somewhere.

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Last, I added India ink outlines and fill-ins to that acrylic ink sheet from yesterday. Where this is going, well, we will find out sometime.

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And I forgot – last night I finished up the page from the current large Artist Sketchbook. Thank you to two episodes of the original Star Trek show for settling me on the sofa to work on it!

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OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.

6 thoughts on “Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending March 30

  1. Evelyn Flint

    I love, love, love your clay tiles Claudia – they’re just so beautiful and vibrant! Thank you for the mention with the erosion bundle results – I thought your results were very good, especially the notebook. I’m sure you can work these lovely weathered papers into some lovely art work…

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I do love making tiles because of the colors, there is no end to the variety and the brightness appeals to me. Thanks for your encouragement on erosion bundles. I have a whole box now of interesting papers, and I plan to try again, because now I have a better idea of how it works out. Thanks again for the idea and for sharing it!

  2. Pingback: Tile-o-Rama | Claudia McGill and Her Art World

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