Saturday, May 31, 2008

sketchbook exchange update

This is the bit where Gesa's pages end and she overlaps slightly onto my page - just a fragment of the image - I've treated it like the paper game of consequences and continued the marks into my work - but to see the whole pages you'll have to wait until Stephanie gets the book and then I can show you :>)

And now I have to go and sort out some room to fit my new plan chest into - I got it from Freecycle and of course it is HUGE! but it will be so useful for storing paper and large drawings. I just have to make space for it and work out what I may have to part with to make that space. It's coming on Wednesday :>) - though I am dreading getting it upstairs!!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

sketchbook exchange update

Fields of Gold. oil in moleskine sketchbook. Vivien Blackburn

My little moleskine before setting off for the moleskine exchange - it's the little concertina one, which I found really tiny to work in.

Stephanie has now received it and so I can post the picture here. I've been working in Gesa's book which arrived on Wednesday - her challenge was great fun to work to but I can't show it until it's finished and arrives at Stephanie's - she's threatened dire consequences if I don't get it forwarded SOON!

The challenge for my book is local landscapes - panoramic, close up - even macro details - whatever. I'm really looking forward to it arriving home eventually, full of interesting work by

Stephanie ,

Gesa ,

Lorraine ,

David .

Lindsay .

Casey , and Brian.

And I'm really looking forward to my first book from the exchange organised by Lindsay - my book went winging off to France to Ronell last Wednesday and I know some of the others are in the post.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

sketchbook and moleskine exchanges

I'm taking part in 2 sketchbook exchanges and it's fun!

1 Moleskine exchange:


Gesa sends her book to me - and it arrived this morning. :>)

She's used a really interesting mix of media and integrated them beautifully - something that looks easier to do than it is - relating to the theme for her book ' Lines, Lineages, Linings' with a lovely quote from Nicholas de Stael

' a series of discontinous lines that try to define a space by exploring the emptiness of the sheet on which they appear to be hanging but that can, at any moment, take them in' H Maldiney on Nicholas de Stael 1953 - a great quote , related to beautifully by this piece. There is another as well but that photo didn't come as well.

My local landscape - city/country/close up/panoramic/detail/whatever seems very ordinary in comparison.

There are 8 of us in the group. Here's the cover of mine, which flies this afternoon. - you can follow the progress here

2 The Flying Pictures Project - sketchbook exchange

And this one is organised by Lindsay

We are making our own sketchbooks and adding the pages as they travel - size 18x26cm. They will end up with a variety of papers and work by 7 of us.

scribble on the envelope (recycled) as mine wings its way to Ronell in France - it leaves this afternoon. :>)

and a snippet from inside - Ronell, don't look!

To follow our progress go to:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Paintmap - my images online with a google map link to where they were painted

Today I received an invitation from Jaime Rodriguez, a Professor Ecology and also a very good painter, to join Paintmap - a really cool site where you add a google map link to show where your paintings were done. - this is a link to the images I've uploaded at the moment. It's great the way it shows where precisely they were painted - though sadly google map flattens all the hills and cliffs but you get an idea of the countryside and coast where I've worked.

.... and of course for further images of seascapes there is alway The Book! link on top right of my blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

watercolour and coloured pencils, sketching plein air

May in England, yellow fields and cow parsley. Sketch. 18x26cm approx Watercolour/mixed media. Vivien Blackburn

A watercolour and mixed media sketch of the rapeseed just before it loses it's bright yellow flowers, with the cow parsley billowing in the verges, done from near where the pastel sketch was done.

Watercolour, a little work with coloured pencils, white gouache and tippex went into this -and lots of fun splattering paint :>)

The flowers are turning to seed pods now and so the fields of bright yellow are beginning to take on a greenish tinge in places - the drama of the bright yellow will very quickly be over for the time being. One of my students tells me that farmers get 2 crops per year from the rapeseed and so there will be a second show of this bright yellow in the autumn.

This was done on Arches hot pressed paper - which is great for coloured pencils as it's smooth, but not as nice for the watercolours. The paint doesn't seem to spread in quite the same way - it isn't exactly like cartridge paper but it's a little like it in the way the paint behaves.

This was started plein air and finished in the studio.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

making a sketchbook and sketching in the landscape

A sketch of the Leicestershire landscape, fields of rapeseed glowing with their bright yellow flowers against the hazy blue distant hedgerows and woods in the evening light and clouds of cow parsley in the fields edge. Pastel sketch in my new hand made concertina sketchbook. Vivien Blackburn

I managed this sketch of the local landscape between classes yesterday. It was early evening and the distant woods and hedges had that mauvey blue tinge and the fields of yellow rapeseed glowed. The roadsides are a mass of flowers - particularly the cow parsley. I've been meaning to get out and sketch before the yellow flowers are over. In this part of the county it's grown a lot and some areas become almost totally a glowing yellow - some love it, some hate it and a lot suffer hayfever because of it! (I'm on my Telfast antihistamines, sniff)

I made myself a sketchbook from Lindsay's brilliant instructions - look here: - for this one I decided on a square format - well you may have noticed I like working on squares! so it's 18cm square with a rich cream coloured, heavy cartridge paper. Here is a picture from Lindsay's instructions. They are really clear and easy to follow, do take a look and have a go.

Lindsay's picture from her instructions on how to make the book

I gave mine black covers but you can give them any sort of cover you fancy, fabric, hand made papers, collages ..... the list is endless. This sketch was its first outing.

And do look at the creative artists books Lindsay has been working on lately. There are some really original ideas and interesting stuff going on :>)

And speaking of books ..... if you haven't already, do take a look at my blurb book on my seascapes -

and my friend Glen has done a totally brilliant book on Bradgate Park, a country estate left to the city that used to be the home of Lady Jane Grey, Queen for 9 days before being beheaded. The oaks are hundreds of years old. Here's a link to it - do look it's well worth it

Robert Genn's newsletter was about the word Kalopsia - a great word! he says:

"Kalopsia" is the condition in which things appear morebeautiful than they really are. It's like where girls (andboys) in bars, for example, tend to look more attractive nearerto closing time. For example: "At 11pm the bar was high onkalopsia."

mmm we've all looked at a painting the next day, that we had been pleased with the day before, only to find it was not quite what we'd thought!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

watercolour seascape: sunset across the beach

Sunset, Ebb Tide, watercolour, Vivien Blackburn

Sunset, looking across the beach as the tide ebbs and the pools of water reflect the sky. I haven't used watercolour for a while and fancied playing with the way that the colours merge and flow and glazes of transparent colour create colours it's impossible to name - just like the sky in real life.

There's a lot of aureolin yellow in there - a lovely transparent yellow when used thinly. There is also a very little watercolour pencil and a little pencil added at the end.

I do like watercolours - I should remember to use them more often and get a bit more practice in!

you can see some other work on Cornwall here

Monday, May 05, 2008

Flowers and sunshine

A lovely weekend at my daughters and I managed to take some close ups of flowers in the garden - the huge tulips had gone over and were losing their petals but looked absolutely luminous in the sun.

I tried to catch the fragile dandelion clocks - not terribly successfully :>) the light and shadows on the eucalyptus tree was lovely with the blue grey leaves and warm reddish branches

Dont' forget to check on the challenge links - there are new additions to see at the top of the list :>)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

challenge update

Just a quick reminder to check back on for updated entries by people in the paintbrush and my day challenges

Do check it out as there are some great sketches in the links.

And it isn't too late to join in :>)