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Showing posts from October, 2008

Feather in coloured pencil

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Feather in Coloured Pencil. Vivien Blackburn approx 5 ins square
A friend gave me some beautiful feathers and I couldn't resist drawing one. This is in coloured pencil, a mix of Lyra and Polychromos.

If you like it enough :>) I've just added it to my Etsy shop http://www.vivienb.etsy.com/ - as I enjoy drawing feathers I thought I'd do a series for the shop.

A good idea do you think?
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Sennen Cove , detail, Vivien Blackburn I think this would work as a large canvas - what do you think?

I haven't had time to do much painting for the last few days due to an awfully heavy workload and an exciting new project I'm involved in.

I had an idea and a name for a group project and talked to Katherine Tyrrell and Lindsay Olson - the idea is now escalating due to the technical knowledge of Katherine and is really getting exciting - a lot of very talented people are going to be involved. Watch this space!

a bit of digital manipulation

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digital collage - Vivien Blackburn

This is a very simple digital collage, combining some of the rocks from the long panoramic view of Sennen Cove with the marbling *analogue* collage shown earlier, made using my marbling experiments.

I used the clone tool and multiple layers to add to blank areas and change things a little. Then the burn and dodge tools to lighten and darken areas for emphasis and the eraser to delete unwanted areas and redefine rock shapes with new edges.

Finally I flattened the layers.

I could possibly develop this into an abstract in the future, on a large canvas. moving it on not simply copying it, so when my printer recovers from its nervous breakdown I'll print it off and put it in my sketchbook for future reference.

I thought the patterns went quite well together. What do you think?

panoramic view of Sennen Cove in mixed media - to crop or not to crop?

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Sennen Cove, Rainy Day, mixed media painting, 19.5 x 7.5 inches, Vivien Blackburn



For some reason I don't enjoy working on panoramas in this format - turn it to vertical and I love working on a long thin canvas or paper - horizontal? - no :>(



So I may well crop it to something like this and maybe get a further small painting cut out from the right hand side. What do you think? to crop or not to crop, that is the question.




possible crop?







detail of foreground rocks




detail of the sea

The photograph of the whole piece loses detail and texture so these are close ups of sections of the painting. It's a gloomy rainy day now and it was photographed with flash - never a very good idea, natural light is so much better.

other potential crops?




so ........ to crop or not to crop?

moleskine exchange update and more seascapes

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Moleskine exchange, Sennen Cove, surf on the rocks, Vivien Blackburn These are the 2 recent pictures in the moleskine sketchbook exchange, done in Lindsay's book with its theme of maps and destinations. Lindsay, Lorraine and Brian had concentrated on the maps/aerial view side and David had taken us into outer space. I decided to give his spaceman a nice place to splash down on his return :>) and look at destination You can see the spaceman and other pages here: http://moleskineexchange.blogspot.com/
the next day, wild surf and rain, subtle colours replacing the vivid blue of the previous dayThat's a harbour wall under those waves, quite a tall wall and this wasn't even a gale! That large rock reef outside the harbour helps break the force of the waves as they come inThis book is currently with Gesa and I'll be interested to see where she takes it next :>)Casey (Klahn) have you got my book? I'm dying to see what you do with it.
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Lanyon Quoit, Penwith, Cornwall, charcoal and coloured pencil. Vivien Blackburn

I decided to work further on the charcoal sketch of Lanyon Quoit with coloured pencils - the mix of coloured pencil over charcoal is a recent discovery and I really like it for moody images.

The green is a little more moorland coloured and the reds glow a little more - it was hard to get a photo with the colour balance right. The clouds aren't quite that dark and the grass is a bit darker. There is a haze of purple about the clouds

Below is the original sketch.




better? worse? what do you think?

marbling with shaving foam

Melanie emailed with a great description of using shaving foam for marbling and it looks a really interesting alternative to try.

I harassed her to write a blog post as she'd written it up so well for me :>D and here it is:

http://my-croft.blogspot.com/2008/10/play-time-marbling.html

Do go and look. She has some lovely sanples of works she has done and a clear and funny description of the process.

Thank you again Melanie :>)

marbling - I've been learning how

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Edge of the Waves, marbling, collage and coloured pencil, Vivien Blackburn (unfinished work in progress)I've been learning how to use marbling techniques to create gorgeous papers - I've got a lot to learn but it was fun! I wanted to use the papers in collage and my first experiments are here.They are done with torn and cut marbled papers, some watercolour and a little coloured pencil.
Tides Edge, marbling, watercolour, collage, Vivien Blackburn
Oily inks were dripped into a large tray of water, they float on the surface and I swirled them with the end of a paintbrush, breaking up the globs of ink and creating swirls and drifts of colour. Then a sheet of paper was dropped in, sometimes lifted out without dragging and sometimes dragging it to create extra movement of the swirls. I used watercolour paper and cartridge paper, for the effects I wanted the cartridge paper worked better, the ink continued to move for a little as you lifted the paper out. With the watercolour paper it …

Morning, Sennen Cove, watercolour using photos and plein air sketches

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Across the Bay, Early Morning, Still Day. watercolour, approx 8 in sq, Vivien Blackburn One of my classes had been piling the pressure on to do a painting as a demo, explaining whys and hows. This is the one I did, based loosely on the photo below, with colour from memory of sketching and observing while I was there. 15 people watching closely ........... no pressure! not. Cameras simply don't show the subtle colours in greys, Though I like this image as a photograph with its steely colour, in reality there was far more colour than that. Soft gentle jades and lavenders and colours in the rocks. The accuracy of Cape Cornwall and the Brisons isn't very good in my painting - they are too pointed! I was working fast and talking to the group and not looking hard enough at the shapes of the Cape and rocks - that's my excuse anyway!!! it was more from memory than from the photograph - but I really liked the cloud formation and light and took some of it into the work…

Sketchbook exchanges - how do they work? was it worth it? was it fun?

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Nina's work in my sketchbook in the FPP exchange :>)

I was lucky enough to take part in two sketchbook exchanges [ one is now coming to an end :>( and I'll really miss it!] and I've had a lot of queries about them - how they work, timings, what type of sketch books etc etc etc etc so I thought it might be a good subject for a post here.


Above is a great example of one of the major benefits - you get lots of lovely work from people you like and whose work you like :>) to keep! and lots more passes through your hands on their travels - you get to see the work in real life and not simply on screen.

One of the challenges in my book was to draw/paint a feather - and just look at this lovely subtle and original take on it - I can't wait to see the rest of Nina's images, but won't see them until the book gets to the next person in the chain, my friend Glen. But just look at the masterly use of watercolour, and an idea I wouldn't have come up with, invo…

collage and experimenting in sketchbooks

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collage and mixed media in sketchbook, swirling surf at the sea's edge. Vivien Blackburn
It's fun to just play and experiment sometimes - new ideas develop that way.

The sketches above are a mix of collage - marbled paper, some brown and olive green paper, a torn up small painting and a touch of coloured pencil, biro and tippex (typing correction pen)

I like using collage and really ought to use it more often in larger work.

This was done in Lindsay's sketchbook in the FPP sketchbook exchange.


Do you use collage?

Cornish seas: changing colours, more photos

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Fishing Boat at Sennen Cove, photograph: Vivien Blackburn I half feel like doing a painting of this - and half think that the photo already says it all. It's one of my favourites for its simplicity.
looking across to Cape Cornwall and the Brisons, blue day, photograph: Vivien Blackburn Cape Cornwall is the hill on the headland and off to the right on the horizon the rocks called The Brisons. Above in blue skied sunny mood and below with beautiful swirling clouds and steely blue-greys. The rocks here and at Porthcurno round past Lands End to the right are quite pale unless they are covered in seaweed but at Priests Cove (see lower down) at Cape Cornwall are very very dark.
looking across to Cape Cornwall and The Brisons, rainy morning, photo: Vivien Blackburn Priests Cove, dark rocks and steely colours, a bit misty, Cape Cornwall, looking back towards Sennen Cove, photo: Vivien Blackburn

People on the beach at St Ives, pearly light, photo: Vivien Blackburn Isn't it lovely the…