Embracing the British summer

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Summer in Britain, not exactly known for its days of blazing hot sunshine and wonderful warm evenings. It more often tends to be 5 random days in mid June reaching over 25 degrees (which obviously happen on days that you are stuck inside) which are then followed by weeks on end of on and off rain with the occasional bit of hail thrown in for good measure. Not exactly the best weather for cracking out the shorts and the T shirts really. Now shorts aren’t exactly a best friend of mine with my tree trunk legs preferring to be in their happy place being wrapped up in 3 pairs of tights.  However when if I see a beautiful  summer dress then it will tend to weasel its way into my bag and somehow end up back home with me. This ‘summer’ has been no different with long, short, patterned and plain ones all being added to the collection. So even when the weather is looking no better than truly pants I just try to embrace the breeze, throw on my favourite floral dress and remember there must be at least 1 place in the world right now which is 30 degrees and sunny. 

 

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This gorgeous cherry print dress from Topshop pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. With its collared shirt detail down the front, to its pretty blue and red print, to the fact that is manages to have no funny cut out sections and actually have with fully functioning sleeves! Actually managing to find a dress with sleeves that isn’t ridiculously short or low at the front has seemed to be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Last year urban outfitters came up trumps and this year it has seemed to be Topshop’s turn. From this i’ve learnt 60’s is the way to go with it’s slim fitting shift dress/shirt dress shape and pretty cherry pint print nicely bringing a touch of vintage to a modern outfit. Despite my yaking on about it being a gorgeous summery daytime piece I definitely think that this piece will stand the test of time being able to take you from day to night and summer to winter. Whack on a good thick tight and a chunky knit jumper and your good to go for a wonderful wintery look. 

 

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PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS 

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Uni week 1

SPOTLIGHT ON: Uni week 1

Now with starting any new university college or even job you are bound to be given the obligatory starting off project just to dip your toes into the water. This was no different for me with starting at GSA with our first project Drawing Beginnings based no the practise of mark making and drawing from still life. In an effort not to make it as mundane as it appeared I decided to try and make the project very much my own by developing some pattern designs from the mark making and still life sketchbook work. So this week I am taking you down a small trip on memory lane back to starting off at university (those long 4 weeks ago).

After being told to go on somewhat of a scavenger hunt to find possible mark making materials (please say you hate that term mark making as much as I do), after slopping them in some ink and various paint materials as groups we created these large mural like images all out of our different marks. When creating these all ideas of being neat and precise went out the window in exchange for being expressive and abstract. 

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Offending items for mark drawings and final experimentational images.

As you can probably see compared to the rest of my group I decided to work solely in black and white just using ink and ignoring the brightly coloured paint used by others. This decision was based on the fact that I knew from starting this that I wanted to take these drawings into photoshop to edit and manipulate into patterns so didn’t want to overcomplicate them with colours and with not yet deciding on a colour scheme (although the odds of it starting off as a variation of red and blue were pretty high) I didn’t want to tie myself down within any of the source drawings. 

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Taking this combination of lines as a whole this is the design I produced this with my usual style of mirroring and rotating. I’m very pleased with this design with it being possibly my favourite coming out of the whole process (I promise it doesn’t go too far down hill from here) with one of my favourite aspects being the fine detail within the thinly crossing lines contrasted the the larger black spogges. Although I thinks it works really well as a finished black and white illustrated design I think this one would look really cool if colour was added to it creating an almost paisley inspired design but obviously in a slightly different style however when it comes to adding colour I would have to deconstruct it and go back to the beginning to create a repeatable section of it instead of trying to colour in the whole thing which would be madness. 

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2 more created from mark making experiments

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When it got down to creating some of our own smaller scale mark making experiments I did decide at this point to start adding colour and surprise surprise as I had preempted earlier on red and blue were the chosen suspects – with a smattering of orange and various shades of blue to not limit it too much. A while ago I had the idea within my pattern design to of using oil paint to blend together a background with the pattern arising with various marks over the top. This was a perfect opportunity to try this idea out. Using some of the earlier mark making techniques I layered these on top of an acrylic paint background starting to make a pattern with it.  As well as adding on top with the black ink with using oil paints as a base I was able to mark into them dragging the paint around creating another element within the design. I really wanted to try and replicate some of the flowers I had found and used for mark making within the designs by using the colours of them within the choice of paint and using the flowers them selves to print with creating the black flower splodges.   

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As I did with my earlier back and white drawings I mirrored, repeated and layered these scanned in images to create the new designs. Im really pleased with how these and the previous black and white ones have come out however I can see how my work is all becoming very similar using the same ideas and techniques with a lot of my designs. This could be considered as my style of working however I think it is still quite simple and could be pushed further and maybe isn’t the style which I ideally want to be creating.  

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In order to do this I took the jump and decided to try to start using adobe illustrator as well as photoshop. After plenty of blood sweat and tears (maybe subtract the blood for watching countless youtube videos) I started pick up some of the effects which I wanted to try and create. 

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I found that the marks I created using the feathers when sectioned out and played around  of By some sort of happy accident when using the pattern brush tool created a really cool butterfly image. This wasn’t really what i intended to create but I’m very pleased how I managed to create it.  Unable to leave my beloved photoshop for too long, I took this motif I had created and used and manipulated it in there, adding colour from some of my previous designs and layering design behind it until I has created a design with them which I was really happy with. 

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This final butterfly design is a lot more muted than the work I usually do however I still really like and it and is a good start at varying my portfolio a bit. I also love it when I create a design which has a lot different designs and layers involved in it knowing that a lot of different work came before it and wasn’t just simply created in 5 minuets.        

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Drawing from still life of a dream catcher. The still life element of this project was an area which I definatly struggled having not gained much inspiration from the items we were drawing. The dream catch was the only item which caught my eye with the design made out of wood in the centre and the lovely feathers hanging off it. I did first draw it in its natural colours of brown and beige but changed it when paining it into red and blue to link in more with my collection of other designs.

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          Final design of dream catcher kaleidoscope

Thankyou for taking a look and reading, I will be doing regualr updates on my uni work so please make sure to come and check back in the future to see what I am up to.

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