Mawaheb from Beautiful People:Al Fahidi, Dubai

A great treat today visiting  the totally inspiring home of Mawaheb from Beautiful People in the Al Fahidi district of Dubai.

Loved the colourful work of this group of artists. Today’s blog features toucans by Victor Sitali inspirational sculpture by Vinayak Commar and a number of large scale paintings and some sculpture featuring birds by a number of contributing artists.

I also had the chance to join the students in a lesson on portraiture, as the tutor Alan guided the students through the work of Jacommetti. A place not to be missed if you are lucky enough to get a chance to visit!


Project 2: Research: Artists working in Papercutting

Project 2 Research 
Matisse: the Blue Nudes

Blue Nude III, 1952 (gouache on paper), Matisse, Henri (1869-1954) / Musee National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France / © 2016 Succession H. Matisse/DACS,London, 112x 73.5 cms. Bridgeman Education Library

Matisse was one of the Fauve groups of artists, known for their use of intense flat colour. He became increasingly interested in the use of papercuts in the later stages of his career following surgery which left him with limited mobility. He worked in a range of graphic media, including linocuts and lithography, producing works which included books (Jazz, 1947), and the commissioned design for the Chapelle de la Rosarie in Vence.
Matisse worked with pre- prepared paper, painted in gauche using precise colours which were directly comparable with those used in the printing industry which would have assisted with reproduction of his work.
He was known to work with a number of assistants who helped prepare the paper which Matisse then used to create his composition.

Blue Nude 111
The work above was one of a series of cut outs created by the artist. The simplicity of the work, and the use of one colour adds to the overall visual impact of the piece is the colour. The artist uses a single blue against a white background, placing the figure centrally, occupying the whole picture plane. This increases the overall impact of the piece. Despite the use of one flat colour, the artist manages to convey the pose perfectly through his chosen medium.
The work is large scale, a factor which would also increase visual impact. The careful placement of the paper pieces makes ideal use of the white space between the paper pieces to define the figure and accentuate the pose.It is known that Matisse made several studies for his able Nudes series.
Matisse creates a 2 strong diagonals in the above work,using the white of the paper. These run across the figure, moving the eye across the whole work, adding to the overall impact of the piece.

Nahoko Kojima:Cloud Leopard and Kiku Flowers

Paper cutting is a medium which has a long history and which spans many countries. . ( )
The earliest known examples of the art form were located in China and date from the 6th Century AD. However the medium spread outwards and became popular in many countries, including: Indonesia, the Filipines,India and Sweden, Africa and Japan.
( )
An artist whose work interested me was the contemporary Japanese artist, Nahoko Kojima.
Her work Cloud Leopard is a large and complex papercut sculpture cut from one sheet of black paper, which is displayed as an installation suspended above the eyeliner of the viewer. The scale of the work definitely creates visual impact through scale and creates further interest through the suspension of the work in a way which creates a sculptural form allows the viewer to see the work from many angles, creating an almost infinite choice of perspectives from which the viewer can absorb the work.

Washi (2014), Ford Presidential Museum, MI USA

Kiku Flowers, by the same artist, is a collection of 10 Papercuts of smaller scale, ranging from plant and animal forms and decorative masks.. The works appear to be cut from a single sheet of paper, some white, some coloured, displayed against a contrasting background. What is most striking about the work is the combination of complexity in the cut design and the striking simplicity of the overall form of the pieces. They appear to flow across the paper surface on which they are displayed, with many using a diagonal composition. Other works, including a papercut of a Rose is placed centrally on the paper which I feel is less successful than the works placed diagonally.
Comparison with Matisse
In common with the Papercuts of Matisse, Kojima’s work Cloud Leopard uses scale to create visual impact. However, where Matisse uses several pre-cut pieces assembled into his final composition, Kojima prepares the entire work from one single sheet of paper.
In some works, such as Kiku Flowers, and the Marisse Blue Nudes, the artists create final pieces which create impact through the use of a single colour on contrasting paper and make use of diagonal elements in the composition which are pleasing to the eye and create a sense of flow within the work.

PM1: Course Aims and Objectives

OCA Printmaking 1: Course Aims
Overall Aims

My principle reason for taking the course is to learn and entirely new skill, which I think would be helpful in my own practice. I hope that eventually I will be able to expand my artistic practice to include printmaking.


I would like to progress onto Level 2 and eventually to complete the BA Hons in Painting. Hopefully I will be able to bring the ideas and processes learned in Printmaking 1 to the next stage of my course.

I hope that the course will provide me with a different range of tools which can be applied to future work.
In my own practice, I have sometimes used stencils to achieve effects in my paintings and have dabbled with bringing mixed media into the painting process. On such occasions, I have sometimes been concerned that the paintings may fail at a later stage as the methodology used may not be technically competent. I hope that a better understanding of accepted practice will help to improve the quality of my work.

Project 1: Research

 Your First Monoprints

Research into Contemporary Printmakers


For this exercise I visited the Glasgow Print Studio in order to observe first-hand the work of some local printmakers.
The first print which I was drawn to was a monoprint by the artist Calum McClure, entitled “Untitled “ In Blue, Pollock Park”, 2015. I was drawn to this work as it represents a landscape I know very well, where I have sketched in the past and I was interested to look closely at how someone else had interpreted the landscape.

The artist is known for his work depicting landscape, often featuring country estates and national parks.


The artist has used portrait format for this print. He has divided the picture plane horizontally at the very lower part of the print using dark brown and orange horizontal brushstrokes. The subdivision of the picture plane in this manner creates the impression of a very big sky and places the viewer’s eyeline low. Initially, for me it is unclear whether the viewer is looking at sea or sky. I like this aspect of the print which adds interest to the work.It suggests the idea of being “lost in a sea of blue”, of “diving into the landscape and becoming submerged”.
There are 3 strong verticals created by the trees placed each side of the picture plane. These overlap a horizontally placed tree branch stretching across the upper tired of the print. The artist may have been interested in creating the potential for both portrait and landscape interest for the print.


The work is quite heavily textured. I think that artist may have created the blue background colour by printing a smooth first layer of print. Initially, I wondered whether elements of collage had been used to produce the print. However, I think that texture has been achieved by the application of a wide range of brushstrokes and the selection of different brush sizes during the painting process. It is also possible that impressed techniques have been used to create the tree trunks (using twigs) and to create the rough area at the lower edge of the print, perhaps using bubble wrap.
In the upper 1/3 of the picture plane the artist has removed areas of paint to create the impression of clouds.The treatment of the sky is less textured than the rough brushwork used on the tree foliage, providing interest across the picture plane.

The colours selected are naturalistic and help to keep the print more representational than abstract. The use of orange at the horizon line, contrasting with its complementary orange helps draw attention to this area. The painting has a relaxed feel to it and one can imagine this being planned on a lovely summer day- interesting for me as I have spent many days here waiting on the clouds to clear to sketch these trees for a previous OCA project!
Overall, I enjoyed looking at this print, particularly seeing an alternative interpretation of a very familiar scene.
In Blue, Pollock Park, Monotype, 2015. Calum McClure


OCA Printmaking 1: Scott Campbell

OCA Printmaking 1: Your First Monoprints

Research into Contemporary Printmakers


I undertook this investigation into contemporary printmakers as part of my OCA Printmaking 1 coursework. The print featured below is the work of printmaker Scott Campbell, a Master Printmaker at the Glasow Print Studio. A link to his work is provided below:

Untitled IV, Scott Campbell, Unique monoprint, 2015

imageI spotted this print which is one of a series of 3, on my visit to the Glasgow Print Studio. I was initially drawn to the striking colours and sense of tranquility which I got from viewing the work. I thought that it would be interesting to look at prints which contrasted in the techniques used, and set out to compare and contrast this work by the monotype by the artist Calum McClure which Is on display in the same gallery.


The print is a semi-abstract landscape, square in format, with the picture plane divided roughly into thirds, creating  a harmonious feel to the print. These divisions have been created by the use of contrasting bands of colour within each third.

A very dark phthalo blue occupies the lower third of the picture plane, suggesting the sea in the foreground. This fades gradually to pale blue in the middle third of the picture plan, changing to pale yellow in the upper third of the print.

The artist adds emphasis to the very pale colours between land and sky by the addition of a contrasting line of pale pink with small vertical lines bisecting this, suggesting movement in this area across the horizon line. Interestingly, the view seems to be from sea to land, in contrast to the common view from land out to sea.
The addition of colour at the horizon line works very well to bring a representational element to the print.

The artist places a small yellow circle above the horizon, suggesting the sun and again strengthening the more representational aspects of the print and helping to make sense of the scene for the viewer.

Speculation on Method

The print is smooth in texture in contrast to the work “In Blue, Pollock Park” 2015 by Calum McClure. I think that the artist has used masking techniques on successive print runs to create the bands of colour on the prints and to create such sharp lines on the little disc representing the sun. The pale grey markings look as though they may have been added very carefully with a brush at the end of the printing process as a last layer on the last print run.


Overall, I think the print is very successful, with subtle use of colour and precise application of colour. It contrasts with the more fluid approach taken by Calum McClure in the Pollock Park print, which has a much more Expressionist feel to it.
I would like to try to creat this effect in my own work and may consider trying to rework some of my landscape paintings as abstract prints using pale
“ seascape” colours.


OCA Printmaking 1: Research


Monoprints of Edgar Degas


Degas was a member of the Impressionist group of painters who rejected the formality of the Salon and the painting establishment of the day, preferring instead to create work in the open air, with the emphasis on representing light as it is experienced in the open air. The handling of paint was often loose, with obvious brush-strokes. Frequently, complementary colours were used to depict areas of shadow. This approach sought to represent light as it is actually experienced in the landscape. Unlike may of his fellow-impressionists, Degas often drew indoor subjects such as bathers, ballet dancers and ordinary people socialising.

His compositions mirrored his interest in Japanese prints and the ever-developing discipline of photography, with elongated portrait views, and subjects often cut off at the edge of the picture plane as in photography. An example of this elongation is in the painting Mary Cassat in the paintings Gallery of the Louvre.
(Harris, Constance:Portraiture in Prints, Macfarland & company inc, Publisher. Jefferson,North Carolina and London).

However, he is also known for his pastels of racehorses. A literature search of the Bridgeman Library identified using the search terms Edgar Degas and then Monoprint identified a number of works in which a painting has been completed over a monotype. There were very few pure monotypes represented on the site.
The monoprint I have selected to review is of a landscape. A link to the site is set out below. The work is entitled Moonrise, c.1880 (monotype on laid paper) by Degas, Edgar (1834-1917) It is a monotype laid on paper on laid paper. It is small in scale, measuring 15.4×24.6 cms.

Moonrise, c.1880 (monotype on laid paper), Degas, Edgar (1834-1917) / Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA / Bridgeman Images


The format of the monotype is landscape, with the horizon dividing the painting roughly into thirds, with the upper third representing the sky.

The brushwork is very loose, creating a windswept feel to the work. On close inspection the print appears quite textured, with short brush strokes placed vertically depicting the dune grasses, and long, sweeping strokes used to paint the sand in the foreground.
The monotype seems to have been prepared using a paintbrush and wiping cloth.
The brushstrokes are an important feature of the print, adding atmosphere to the scene. The artist may have wiped the surface of the work to remove paint to allow for distinction between the light foreground and the beach grasses in the mid ground.
The moon is placed off centre to the left of the picture plane. It appears to have been created by the removal of paint from this area.

Project 4 :Variations using masks and multi-colours

Further experimentation adding colour and using masks to develop prints: 

I used the additional prints carried out earlier as the base for printing successive layers using a variety of techniques, including: impressed texture, backdrawing and masking. Using a small sketch of the view from the studio window, I attempted to recreate the image using print.

I used tracing paper, I created a number of masks to add additional colour to emphasise the house gable end and the trees. I dropped water on the printing plate to vary the texture in the foreground, which added interest by was difficult for me to control.

I then covered all areas except the sky to allow me to balance the colour composition of the prints as some areas were too pale.

On some prints, I used backdrawing and imprinting with corrugated cardboard to build up the form of the houses.

Landscapes produced from layered colour ask and impressed techniques 


I really enjoyed using these techniques. However I did find it difficult to create fine detail. However, the effects created by the printing process really added to the visual interest of the prints. For this reason, it was even more important to thoroughly plan the pieces as well as possible before starting printing.

Wome of the prints are quite well registered, but the addition of masks seemed to make this more difficult to achieve due to slippage of the sides of the masks. I tried taping these down with masking tape but ther was still some dragging across the print.