today’s drapery study/drawing. I’m happy with how the fabric drapes over the edge of the box. though now I see the photo I can see parts in the middle & top that don’t match reality & the tones are bit out but hopefully they still have the feel of draping fabric. back to painting next week.
we went along to the Tracing Materiality exhibition on Sunday. the artists had been doing some continuous drawings on large rolls of paper, as well as wall drawings, and working with wax. I’m going to try make it to the talk on the 20th march too. I loved all the work! and there was a stack of drawing books for me to chase up also 🙂
event details via https://www.facebook.com/events/1668459076503049:
‘Tracing Materiality’ is a project and exhibition by Sydney based artists Gillian Lavery, Renuka Fernando and Kath Fries. Exploring expanded drawing practices that move beyond drawing as representation to focus on materiality and mark making. The artists’ process-based approaches are open-ended, improvisational and unfolding, taking place live within the gallery over the exhibition’s duration.
Opening night with the artists and MOST wrap party Sunday 6th March 6-8pm.
Exhibition open from 5th March to 20th March. Thurs- Sun 11am-4pm
Marrickville Open Studio Trail
Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 March 2pm
Finissage & Discussion Panel
Sunday 20 March 2pm
For further information we will be updating our blog as the exhibition proceeds.
For information about MOST http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/most/
after the still life, I worked on a drapery study – I keep typing this as drawpery! I had my “aha” moment towards the end of the second week’s class, so will start a new one next week. I had been trying to draw more expressively and scribble and smudge with my finger, but my teacher said to draw individual lines as they convey more information. individual lines is my natural way of drawing, so I’ll go back to this next week. it was hard to erase some of the original marks I’d made. I was getting the hang of it by the end of week 2’s class, so will practice more next week
week2 – March 5 2016:
my teacher, Rosalind, brought in a copy of her booklet “Drawing Notes for Art Students” by Jocelyn Maughan and Robin Norling which was a great help. there were drawing tips and techniques inside, showing how to crosshatch and draw draping fabric
we went to life drawing class at 107 projects tonight. Syd Mead said that if you can draw people, you can pretty much draw anything (paraphrasing), so I’d like to practice more. I’m happy with a couple of these. I was trying rough outline of shapes and concentrating on shading the shadows. one lady asked about the other colours so I showed her the pastels. J’s lines are amazing – I need to practice looser lines, and seeing & drawing volumes. and find my line at all. these are 5mins, 10mins, 15min poses – I’d arrived late so missed the 1-2 min poses. my proportions are out most of the time so this needs improvement. the model walked around later and looked at everyone’s drawings. he said he thought my last one of him “everything is expanding”, so hopefully that’s a good thing?
adding them all here, so if I keep going throughout the year, I can look back and (hopefully) see improvements, and my line. these are charcoal (vine + thicker), white charcoal/pastel and coloured conte crayons
tonight I went to a drawing class with Daniel O’Toole aka Ears, a Sydney based painter and now video artist. Ears is one of my favourite Sydney artists and I’m lucky to have one of his paintings. now I can see how contour based his works are. the class was held at his studio called “Higher Ground Studio” in Leichardt & was lots of fun. we did some mark making exercises to different styles of music, drawing different words, blind contour drawings & contour drawings where we added shading/colours to the shapes, drawing by rubbing out the charcoal using putty rubber, making a variety of marks, drawing a landscape with our marks and we finished up with a collaborative painting of a brown, flattened box. I only had butchers paper instead of cartridge paper so some are a bit rough. we used mostly charcoal and ink with a touch of coloured house paint.
http://earstotheground.net is Ears’ website. apart from amazing paintings, he has also uploaded some of his sketchbook pages which are pretty inspiring. some of the line/contour drawings remind me of Carla Sonheim’s ones and class exercises where we try to draw animals. Ears draws faces — there’s a lot of portraits with masks/faces in his paintings http://earstotheground.net/Sketch-book
here’s some photos of the class — my work plus the collaborative painting in different stages
I’m reading “Drawing Projects – an exploration of the language of drawing” by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern as recommended by Sandra Flower, one of the OCA Textiles tutors. it looks like a very thorough book with some theory as well as many practical examples and exercises and analysis of artists’ work. at the start of the book is as section “What we know and what we see”. whilst this might seem to be a basic, easy concept, it’s one that I have forgotten so am including a couple of quotes here.
prior to this, the authors talk about how children draw what they see – “the drawing incorporates the child’s knowledge and experience [of the pond] as a whole body experience perceived through all of their senses, and not just through their eyes, or from a single point of view. In some ways, this is children’s drawings at its best, and perhaps it exemplifies something of what Picasso was searching for when he is reputed to have said that he had spent 80 years learning to draw like a child.” (page 10).
later, as the child becomes older, they learn more words and concepts and then (perhaps) start thinking their drawings are not perfectly matching reality, so they stop drawing. “Unfortunately most adults’ drawing skills do not develop beyond those of the young adolescents who gave up drawing. The world is full of educated people who, it is assumed, see the world as sophisticated adults, but draw like adolescents.” (page 11). I can relate to this! I stopped drawing after grade 10 art class, which was a very long time ago.
“When we are making drawings, we must learn to use ‘what we know’ selectively, and only when it helps us to communicate a clearer understanding of what it is we are attempting to describe in the drawing. Students are continuously told by their teachers to ‘look more carefully’, and to ‘draw what you see and not what you know’. The most common mistake we make is to draw our limited and ill-conceived knowledge as a pre-conceived fact, and in this case we are making it up from what is probably our poor and limited visual memory. As a general rule, it is always better to look very carefully, and draw what you see. Not looking intently enough usually results in using generalised and ‘unseen’ information that has been conceptualised and become fixed.” (page 22)
this is something I was coming to the realisation of when I made notes for my previous post on sketching and seeing.
as part of the work on my “bee” theme, and as part of the closing assignment for “Year of the Fairy Tale” illustration class I’ve been taking this year, to learn more painting techniques, I’m doing an illustration for a Fairy Land zine on magic animals. of course I chose the bee. but as “bee” was already taken, I decided to be more specific and chose the “Australian sugarbag bee” aka Tetragonula Carbonaria bee, which is one of the native bees of Australia. this is a stingless bee, though it can give you a bite instead.
collating info here about the sugarbag bee as part of my research. another Australian bee I like is the blue-banded bee. there are a number of coloured bees native to Australia, which are different to the introduced yellow coloured honey bee that everyone is used to seeing.
for the illustrated page, I need to write a line about why this is a magic sugarbag bee, and draw a matching picture.
Stingless bee rescue (ABC) http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2003/05/08/2045526.htm
“Unlike a hive of honey bees, which can produce 75 kilograms of honey a year, a hive of stingless bees produces less than one kilogram. Stingless bee honey also has a distinctive bush taste – a mix of sweet and sour with a hint of lemon. The taste comes from plant resins – which the bees use to build their hives and honey pots – and varies depending on the flowers and trees visited.” (note, European honeybees don’t use resin in their hives, but the Australian native bees do. some call this resin the sugarbag, others call the whole hive – bees, honey, brood and resin the sugarbag)
Stingless bees have been shown to be valuable pollinators of crops such as macadamias, mangos, watermelons and lychees. They may also benefit strawberries, citrus, avocados and many others.
The Meaning of Sugarbag
Sugarbag is honey made by Australian native stingless bees; sugarbag has its own special flavour and is a highly prized food of the Jawoyn people who hunted it from wild nests; it’s real bush tucker! It has formed an important part of the Jawoyn diet and was the sweetest and one of the most favored bush foods. The Jawoyn term for honey is Wam. Ancient artwork centuries old can be found on Jawoyn land depicting the types of animals, fish and food available in the surrounding area including the site “Sugarbag Dreaming”.
‘Sugarbag’ is an indigenous term, incorporating everything related to honey, including stingless bees.
Of the 1,600 species of wild bees native to Australia, about 14 are stingless. All are small (3 – 5 mm) and black in colour, with hairy extended hind legs for carrying nectar and pollen; because of the latter, they are sometimes mistaken for bumblebees.
The Yolngu world is divided into two separate moieties (or broad kinship groups): Dhuwa and Yirritja. Two types of stingless bee that are particularly significant to the Yolngu of Northeast Arnhem Land are the Yirritja birrkuda and the Dhuwa yarrpany.
Both sugarbag complexes have their own set of songs, dances, power names and sacred objects as they are derived from the essences of different ancestral beings.
Lucy Ward http://henryfskerritt.com/tag/sugarbags
“This sense of connectivity can be seen even more clearly in Lucy Ward’s signature image of ngara (the sugarbag). Ngara refers to the honey made by the stingless native bees. There are two types of bees native to the north-west Kimberley, the tree-dwelling bee (Waningga) and those that build their hives in rocks (Namri). Ngara is an important totem for Lucy Ward – not only was she born in Ngarangarri (the land of the Honey Dream), but according to Ward, she was also born under the shade of a sugarbag tree. Along with the image of the Wandjina, the sugarbag has been one of Ward’s defining motifs. However, whilst Ward’s depictions of Wandjina have remained relatively unchanging – undoubtedly due to the sacred nature of the image – the sugarbag has provided her with a motif of incredible flexibility. Over her diverse artistic career, it has been an endlessly malleable aesthetic form, in which she has found a seemingly boundless array of conceptual and aesthetic variations. Ward’s gallery representative, Dr Diane Mossenson, notes with amazement Ward’s “capacity for artistic re-invention. Unlike many Aboriginal artists who paint a limited number of images, Lucy has remained strong to her stories, but she continually recreates the imagery, finding new ways to express her stories.””
“Like the cave paintings of sugarbags, Ward’s earliest depictions show the sugarbag motif as distinct, individual objects. Each honey pod is depicted as an irregular square or circle filled with coloured dots. Sometimes these squares or circles are sub-divided, while in other cases they are not. In late 2005, however, a major development began to occur in Ward’s portrayal of sugarbags. The sugarbag became an increasingly open signifier, whose individual unity slowly disappeared. In her most recent works, such as the monumental diptych Ngara (Sugarbag) Story 2008, exhibited at the Arthur Guy Memorial Art Prize, any sense of this indivisible unity has been shattered in favour of an all-over dotting that covers the canvas in a pulsating invocation of the aerial landscape.”
“Despite these external prompts, however, Ward’s development has shown a clear and uniquely personal epistemic trajectory. In the paintings of Lucy Ward, each mark upon the canvas is like a fingerprint, betraying the trace of its creator’s movement. In painting her ancestral homelands, her marks revel her ownership of the country, like footprints in a landscape that she has traversed by foot, understood instinctively and known intimately. But just like a footprint, they exist as the memory of presence, a nostalgic echo of past travels.”
“In the wake of colonial incursion, elders like Ward cannot live on their traditional lands, but return only occasionally to tend to the country of which they are the sacred custodians. Returning to her sacred sites, Ward sings out to the spirits, warning them of her arrival. Her song echoes through the stony ridges and it is as though she is a young woman again. It is this memory of the landscape that reveals itself in Ward’s paintings. Each mark connects Ward to her landscape, making her one with the Dreams, songs and topography of her land of honey.”
“In this context, the sugarbag is a profound tripartite symbol for the personal (as Ward’s totem), the physical (the bush honey pod) and the spatial (Ngarangarri country: the land of the sugarbag dream). In shattering the individual unity of the sugarbag – literally opening it up – Ward fuses these three categories. Rather than fingerprints, the dots meld into a pointillist landscape that shimmers into being with a cosmological unity.”
“These seemingly abstract shapes thus become a complex metaphor for the inter-relationship of identity, culture and country. They are part of a sacred and personal geography that Marcia Langton has termed ‘placedness.’ For Ward, the past is not, as L.P. Hartley has famously suggested, ‘a foreign country’, but rather a familiar country that situates and unites all moments in time. Ward’s paintings become what Langton has described as “site markers of the remembering process and of identity itself.” They inhabit a temporality that is neither past, present nor future, but part of the sacred link that connects Lucy Ward to the timeless Ngarrangarni.”
Geographic Cosmology: The Art of Lucy Ward http://henryfskerritt.com/tag/sugarbags
(this page is an extended text of the article, “Geographic Cosmology: The Art of Lucy Ward” published in Craft Arts International, no.78, 2010, pp.34-39)
“According to [Lucy] Ward, in the Ngarrangarni, this Wandjina broke with traditional law, and took another man’s promised wife. This angered the man’s family, who pursued him across the country, seeking to punish him for this indiscretion. They finally caught him in Ngarangarri country, where he was beaten, speared and killed. From his prostrate body rose the sugarbag trees, making Ngarangarri country the land of honey. It is a powerful story of the connection of all things. In death there is creation; in punishment there is redemption; in the bitterness of tears, the sweetness of honey.”
DH[david hudson]: In my grandmother’s country, when folks heard the sugar bag, little native bees humming inside a log, they thought it was someone playing the didjeridu. But it was the sugarbag busily working making honey inside the tree. So the sugarbag led people to the didjeridu. http://www.didjeridu.com/wickedsticks/voices/hudson.htm
Kumbaingiri Billy’s Story from Oscar and Lucinda http://www.victorianweb.org/neovictorian/carey/oscar/billy.html
We thought they were dead men. They climbed hills and chopped down trees. They did not cut down the trees for sugar bag. There was no sugar bag in the trees they chopped. They left the trees Iying on the ground. They cut these trees so they could make a map. They were surveying with chains and theodolites, but we did not understand what they were doing. We saw the dead trees. Soon other white men came and ring-barked the trees. At that time we made a song:
Where are the bees which grew on these plains?
The spirits have removed them.
They are angry with us.
They leave us without firewood when they are angry.
They’ll never grow again.
We pine for the top of our woods,
but the dark spirit won’t send them back.
The spirit is angry with us.
There are over 1,500 species of “true blue” Australian native bees.
Commercial honey bees (Apis mellifera) are not native to Australia. They were introduced from Europe in about 1822.
Australian native bees can be black, yellow, red, metallic green or even black with blue polka dots! They can be fat and furry, or sleek and shiny.
Australia’s smallest native bee is Cape York’s minute Quasihesma bee. It is less than 2 mm long.
Australia’s largest native bee is the Great Carpenter Bee of the tropical north and northern NSW. It is up to 24 mm long.
Most Australian bees are solitary bees which raise their young in burrows in the ground or in tiny hollows in timber.
Australia also has 10 species of social native bees (genera Trigona and Austroplebeia) which do not sting!
Stingless bee honey is a delicious bush food and stingless bees can be good crop pollinators. So stingless beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular.
Native bees are also important pollinators of Australia’s unique wildflowers and are a vital part of our Australian bushland.
I’ve been trying out my new artgraf water soluable graphite tonight with another drawing of a bee for my theme. I think it’s sometimes called watercolour graphite. I put water in the lid and found my paintbrush and tried it out. I haven’t got the bee shapes right yet but I love the variations in lightness and darkness of the graphite. there’s even a slight shimmer and sparkle to it in this dim light. will see if it’s still there in the morning daylight.
I shouldn’t have tried the background wash though.. 🙁 don’t like it atm
another in (hotel room) biro practicing hatching (with wonky bee shape still)
explorations in textiles, mark making, drawing, sketchbooks, art school & uni art work