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.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Hahnemuhle surprise parcel!

An early Christmas present from Hahnemuhle - certainly a lovely surprise!

My package contained a tin of 30 watercolour postcards (approx 4" x 6"),  a Faber-Castell water brush and watercolour pencil with extra thick lead, all with a nice hand-written note from the Hahnemuhle team.

All wrapped up in red tissue within a red bag


The water brush is only 5" long, which makes it a useful addition to a small pencil case for outdoor sketching.  In addition, the cap is designed with an angular edge which can be used to scrape lines into damp paint - very neat.


Testing out the water brush cap on some watercolour swatches

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Winter landscapes

Next week I have booked a place on a day's workshop with mixed media artist Soraya French.  The theme is "Expressive Textured Winter Landscapes in Mixed Media".  I am already sorting out what I need to take with me - it seems like a mountain of supplies - acrylics, inks, oil and soft pastels, gesso, texture paste, glue, collage papers, palettes, paper, brushes, pencils, etc. etc.  These are all the materials I have on hand at home, but the thought of hauling all these on public transport (at least for one leg of the journey) is quite daunting.  Maybe time to think about an old ladies' shopping trolley!

In the meantime, I have been sorting through my sketches for some suitable reference images and will include two or three from a winter Norwegian cruise we took some years ago.

Stockmarknes - pen and watercolour

Snowy Nesna - pen and watercolour

Turf-roofed fisherman's hut, Saltstraumen -
pen and watercolour

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Latest circle book complete


I have now finished the circular book mentioned in my last post.

When open, the booklet measures 5" across and 2 1/2" high, fitting into the quadrant box when closed.

Materials used: 100 gsm cream paper,  computer printed text, hand-printed with acrylic tinted gesso foam stamp, edges cut with "deckle" scissors and stained with acrylic and gold ink.  Quadrant box - cardboard covered with red mulberry paper, decorated with gold ink and collaged stamped image.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Circle book in progress

I have been busy on my Christmas card design - it will be a simple lino print image again this year - but more about that nearer the festive season.

Meanwhile, I have  a couple of special birthdays to make booklets for, so for the first another circle book is in production.  I have used this peony design before, but needed to make a larger foam stamp, allowing enough room for the computer printed text on the 5" diameter pages.  The cover will probably be decorated with the peony bud image.



Sunday, 12 November 2017

Life Drawing

My local art society held a 2 hour life drawing workshop this weekend.  The first half was with the model clothed, the second half unclothed.  Despite quite a short time span, those attending managed to produce quite a few very good sketches.  It's definitely something I could do with more practice at.

We started off each session with a couple of 5 minute warm-ups, followed by two longer poses of 20/25 minutes.

Three of my 5 minute warm-ups:

Charcoal pencil

Charcoal pencil

Conte pencil

A couple of the longer poses:

Charcoal and pastel pencil

Charcoal and pastel pencil over
acrylic sponged background