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A well of inspiration: Experiments


I had promised that I would share some pages from the sketchbook I have recently finished. Here is a small selection of the experiments I have recorded in it.


Just as my experiments vary, so do the reasons why I experiment:

1) The joy of playing: Experiments help me to relax, be in the moment and slow down my thinking. As a bonus, I often get ideas for future work or find a solution for an issue that has been niggling me.

2) To satisfy my curiosity: I am constantly asking What would happen if...? or Is there a better/more environment-friendly way...?

3) To road test products: I am trying out materials on a small scale to get some idea of what to expect on a bigger canvas. If something does not work, I have only wasted small amounts of product.

4) To use up leftover art materials. Tutors used to donate materials to me at the end of a class because they knew that I hated waste, so I still have a lot of products to find a use for...


The first image is an experiment with Brusho crystals and leftover plant-based wax. The wax also works as a "glue" - though the material got a bit brittle, the woollen thread has stayed in place over the months.


The picture above is an experiment with Brusho crystals and leftover plant-based wax. The wax also works as a "glue" - though the material got a bit brittle, the woollen thread has stayed in place over the months.


In memory of lockdown: Finding a second use for one of my facemasks (after washing the material at 60 degrees.)

Using up acrylic effect paste and various inks. I would no longer buy some of the products because of their potential impact on the environment. Donating them to other artists was not worth it as there were only a small amounts of product left - just enough for an experiment or two...


Trying out different ways to fix soft pastels, as I do not want to use fixative sprays. Methylcellulose glue worked surprisingly well. Rice paste (also called Nori paste) is another potential option, but Yes paste did not work, as the glue has remained sticky...


"Cooking" my own colours. I have tried used coffee, pomegranate rind, turmeric, and avocado stones/skin. The image below even has a dash of tamari sauce. You won't find that product on any of my canvases, but almost anything goes in a sketchbook. ;) The results may fade over time, but as I always photograph my work, sketches can potentially be turned into giclée prints.

Looking for ways to combine natural and manmade materials. In the example below I have combined leaves with eco household paint.



I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour through my sketchbook experiments... If you come to the summer exhibitions in Portsmouth Cathedral and/or the Festival Hall in Petersfield, you may see how some of the experiments have influenced larger work.



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