Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Printing experiments

I have been printing a couple more fold books for birthday greetings (similar to this one).

I had some leftover gesso to use up and experimented with combining it with some Caran d'Ache Neocolour II water soluble crayons.

The gesso was already tinted a creamy orange.  First of all I coated my foam stamp with gesso then quickly scrubbed over crayons in reds and purple.  The result was a bit patchy, so I tried lightly dampening the stamp, adding the crayons, then gently adding the gesso over the top.  The latter method seemed to result in a better impression, but a bit more experimentation is needed.  I could have used just the crayons, but the addition of gesso sets the image should I need to work over it with other media.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Travel sketches

Nothing of great moment has been happening in the studio since Christmas and the New Year, so here are some sketches from our travels in previous years.

Although I had previously sketched while on holiday, it wasn't until we bought a caravan in 2003 that I made a conscious effort to ensure I kept a daily record, with writings and drawings, of our trips around the British Isles.  We still took plenty of photographs, but these journals provide much more in the way of memories.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

December Sketch Outing

Quite a few new faces at our Urban Sketch group today.  We met up for coffee in our Central Library cafe before dispersing to other areas of the building, mostly taking inspiration from the views outside.

The library itself is a fairly modern construction, but is attached to the Town Hall which was built in "neo-17th century Dutch style" in 1890.  The two structures enclose a courtyard and from the upper floors of the new building you can get a good view of the original decorative clock tower and cupolas.

I had already sketched the clock tower on a previous occasion, so today I concentrated on one of the cupolas.

5.11.16 - Town Hall Clock Tower
Pen and watercolour marker

Pen, watercolour, white gouache and gel pen
in the Hahnemuhle Grey Book

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Christmas cards

All my Christmas cards have been printed and posted, so I can now reveal how they were made.

Using white gesso, I printed my image onto Frisk Black Pad  paper.  As I intended to cut round the figures I didn't bother to clear away all the excess lino (particularly round the heads).  Once dry, the prints were randomly coloured with acrylic inks, plus a bit of gold splatter.  More detail was added with gold and silver gel pens before the images were cut out and glued to A6 card blanks.  A computer printed insert included the seasonal greeting and our address.

I produced about 24 hand-printed cards, but still needed a few more.  As time was getting on, I finished off with a computer printed version to which I added the gold and silver gel pen details for a bit of sparkle.

Lino print - white gesso on black paper, with acrylic inks added when dry

 Design layout, lino block and some of the finished cards
Close-up of the finished image - "Three Kings"

Friday, 8 December 2017

Expressive Textured Winter Landscapes in Mixed Media

I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's workshop with Soraya French.  With some careful packing, I managed to fit all the suggested materials into a rucksack and a shopping bag so my journey on the bus was not too fraught (apart from delays with rush hour traffic and road works).

Soraya's teaching style was relaxed and easy to follow and she was able to advise and encourage each student individually.  Her first demonstration painting was split into two parts so that we could prepare our paper or canvas surface with various textures (gels, gesso, pastes, collage etc.) and a base wash, before we forgot that part of the process.  This also allowed our work to dry before following up with painting, over-painting, glazing and refining with heavy body acrylic, ink, pastel and wax crayon.

I changed my mind about the sketches I was going to use as my reference.  The first was from a small study of the Neolithic stones at Avebury.

Avebury Stones - pen and watercolour 3" x 5"
I find it quite difficult to relinquish my "watercolour" mindset when using other mediums, so these workshop efforts are quite rough, but I did feel I managed to overcome that to some extent.

Ink, collage, texture paste, gesso, pumice gel, acrylic
and some final touches of pastel and wax crayon

This was my next reference sketch:

On the Polar Road from Narvik - pen and watercolour  5" x 5"
This interpretation was definitely a bit messy!
Ink, texture paste, gesso, acrylic, wax crayon
For my final attempt I decided I might have more success if I followed Soraya's second demonstration piece more closely.

Ink, texture paste, acrylic, with some wax crayon and pastel
I used Hahnemuhle Britannia watercolour paper (approx. 9" x 12") for these acrylic paintings and it certainly stood up well to the battering it got.  The only downside was that the low-tack masking tape I used to attach it to my painting board pulled away some of the paper surface when I tried to remove it.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Urban sketch outing

With several of our group busy on the run-up to Christmas, only a handful of us turned up today's sketch meeting.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed beverages and savouries (plus inspirational ideas) at the National Trust cafe at Swindon's Designer Outlet Village, taking advantage of our window seats to sketch the outside views.

Pen and mixed media sketch on a pre-prepared page
of the Hahnemuhle Grey Book

Afterwards, we visited the Christmas Market at STEAM Museum where all the various craft stalls were laid out in between the various steam engines and other railway-related exhibits.