Monday, October 15, 2012

Artists Book next phase; ballpoint pen drawings exploring folding of paper (art of origami

Final ballpoint rendering of folded paper page.
white blotches are gaps left  for perforated circles - 

see small image below.
1st phase ballpoint pen
drawing of paper page. 

This post explores the integration of my passion for drawing and my quest to create and authentic artists book. Featured on this post is a step-by-step account of rendering a folded paper page as part of my reference and conceptual development for an artists book. New ways of seeing, illustrating and exploring the codex of the book (as art product) - a continuation of my theme; celebrating the handmade in a digital age.

2nd phase of ballpoint pen drawing of folder paper page.
pencilled circles will be perforated to reveal images
 on the next page.
I teach drawing to Jewellery students, mainly to use drawing as a tool in the design, development and manufacture of products. Thinking through drawing in the development of a concept, the design development of a chosen idea (applying the design principals) and the realization of the final jewellery pieces in technical drawings as well as presentation renderings. However it is at the foundation level (at first year) that students are introduced to the basics of drawing (before designing), observing and rendering from life, organic objects as well as mechanical and manmade objects. 

One of the exercises (learning activities) introduced during the foundation program is to facilitate the transfer of skills associated with the rendering of a broad spectrum of tonal values in the modeling of complex forms and shapes. 

The project brief introduces students to the art folding paper, especially the book by Paul Jackson – Folding Techniques for Designers From Sheet to Form. Follow the link provided pleat farm to access a review of this amazing design tool, complete with images and supporting text.

Paul Jackson has been a professional paper folder and paper artist since 1982 and is the author of 30 books on paper arts and crafts. He has taught the techniques of folding on more than 150 university-level design courses in the UK, Germany, Belgium, the US, Canada and Israel. These include courses in Architecture, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Textile Design, Jewellery, Product Design, Packaging, Ceramics, Industrial Design, Fine Art, Basic Design and Interior Design. He has also taught many workshops in museums, arts centers and festivals and has worked as a folding consultant for companies such as Nike and Siemens. As cited at pleat farm, an amazing site that explores pleating in all forms, shapes and sizes across all disciplines - especially architecture, fashion and lighting and furniture.

4th phase 

The learning activity (project brief) encourages students to design and construct a paper prototype in a variety of sizes and then to render the product exploring a variety of drawing materials including pencils and ballpoint pens (demonstrated here). They have to render the planar forms and shapes accurately before they apply the broad spectrum of available tonal values - to capture the folded paper product – from light to dark (depending the strength of the light source). 

The exercise introduced students to modeling simple forms and shapes (planar constructions) before embarking on more difficult organic forms and shapes. Planar constructed paper product makes for interesting drawing exercises when light from a light source is cast on the product – the variation of tonal values is immense and presents a significant learning challenge for foundation drawing students.
Background for the artists book – exploring the folding of paper.

My intent was to explore the book’s pages, both as perforated and rendered, integrating the art of drawing, sculpting in paper and printing. For my first exercise I chose a paper folded prototype that is simple to render and relates to the size of my pages, creating the illusion that the actual page has been altered, folded to resemble an origami product. I started the drawing by rendering its form and shape to scale (outlines). Then step-by-step I modeled the planes, starting with the darkest areas, working towards the lightest planes – as featured here on this post.

Actual drawing technique - pointers

The right pen - It is vital that you select a ballpoint pen that does not dispose of its ink to freely - creating ink blotches on the paper that can spoil the overall quality of the rendering, especially when illustrating such a simple product as illustrated here on this post. I work mainly with the fine Big pens – asking the manager of a stationery shop if I could test all the pens and select the best of the bunch. I recommend that you present your drawing book to the store manager (gain their support) before embarking on testing all the pens in the store.  They normally marvel at my work - making the task of asking that much easier.

Another important point is drawing on a small scale to be in a position to turn the book or separate pages to master the art of cross hatching when modeling the forms and shapes (shadows).

I also recommend that you use a heavier paper, a 150 -250 grams. This allows the drawing to breath as mentioned on a previous post. It is also possible to them build up layers of ink – very much like burnishing a clay pot (ceramic product). It is almost impossible to overdo the amount of ink on good quality paper. It will always reduce to lines when enlarged using a Photostatting machine or when scanned and altered digitally. 

Final phase before cutting out the circles -
perforated circles to reveal the images on the next page.
The next phase is to explore the rendering on the folded pages as well perforating the rendered page (Circles to be cut – light spots in the drawing) to reveal images on the next page – to feature in the next blog entry.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wine and dine in Rosendal - a weekend away earlier this year.

A trip to Rosendal was planned for the weekend - a regular country retreat. I thought I would share images and recipes of my last visit - earlier in the year. As mentioned before on this blog, Daniel's home is situated in the town, nestled amongst other properties; his is a home with a well maintained flower and herb garden, including a large pond with a variety of animals - a truly unique Rosendal experience. Sadly the trip had to be cancelled for unforeseen circumstances.

This entry therefore serves as a reminder of a past weekend away and an opportunity missed to replenish the soul and energy levels, before the final push to get through a tiresome 2012. Hopefully it will encourage you to invest in quality time with fabulous friends at a welcoming and relaxing destination – a home from home.

Can’t wait for the next opportunity to sit on the ‘stoep’, drink wine and chat away or visit the local restaurant and meet up with residents and tourists - catching up with the latest developments and gossip. It is also a time to read and draw, with occasional breaks and walks, in between cooking breakfast, lunch and dinners, to view the incredible scenery, a variety of forms, shapes and textures. 

Daniel teasing the rooster.

A walk in Daniel’s garden also provides a feast for the eye, whilst the local bird life, the resident rooster, ducks and geese, provide lively farm-like activity in this otherwise quiet country retreat. The pond and lack of dogs on the property provide for an established oasis - attracting a variety of birdlife.

Late afternoon walks at sunset are particularly stunning – a variety of trees and grasses adding to the spectacular sun saturated landscapes. It is spring at the moment and everything should be growing and budding - arguably the best time of the year to visit this quaint un-spoilt Free State Town. They do have special weekend promotions – the next being The Cherry Festival 16-19 November. We often take walks to the hotel, The Rosendal, for breakfasts and or sundowners.

Breakfasts served on the backyard ‘stoep’, with a view of the garden and the pond is the best. Fruit salads with interesting egg dishes are served – an attempt to start the day healthy, before the bar opens at eleven – an excuse to wine and dine on homemade dishes and or at the local restaurant. When in doubt eat drink and be merry.

Hence the next post of a fab Rosendal dish.

Showcased here is a potato bake dish cooked for Saturday lunch. Potatoes sliced and fused with the flavour of bayleaves and baked in an onion, coconut milk/cream and cheese sauce. Served with a prawn and vegetable green salad. The combination makes for a visual spectacular and tasty meal. The two dishes complimenting each other well, in both colour, texture and taste.

Potato Bake

Slice and dice a few onions (two to three).
Finely chop three garlic glovesor minced (fresh and crunchy).
Add the coconut milk/cream to a bowl (alternatively use a broth), grate in the cheese (any cheddar cheese of your choice - *blue cheese is the best).
Add the onions and the garlic including a few sprigs of thyme.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper to your taste.
Fry bacon and add to the sauce (optional)
Mix through.

Make sure to preheat a moderate hot oven (180 degrees Celsius / 350F)

Meanwhile, carefully slice a number of medium size potatoes (scrubbed with their skins on) at regular intervals (enough to fill a baking dish)  – be careful not to cut all the way through.
Add the bay leaves (cut to size to fit the gaps in the potatoes).
*Make sure you make use of fresh bay leaves.
Arrange the potatoes in an ovenproof dish – they should support each other to stand upright, creating gaps for the rather rich sauce.
Pour the sauce over the potatoes in the dish – enough to just cover them. Sprinkle over some olive oil. Cook in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour (until the potatoes are cooked though and the Herb flavours are infused into the potatoes. Make sure the sauce is replenished if need be during cooking.

Vegetable green salad with pesto mayo prawns.

For the lunch I also boiled some French green beans.
Drain when cooked; plunge into cold water to ensure it retains its green colour and remains firm to the bite.
Pick an assortment of salad leaves and herbs (preferably basil) and wash thoroughly before serving the salad leaves on a platter.

Carefully place the cooked prawns on the salad leaves, together with the cooked beans and finely chopped cucumber.
Spoon on the creamy mayonnaise, dribbled with the basil pestoover the prawns (image above).
Lastly cut ripe avocado slices - strategically placed on the salad platter.
Serve with a fabulous vinaigrette – to get the ratio of oil to vinegar right, ensure a 3-1 mix. Make sure to always stir the dressing, literally before ladling it over the salad.

Serve on a platter with a delicious wine; A Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc.