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The other class I bought in January is Print Make Play by Alisa Burke

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When you aren’t in classes learning everyday, or working alongside another artists, it becomes really easy to get stuck in your own groove. This course has been great for refreshing my poor old memory of the vast array of printing techniques there are.

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I let loose with a rubber and some sponge and an old credit card and made some shapes inspired by these Italian boathouses in Monterosso.

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One of the shapes that snuck in there was inspired by the drain covering – but it wasn’t picturesque enough to show you!

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You don’t know what you’re going to get when you experiment – printing especially dictates it’s out outcome. After a little PS’ing the shapes were becoming patterns.

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The colour palette for this collection was easy – the watery greens of mosaic tiles and the changing tones of the sea.

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The weather was full of Italian passion some days; changing rapidly when rain threatened   – but it made for sunny/moody photo’s like this one which I like.

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I called the collection of patterns Boathouse because drain cover really doesn’t conjure the allure I’m after!

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Over the last few weeks I have been using my Italian holiday photo’s for pattern inspiration.

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Studying holiday photo’s is a great way to re-live a holiday.

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First you examine why certain places, colours, paintings or cultural details inspire you to take the photo in the first place and then soon after the design prompt can be found again.

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I looked up at a lot of ceilings during my week in Florence. Italians used to recline on a dais on the floor and so the ceiling was the most decorative feature of a room. Luckily for us we have iPhone reverse direction mode and so can photograph the ceiling without getting a crick in the neck!

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These ceilings were from the Medici Palace and as soon as I looked up, I could see a repeat pattern calling out for development.

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As I played around with drawings and tracings, I began to see which elements to keep.

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The colouring came from generally soaking in all the colours I’d seen around me – I have quite a strong colour memory and often remember the colours of a place more than the details of names and places – not usually a useful quirk to have!

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There was a lot of faded distemper, crumbling concrete, exposed brick, terracotta rendered house walls teamed with turquoise shutters or a painted door; the wall paintings are faded frescoes from Far Angelico’s painted cells.

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I called this collection Soffito as it literally means a ceiling in Italian and doesn’t everything sound nicer in Italian!

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I love me a new sketchbook – all that promise in its clean white sheets…

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I don’t know why it’s so hard to disengage from A Plan and just sit and play with paint and see what comes – but it is.

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Circle Spiritoso meaning spirited

But it never fails to prompt unexpected loveliness – sometimes that takes time and sometimes it pops straight out – which is what happened with these designs.

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Pochettino Heart meaning rather little heart

I have wanted to design a ‘ditsy’ print for ages using a vintagesque colour palette.

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Trumpet Marziale meaning in a military style


Word to the wise… sketchbook play everyday 🙂

Edited to add: couldn’t think of names for these designs and then Mr L comes in and says because they look rhythmic that I should look at music terms for some ideas. Everything sounds good in French or Italian so one brainstorm later and we have names 🙂 He’s a genius x

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The antidote to working to a brief recently has been some sketchbook play.

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And I have found a new obsession – orange! Can’t get enough of this colour at the moment.

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We recently re-decorated a room and I found myself in Ikea purchasing this luscious flame-red chair. And buying Chinese Lanterns from the florist (just there in the background.)

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And I’ve been in a playful pattern making mood too.

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Some looking very Autumny and this last one coming out very Christmassy indeed.

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Oh – my chair again just because I love it so ! (MY chair family!!)

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Surtex continues today and having just seen The Great Gatsby, I’m in the mood for a dress.

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This design collection is called Lollipop Flowers.

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It’s fresh and Spring-like and makes me want to twirl around in a fancy dress.

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All the designs are available for purchase or licence through Advocate Art on stand 416.

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I have been quietly working away at my surface pattern design portfolio these past weeks.

I’m building it up in preparation of approaching an agent to get my designs licensed. Fingers crossed – that’s the plan.

Just like with painting, you never quite know what the finished design might be as it develops as you’re doing it.

This range, based on a wire fence I saw in Paris (first photograph) has come out all urban, hip-hop!

Or maybe it’s the influence of dark winter days. Perhaps it will literally be sunshine and flowers next week. Have a good weekend.

Heres some of the designs I created in Photoshop after painting the abstracted light reflections.

We were given the brief (and template) to create a gift wrap design and also a greetings card.

I designed six patterns but I’m keeping some private for my surface pattern portfolio. And I successfully followed the tutorial for putting them in a technical repeat :0

Have great, long Bank Holiday weekend (if you live in the UK.)

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