Days into weeks!
All of us at Bridge House Art have been so impressed with the response to On this Day which we ran throughout the month of April. We always value the support of our students and at this time it is particularly important that we continue to support each other. People have posted on Facebook some on Instagram, still others I know are doing it without posting at all and others have sent personal emails and letters to say how much they have enjoyed it and how it has at time been a lifeline to a bit of escapism from the world which we inhabit just now.
Personally speaking I have enjoyed it very much as an artist and have looked forward to the way it has punctuated my day, calling me to leave the computer and to engage my eye, hand, mind and body as I wander to look for a subject and then engage with the process of seeing and creating an image on the page. All of the team at BHA have been keeping an eye on the work being put up each day, we have been fascinated and overjoyed by the varied and individual responses as we catch glimpses into people’s homes and life under lockdown.
So we finished the last day of April and we welcome in May, as days turn into weeks - we are still in lockdown. The future is uncertain as to when we will be able to resume some aspects of normality so we have come up with something for you to participate in which is a weekly task. It can be expanded upon as you like and with the time you feel you can give to it.
Here goes… ready?
All you need to get going is some paper (either a sketchbook or a series of sheets of paper that you can later combine together into a sketchbook) and anything that will make a mark on the paper: pencil, graphite, ink, crayon, ink pencil, charcoal, paint, pastel etc. etc. You can work on the plain surface or prepare some papers with collage or pre-paint the surfaces. We recommend that you prepare some sheets of paper before you start – that way if you are short on time you don’t need to waste time finding and preparing a bit of paper. We’ve also included a glossary of terms and drawing/mark-making top tips, just to help you dive straight in, no excuses, whatever your materials or level of experience, this project is for you!
We are using the power of a single word to inspire a response to it. We are suggesting that you respond to the weekly word in what ever form/medium you choose. You could interpret this with observation or abstraction in a painting. You could do a series of daily sketches that will make a small book that records your week. You could do drawings that will inform a final print. How you resolve this is entirely up to you. There have been some wonderful responses to the daily tasks for On This Day, maybe have a look back at them and take some time to develop a new skill! Refer to the Glossary and Top Tip suggestions on the Bridge House Art website. www.bridgehouseart.co.uk
A useful way to plan your way into the project or to identify exactly what it is that interests you, is to make a series of small, thumbnail sketches over a double page spread of your sketchbook or loose sheets of paper. Start off with graphite or charcoal, to understand the tone* within the composition. You could also develop some colour sketches before you start if you like. Keep your sketches in the same format* as your paper (I.e. square, portrait, landscape) so that you can transfer the composition you select for the final piece. This will enable you to become familiar with what you are seeing.
Your sketchbook or loose papers do not need to be clean, tidy and organized. Use them to write in/on, draw in/on. Take notes or scribbles, snippets of something you heard on the radio, references you want to follow up later, stick in small objects. Let it become an extension of yourself. It is good to see evidence of your trials and how you work through the process of responding to a given prompt.
Friday 21st May 2020. This week's word is
A card for sending a message by post without an envelope, typically having a
photograph or other illustration on one side.
Postcards have many uses and they are not only used to write to a loved one or a friend. It is true; postcards are used to write to a friend or family member from a vacation. They can also be used to see a distant place that someone would want to go to.
We have all been isolated this past two months and perhaps longed for both family and friends and places we have been and again long to be once more. Maybe we can conjure up in our memory a place that has been special to us maybe through photographs or sketches we have made at that time.
Where is it you long for and who would you send it to. Maybe now what you long for is where you are right now your own home and you long to be able to invite your friends and family for a feast, over even just a cup of tea! Let’s see where our minds eye travels and send each other a welcome greeting!
Please continue to post your weekly tasks on the new Weekly Word group Facebook page and on Instagram #BHAweeklyword.
Colour: An element of art made up of three properties: hue, value, and intensity. Colour can change the mood of a picture, it can be used naturalistically or heightened in intensity. It is an intuitive thing, don't worry about if you have got it right or wrong, enjoy using it freely!
Hue: name of colour
Value: hue lightness and darkness (a colours value changes when white or black is added)
Intensity: quality of brightness and purity (high intensity = colour is strong and bright; low intensity = colour is faint and dull)
Form: An element of art that is three-dimensional. It can be helpful to understand how something sits in space when you draw it. Take the time to walk around objects, look at them from all sides. Equally, remember a drawing is a two-dimensional reality. Shape and tone give the deception of form, get them right and your drawing will make sense!
Format: the orientation of the paper:
Square Landscape Portrait
Shape: An element of art that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width. It can be useful to look at the shapes across a composition in order to see if you have a variety of sizes of shape and a mixture of curved and geometric shapes.
Space/Perspective: An element of art by which positive and negative areas are defined or a sense of depth achieved in a work of art .
Texture: An element of art that refers to the way things feel, or look as if they might feel if touched. The kind of materials you use can help with this, but also the marks you make with those materials.
Tone: The values of lights and darks within a composition; works should have a range of tonal values. Objects/edges within the composition can be light against dark, or dark against light. If you struggle to see tone it can be helpful to screw your eyes up as you look at your subject, this will simplify the range of tones that you see. It can also be useful to exaggerate what you see tonally, make the darks darker and the lights lighter.
Value: The lightness or darkness of tones or colours. White is the lightest value; black is the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle grey.
Drawing / Mark-making
Vary your drawing techniques to maintain an element of surprise and discovery. Scribbling freely will show you the kind of marks you tend to make, try to deliberately vary the direction and strength of your mark and see what happens. Repeated marks across a surface can flatten a drawing.
Top warm up tips:
Try drawing with your non-dominant hand I.e. if you’re right-handed, draw with your left and vice versa. Don’t try to control it – you will get better with practice!
Blind drawing - do not look at your page, but let you eyes follow the shape of what you are looking at and let your hand follow your eye - again, gets better with practice! (helps not to lift the pen too far off the page)
Continual line drawing - do not lift the pencil/pen off the paper for the whole of the drawing, take it slowly and really try to look at shapes and how they connect across the drawing.
Double pencil - tape 2 pens/ pencils together to get a double shadow line.
Vary the pressure of the pencil on the paper to give a variety of weights of line.
If working with ink, do the same as above, vary the pressure to get a variety of line.
Do a double hand drawing I.e. draw with your left and right hand on 2 pieces of paper side by side, at the same time – notice how each hand responds differently.
On a pencil/graphite/ charcoal drawing - Lift out lights with an eraser and make darks with a pen.
DO NOT RUB OUT ANY LINES they are a useful guide to finding the correct line (Look at Alberto Giacometti)
Explore surfaces by making a variety of marks with the same drawing tool - dots, dashes, circles, smudges, lines of varying weight.