Saturday, August 16, 2008

sketchclubs and watercolour pencils

Mawgan Porth, Sunny, Wild Day. Watercolour, watercolour pencils and coloured pencils. approx 9 ins square. Vivien Blackburn


I decided to have a play with paint and pencils this morning before I have to get ready for the next hospital visit. This is done in watercolour with touches of watercolour pencil and glazes of polychromos coloured pencil to enhance colours, like the pink glow of the wet sand. I really like to use coloured pencil, just a little, over watercolour like this.


This is a favourite place for me - the beach that was only a couple of miles from where I lived as a child. It was done from a combination of sketches done plein air and photos I'd taken last year. The day I wanted to capture was sunny and the sea was wild, the horizon a heaving mass of swells and line after line of huge breakers pounding in and crashing against the cliffs in clouds of spray. The clouds were fine., white and hazy.

Mawgan Porth , Dusk. Watercolour pencils. 6x7 ins approx. Vivien Blackburn
At this months sketch club meeting we were given a free raffle ticket - and amazingly I won! I never win! The prize was a tin of Derwent watercolour pencils and the image above was done to play with them and see how they worked. I think they are going to be very useful :>) they were used in the the first painting as well.


This is the same beach from the other side at dusk at the light is fading and the pools catch the last of the light, the marram grass silhouetted, colours become subtle and different, hard to discern and the clouds make dramatic patterns in the sky.
I did such a lot of sketching there plein air, that the sketches plus photos are giving me a lot of material to work from :>) The photos don't catch all the colours that the human eye can - but my sketches give me the information and really help to bring back the scene as the act of sitting sketching/painting there fixes it in the memory in a way that clicking a camera button doesn't - for me anyway. How about you?

http://sitekreator.com/vivien/cornwall.html some of my photos of the area

Sketch club talks:

The talk at the sketch club this month was by John Gilbert a courtroom artist which was fascinating. He demonstrated his techniques for catching likenesses quickly and talked knowledgeably about the structure and proportions of faces and showed a lot of his work and sketchbooks.

Cameras are not allowed in court in Britain, so courtroom artists - if given permission - sketch the characters for newspapers and TV. There is a very short window in which they can work because of getting the images scanned and sent to the editor in time for publication or to make the news reports on TV. You can see some pieces here http://www.artprofile.co.uk/artist.asp?artist=John%20Gilbert

Someone asked him if he thought they would ever allow cameras in court here as they do in the US. He thought not - he pointed out that it's easy to 'accidentally' take photos of the jury - but sitting drawing them couldn't be an accident! If photographed and identified they could of course be open to blackmail or threats to change their verdict. So it seems he has a job for a while yet.

Incidentally - if you like my seascapes you can buy a book of 40 of them :>) - the link is at the top of the right hand column on my blog or you can click here: http://vivienb.blogspot.com/ you can look at the first few pages on the website.


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4 comments:

Gesa said...

Same here: as you probably will have guessed from my running commetary on fields, thunderstorms and sunshine (today): it works well if it's sketched in various ways - and in ink, pencil AND colour, the pastel sketches are proving really useful.

The sketchclub talk: that is interesting. Capturing likeness - hm, yes, something to learn... it's one of my plans for the next year: more figure and people drawing, and to find people to do that with.

Thanks for this post... it also led to a note on: must try coloured pencil at some point :)

vivien said...

I'm enjoying following your current series Gesa :>)

cp is worth using - Katherine and others use them alone but for me they work best in combination with other media - I've used them with watercolour, with charcoal and with acrylic and they all work in interesting ways.

laura said...

Both of these paintings are wonderful--gorgeous scenes beautifully rendered! Seascapes are probably my favorite subject to look at, and these are really lovely!
I've been toying with watercolor pencils a bit myself--though not to such good effect ...! I find the color very strong and intense, and miss that they don't (or I haven't figured out how to make them) run and bleed like watercolors do.

vivien said...

Thanks Laura :>)

I find you can hatch them quite roughly and lightly to get subtler paler colours, sloshing plenty of water on.

I also like dropping particles of the pencil into a wet wash, it creates lovely effects - or drawing through a wet wash to create intense lines of colour.