Blot drawing – work in progress

 

blot_firststage_webEarly this year I decided I wanted to do a really big drawing. Whatever I do, I need a starting point, whether it is reference of some kind or just marks on the paper. A technique I have used many times to give random vague marks that can be extrapolated is the blot.

There are plenty of ways of doing this, but my method is to drop small pools of water onto paper (it needs to be quite heavy paper to withstand the rigours of doing this) then, into the pools of water I add watered-down Liquid Pencil, which is a paste made from graphite. The next stage is to cover the still-wet pools with scrunched-up plastic wrap, cover it, weight it all down and leave it to dry. When it is uncovered, the blots have spread randomly, leaving patterns on the paper.

After a series of problems with the paper, I eventually managed to get it into a state where I could begin work on it.

Blot1_web

In the above pic, there are a few areas where I had done a little work, but mostly this is the starting point. The Liquid Pencil I used has a hint of colour, I used one with some red in it and one with some blue, to give me some pointers of how to progress.

These two images are ‘before’ and ‘after’ of one small section. The ‘after’ is still not finished, there are several areas I haven’t yet worked into, but it gives an idea of the progression. (I’m sorry the photos are not very good colourwise – something I do need to work on!) I am using various weights of graphite pencil (2B, 4B and 6B mostly) with hints of coloured pencil. In some areas the Liquid Pencil had become a solid mark, so I lifted off any loose bits with a kneadable rubber, which revealed more interesting patterns below. The imagery can be interpreted however the viewer likes, I can see creatures, insects, plants, birds, a few faces … I would be interested to hear what appears for other people.

Below are more details of other areas of the drawing. I have no idea how it will turn out – I do intend to make it quite dense in parts, but whether it will remain a two-dimensional piece, or end of being cut up to make a three-dimensional artwork, that is all in the future!

blot2a_detail_web

blot8a_detail_web

blot7a_detail_web

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53 thoughts on “Blot drawing – work in progress

  1. Tiny sea creatures! This piece has a wonderful energy.
    This method looks good fun and a great way to spark the creative flow; I guess anyone could do it (though not perhaps with such beautiful results).

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    1. Sea creatures! I hadn’t thought of that, but you are so right. There is a sense of floating with many of them. It really is fun, and quite unpredictable – certainly anyone could do it, and everyone gets different results. I have friends who use watercolour rather than the Liquid Pencil in their blots, and the mingling colours give wonderful results. Go for it Anne!

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  2. I like the Chinese-ness of your more worked parts…delicate yet detailed. Don’t know that I would change any of that part. Yes, I can see an alien dragonfly, but mostly beautiful leaves of some sort, other-worldly. Looking forward to more!

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  3. Anna this is incredible and uniquely you! It’s nature at a macro level. I first saw seed pods, then leaves, insects and for sure a dragon fly but all from a mystical, magical place. There is so much harmony in this piece. Love seeing the close up images and reading about your technique. So incredibly creative and all from your imagination. I look forward to the next stage of this piece!

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    1. I’m so glad you think this is ‘me’ Cathe! The beauty of this approach is that if I gave half a dozen people a basic set of blots they would all come back with something completely different. It has to be something that comes from a personal response to the marks. I’m pleased there is a harmony – the limited colours probably play a part in that. Thank you for your lovely comment!

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  4. This is quite fantastical art! I think Grimms Fairy Tales and all manner of magic. What a great process because, as you say, ANYTHING can happen. Such a long and varied life between beginning and sometime-into-the-future end.

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  5. Seeing all manner of flying sea creatures and other faces from day to night dreams here Anna ! Marvellous . That really does look a large piece of paper .. terribly daunting as we’ve discussed before …
    I don’t think I’ve heard of Liquid Pencil maybe I’ve forgotten if you’ve mentioned before – sorry- it really works so well with this technique . Letting go and waiting to see the results is so hard …. 😉
    Looking forward to the next stage Anna …

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    1. Day and night dreams – that is a lovely concept Poppy. It does feel quite dreamlike and drifting. This technique really does help conquer that fear of the big white page, I find I look at it just in small parts, so much easier! Liquid Pencil is strange stuff, I don’t use it for a lot of things, for me this works well ( I’ll see if I can add in the links to earlier pieces in a minute). Lovely to hear from you!

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    2. Poppy, these are a few of the earlier artworks that I used Liquid Pencil in, but it looks as though I didn’t mention it in the blogs, except for the drawing called ‘Late Summer’!
      https://annawarren.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/drift-a-long-evolution/ https://annawarren.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/a-fairy-story/ https://annawarren.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/sleeping-beauty-in-miniature-a-book-in-a-box/
      https://annawarren.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/late-summer/

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  6. What an interesting technique and so well described. Could you maybe do this same thing using watercolour paints I have never heard of liquid pencil. Poppytump told me about your blog and I’m pleased she did. Really fires up the imagination.

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    1. Yes, it works well with watercolour paints, I have friends who do it that way, then pick out found images in paint rather than pencil. Thanks must go to our lovely friend Poppytump for sending you my way, and thank you for your comment!

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  7. What a fascinating insight into your technique for this piece, I like how your large piece is made up of all these tiny organic images. You do something magical with graphite Anna, I would love to see it in person. When are you heading off again? Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen. I think for me, being able to break an image (especially one as big as this!) down into small parts makes it so much easier to get going, and also step back without worrying about losing my thread. I do love graphite – I have decided I am going to drop painting for now and concentrate on drawing and printmaking. I’m off at the beginning of December, so not much time left now!

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  8. What a great way to steer clear of the fear of the big blank white! Having the blots as a jumping off point is a great idea and technique! Such detail and softness…thanks for sharing the whole process!

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  9. Wow, you continue to amaze me with all you do. Such a large work! Thanks for taking close-up shots. It makes me really want to come see it in person!

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  10. So amazing, Anna. I love seeing the variation in your small and large work. Many years ago I used to work very large. I was storing my large drawings (9x 9 feet) in my cousins’ house and had to remove them. I was approached by my cousin about the possibility of cutting them to make smaller drawings. At first the thought appalled me but the more I thought about it, it became appealing. After all no one would eve see the large drawings ever again anyway. My cousin and I had fun randomly deciding where to cut the drawings. I look at them as work begun in the 1970s and finished in the twenyt-first century! I even like the result!

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  11. I guess you’ve taken an early break from blogging, Anna. So, I’m wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2016, and look forward to more of your terrific sketching and painting. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Janina – in fact I am in the UK with my daughter right now and have just returned from an amazing week in Iceland. So that will be the next post but I’m not sure when. I hope you have a peaceful and happy Christmas and look forward to a productive 2016!

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  12. This is the most interesting and amazing piece of creative work I’ve seen in a long time. Loved reading about the process and how the blobs of water turn into fascinating individual art formations. Beautiful Anna ~

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