Saturday, 14 October 2017

Holiday sketches

A few more drawings from my recent holiday.  These pen and wash sketches are quite tiny as my current watercolour travel journey is only 6" x 4" and I like to use about half the page to write up the day's events.

Petworth House (run by the National Trust) has been home to descendants of the same family for 900 years and contains an impressive collection of art, including works by Gainsborough, Titian, William Blake, Joshua Reynolds, van Dyck and JMW Turner who painted several views of the grounds and the house interior for his patron the 3rd Earl of Egremont.  The house sits in 700 acres of landscaped deer park with a couple of lakes.

Winkworth Arboretum
 The Arboretum is set in a steeply wooded valley leading down to a lake with its boathouse.

Pendean Farmhouse,  originally built in 1609 -
Weald and Downland Museum
This is an open air museum of some 70 acres where over 50 historic local buildings, threatened with demolition, have been painstakingly reconstructed in either a village or rural setting within the site.  A really interesting visit and well worth the full day it took to explore.

Our self-catering accommodation
We stayed in a converted oak-beamed barn on a farm near a small village.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Arundel Castle

We had glorious weather at the end of September when we were on a week's holiday in West Sussex. Arundel Castle was on our list of places to visit and, although we didn't take in the complete Castle tour, the Castle Keep, the 14th Century Chapel and the stunning gardens were enough to keep us occupied for the day.

Arundel Castle - pen and wash

Stone water pump - pen, watercolour and gouache

Arundel Castle

Water feature in the Castle gardens

Castle Gardens
The wild garden

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Another circle concertina book

I wanted to try out this book structure for a wedding anniversary greeting.   I made a smaller foam print so my computer-printed message would not be obscured.  The quadrant box was covered with scrunched tissue before being painted.

It's an easy book to make but care is needed to align the sections when sticking them together.  Using the eight pages, I find there is no need for anything to hold the book in its open circular position, but that might not be the case with fewer pages.

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Bookmarks XV Project

I participated in the 15th and final year of the Bookmarks Infiltrating the Library System project organised by the Centre for Book Arts at the University of the West of England in Bristol.  Over 50 artists took part and I have now received my contributor's set.  In addition, a number of sets will be sent out to institutions in Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, USA as well as the UK.

Details of the scheme and the various contributors over the years can be found here, with this year's bookmarks itemised on this page.

I started planning my contribution in October 2016 and worked on it in between other tasks.  I finally sent off my 100 bookmarks to the University in March this year.

I used full sheets of hot-pressed 140lb Bockingford watercolour paper, acrylic paint, inks and gesso. For each new full sheet I used a different set of colours to randomly paint and stamp an abstract  background.  These were subsequently hand printed with a linocut of a flower in white (a mixture of gesso and slow drying acrylic), plus a collage element designed to clip over a book page.  I couldn't resist a bit of "bling" and highlighted the flower petals with pen and gold acrylic ink before hand cutting, assembling and numbering the final bookmarks.

Deciding to produce each individual bookmark by hand involved a fair amount of work, but I enjoyed the challenge.

 Softcut printing blocks

To help line up the printing, I cut the large sheets into strips
 just a fraction over the height of the main lino block



Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Sketchbook Project

Our local urban sketching group has decided to participate in this project  (see details here:

 A sketchbook has been purchased and we have until the end of March 2018 to complete and return it to the Brooklyn Library, NY.  The book measures 5” x 7” and contains 16 pages (i.e. 32 sides), this will be passed around the group with each participant using 2 or 3 sides. 
The paper is rather thin so care is needed if using watermedia – an alternative is for contributors to supply their sketches on separate paper which can then be glued into the book.
I wanted to include something particularly relevant to our locality, so decided to use the information and a couple of images I gathered when putting together my booklet on the fritillary nature reserve.  My third was a pencil portrait with added collage.

Left - collaged lino print on mulberry paper
Right - pen and watercolour sketch

Pencil, watercolour, collage and acrylic print

Monday, 18 September 2017

Steam train journey

To celebrate a special birthday earlier this year, my husband was given tickets for a trip on the famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman which was running from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Heritage Railway.  The booking was for Tuesday last week and involved a coach trip to Bishops Lydeard station, by rail to Minehead on another steam train, with the return journey on the Flying Scotsman itself.  Good photographic opportunities of the famous engine were limited as it was surrounded by a crush of railway enthusiasts, but it was a memorable experience.

Apart from a sketch while waiting on the station platform, most of my efforts were tiny scribbles from the moving train.  I tried out continuous line drawing with a Micron pen; at first I found it required concentration to keep the pen on the page, but it's a technique I would like to practice more frequently.

Raveningham Hall steam locomotive

The Flying Scotsman

Micron pen sketches

Monday, 11 September 2017

Great Chalfield Manor

We visited the gardens of this late medieval manor house and church last week and were pleasantly surprised that there was plenty of late summer colour in the flowerbeds and borders.  There was so much to take in and I took loads of photos.  We did, however, find a quiet, sheltered spot for our picnic lunch so I made time for a very quick pen sketch, with colour added later at home.

Guided tours of the house were by timed ticket but we missed out as we spent so much time exploring outside - an excuse to make another trip, perhaps in the spring.

Pen, watercolour and gouache
in the Hahnemuhle Grey Book

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Swindon Urban Sketchers

Last Saturday was the first anniversary of the Swindon sketch group and we met up in the grounds of the Richard Jefferies Museum* near Coate Water Park.  The weather was kind and there were plenty of picnic tables where we could comfortably sketch and enjoy a snack lunch, as well as a couple of glasses of wine.  (I am glad I was taking the bus home!)

*This was the birthplace of Richard Jefferies, a Victorian nature writer, noted for his depiction of English rural life.

Pen and watercolour over some random collage

Pen, watercolour and gouache

Both of these sketches were done in the Hahnemuhle Grey Book.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A concertina book

I saw an image of a circular concertina book on Pinterest and decided to try my hand at making one (unfortunately I have lost the link to the post that inspired me*).  I had made a similar structure in the past using square pages, but this looked even more interesting.

To ensure I cut my eight pages all the same size, I printed just the outline on 100 gsm cream printer paper.   I made a circular foam stamp to add a bit of colour, folded and assembled the book using double-sided tape.  The edges of the pages were washed with pink then gold acrylic.  Rather than attach hard covers, I made a small quadrant shaped box to contain the folded book and a ribbon eases it from its resting place.  The diameter of each page is 5".

I am now trying to think of a suitable theme to incorporate different images on each page.

Foam stamp, print sample, quadrant box and finished book

Finished book

Alternative display method

*  I have now found the link to the work of Helen Malone

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Castle Combe sketch outing

Earlier this week, our summer sketching group met up in Castle Combe.  This Wiltshire village, with architecture little changed since the 15th century, is frequently voted the prettiest village in England and is another location in our area which is a favourite with film makers.  Recently it has provided the backdrop for scenes in "The War Horse" and "Stardust".

At any time of the year the village is popular with tourists, but especially so during the summer months so it was very busy.  However, there are no shops, souvenir or gift boutiques so, apart from motor traffic, it really does feel as if you are stepping back in time.

We started off with coffee at The Castle Inn and later stopped for a delicious lunch at The White Hart pub.

Waterside Cottages, Castle Combe
Pen, watercolour, gouache in Hahnemuhle Grey Book

Water Street, Castle Combe (buzzards flying overhead)
Pen, watercolour, gouache in Hahnemuhle Grey Book

The stone structure in the middle of the road was originally used for tethering and mounting horses.

Sketching by Town Bridge
The Old Court House

Friday, 25 August 2017

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Loose watercolour

In July our local art society hosted a demonstration by popular watercolourist Jake Winkle who produced a couple of very vibrant paintings of animals.  Thus our theme for this month's evening workshop was to emulate his style with birds or animals as our subject.

Images copyright Jake Winkle

In the interests of speed (and acknowledging that my bird drawing skills are not good), I traced my subjects from my own reference photos and concentrated on trying to achieve flowing, colourful washes.

Approx. 9" x 12" watercolour and Graphik line painte
 on Hahnemuhle hot pressed Britannia paper

Approx. 9" x 12" watercolour and Graphik line painter
 on Hahnemuhle hot pressed Britannia paper

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Sketch Outing to Kelmscott Manor

At last, a promising weather forecast for our sketch outing yesterday.  Eight of us met up for coffee and then set off down narrow country lanes to find Kelmscott Manor, a 17th century house situated in The Cotswolds near the upper reaches of the Thames.  Purchased in 1871, this was the summer home for the Arts and Crafts Movement textile designer, artist and writer, William Morris, and his family.

We made the most of the sun and spent all our time outside, but the interior is well worth a visit as it is decorated with William Morris wallpapers, furnishing fabrics and embroideries (by his wife and daughters), together with examples of the paintings and drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti who shared the house with them for some years.

Both images in the grey Hahnemuhle sketchbook - pen
watercolour and gouache

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A visit to Bowood

After a very wet start to the week, we were lucky to have good weather for our visit to the Bowood estate on Thursday.  This is a National Trust property with the spectacular grounds and lake, covering some 100 acres, designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown in the late 1700's.

We were enjoying the sun so much, we didn't have enough time to take a tour of the house, so I missed out on the opportunity to view a famed collection of early English watercolours.

My journal sketch of the boathouse on the lake was done later at home from one of my photos.

Pen and wash (approx 3" x 3")