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Showing posts from September, 2007

more photos from cornwall

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images copyright Vivien Blackburn
More images from Cornwall :) I love the shine of the water on the wet sand and the abstract patterns made by the wind and water.

sparkling rivulets of water draining back to sea as the tide ebbs.



and ridges down the banks of a a pool that's been drying up, leaving successive lines around the edge caused by the wind blowing the surface of the water.



mussels and seaweed left by the tide






and the sheen of smooth wet sand near the sea's edge


I'm off to get 100 of these printed this afternoon. I'm going to get them done 7x5 I think.

Lyndsay has talked evocatively about her special place to be http://straightlinesout.blogspot.com/2007/09/special-place.html in response to my question - where is yours? (thanks Lyndsay) anyone else like to share theirs?


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Kurt Jackson the Cornish Crows

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While I was in Cornwall I checked on what was on at the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro as they show some fantastic contemporary work by great artists - and :D there was a Kurt Jackson show on, The Cornish Crows or in the old Cornish language An Byrny Kernow - Kernow is the Cornish word for Corwall.

http://www.lemonstreetgallery.co.uk/kurt-jackson-cornish-crows.asp?ExhibitID=86 a link to the gallery website - it's worth bookmarking and visiting in person if you can.

The lively confusion of wheeling birds in the sketch above catches them fantastically - far better than a 'botanical illustration' type of bird painting every could.



There were several of these odd shaped pieces and they worked really well, floated within a frame.


there's a lively conversation going on in this one :) ..... it looks like an indignant wife asking what her husband has been up to with the bird on the left!




He catches light on water so well and the moody atmospher of low light or bad weather.





some sunsets in cornwall

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images copyright VivienBlackburn
these are a few of the sunsets seen from the windows of 'our' flat - the cloud formations were often fabulous. This one is low tide with the light reflecting off the pools and shallow water at the edge of the surf.






This was a clear and cloudless sunset, turning the sky apricot and the colour reflecting on the sea. (high tide)


The strange rectangle in this one is from the mirror on the wall behind, reflecting the light onto the glass.Between the photos and my sketches I'm hoping to paint a few sunsets :) - the problem with photos is that they can't cope with the tonal range that he human eye can - metering to get the sunset colour means losing detail in the cliffs, rocks and foreground - there wasn't much as the light was going but there was more than this. Putting colours down in a sketch in this light was interesting - the colours were far too lurid when looked at in the morning! they'll need toning down quite a bit.I'll…

quick sketches of cornwall

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all images copyright Vivien Blackburn
The view of the sunset over the sea from our windows was spectacular :) These are some quick sketches done from the window and the one above is trying to catch the pattern of the clouds and waves - they changed so fast and the light was going, so I didn't attempt to use colour. They are all in my moleskine sketchbook - which was only added to my art bag(s) as an afterthought because I'd planned to work larger. I made notes to myself of the colours so that if it develops into a painting I'll remember them.
This one is the view from the windows looking more to the left, where the steep road hairpins round to a narrow little old bridge over the stream - the stream that comes down the valley (the Vale of Lanherne or Mawgan) past the farmhouse a couple of miles uphill, that we lived in for a year when we first moved to Cornwall. We rented half of the house and the farmer lived in the other half. It was a lovely tall Georgian farmhouse,…

Cornwall, beautiful beautiful Cornwall :)

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It's a horribly long journey but oh it was worth it! I'm back from a week in Cornwall, staying in a flat in a house right on the edge of the beach that was near where I lived as a child. It was gorgeous - this is the view from our living room room there :) and the marram grass you can see is the end of the garden and there's a path straight down to the beach from there.

To the left is a forest of tamarisk bushes and to the right it was marram grass. The rabbits who live there came out in the mornings and evenings and kept the lawn short! Evening primroses grew amongst the marram grass and tiny tiny mauve flowers were everywhere in the short turf.


The weather was pretty kind to us - the few times it rained were when it really didn't matter and the clouds made the skies beautiful.




The surf was wild at times with huge waves crashing over the rocks and the surfers were out in the safe centre of the beach. The main surfing beach is a few miles away at Fistral Bay bu…

and yet more sketches of paintbrushes

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copyright Vivien Blackburn


and yet more paintbrushes! a demo using, in order, pastel pencils willow charcoal and coloured pencils for a class. They are a great subject as they include all those different textures - the bristles, the wood and splatters of paint and the shiny ferrule.

.... and now I'm going to be off line for a week so there's going to be a lot of catching up for me to do when I get back :) Katherine tells me my icon for feedburner doesn't include the email option - so I'll sort that one out when I get back for those of you who would like to change over and avoid the ads.



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Just a quick note to those of you who subscribe via feedblitz

- I'm told that as from 14th they are going to include advertisements

- so those of you who don't like that (I don't!) you could change your subscription over to Feedburner.

There's a link in the right hand column.

Bloglines is good as an alternative as you get to see all the blogs listed together that you've subscribed to. Again there is a link in the right hand column.

Dashing out now ...............................

Pen and wash drawings, still life

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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 …

sketching people

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copyright Vivien Blackburn pencil in moleskine sketchbook

Ok I did overemphasise the eyes a little - but only a little. This is my eldest daughter and her eyes are her best feature :). I also overemphasised her nose - ooops! - she has a much daintier nose!

That's one of the nice things about sketches - these little idiosyncracies sneak in, slight caricatures, overemphasis or distortion - it's what so often makes a drawing more interesting, to me anyway, than a photograph.

It's been a very hectic weekend with a family get together with Sam as the star so no time for anything else and no painting. Katherine http://makingamark.blogspot.com/2007/09/9th-september-2007-whos-made-mark-this.html found a fun quiz on blogthings to discover what colour crayon you are :) I'm a blue one - which is great as I love blues. Our bedroom is blue, the living room is creams with vivid turquoise curtains and cushions and I am inclined to hang my bluest paintings in there - oh dear paintings to…

Quick sketch of baby Sam being held

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Sam being held by my Dad copyright Vivien Blackburn

A quick sketch of Sam snoozing, held by his great grandfather :)

sketch of baby Sam

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Practising :)

4B pencil in moleskine sketchbook - one fault I find with the moleskine is that when you erase with a battery operater eraser, little bits tend to stick to the paper all over the place - I don't know if you find that? I use an eraser as a drawing tool quite a bit to take our lights and reduce contrast etc, particularly when drawing hair or fur.

My daughter says she's put this on her Facebook page :)

Hopefully the first of many :)

cats in art and a monotype of a cat

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monotype: copyright Vivien Blackburn
This is a monotype I did some time ago - made by doing a random roll up of the printing plate with the honey/burnt sienna coloured printing ink. I then made cut out stencils from newspaper and overprinted with the black ink. With monotypes there can only be one, it isn't possible to recreate the print again. For this type of printing you don't need a printing press, you can just place the paper over the printing plate and rub the back with a baren or your palm to pick up the ink from the plate. He looks a bit cross at being disturbed.
I've been looking at cats in art from the earliest times and found some beautiful examples :)
In ancient Egypt they were of course revered but in medieval times their fortunes changed and they were seen as associated with magic, witches, licentiousness and wrongdoing. Hundreds of thousans were exterminated - leading to a rise in the rodent population and probably aiding the rise and spread of the plague - the…