Karin Davel was the speaker/demonstrator at our June meeting and the subject was monoprinting. Karin has been in Cape Town for about two years and artist and is recognisable by her colourful outfits and sketchbook, which she is never without.
She studied a fine arts degree at the University of Pretoria and has taught art in schools and art studios. She ran a gallery and a guesthouse in KwaZulu Natal before moving to Cape Town with her husband At, who was on hand to video the demo for us.
The room was filled with quiet excitement as Karen set up her playspace for her demo on quick sketching and monoprinting. It soon became clear that Karin's approach to art is to have fun with it, take it as it comes and to let oneself grow as opportunities present themselves.
|Karin and one of her works.|
She always carries a sketchbook with her to make quick drawings for painting ideas. She reminded us that even in a day that has no time dedicated to art, in the periods we spend waiting (in doctors rooms, in church, whilst picking up the kids from school etc), we can let our artist free.
Karin taught us the various benefits of quick sketching just before she challenged a room of nervous artists to do a 1 minute blind drawing:
It captures your feeling or interpretation of the item or person being drawn; thus we are always making original pieces as we develop our own art personas. This moves us away from just copying shapes and towards feeling our art. With limited time, we focus more on the energy or story we are looking at.
It teaches us to jump in, that rough drawing is okay and to roll with unpredictability as our subject matter moves as humans tend to do.
The more we rough sketch, the thicker our skin becomes when we are criticised, as we spend less energy defending/justifying our interpretation than the technical correctness of a piece. We can then simply say that you interpreted it differently and that is okay.
It helps us practise our hand-eye coordination frequently, which is one of an artist's most valued tools.
|One of Karin's sketches|
Karin's demonstration on monoprinting showed us how to lay down our rough sketches onto canvas as the beginning of a painting. She explained how to use acrylics and oil paints in monoprinting, and the benefits of both. Acrylics dry quickly and leave a harsher mark. Oils are used for smoother lines and to add in shadows. She also showed us how to reuse one sketch multiple times in playing with the negatives and the back of the monoprint page i.e. the stuff we would normally throw away.
|On the left is a monoprint, on the right the sketch.|
She showed us how to add different levels of energy into paintings with various mark directions and intensity. With a page from a magazine, she demonstrated how cheap tools (like cotton wool and turpentine) can make fantastic backgrounds. She challenged us to feel our art by sketching to music and not a specific object in front of us. She showed us how to play with 4 pencils, 2 in each hand, and how our dominant hands make different marks to our non-dominant one and the value of each.
|This work has a colour background|
Like a busy, busy hummingbird, she flitted between ideas and thoughts for two hours, giving titbits of advice and insights, making fantastic jokes and making it clear that for her, art is about unadulterated fun and going with the flow.
|Proteas with monoprint and stitching|
We were left somewhat exhausted on her behalf, but incredibly inspired.
|Members asking Karin questions|
JUNE ART CHALLENGE - WARMTH
There was a good response this month, here are all the works brought to the meeting.