Diane Stavola Blog

Archive for the ‘Cities and Guilds’ Category

Module 8

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

My spastic blog entries might make it seem like I’m out there doing nothing, but it’s just the opposite. I have been so busy I don’t have tons of free time for blogging. I love the written word,  but I love the tactile nature of my work more and the ideas are backlogging in my brain!!!

Module 8 is really pulling together everything that I have learned thus far about sketchbooking. The last two modules are assessments. So I am almost there! Yeah!

 I have really pulled out the stops on this one. I have been so energized and inspired! Maybe it’s the advent of Spring. Whatever the reason, I am on a creative whirlwind binge.

This module has dealt with apertures. Lots and lots of apertures. Looking through pages to reveal the designs underneath and looking back to see where you have been. A great concept.

Of all the work I have done so far for this module, my pears and my waterlilies have been my favorites.

module-8-activity-3j.jpgI used my pear image from  previous modules. I liked the carving my own stamps so much that I carved another of the pears and then found a poem by Linda Pastan about pears.

I painted and stamped and wrote the poem along the apertures and pages so that the images and poetry would unfold as the pages open.

      I have since located several books of poetry by Linda Pastan and just love her work. She is truly a woman’s poet.     

  module-8-activity-3p.jpg  module-8-activity-3o.jpg                                       These are two views of the final design. I have painted, cut and glued so that the image and poem actually become dimensional as they are revealed.  

   The poem is written so that it can be read from start to finish or read in parts but out of order. It is so well contructed that you can read it out of order and it still makes sense.     I do need to contact Ms. Pastan and get her permission to continue to develop this idea while using her work.                                                                                                                                                   

Module 7

Friday, April 18th, 2008

This module has been all about printing and creating original stamps from my own photos and art work as well as using fonts.  activity-2a.jpg

Using this photo that I took in Chicago last fall, I did a line drawing that I then transferred to a  piece of speedball rubber and carved


into a stamp. I cut the stamp into four quadrants that I then reshaped by trimming. At left is  one activity-3-ntf.jpgof the prints I made using the stamp.

I explored this further by creating a print with acrylic paints and then extending the lines with pencil.            

 For the next exercise, I used the letter Q and created a stencil with which to print designs.

activity-5.jpgThe background was created using oil pastels and then an over wash of water color. The stenciled letter was made with oil pastels.

The one problem I have found with the oil pastels is that they never seem to dry. They remain tacky almost forever and need a sheet of waxed paper over them to protect the page next to them.

My favorite for this exercise is this print.  The background was created with a water color wash and the print was made using the oil pastels again.   

activity5-a.jpg  I didn’t use oil pastels in the background, but let the water colors create the background.    The paper was also smoother in texture since it wasn’t water color paper, so the look and feel (literally) is ver different.

I am surprised at how the actual physical texture of the paper impacts me. I know that I am a very tactile person, and this is true even when I am working with paints. A good thing to know about myself.

I returned to a drawing and photo from a previous step for the next exercise. It is my pears.    There is nothing of special interest about my particular pear except that I like it.   So I drew it onto some styrofoam and created a stamp with it.

  copy-of-module-7-activity-3.jpg                                                          activity-3a.jpgThe shape is relatively easy to draw. So using acrylic paints again, I created a strips of pears that traverse two pages of my sketchbook.

                    activity-3c-ntf.jpg       activity-3c-ntf.jpgAs the exercises become more complicated, I am enjoying them more. They are more interesting and challenging. And I am always up for a challenge.

Nintendo – The Demise

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Well, having served gallantly and fearlessly, the Nintendo did finally succumb.  I could not get the thing back together.  So on a crisp autumn day, Nintendo was carried to its next to final resting spot in our trash bin. On a positive note, it no longer is gathering dust in my attic!

Here is the final tribute collage I created with some of the photos I took.  There are also pictures I drew (can you tell which? LOL) and some of the pictures were altered in Paint Shop Pro.  nintendo-composite-3-a.jpg

I couldn’t figure out how to do the collage in Paint Shop so I moved the pictures into Corel Draw and made the collage.  Then I took a picture of it and reloaded that back into Paint Shop and cropped and resized for the blog.

Learning new software programs takes an awful lot of time, but eventually, I expect to be able to do this in a faster method.

The Nintendo Capers

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

For my latest venture into sketch books I have had to take something apart and draw some of those parts.  My inclination would be to go with flowers, but since I want to really stretch myself (not that drawing flowers isn’t a stretch – any kind of drawing is a stretch for me!) I decided to go with something mechanical.  I even had the nerve to go down to my husband’s workshop to see if he had anything worth demolishing.  In the end, I came to my senses and did a 180.

In the attic, I found lots of stuff that my son has left behind.  Most of it is useless, but he can’t part with it (I wonder where he got that from!!!!LOL). Any way, I found an old Nintendo.  I don’t think those things are around any more.  Let’s hope not!  I’m not sure I am ever going to get this thing back together. I do plan to get the top and bottom reattached to each other so that it appears from the outside that all is well.  Extra parts and screws will be scattered so that they are never found again!  And I will deny any knowledge of why the dang thing doesn’t work. 

I suspect that it already doesn’t work.  Inside, on the motherboard, I found a copyright notice of 1987.  Somehow I think they have made some upgrades to this thing since then!

With the holidays coming and all the birthdays we’ve had in the past two months, I haven’t been good about drawing.  I have been doing my activities for this course, but I have severely neglected my own drawing.  And it showed when I picked up my pencils. It took quite a while for my hand to loosen up and my brain to engage.

Note to self: DRAW EVERY DAY

nintendo-black-and-white-spring-activity-4.jpgThis is my first drawing.  Not great, but it does give the impression of a spring. I thought the circles and curves would be a good warm up for the more complicated pictures.

Next I did the screw head in black and white pencil and another version in Cretacolor Aquastics.  They are watersoluble oil pastels. I drew on the dry page and then added water with a 3/4″ filbert.   It made the colors quite a bit lighter when I added the water.  To get the darker colors, I drew over the picture again while it was still damp.  The sticks give a less crayony effect that way.  On dry paper they look as though you are drawing with crayons.  Then I used a mildly damp brush to remove that crayon look, but tried to prevent the wash out of color.nintendoscrew-head-bw-and-oil-pastel-activity-4.jpg  

nintendo-screw-head.jpgThese are the drawings and the original photo from which they were taken.  Not bad.  I don’t draw for the sake of having pictures I can frame so these are perfectly adequate.

Last night I did my last drawing.  It is more complicated, but I felt ready since I had done the warm-up drawings.                                                                  

  The top is the photo I took of the top interior of the Nintendo casing. The bottom in the pencil drawing. I found the subject boring, boring, boring. But, it did work to stretch me.                                                          nintendo-photo-and-black-and-white-drawing-activity-4.jpg

The angles are off, but again, I am pleased that I at least got the effects of 3-D and shading.  I really do need to practice more!

I also altered the photo of the screw  in Paint Shop Pro.  As long as I have had the program, you would think that I would know more about it.  Usually, I just do some minor tweaking of my photos, so I am not very proficient.

nintendo-screw-head-activity-4.jpgThe little I did do with this picture was a real eye-opener.  I am going to have to take the computer course when I finish with the sketchbooks.

nintendo-composite-3.jpgI have no idea what I did to get these effects. I just played.  I do have a tendency to do things and not keep track of what I am doing. I just know that I played with the colors and then made copies and pasted them into a new page.

Well, I’d better get back to putting the Nintendo back together. And I’d better get those screwdrivers back to the workshop before my husband finds out they’re missing.

Sketchbook pages with Monoprints

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

My small Moleskine watercolor sketchbook is rapidly beoming full. And it is almost impossible to close because of the attachements of painted papers. 

This week I have added several monoprints to my collection.  I think these are more successful than the ones I did last week.

monoprint-on-embossed-pearlized-paper.jpgI used some pearlized embossed paper that I found in the scrapbooking section at Michael’s.  I put the paint on my glass and drew some cross-hatch lines for this print.

I still have some trouble determining how much paint to use for a successful print. Sometimes it is too much, sometimes too little.  I am used to doing prints that require only the paint for a design with no drawing into the paint.  For those larger quantities of paint are perfectly suitable.

Module Update

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Hard to believe but I am halfway through my Cities and Guilds course Creative Sketchbooks.  Oil pastel and watercolors washesWhat a way to grant yourself permission to play and the learning is a bonus!  This sketchbook page is of oil pastel that has then been painted with a water color wash.  It was cut into segments and additional washes and embellishing with Shiva paintsticks were added.  Each segment was treated differently.  The original piece was done on a sheet of water color paper size 10″x15″.  I have plenty left with which to play.

I’ve never been much for painting.  I periodically try my hand at it, but I am so much more a tactile creature. I want to feel what I am doing.  This course requires a lot of painting a drawing!  And amazingly, I am enjoying it. Possibly because I can see it             photos-131.jpgleading to more tactile pursuits like quilts and beads and mixed media projects.


More Sketchbook

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

photos-127.jpgAh, the infamous sketchbook!  At least one of many that I now have going.  This one in particular is a Moleskin with watercolor paper that can take washes.  It is not 140 lb weight paper but it does the job. 

Obviously, it is being stuffed to the gills.  The techniques I am learning in the Creative Sketchbooks class are wonderful and very textural, for the most part.  This picture shows the sketchbook up to Module 3.  I am currently working on Module 5, so it is even bigger and messier than before.photos-129.jpg

This is one page of the book.  It is an exercise with paint and bleach discharge.  My notes about the exercise are on the side. 

One of the most important lessons I have learned so far is to keep good notes.  Do not rely on memory!photos-130.jpg

This is a page using oil pastels and water color washes.  Another lesson I am learning is that I really don’t care for paints, but they are so important in working through some designs.

I have not been as consistent about working in my sketchbooks as I should.  I know that it should be a daily exercise, but with work, school, and family obligations, I often let it slide.  I know that this is to my own detriment, so I am going to try to be better about it

Creative Sketchbooks

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

For a year or so I have been hearing about Cities and Guilds courses. Most of the classes I had heard about were Embroidery classes.  While I love embroidery, my two great passions are quilts and beads.  So after doing a bit of investigation, I decided a Cities and Guilds class was just not for me.

 Then about 6 months ago, a friend, who was looking into Cities and Guilds in relationship to beading, sent me information on Linda Kemshall’s site, DesignMatters.  While there is no beading class at DesignMatters, there are definitely quilting classes.  They are very attractive, but being well into working toward my Master Craftsman in Design through EGA, Inc., I was more interested in classes that relate to design.

There is a course at DesignMatters called Creative Sketchbooks. And what is it about? Design. There is also a computer design class.

So along with my Master Craftsman in Design, I am also now well into Creative Sketchbooks.  And I am loving it! It has opened a whole new way for me to approach design.

Now sketchbooks are not new, but not having been trained as an artist, I didn’t have a full grasp of the concept of sketchbooks.  I had bought a few and used them from time to time to make sketches and write down ideas, especially for my jewelry.

After only three modules (this is a ten module course), I now carry my camera with me eveywhere and keep several sketchbooks going that I use almost every day. I develop designs much faster and am about bursting at the seams with ideas.  


The Journey

Friday, August 10th, 2007


As an artist, I am excited to be able to share my works in progress. I see this blog as a way of documenting my artistic journey. I would hope that I will also be documenting my own growth as an artist.p> I know that, for myself, the most interesting blogs are those that detail the journey to the completed work. I find the journey more interesting than the finished piece. Work that has been completed serves as a milepost along the way. My intention is that this blog should act as a personal journal, and as such, a tool in the creation of my work. If along the way others find it interesting, so much the better. I know that I have gained a lot from the work and insights of others. Diane  

 “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

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