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Don’t worry if you fall flat on your face: at least you’re moving forward

September 1, 2009

Sincerely. I state that I’m not happy with these illustrations – not as a fishing expedition for flattering comments. Definitely Not. The most important thing about them to me is that I really enjoyed playing around with pen and ink.

Parts of them please me whilst others are a bit naff. They are exercises – part of the learning process. Realising that getting frustrated at not being able to run is pointless – best that I learn to walk first.

Leonard Cohen was right when he poetically stated:

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”


I think I was attempting to do cross contour drawing, which is best explained by art teacher and supportive blogger, Leslie Paints whose site is filled with useful information.


Thanks to Stephen Quirke, I’m starting to appreciate the value of making several studies of the same subject. With each new study, the brain percieves and absorbs a fresh way of depicting certain aspects of the image – eventually making it possible to produce an image that brings together all those elements.

Apart from ink, I also experimented using coffee to give a sepia effect as my brown ink has an orangey tone – compliments the brown link text in my blog theme too.

I just know you’re itching to discover what my inspiration was for these images.


  1. asmalltowndad permalink
    September 1, 2009 4:06 pm

    Absolutely love the first one, I have looked at a dish rag everyday of my life and have never looked upon it so creatively. I would be proud to display your art on my walls anyday.

    • September 1, 2009 8:22 pm

      asmalltowndad: You and I are going to have to start a ‘mutual appreciation society’ for sure. 😀 Are you telling me that you do the dishes at home?

  2. September 1, 2009 5:16 pm

    I am totally impressed with both of these pieces, June. Soooooo, I will flatter you. These are simply excellent as fine art. I find the first one more interesting because the darks behind the tangling lines push the form or tangle forward and there is a more three-dimensional effect. I like the title of “Tightly Wound” and admire your ability to take an idea forward in giant steps. The splatter is wonderful! Using coffee; wow. Using a dish rag; wow. Thank-you for this!

    • September 6, 2009 8:02 pm

      Thank you. That means a lot coming from you – although not sure I’d call them fine art. I agree about the darks but got carried away with all the little inky splodgings, which I need to further explore in a completely different type of image. I plan to have another go, using what I learned from these – as part of a series of at least two, the other called ‘unwinding’ or something.

  3. September 1, 2009 8:01 pm

    As an artist, I know how different images look to the audience vs. their maker – people always say such nice things when I post something that drove me up the wall! So I completely believe it when you say you struggled with these pieces, but I think they are wonderful. You are definitely moving forward, by leaps and bounds – both technically and in developing your unique voice and visual language.

    So if this is falling flat, I am starting my studio day today in full hopes of falling flat like you!

    I will never look at a dish rag in the same way again.

    • September 6, 2009 8:00 pm

      I was practicing and having fun – I thought it was important to post them to demonstrate the process, not only the best work and saying ‘look at me’. Yes, I think I’m starting to feel less overwhelmed by all the talent out there and relaxing into finding some of my style. There’s this book I’ve been reading that is helping. 😉 P.S. I’ve added a link to ‘naff’, a word famously used by our British Princess Anne when she told intrusive paparazzi to “naff orf” (bugger off)

  4. September 1, 2009 8:06 pm

    P.S. What does “naff” mean? You crazy English people 😛

  5. asmalltowndad permalink
    September 1, 2009 10:41 pm

    I’ve been doing dishes all my life. I just built a tri-level deck, screened in gazebo, hunt and fish, but never claimed to be manly to wash dishes.

    If I like the art I’ll comment, if not I’ll say nothing and leave the comments for the critics.

  6. joseleandro permalink
    September 1, 2009 11:01 pm

    Hello, I found you by wordpress, and I am so impressive aout your art. I loved your way to express yourself.

  7. September 2, 2009 12:55 am

    Hi June, As soon as I clicked on your site I gasped when I saw your drawing. No, I am NOT being overly dramatic! These images are so creative. To come up with them from a dishrag! I love the line drawing combined with the very realistic rendering of the eyes! I can feel how twisted she is! Really wonderful images!!!

    • September 3, 2009 10:51 am

      You know I value your opinion crackedupCarol…but please exhale – yea she looks how I’ve been feeling about my art – so judging by all the positive feedback (thankyousomuch) I can stop suffering for my art as the looser I hang the better my stuff; 🙂 less agony, less naff work.

  8. September 2, 2009 12:55 am

    Oh! And thanks for giving us the definition of naff! That cracked me up. And I like that you put it in your tags too.

  9. September 3, 2009 10:33 pm

    Great concept and beautifully executed.

  10. September 5, 2009 8:31 pm

    Hey June – well done for posting this work.
    I have also decided to post what I don’t think is so good and I always get something fresh in a comment.
    This is really quite off-the-wall stuff –
    And – thanks for the reference – hey that is cool
    And (2) asmalltowndad washes dishes every day and has built a deck – tops man – I think this is heroic stuff ( really)

    • September 6, 2009 9:34 am

      Yep, he’s cool to not be a social stereotype 😎

      It’s so easy to become intimidated by all the talent around. But if we don’t give ourselves permission to fail, how will we grow? I kind of froze up thinking I had to produce a masterpiece every time. So probably staying off-wall for a bit longer.

  11. eclectnik permalink
    September 7, 2009 12:49 pm

    Hi Inksplodge, how brilliantly surreal these are. The eyes especially seem to express everything from comic to creepy to downright scared while the lips are quite contented, serene even. What made you think of using the dishcloth?
    Good use of coffee too. I usually use it to try to start me moving in the morning, though I did once do a life class where we were given a teabag to dampen and tint our drawings with. The resulting picture is on my blog and looking at it now makes me cringe a bit as it’s all out of proportion, but it was fun to do.
    Keep on drawing!

    • September 8, 2009 10:41 am

      You can see all that in the eyes? :mrgreen: Sorry, but it’s too late – only echoes remain in my vacuous brain – can’t recall why drawing a dish cloth seemed like a good idea. Will give the teabag method a try though. I’m utterly useless before my morning coffee.

  12. September 7, 2009 4:15 pm

    Love these, June! It’s refreshing for a boring old watercolourist to see someone thinking outside the box. Nicely drawn, too – you have a good eye.

    Seeing the Leonard Cohen quote reminded me of Spike Milligan’s poem:
    “There are holes in the sky
    Where the rain gets in
    They’re ever so small
    That’s why rain is thin”

    • September 8, 2009 10:56 am

      If either you or your watercolours are boring then I’m David Hockney. 😮

      Dabbling with a variety of media is fun and I hope to soon do more with watercolour. Spike was a comedy genius…nothing nafty about him. I bought that poem on a card for a friend but couldn’t part with it.

  13. September 7, 2009 4:21 pm

    Just clicked on your Naff link – definition no.7 made me laugh. “Like, why is she totally acting like all that?” I hear ALL the time. Nafty.

  14. September 7, 2009 10:40 pm

    A friend, Leslie White, pointed me in your direction and I am glad she did, your images are amusing as well as creative. I love what you have done here to creat these surreal images, fabulous idea and execution. Thanks for sharing and I’ll have to check up on you occasionally to see what you are doing, thanks for sharing your work.

    • September 8, 2009 10:57 am

      Hello and thanks for your generous comments. Leslie is most helpful and knowledgeable.


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