This body of work began sometime in the mid 1990's, as an experiment, seeing if I could adhere a dress to a canvas and create a painting over all the textures. "Dress painting" is a term I came up with to explain these when I simply couldn't think of anything better. Over the years they have evolved, with new elements of collage being added. Dress patterns, photographs, and embroidery all appear from time to time, as well as lino block prints, rubber stamps and gold leaf. I will use this space to explore the beginnings of this series, as well as showing my latest work. If the piece is available for sale you'll find the price at the bottom. Free shipping in the U.S. Contact me at kallencole@aol.com to purchase.

Would you like to see my full website? Head over to KathrineAllenColeman.com

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Sketchbook

It was my first art teacher, in the eighth grade, who preached the importance of having a sketchbook. As a place to work on your drawing skills, and to work out ideas. And I have always had one, sometimes used every day, and sometimes not for months. But I always had one around somewhere. The only thing that has changed, is how I use it.

At first, as a teen, I would pour over every drawing in there, I couldn't stand to show my work to anybody if the whole book wasn't perfect. And of course it was never perfect. Blind and partially blind contour drawings were my favorite things to do. Watercolor or ink sketches wrinkled up the pages. But I always thought of my sketchbook had to be a series of finished works.

Not now.

Now I rarely sketch, the most I ever do is a reasonably accurate line drawing of how I envision a commission to come together for a client. Now my sketchbook is there mostly just to take visual notes. These quick little 3" or so square squiggles in ballpoint pen map out the little thoughts about how to put a painting together. Scrawled notes with arrows poke into the drawing with instructions that aren't apparent in the sketch..."soft warm gray background." Just to jog my memory. My sketchbook is full of these little blocks, often working out ideas for a painting over and over again in different forms. And eventually, as I flip through all the ideas looking for one to basically blossom, boom, there it is! That idea, and this one a few pages back, all of a sudden just fit together.

And the sketch usually gets me about 3/4 of the way through a painting, the last 1/4 is the hard part though. The discussions and negotiations with the painting directly in front of you. But that's another story.

My favorite thing about my sketchbook now is how it serves as a journal. I don't think about it at all when I'm drawing in it, or making a list of whatever. But when I occasionally come across an old sketchbook, from last year or the last decade, my memory is taken on a bit of a ride, without having specific references to the outside world. Try it, put what you want in it, and don't think you have to show it to anybody!

And just as a note, the two lino blocks peeking in at the top of the page are elements from a commission I am working on. "Queen Bee" I think she'll come together just fine!