Showing posts from May, 2011

Using those Rembrandt coloured pencils

work in progress Penwith, on the Moor, Approaching Rain, Rembrant coloured pencils,  about 12 inches tall.
I've been using my lovely prize Rembrandts to check them out.   I wouldn't normally use cp's alone to work on an image this size - I'd go into mixed media and use some watercolour to underpaint.   That's partly because I like to work fast and partly because I like the wider variety of marks you can make by mixing media.

It's looking a bit too fairy tale at the moment, not yet rugged enough.  The foreground is obviously only just begun, lots more to do to that if I decide to finish it.   It may just stay an unfinished experiment in the sketchbook though. 

There are more subtle veils of colour than the camera ever picks up :>(   - there are amber colours in the sky, soft and pale but echoing similar colours in the fields.  The camera picked up the pale pinks but not the amber.   It has made the clouds a little brighter in colour as well - they are a bit mo…

Porthgwarra, plein air oil painting and details of what kit to take when painting plein air with oils, watercolours, mixed media

Porthgwarra from the cliffs, Tide in, Watched by a Seal, oil paint, about 11 inches square, not quite finished, Vivien Blackburn
A hazy, windy day, forecast rain stayed away, the tide in so no beach to be seen but a seal swimming out in the surf  kept popping up to look at us.

I sat in a sheltered spot amongst the wildflowers on the cliff  - just the sounds of the sea and the occasional gull - heaven.  Even himself was quietly musing, no talking.

It needs just a little work doing before I'll call it finished.  I often do just a little more when I get plein air works home - I'm looking at them as a painting then without distraction.


 the sea seething on the rocks
3 corndered leeks, sea thrift and many other flowers around me
I made it to Porthgwarra without incident this time - last time I ended up having to reverse for about half a mile because I met a HUGE oncoming tanker touching both hedges and totally filling the road, followed by a massive tractor with some sort of …

The Crowns, Botallack, pen sketch in Canson sketchbook

detail of the sketch below A quick sketch on a very windy day with Rotring pen and watersoluble ink, with a little brush pen (waterproof ink) and a touch of gouache.  I do like watersoluble ink for those lovely washes.

 The Crowns, Botallack, pen and ink sketch in Canson sketchbook.  Vivien Blackburn

And turning 180 degrees this was the skyline, with another ruined mine engine house in the distance.

This one was done in carbon pencil.

urban sketches done whilst waiting

 Biro (ballpen) urban sketches in A4 sketchbook
I've had a few sessions of waiting for family while they attend appointments.   Rather than be bored I've taken to sketching from the car while I wait - good practice for perspective even if not an exciting drawing in itself.   I think I'm going to keep this A4 wirebound sketchbook in the car for these times of boredom.

and one I showed earlier, part of this series ......

more to follow.

Second Prize - Lyra Polycolor set

I had a great surprise when I got home from work - this arrived in the post with a little note saying 'Congratulations   :)'

?????  why?  what?

I phoned the sender ...

......  I'd entered something in the Artists and Illustrators magazine and this was the second prize :>)  - what a surprise.

They are oil based and will mix with my Polychromos = Now I'd better have a play with that luscious range of colours  ................

Dartmoor stream and old bridge - an experiment with foam rollers with watercolour

Detail scanned:  An Old Packhorse Bridge on the edge of Dartmoor.   Watercolour and mixed media, Vivien Blackburn
This one was an experiment with some foam rollers I'd bought at the weekend, working from a plein air sketch I'd done.   Also an experiment with Bristol board  (very smooth) as it's only the second time I've used it - the first was with oil paints in Cornwall.

I swept the rollers over several colours that I wanted to appear in the trees and put them down with one line - it gave a wonderful speckled appearance  that I later adjusted with glazes.   I love these rollers!

Then I used it to put background sweeps and areas of colour for the foliage, grasses and stonework, before working into them with brushes and watercolour, gouache, coloured pencil (a very little), oil pastel and charcoal pencil.

They were extremely cheap and are going to become one of my favourite tools I think.

I've often used much larger paint rollers with oil paint on canvas but never w…

David Tress Exhibition

David Tress exhibition at the John Davies Gallery, Moreton in Marsh
I went to the Private View of this brilliant exhibition at the weekend and the painting above is the one that I would have loved to own.  The trees glow in a shaft of light, rain approaches and the colour, marks and light express the weather and mood of the day perfectly.   The reality is so much better than any tiny photograph can show.   Some lucky person bought it as I stood talking to him about his work - no red dot at the beginning of the conversation - big red dot a few minutes later.   His work was deservedly selling well.

If you are anywhere near the Cotswolds be sure to go and have a look - the paintings are full of atmosphere, passion,. a sense of place and the marks, texture and collage elements are wonderfully free.   Pure drama :>)

It's a lovely gallery with lots of space and shows the work of some very good artists, well worth repeat visits.

The Crowns at Botallack, charcoal plein air sketch, A3 sketchpad

The Crowns at Botallack, charcoal sketch, A3, Vivien Blackburn
I was determined to sketch these old engine houses in charcoal on this visit - the wildness of the place, the old stone buildings - it just seems so much the right medium.   I'd like to do an A1 version of this - or if I've got a sheet of the larger Fabriano paper left, an even larger one.

I do like charcoal.   It's such a painterly medium for drawing, so easily adjustable - smudging out to pale soft washes or left intense and black, drawn back into with an eraser to 'draw' lights back in, like the flowers at the front.  Endlessly pushaboutable!

quick sketches whilst waiting

A quick doodle of the view from the car park on the seafront in Penzance, as I waited for himself to nip to the shops at the top of the steep hill going off to the right.   It relieved the boredom of the wait :>)

I need to get the larger oil and charcoal sketches photographed.

seagull, a quick sketch with coloured pencil and Rotring Art Pen in moleskine sketchbook

seagull weighing up whether or not I had any food to offer, a quick sketch with a Rotring Art Pen and coloured pencils in a moleskine sketchbook
Just the sound of gulls instantly takes me back to my childhood in Cornwall.   They seem the essence of freedom, gliding on the the wind, light shining through feathers.

Rushing stream through a wooded valley on the edge of Dartmoor. coloured pencil and Rotring art pen in moleskine sketchbook

The edge of Dartmoor, a stream tumbling down through a wooded valley, coloured pencil and Rotring Art Pen in Moleskine sketchbook

We'd been exploring up on the bleak high moors, which I love, small herds of wild ponies and sheep, stunted trees and rocky crags, narrow roads and ancient stone bridges.   Now we were at the edge of the moor - lush wooded valleys, streams the colour of whisky tumbling over rocks on their way to the sea - equally lovely in a very very different way.   I stopped to catch the dappled sunlight on this old bridge and the warm amber glow of the peaty water.

It was an incredible tangle of wildflowers and branches, great contrasts of light and dark and not at all easy!  so it maybe got a bit overworked.

 This is the hotel we stayed at - just for a day on the way home - right on the borderline where the wild, bleak, high moor descends into lusher green fields and wooded valleys.  One side of the road is the high moor, the other lusher and green.  (from their web…

2 more colour studies of the view across the bay - vivid afternoon and oale early morning

Across the bay, blue afternoon, coloured pencil in moleskine sketchbook pale pearly dawn across the bay, coloured pencil in moleskine sketchbook 
Two more colour/light studies of the view across the bay.   A vivid blue afternoon and a pale pale morning (which was almost impossible to scan because it really is very pale).

Early morning light across the bay, Sennen Cove, coloured pencil in moleskine sketchbook

Another in the series that looks at the changing colours and light across the bay at different times.

This one is very early in the morning looking north west ish.   At that time the sun is slightly to the right and the cliffs are silhouetted, colours pearly pale, clouds burning off in the risen sun and the promise of another lovely day.

Colours of Sennen Cove, Afternoon Light, coloured pencil

Colours of Cornwall. Afternoon light Sennen Cove.  Coloured pencil in moleskine sketch book
Just back from a week in Cornwall - with family, but some painting :>)

This is one of a series of colour studies of the bay at different times of day, recording the changing colours.  This was the afternoon light - sunny, bringing out the intense turquoise/viridian/prussian blue in the water. 

More to follow ..........

Journal or sketchbook? what is the difference?

Wells next the Sea, blue blue day. oil on paper, (old painting)

What do you call your sketchbooks - journals? or sketchbooks?

For me they are definitely sketch books, gathering and recording information and working through ideas. Some rough and quick, some much more 'finished'. Even though I do often write in them about the day, the light, the history or interesting facts that add to the feel of the place and the memories for me. (not to mention shopping lists of art materials, artists quotes, information on exhibitions, things stuck in and lots more) They are a resource to draw on in the future.

Sometimes I take work out and frame it - that happened to the one above. If I remove it, then I do a scan and put a print in its place so the information and link to the work before and after isn't lost. Usually it remains in the sketchbook though.

Some make journals with text and image beautifully balanced - it's an ongoing diary, a stream of consciousness.

So what …