Thursday, 20 July 2017

Sketch outing - TWIGS

Another plein air sketch outing on Wednesday with a group from the Royal WoottonBassett Art Society. The venue was TWIGS, a community garden formed about 20 years ago by a local resident who realised the therapeutic benefits that working with nature could bring to those experiencing mental health problems. A surprising oasis of wildlife and luxuriant plantings in the midst of a busy town.

A couple more sketches done in this garden can be seen in a previous post.

Both my sketches were done in the Hahnemuhle Grey sketchbook.

Pen and watercolour over a light acrylic wash and random gesso print  

Pen and watercolour plus white gel pen

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Portrait sketch

Last week I spent a great day out with a friend from Australia, she was over here visiting family and catching up with old acquaintances.  We had glorious weather, although the afternoon proved a little too hot for both of us! We made the most of shaded walks through our local arboretum, but with so much news to catch up with there was no time for sketching.  Needing an image to add to my journal entry for the day, I decided to attempt a portrait of my friend from one of the few photos I took.

People drawing is not my forte, so I played safe and started the pencil sketch on drawing paper rather than directly in my journal.  To seal the pencil sketch I sponged over it with a light wash of liquid acrylic plus glazing liquid, then added some watercolour washes and gel pen. I am not sure anyone would recognise the "sitter", but it was good practice for drawing faces.

Pencil, acrylic, watercolour, gel pen
(approx. 2" x 3")

Sunday, 2 July 2017

July sketch outing

We had reasonable weather for our sketch meeting in Faringdon Road Park on Saturday, with eight of us turning up with our art supplies. This fairly small park in the middle of town is mostly laid to grass, but around its perimeter are a few mature trees, a children's play area and a colourful flower border in one corner.  Most of us chose to concentrate on the buildings seen outside the park.

I am getting more attuned to using the Hahnemuhle Grey Book - this time I had previously lightly toned one of my pages with some blue/green acrylic paint, cleaning off my roller after using it for another project.  It worked quite well with my chosen view of a Victorian house, glimpsed above a flower bed of deep yellow lilies, rich red crocosmia and bright blue sea holly.

Park House (built 1876)
Pen and watercolour on acrylic toned background

Sketching in this historic area of Swindon has encouraged me to find out a bit more about its history.  Apparently, this land adjacent to the Railway Village was bought in 1844 by the Great Western Railway to provide a cricket field for the use of the local residents, as well as a general leisure area and the venue for annual fetes.  At one time it boasted a cricket pavilion, an entrance lodge, glasshouses and ornamental borders with fountains - all since disappeared.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Anilinky watercolour paints

Having recently rediscovered these paints in amongst my old art supplies, it was time to re-acquaint myself with their properties.  I used them for a couple of rough sketches in the Hahnemuhle Grey Book.  They are very intense and I found it difficult to get the subtle shades I am used to with my usual Winsor & Newton watercolours; they felt more like a cross between gouache and watercolour. I probably just need a bit more practice with them.

Anilinky watercolours overlaid with a few strokes of white oil pastel at the top of the image

Watercolour marker sketch in Burnt Umber, Anilinky watercolours,
highlights added with cream Posca pen
The twelve colours in the paint box
I will paint another colour chart and put it on my windowsill for a couple of months just to see how permanent the pigments are.

I have had these paints for quite some years, but I see they are still available on the internet and very inexpensively priced - in some adverts they are called "watercolour dyes" and there is a suggestion that they can be used on fabric!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Another Hahnemuhle experiment

Our art group's Monday evening theme was "Time".  We've had a few days of exceptionally hot weather here and only a handful of us turned up.  As it happened, the temperature in the village hall was very pleasant, with all the windows and doors open, a welcome breeze keeping us cool and the gentle lowing of the cattle in the adjacent field.

I was a bit stumped for a subject - not wanting to use the theme of clocks.  In the end I decided to try a different version of the plein air drawing I did at the beginning of this month - The Mechanics Institute, which has fallen into disrepair and has a very uncertain future.

On the Hahnemuhle Britannia watercolour paper, I applied a background of well diluted acrylic inks (red earth and purple lake).  The drawing was transferred using an Edding Profipen, then the surface was randomly lino printed with white gesso - I wanted texture, but it needed to be more subtle than my previous attempt (above).  Several layers of watercolour were added, then I resorted to some Anilinky paints by Koh-i-Nor which I have had hanging around for ages - these produce strong colours, but I am not sure of their permanence.  The foreground foliage wasn't working and in my impatience I scribbled over it with a black Posca pen making it even worse!  An off-white Posca pen helped to cover up the black, topped by some white Anilinky paint before re-colouring the area.

The Hahnemuhle paper didn't buckle at all, and the surface stood up excellently, despite the amount of over-working I subjected it to.

Approx. 9" x 7"

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Hidcote Manor Gardens

A glorious day out visiting this National Trust property in Gloucestershire - an Arts and Crafts garden comprising over 20 different garden "rooms", borders and lawns.

It was a riot of colour and there was so much to see, but I did manage a couple of quick pen sketches to which I added watercolour later at home.

One of two small pavilions at the end of the Red Borders
Access to these little buildings was not possible as they were undergoing conservation work, (I left out the workmen's bags of cement, buckets etc.).

Thatched barn in the courtyard

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Hahnemuhle watercolour paper

Hahnemuhle 140 lbs rough watercolour paper
A few of weeks ago, I made a start on testing out this watercolour paper, but other things got in the way and I completely forgot about it until yesterday.

Watercolour trials
I didn't like the way my background turned out on the small composition on the right, so I had  covered the original colours with white gesso, just retaining the flower heads - awaiting inspiration on how to continue.  Rediscovering it last night, I thought I might as well "go for broke" and see if anything could be done with it.  I started to rework the background with more watercolour washes, painting negatively around the leaf shapes.

Water splashed and blotted in the background washes to add texture,
I also tried out some gel pens and watercolour markers

I think this is as far as I am going to go with this experiment
(or should I try some pastel on top of it next??)
Despite a rather messy outcome, I really enjoyed using this Hahnemuhle paper.  The watercolours retained their brilliance, the paper stood up well to the various media used and the rough texture in no way overpowered the subject matter.  A "thumbs up" from me!