Creative Sketchbooks, Module 1,
The idea here is that you select a photo or picture, and trace it, and
trace the design, simplifying it if necessary. Then take two pieces of decorated paper, and the tracing, clip them together with paperclips (with the tracing paper on top), and cut the layers out. Place the pieces on top of another piece of decorated paper and remove the tracing paper. Then remove some pieces from the decorated cut-outs to reveal the layers beneath. You can reveal the middle cut layer, or the uncut base layer. Keep playing around with the design, recording your work with photographs, until you have something you like, and retain that one.
Create a design by cutting a shape into segments.
This was fabulous -I was a bit wary of chopping up my decorated papers, because they look so wonderful, and I enjoyed making them so much, but when I sat back and looked at my cut-out shapes I thought they were really effective, and they pleased me more than anything else I’ve done so far. I like the way this distorts the apple, and you have the solid cut-out shapes , but better still there are patterns in the empty spaces (are these negative spaces?), which were quite unintentional on my part – it sounds silly, but they really took me by surprise. I particularly like those sinuous curves of the green space on the first red apple in the second row.
An Additional Activity – A Visit to the Matisse Cut-Outs
And I’m awfully glad I did, because the exhibition was quite awesome. I was quite unprepared for the scale of the cut-outs – many of them are huge, and the vibrant colours, the shapes, and the sense of movement are stunning.
I came away converted. Not only do I begin to understand a little about some of Matisse’s work, but I like it, and I can see how it relates to what we are doing. His use of colour and shape, negative and positive space and so on was very inspiring, and it was interesting to see how he worked – there were a couple of short films, showing how he wielded the most enormous pair of shears, ‘cutting into colour’ as he himself described it.
In the films he cut freehand, producing wonderfully fluid shapes, but I gather that sometimes he did draw an outline on the paper. And, in case you’re wondering (well, I certainly did), he had an array of scissors in various sizes. So presumably he used smaller ones for the more detailed and intricate work.
A lot of the shapes turn up over and over again in different pictures, in different colours, set against different coloured backgrounds. Those flowing leaves, looking like fronds of seaweed, seem to be a favourite, and so are the little heart shapes, which could be fruit or leaves or flowers. The shapes are there on their own, joined and overlapped and layered. Sometimes bits of a shape are repeated, enlarged or made smaller, and sometimes it’s the negative shape which seems to the focal point.
Having read this through, it strikes me that it’s less about Matisse, and more about my response to the Cut-outs, and somewhat jumbled at that. But I came away with so many thoughts and images buzzing around inside my head it’s hard to know where to start, and how to put things in any kind of cohesive order, so I hope a little of my enthusiasm comes across. And in this piece I haven’t mentioned his painting… I’ve left that for chapter 8, because the more I find out about Matisse, and more I look at his work, the more interested I get, and the more I like him. He was constantly evolving and trying new techniques, and new ways of looking at things, but he never saw himself as a revolutionary.
Creative Sketchbook, Module 1
Activity 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and Extra Activities
Somehow, as I worked, one thing led to another, and I didn’t separate out the various activities in this chapter, but you can see from the photos that I have covered them.
Make a composition in monochrome using a photograph.
Creative Sketchbook, Module 1
Extra Activity 2
Take your template and draw your shape several times on a page. Shapes can be overlapped or rotated or flipped. Divide page into a large grid. Spacing can be at right angles or with diagonals. Using complementary or analogous colours paint your pictures changing colour when you reach a grid line.
I feel doomed on this chapter. Everything seems to have gone wrong, though this time it’s my own fault, because I didn’t read the instructions properly. I produced two lovely pictures (well, I like them) of overlapping apples, with each section painted in a different colour, and one is complementary (red/green) and the other is analogous (yellow green, yellow, yellow orange). So, spot the mistake… The grid is missing on both pictures. I can only sigh, reprimand myself for my own stupidity, and start again… I had such fun doing these as well!
OK, here we are… Two practically perfect pictures (well, they meet the brief at any rate!). Actually, I think the first two were neater, and both the analogous compositions have a yellow that turned green when I added black (again), so they don’t look quite as harmonious as they should. But I like the reds and greens of the second complementary picture.
And I’ve had every bit as much fun with my ‘do it agains’ as I did first time around. I really enjoyed this activity: I love the way it distorts the original image, so the colours and shapes are not what you expect, but when you look closely the apples are still there (more visible with the grid than without), camouflaged perhaps, but untouched and unblemished. It’s just a different way of looking things… A bit like life I guess.
Chapter 2, Activity 2.3
Third Time Lucky: Cracked it! I’m happier with this, apart from the fact that my yellow turned green when I added black to get a darker shade, and I only used a very, very small amount. I went back to the acrylics this time around, and mixed yellow and red, for orange, yellow orange, and yellow, and I watered them all down a little bit, with the teeniest amount of water, to make them easier to work with.
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