It's a lovely idea to anchor precious summer moments, in whatever creative way you choose.
Having made my homemade blank journal last weekend, this week has been about crossing the Rubicon of the blank page. Always difficult to break onto that clean white space for the first time and there are some helpful hints to get you across the line, along with this week's prompts here.
The title of the first week of the challenge is 'Make a Mark' which is rather liberating. Sounds much more achievable than 'record your week in sketches' or 'paint your family', or 'sculpt your own head' or something! I mean how hard can it be just to make a mark on a page? Even so, I still found it quite difficult to get over the hurdle of using that first blank page, in my whole, new, blank book. I edged round it for a day or so, while I made feeble excuses to myself that I was deciding which of the various prompts I would go with, rather than simply procrastinating, out of fear of messing up.
I found the prompts very useful. They were prescriptive enough to get me started but not so prescriptive that they were confining, or restrictive.
The first week's prompts are:
I did what I usually do with these kinds of choices, settle on one (apparently definitively and irrevocably) and then follow another. I thought I would use 'everyday objects' but promptly went with 'repeat'.
Some of the repeating appears in the themes and some in the actual, creative processes. I've filled rather too many pages in my book over the week, I fear, and must be more restrained, if the book is to last the rest of the summer.
Like a peek?
I began with a very simple homemade rubber stamp, into which I carved a single hydrangea petal shape. The hydrangeas we brought from our old home, in pots, have done fantastically this year and I love their showy pom-pom heads of pink, lavender and violet flowers.
They're not easy to paint though. So I thought that may be starting with individual petals might help. Printing a single petal onto the first page was easier than starting a whole hydrangea-head painting and by the time I had repeated the print, in various shades of printing ink, the page was full of hydrangea-petal confetti and the barrier of blank-white-page-neurosis breached!
I pursued the hydrangea theme and experimented a bit with grouping prints of petals, using the rubber stamp and actual petals, inked with printing ink, as well as cutting some out and collaging them together.
Bubble printing worked less well - may be I didn't add enough washing-up liquid to the mix but I found it hard to keep the bubbles bubbly, while moving the paper across to print from the frothy mix and it was rather difficult to control where the print went on the paper. The effect is very hydrangea-flower-head-like though.
Staying with the printing medium, I used up some of the surplus ink on my gelli plate to form backgrounds for repeat printing, over the top. Assorted leaves masquerading as trees.
But a big lime-tree leaf, silhouetted in indigo, on a sunset-coloured background has worked well too.
The yellow foreground on this was a bit virulent so I used sections of iris-leaves, inked up with green, to overprint as grass. Very evocative of this summer's long hot evenings and warm nights.
I then got it into my head that trying printing using a single image and repeatedly printing different sections, while masking off others, would be interesting. It was interesting but it was also quite tricky to do and of course, I forgot to remove the mask before printing, at one crucial point, resulting in a lot of dismayed and uncouth cursing, (fortunately, no one else was in earshot), but also the uplifting discovery that it is possible to re-mask and reprint subsequently, to correct errors. The paper masks are surprisingly robust and well-behaved. If you want to give this a go, don't forget to photocopy the master image you've drawn as many times as the colours you will be printing in, to enable you to cut each of the masks you need, without problem.
I need to fix up some kind of more professional registration to make sure the printed sections align correctly with the master image placed under the gelli plate. The small post-it notes I attached to the master image and the printing sheets came adrift in transit and have resulted in some of the printed sections being 'off'. D has been tasked with making a shallow plywood tray with two, or may be three, sides to keep everything together in the printing process, which should solve this problem, I hope.
The masked image was inspired by yesterday's rare blood moon which sadly it was too cloudy to see properly, here in Oxfordshire.
Where next? I've been painting some watercolour paper sheets in various watercolour washes to repeat the stripy night-landscape idea, in collage form.
I may use the same master image for the collage as I used for the print, or I may draw another one. The original was a bit random.
The star effect is created by sprinkling coarse salt on the wet watercolour. The only everyday object I've used in the challenge all week!