Pen and wash drawings, still life

Pen and wash drawing copyright VivienBlackburn

Still life is a subject I don't really do any more in the traditional sense - I'll sometimes do studies of something that interests me or just for practice but don't do 'finished' works any more. Landscape always was my first interest.

This set up was in a class about 12 years ago and was full of lovely textures and shapes - the hairiness of the coil of rope, drapes of the material, the dark wood of the chair and the white flowers against a dark background, smooth jug, spiky teasel and delicate honesty were interesting to work with and work out a way of expressing each.

It was done with a Rotring art pen and sepia ink with plain water to create the washes - the ink is water soluble.

I came across this photo of it while I was looking for something else.

My Rotring pen tends to languish largely unused as well - I often find pen too scratchy for me and like the painterliness and soft edges of charcoal or pencil better for the way I work. Just occasionally I get it out again for an airing :)

I like the way that, when thinned with water for a wash (you can't see in the photo :( ), the ink separates into a slightly greeny pale brown and a slightly pinky pale brown, adding interest to the drawing.

Rotring make a range of pens, this is the one that I used. It has an F nib and takes cartridges of water soluble ink: and a link to the Art Pens on Dick Blick.

What medium to you choose for still lifes?



Lindsay said…
Now that I have BOTH of Shirley Trevena's books, I'm getting tempted to do a still life. I wonder if you are too? In school, I did the usual charcoal sketches...of the usual academic stuff: geometric forms, wine bottles, some dusty silk flowers and drapery. Very dull stuff. Trevena's however, are a totally diferent animal!
vivien said…
yes her work definitely did awaken my interest in still life again, where I'd just totally dismissed it - I don't like the sort of formal usual setups - I love the flowing informality of hers and of course her beautiful way with paint :)

maybe something to do for the winter?
Lindsay said…
That's a great idea! The fall colors are going to snag me soon.
Making A Mark said…
Lovely drawing and one of my favourite pens. You can get them in this country at various places but they are getting more difficult to find - but I know who's got lots!

Still life in the winter and landscapes in the summer - sounds good to me!
vivien said…
I love the colours of autumn too :)

the fields are looking lovely at the moment, some ploughed and some with the corn (wheat) cut and stacked and that lovely pale colour, others green pasture and the leaves are just beginning to change colour on some of the trees. Autumn skies are lovely too :)

I didn't know the pens are now scarce - I've got a couple and used to use them quite a lot. I used to keep sepia ink in one and black in the other. I've had them for years.

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