Sketching out the future

Sketchbooks

How strange, sometimes whilst going along in life and doing what is you do, looking up now and then, you suddenly stop and realise wow, I have been doing this for a long time now.

I have been gathering drawings and sketchbooks for preparation material for this year’s art fair and also upgrading my garden studio as a proper place to work too. In amongst all of the sorting out I found my sketchbooks.

Sketchbooks 1993 onwards

Just like discovering old photos, these sketchbooks are a treasure to me as they were the start of my obsession and fascination of drawing the figure. I started these sketchbooks in 1993 and went two or whenever possible, three times a week to life drawing at the Sussex County Arts Club in Bond Street Brighton. I was hooked, I was reading about anatomy, doing drawings in various styles and media and just hoping to capture the figure in any way I could. I had no idea that I would go on to do what I do now. I had found my passion, I applied to go to college in 1996 and they accepted me on the basis of my sketchbooks.

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Still rummaging about I found a few more drawings, here is one of my brother in 1984 in pen.

Pen drawing, 1984, George

So now I feel really old but I still feel excited about drawing of the figure, it is such a challenge, is always different and never let’s me rest. So this year at the Brighton Art Fair my paintings are all based on the love of drawing people.

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Brighton Art Fair 26 – 28 September, Brighton Dome, Corn Exchange

www.janedenman.com

Drawing daily

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Drawing daily was my mantra for many years, especially all those years ago when I decided that this was to be my vocation; a full time artist. I caught the bug, as it were, for drawing daily and so I set myself various tasks to ensure this practice. Practice for an artist has multiple meanings and for me rings true every time I start to draw. It is the first initial impulse, a reaction to what I am feeling or seeing.

I have gone for long periods without drawing, instead painting or knuckling down to admin which I drag myself to. Painting, still stands apart from drawing and is pure pleasure, alongside drawing. Lately, I have been working a little more on my illustration side of drawing and have set up a new blog, see below. I have also returned to the life room and enjoyed sitting and drawing. Here are some of the drawings over the past month. In a way I have got back to drawing every day, whether it is for illustration or for paintings, its all in the ‘doing’.

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Janes Cards WordPress site

Back to Drawing

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I concluded a month of art at the Brighton Open Houses by nipping down to the Old Market in Hove for an afternoon of drawing. With the car loaded up with paintings it was nice to get back to drawing from the model and see a few friends there too. May is such a busy time of meeting and greeting so to stand at my easel and draw with pen and watercolours was fun. I had hoped that there would be clothed poses but for these three hours we had life poses and the theme was black and white. The models were lightly dusted with white powder and set on a very white stage. The outcome of these drawings weren’t of any particular interest in the end, a few nice areas in some perhaps but that wasn’t the point, it was just the winding down of the festival and getting back to normality of everyday drawing and painting that was so nice.

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Inspiring painters – Winslow Homer

Painting by Winslow Homer

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Looking through my sketchbook for drawings and ideas for new paintings I came across a couple of drawings that made me get excited for a new large canvas.

I generally piece drawings together and as I sketchbooks full of drawings I have a never ending source for paintings. The drawings I have chosen are of a woman lying down asleep, the model that posed was wearing a very striking orange dress. I have already finished another painting with the same model and the orange dress but this one will be very different.

Laying out all of the components for the drawing on tracing paper gives lot of choices for placing additional subjects and also means I can move drawings around. Sometimes I do this in Photoshop, in layers but lately I love the tactile nature of tracing paper.

The draft piece then reminded of one of my favourite paintings by American painter, Winslow Homer (1836-1910). The painting is titled ‘The New Novel’ and done in watercolour.

Homer was, surprisingly to me,
‘largely self-taught, Homer began his career working as a commercial illustrator’. He worked both in oils but I think his watercolours are the most beautiful. ‘The New Novel’ has a quietness and privacy all at the same time. The colours, bold orange against the pale and dark green are perfectly done. He has such a delicate touch of placing key darks perfectly. The expert placing of brighter hues, such as the red lips and then a red flower by her feet makes me smile. It is a superb way of leading the eye from one end of the figure to the other, travelling over the whole length of the body.

I am looking forward to planning my new painting which will have a fond remembrance to Homer’s ‘New Novel’.

Hot weather and paint

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I don’t seem to notice too much at the moment what the weather is, I am just enjoying getting down to the wonderful thing of painting. Apparently it has been another scorcher of a day and I am in my studio for long days at the moment. Only a few souls have seen my studio along with a few birds and Lily my dear cat used to keep me company, it is tucked away at the bottom of the garden. I have been asked by Brighton Art Fair to provide shots of the studio along with any current pieces I am working on for the fair in September

It’s just as well I have migrated down there, my usual place for winter has been the conservatory and, since the massive eucalyptus tree has had a big trim, it now reaches a daily 40C.

Here is the studio or a section of it with fan

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The hours whizz by, this is one of the painting I have been working on today, small sections of it. I think it will be called Parisian Visit, partly as the woman in the painting is someone we met in Paris last week, she wore this fabulous hat and looked amazing.

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There is a second figure too, here are some detail shots.

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That’s it for now

Mobility of the line

I nipped down to Grand Parade in Brighton last Friday to see ‘Mobility of the Line/Utility of the Line exhibition

An intro by them:

Line is the constitutive moment of every drawing and forms the core element of any design. It cannot be reduced to a purely linear system, but rather takes on complex and dynamic forms that attract the viewer in various ways, both consciously and suggestively. Whether analogue or digital, line is mobile because it unfolds on the surface: as a straight, snaking, zigzagging, bent, interrupted, or even invisible force. The book is a page for page celebration of the manifold aspects of line.

The common interest in the line’s utility underpins the Drawing Research Interest Group (DRIG). It is a notion debated and interpreted in a range ways: as an arts practice, a research method and as having multiple and cross-disciplinary applications. A cluster of research carried out by DRIG members investigates the relationships between drawing practices in different professions or in collaborative, cross-disciplinary education. This cluster has grown through a collaborative research relationship with the Brighton and Sussex Medical School and with medics and surgeons.

As it was the private view, it was busy. Quite a small exhibition really, promoting the book of research into the line which was on sale, perhaps one to get at at a later date. There were some interesting videos as well as graphic design drawings, sketchbooks and some very intricate drawings which become visible up close. What I find fascinating about this area of the line is how broad the use of the line is. The Brighton Research group have investigated many multi-disciplinary areas and the most interesting, for me, was the hand surgeon. You can see the link to the video they made and the fascinating conversation about drawing from the surgeons point of view, he also produced beautiful drawings whilst chatting away.

Check out the video by following the link here Mobility of the line

MOBILITY OF THE LINE / UTILITY OF THE LINE
UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON GALLERY GRAND PARADE
7 MARCH – 9 APRIL 2014 PRIVATE VIEW 7 MARCH 5.30PM UNTIL 8.30PM
OPEN TO ALL, ADMISSION FREE, MON – SAT 10AM-5PM, 58-67 GRAND PARADE, BRIGHTON, BN2 OJY

John Andrews, Duncan Bullen, Nat Chard, George Hardie,
Antoni Malinowski, Jeffrey P. Turko, Ivana Wingham
and The Drawing Research Interest Group

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Back to Screen printing

It has to be at least 15 years since I have done some screen printing and this was at college. College was a real luxury for me, they had all of the equipment to try, limitless paper and encouraged us to stay as long as we wanted.

I was in for a treat when I opened my Christmas screen printing voucher. A day workshop in Brighton at Inkspot Press run by very friendly printmakers offering super facilities. I had forgotten how much fun it is to do screen printing.

I had initially done a still life for the workshop, but it was too complicated and so I chose the line drawing below of Emma

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I had almost forgotten all I had learnt all those years ago and so there was lots to catch up on. Here are a pick of some of them, all different.

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Drawing Circus; Norse Mythology

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Last night I spent another enjoyable couple of hours with fellow sketchers at the Brighton Draw monthly event, themed Norse Mythology. They had just quickly, so they said, put together some very striking sets for the models to pose on, draped black cloths with white fur, scattered now and then with a brilliant white animal skull, it was impressive. I had too much painting equipment as usual and found myself in the wrong spot to draw, excuses! Anyway, I can’t say it was very successful drawing wise for me but that is how it goes sometimes.

The models were great, clad in fur and with super crowns of feathers and twigs

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I liked the way Jake got involved too! Lovely red scarf and his pale red hair made him look very Nordic

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Doing a back bend for 1/4 hour like this must have been tough and I wasn’t happy with this drawing, oh well

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Then it will went abstract! A good night all in, cheers to the team at Brighton Draw and Laura Burgess who arranged it all.
Brighton Draw

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Artist open studios in London

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I went up to my first Open Studios in London on the weekend and definitely had studio envy. I went to Pullens Yards which were built in the late 1880’s and these studios have housed craftspeople for 120 years now. Such an eclectic mix, architects, jewellers, designers, you name it there seems to be every creative aspect covered in these wonderful mews. Adorned with lovely red doors and steep stairs to the upper levels it was fun nosing about. Here is a snap view of one

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There was lots to see and I loved this dressmaking studio, it also had a very asleep black and white cat nestled in a box on the counter, here there was also a very friendly man who makes ties and had all of the paper templates hanging up, Magties Magties

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I loved this old car outside one of the studios

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Lastly I went to see Renee Pfister and her jewellery. I liked the way she sources her materials such as semi precious stones, from trips abroad. Renee Pfister Jewellery and bought some lovely earrings but I wish I had bought a ring from Dokkodesign. They make super coloured rings using a 3d printer you can see them here Dokkodesign

Still perhaps still time online…..

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