DIY: design classics

DIY: design classics

All that is coffee

There was a great wee exhibition over at South Block the past week. The Rag & Bone workshop made a selections of chairs and bikes from recycled wood in a imaginative free manner.

Strathmore Mixed Media sketchbook

Strathmore Mixed Media Sketchbook

Ink sample sketchbook

I’ve been trying out the Strathmore Mixed Media sketchbook. As with the Stillman & Birn books I waited until I finished a full book before I came to any conclusions about them.

The specs are pretty similar to the Stillman & Birn books. I tried the 5.5 in. x 8.5 in. Mixed Media, 500 series with a paper weight of 90lb (190g/m2). The paper is white with a very slight tooth texture to it. Its also been specifically made for using with watercolour and ink washes.Its a plain black book with a strange almost rubbery texture to it, similar to some phones – could be good for gripping?

I tried using heavy watercolour washes and the paper really does handle any washes well. So if you’re using watercolours you won’t go wrong with using these books. The book doesn’t really fold flat so its difficult working over two pages, it could be because the paper is so thick and the way it is bound but there is an obvious ridge.

There was zero problems with any type of ink and the paper took all the ink and paint samples well. You get a very slight feathering using a fountain pen but not too much to affect your drawing.

Also its continues in the tradition of being a book with no extras. It would have been nice having a band to close it and I also added an envelope in the back to keep my cards and receipts.

They’re quite difficult to find in the UK they are available at Artists Papers its £19.99 for Hardbound 8.5 inch it also comes in an A4 size for £25.

Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games sculpture

Glasgow is getting ready to host this years Commonwealth games. I took the chance on a sunny day a few days ago to draw this sculpture based on the games logo. Every now and then someone would climb on it causing a wee guy to pop out of the tent to tell them to get down.

It was fun to paint, and a chance to use red, yellow, green and blue in one picture something I’d very rarely do.

A little bit of Madame Butterfly

A little bit of Madame Butterfly

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you have a little time, I have a tale to tell you. A sorrowful story concerning a young woman who loved too deeply, and a man whose passion was too shallow.

A series of illustrations of the opera Madame Butterfly I did for Scottish Opera.

Pinkerton and Sharpless

It was a steep climb up the hill to the house, and Pinkerton was fascinated by the Japanese style with its sliding doors and walls.

Mme. Butterfly looking up at robin, nesting on a branch.

Then she asked me when the robins build their nests – yet they had already nested three times in Japan.

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Sunday Table

Sunday Table

Sunday Table - detail

Drawing my Sunday table from a few weeks ago, when the Sunday Herald announced it would be backing Scottish Independence. The cover was drawn by Alasdair Gray.

Glasgow School of Art

It was sad to see last week Glasgow School of Art caught fire from an accidental spark that soon rose up from the basement to the roof destroying the famous library and the hen run, a beautiful glass lined corridor that connected the two wings. Luckily no one was harmed during this incident and the fire service brilliantly brought the fire under control managing to save a huge part of the building as well as many of the unique interiors and contents.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s uniquely designed building was and is so loved by traditional and modern artists. As an artist himself the studios to work in are ideal for artists full of space and light with many of the connecting areas like the corridors and staircases would be the opposite dark wood and narrow spaces. A combination of light and dark one to work in the other to rest your eyes and take a break or even hide. It’s the unusualness of being able to make art in such an old building and its a testament that it continues to be used as a working art school rather than a museum.

Glasgow School of Art

So the good news is the building isn’t lost and very one is rallying together to get the restoration under way and do everything they can to help the students, some of whom have lost their work as well as the sadness of their degree show a moment they’ve been working towards for 4 years.

If you can help out they are starting a fund raiser to help.

GSA Library

Here’s a picture from the library, during the degree show it would be opened up to the public where you can read the student’s dissertations in this great setting.

Door detail

All through the building you can find lots of small details that Rennie Mackintosh added. Studios with swinging doors so its easy to go in and out of them if you have your hands full, to painting the doors black so they don’t get too dirty from hands covered in paint and easy to repaint as well to the small decorative flourishes like the numbers and lead detailing with clear glass.

GSA Corridor

The corridors that join the studios, I think this area was damaged, its full of casts which are rarely used. On one side are small hideaways ideal for a bit of space if you want some quiet time or enough to share.

GSA tiles

The staircases are set with cement with hardly any hard edges to it, smoothed over by the constant hands of art students over the years. There’s a few different tile insets adding flash of subtle colour and pattern.

Mackintosh clock

As you can see the studio walls are well used, CRM’s clocks are dotted about.

GSA sinks

Some of the sinks to clean brushes and palettes etc, more signs that it’s a living building that’s constantly in use.

I thought you might like to see maybe a different perspective on the Art School. I really appreciate the small details as well as the beauty of the building as a masterpiece.

View from GSA window

I tried my best to using words in the present and not the past as the art school will be back!

Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens

A sunny day at Glasgow’s botanic gardens.

Port Bannatyne, Isle of Bute

Port Bannatyne

A short cycle trip around the Isle of Bute and having a drawing break at Port Bannatyne post office.

Life drawing – Veit

Life drawing

Life drawing

Our model didn’t turn up yesterday so Veit kindly sat for the rest of us.

A1 cold press paper – pastel chalk and watercolour.

I did some progress shots. It was fun drawing, I’m not quite used to painting in watercolour at such a large scale. It involved using loads of water and big brushes and being cool with drips and colour running into each other.

Life drawing

Life drawing

I’ve been experimenting with doing watercolour during life drawing. It’s quite a long pose so I’ve got a good amount of time to draw before I start with the paint.

A1 cold press paper, pastel chalk and watercolour.