Friday, 19 September 2014

Magpie Madness

Perching Magpie. Ink and paint. 2014

I've been really lucky this week and have had two almost full days in my studio. I've been able to get going on a couple of the projects buzzing around in my head and this has lead to a sense of creative satisfaction and a plethora of new ideas.

Colouring in

Building up colour

I have been continuing with my magpie obsession and spent Wednesday working on some big drawings to help me plan out my textile pieces and clarify my ideas and thoughts. I've also been keeping my daily drawing going which I think is really helping with keeping me working. I'd say focused and motivated but I think inspired to continue is probably more accurate.

Adding water

The first big drawing I worked on is pretty big (A1 and a bit) because I have serious scale issues, I just can't draw or make anything small. I try but however large the piece of paper I start with my drawings always fall of the end so I have to add some more paper to catch them.


Head detail

After roughly sketching out my magpie in pencil I used water soluble crayons to build up the colours of the plumage. The crayons are really chunky and very satisfying to work with and I felt a little bit like a child colouring in (which is an excellent feeling.) I then added water so the crayons became more like paint. I like the slight unpredictability of this part of the process. However carefully you layer and blend your colours you never know quite what's going to happen, the water flows as it pleases, sometimes taking much of your hard work with it.

Flying Magpie. Water soluble crayon, ink and oil pastels. 2014

Flying Magpie. Water soluble crayon, ink and oil pastels. 2014 

I also added a watery inky background and again the water flowed into my drawing, sometimes where I wanted it sometimes not so much. When the water had dried I added highlights to the plumage using iridescent oil pastels. They shimmer beautifully in the light but don't photograph well (or more likely my photography skills are lacking) so you'll have to take my word for it!

Standing Magpie. Inks on prepared paper. 2014

Standing Magpie detail

Standing Magpie detail

When I'd finished this large drawing I worked on a couple of smaller drawings. I was interested in trying to capture the shimmering, changing colours of the magpies plumage and the stark black and white contrast. I decided to have a play with inks, like using water there is an unpredictability which I like and I love the way the colours bleed and blend together creating beautiful patterns.

Detail of Perching Magpie

Detail of Perching Magpie

Detail of Perching Magpie

I had prepared some papers earlier in the day with washes of watercolour and I chose to work on these rather than on plain paper as I wanted all the contrast to be on the bird and not with the background. I had a few accidents with the ink along the way but a bit of paint and reworking and I ended up with two drawings I'm really pleased with.

Laying out fibres for nuno felting

Nuno felted piece drying out

Today I started working in textiles from my drawings. I had intended to use the big flying magpie as a starting point for a nuno felted piece but I was more drawn to the perching magpie so I went with that instead. Using chiffon as a base I laid out my magpie using dyed wool and silk fibres and then felted the piece. It is currently drying in my studio awaiting it's embroidery. I'll write a bit more about it in a future post as there are enough words here already!

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