Marks & Traces. Pt. 2

I have gotten over my fear of Photoshop!  I was becoming more and more frustrated and flummoxed with the complexity of it.  I would thought that it’ll just be a slightly more advanced version of ‘Deluxe Paint 2’ that I had on the Amiga 500?  Boy was I wrong.  To me, using Photoshop for the first few attempts is the equivalent of trying to pilot the ‘Millennium Falcon’ blindfolded!

I found the whole concept of layers and background baffling.  Quite frankly, the only ‘Magic Lasso’ I was familiar with is Wonder Woman’s Lasso Of Truth.wonder-woman-lasso-of-truth

Magic LassoBut…

I am working my way towards getting on the course of Computer Games Art, so I knew I had to start to become more comfortable with it.

For the ‘Marks & Traces’ project we had to use my digital nemesis to merge my photos (which I took over the Xmas break) with a drawn version.

Firstly I scanned in my experimental hand drawn copies, of which I thought we needed to work from?  This wasn’t the case as I hadn’t realised that we were to take the standard original photos into the workshop lesson, not the modified ones.  This held me back due to my mistake, and therefore had to do them again in my own time.  This was fine, as I managed to achieve the objective in the end.

Here are my finished ‘Marks & Traces’ pictures done in Photoshop:

Traces in Photoshop

Traces in Photoshop

bucket bin chickenbone4 drained umbrella2 urban door


Life Drawing- Mixed Media

My first life Drawing session since 1997. I was nervous of being quite rusty at this! This was a life drawing exercise that didn’t solely focus on pencil skills- we had to use graphite sticks, charcoal- crushed and normal, white paints and indian inks.

Challenges for me throughout the day included: successfully remembering and implementing the measuring method, setting up a stable easel, drawing quickly and with precision. Life drawing is normally time bonded – but we only had 3 minutes per pose! Our final composition was a longer session involving all the materials and techniques.

Successes: I feel I captured the models proportions and position accurately, I completed them in time ( and for those of you who know me – you understand how little I like to be rushed!) and it was well placed on the page- unlike my other attempts at life drawn pieces his feet didn’t hang off the page.

My prelim 3 min sketches.

Life Drawing





Using Inks- you brush water over your sketch, then drop in ink using a paintbrush.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing Life Drawing Life Drawing

The completed image once dried. I was proud of his arm.



The final life drawing of the day. For this we had to use a graphite pencil in a stabbing method to create texture and depth. We were advised to think of something that had recently annoyed us. The noise of fifteen angry artists was deafening! Life Drawing

When I next do life drawing I wonder if it would be harder to draw a woman? It might be interesting to draw a person drawing objects. A future post is on Richard Williams who advises every artist to do as much life drawing as possible as it’s important for artists.

Xmas Project – Traces (part 1)

I loved taking the photos for this project as I found this a really intriguing idea to follow. Marks and traces involved initially taking photos of items of things that could have been left behind- specifically after Human activities or festivities.

My initial thought was to: left over food, litter, graffiti, abandoned clothing. As I had a full three weeks to gather the information, I took them whenever possible.

Even though I’m not a fan of detective stories and murder mysteries, I did feel I was on a ‘case’. Or maybe it was the Xmas spirit. Anyway, taking photos around Woking, Farnham, London and Dublin was amusing. Even if my enthusiasm led to me taking photos of bones from Christmas Dinner, discarded umbrellas and crouching in public for the best shots of rubbish! It was pointed out that my photographing in toilets might be a step too far…

Here are a selection of my favourites:

These are a selection of images based on the theme of grafitti. Amazing how much you can find when you look.


Traces Traces

Leftovers: Christmas is the season of many dead birds and other animanls- these were what was left….

Traces Traces


Litter on the streets- Urban litter is really easy to find! I was fascinated by some of the back stories that these items could show us….

Traces Traces TracesTraces

Overall, I found many more interesting things that I thought I would. I found some fascinating objects- you don’t look for how many items we discard until you have a camera attached to your wrist and a need to document it! I really became absorbed in the process behind the project and am pleased with the themes I explored.

If I were to do this project again, I would have only focussed on the projects listed above- Litter, Leftovers and Graffiti. I think that to increase the atmosphere I would have shot a variety of times. A future post is on how we then used these items using Photoshop.

London Visit to Science Museum

Earlier this week I got to visit the Science Museum in London to view the joint exhibition of Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr in the Science Museum.

I found Tony Ray-Jones use of capturing ‘in the moment’ scenes of British life memorable as these black and white images were taken before I was even born, but in familiar areas.

He had a lot of beauty pageant photos ( see below) which I found interesting as I hadpreviously though them to be wholly American, not especially an English stereotype. I sketched some of these over my visit.

Sketches of Tony Ray- JonesTony Ray-Jones Beauty Pageant

Beauty contestants, Southport, Merseyside, 1967 by Tony Ray-Jones
Credits : © National Media Museum
Martin Parr section had strong visual images, also in black and white, but often  more comical.
Tom Greenwood cleaning 1976 by Martin Parr
Credits : © Martin Parr/ Magnum

Photomontage: Unit 2 Week 1

My pathway: Moving Image and Photography Pathway

New set of projects this term for my new pathway at Farnham UCA. I’m looking forward to developing my photography skills as I sometimes feel I don’t quite have the ‘photographers eye.’ I am intrigued to do some more photography projects so I can pursue my art through the lens.

As part of a group project we were given a random subject for which we had to produce a photomontage for. My groups scenario was ‘Spaceship’ – for those who know me they could guess I was looking forward to this.  We took shots around the campus both inside and out of the building aiming for that Sci-Fi/futuristic feel.  Images of buttons, switches, monitor screens and vast lighting filled my head for this photographic collage. We were limited to one camera to use in our group of five, I helped source and choose interesting images and angles for the project, but didn’t take any myself. Next time in a group project I would like to have the opportunity to swap roles, allowing others to find the shots and for me to take them!

We explored the stage area, the library and the canteen. When searching for images that could be used on the interior of a spaceship the Stage area close to the refectory gave the best output as it had sound and lighting control panels, lighting props and an artificial rocky wall texture ( chosen for the surface of the moon). The dark interior was perfect for the lower section of our spaceship for creating a different level.

There were some  photos which I would have liked to add to this project if we had been given more time/ opportunity: Taking a variety of shapes to create the wings of the shuttle, using pipes to create gun turrets and some logos/ signage for a ship number ( e.g. BFS9000). I think the addition of these things would have added a further development of character to our subject.

We were given our images on the next session, we had exceeded our 50 picture limit so the first task was to cull! We had to select the best pictures amongst the group and then arranged them onto sheets of A3 paper.


Our final outcome was celebrated amongst the class as a success, firstly because they could guess our theme without prompting and also the clarity of the images.



We have lift-off.


Final piece with feedback

Overall I was very pleased with the way this project turned out. We worked well as team, took a huge variety of photos, but culled them without argument and also our final piece represented the original word!