It's Christmas- and birthday-card making season, which I always enjoy. An excuse to get out all sorts of crafting materials and have fun with rubber stamps, stick things together with the hot glue gun, play with spangles, blob around with paint and generally increase the peace. I usually don't have a single idea about what I'm going to do at the beginning, and this year, being a strange one, was no exception; I began completely empty headed, but as soon as all the bits and pieces come out and I start playing with them something always happens. And it's so satisfying to see the neat rows of finished, folded cards.
I photographed these crystals - in our scullery sink, of all places. A bleach solution had drained away, leaving a residue which dried into these beautiful crystalline forms. It reminded me of a photo (or possibly a contact print) my Dad used to have lying around; he had made if from of the bottom of a developing tank he used for his photography in the early 1970s. Sadly, that print appears to be lost now. As a child I thought at the time that it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I had marvelled at the intricacy of the crystals in their feathery forms, for years mistakenly thinking it was a photo of ice on a window.
How could something as mundane as a cleaning product flower so spectacularly? Today, from a yellow plastic Asda container had emerged pale, ephemeral gardens of constellations, skies of wonder, caves of stalactites and stalagmites - a genie in the bottle. Is this a form of efflorescence? I hope so, because in French the word means ‘flowering out’, and that to me is exactly has happened here. As bleach is diluted sodium hydrochloride, I am guessing once most of the water emptied from the sink, the rest evaporated away leaving these beautiful salt crystal deposits.
I was photographing some of the templates diary work during the week when I noticed I was getting good images of some used carbon paper. I had been drawing templates through it to get that particular blue line, which somehow manages to be crisp and fuzzy at the same time; also, I love that particular blue colour. After the sheets of carbon have been used over and over I had noticed the shiny side becomes an intricate lace of inverse lines left by pressing through the back with a biro to transfer the line onto paper. I have tried so many times to capture it - scanning, fancy lighting, getting close up with the camera, but to no avail - no detail showed up at all in the images.
I had cut template shapes from the used carbons for some compositions in the diary, and these were amongst the photos I took this week. The natural light of summer was so good I saw that at last I had managed to capture those elusive lines! They were so interesting I brought them into Procreate on my iPad, cut them out, and composed this image - maybe an idea for a painting?
The other day I was playing around with a grille composed of Old West lettering again, I placed it over one of my drawings to see how it would look. It does have a feeling of looking outside from within. I was most interested in the shapes created between the letters, coloured around in black to isolate them.
I spotted this fantastic example of four different systems crossing each other while out on our daily walk: the plant, its shadow, woodgrain, and saw-marks on a felled tree. Of course I didn't have a phone or camera with me, so when I got home I got my phone and returned to the scene. It was worth it both to have collected this image which I find deeply interesting, but I also met a beautiful little pug pup - his body was pale sandy coloured, with a black face.
After another week of howling storms, sleet, hailstones, thunder I am actually sitting here today posting this is dazzling bright sunshine.
I don't title all of these templates works, but as on the week ending 2 February this week was another when titles suggested themselves. Reading left to right:
1. Planetary Model 1
2. Pisces (B's star sign)
5. Planetary Model 2
6. Taurus (my star sign)
Here is an amusing thing about titles in the diary: the working titles going around in my head often sound like pub names when you read the facing pages together, e.g. the Lute and Swan, or on other pages the Pot and Puzzle and the Harp and Arrow. I don't know what that says about me ...
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
This week's 6 template drawings using my Dad's old templates, and 6 great things about this week:
1. My lovely bestie flew in from Germany, we have had some great chatty drinks in the evenings. He's not getting any shorter, he seems to be about 6ft 7 these days! (I could be the shrinking one, of course).
2. Back to Binky illustration work on an ongoing project which I am determined to have finished by Easter at the latest. It's a children's book which is top secret until it has been released.
3. The sun is now rising earlier every day - easier to get out of bed!
4. Working page layouts in BookWright, I love that kind of work. It brings out the old graphic designer in me.
5. Stunning frosty mornings with bright sunshine.
6. I am really enjoying collecting templates in my diary, discovering invisible forms.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
This time last year I began to play with the idea of using templates in my drawings. I had inherited a lot of technical templates after my Dad passed away in 2017, some of which he made himself. He was a leading draughtsman and naval architect, and no doubt would find a great deal of humour in the sense I try to make of his tools. I find the forms fascinating and like the idea of using them in ways they were not deigned to be used. I want to incorporate them into my work combined with unreadable text and make them into plans nobody can build, and allow them to convey a sense of joyous unknown logic. The idea of working with cut spaces, or missing forms, is appealing to me. I used a few templates in my Confused Flags recently, and look forward to taking the idea further in 2020.
This Christmas has provided rich pickings for new forms: the image on the right is the remains of a miniature build-a-car car kit after the car parts had been pressed out. To the left, a notebook containing early template experiments I made a year ago, The notebook itself is an interesting Duplicate Manifold Book, supplied by the government for Public Service (in the 1960s by the looks of it), also found amongst Dad's possessions.
I was a bit disappointed that the duplicate function doesn't work any more, but once or twice I inserted a piece of carbon paper to see what would happen when a drawing duplicates in a different medium.
To see the finished car kit model photo visit The Weekly at Binky McKee.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
I cracked open a brand new Moleskine notebook this week, and I realise yet another good reason to use them: they lie flat when open, making it easier to photograph pages for social media. I don’t know how long mine will open out flat because I glue papers, scraps, collages and experiments in my notebooks and they tend to become bulky in time. I have a lot of notebooks with empty pages in the back because I can’t fit anything else in without bursting the covers.
Three drawings this week: a Peruvian gourd which rattles when shaken, an enamel doggy box which is partner to the one I drew last week, and a depiction of the inside of a favourite bowl, but flattened out. I worked by turning the bowl in my hand and allowing the pattern to run straight in my drawing.
I work a LOT in sketchbooks and always have several on the go. My dad was an architect and naval draughtsman, and after he died in 2017 I found heaps of old templates while clearing out his study. Always having been an avid collector of shapes, at the beginning of this year I bought a WHSmith A5 diary to use as a sketchbook specifically for work based on them.
As well as the work you see here, I illustrate under the name of Binky McKee (my mother's maiden name was McKee, Binky was every single one of my great grandmother's many cats!)
If you would like to visit my Binky website, please click the picture above.
Candle-light shadows. I set up little 'night theatres' in my bedroom. As darkness falls, I light strategically placed candles and watch the plays begin. A perfect activity for the darkest days of winter.
(Sorry the archives don't nest!)
A 2013 work book, still very much in use
Please note all images on this website are ©Heather Eliza Walker 2013 - 2020, and may not be used or reproduced without prior consent.