Showing posts from March, 2007

caran d'Ache Neocolour II

I wish I could find my tin of Caran d'Ache - I was reminded of them recently when I was looking through some sketchbooks. I'd like to dig them out and use them again but simply can't think where I've 'safely' put them . I was out sketching trees with a friend and did these of some birch tree trunks - I think the eyes are created when a branch is broken off or eaten by the deer? rabbits? - these particular trees were really quite spooky as the more you drew the more you were aware of these eyes all over them - watching! I haven't exaggerated them - this is really how they are. At first sight I thought the Caran d'Ache would be a bit bright and unsubtle - but they are really lovely to use and you can get subtle colour mixes and washes. They are water soluble and look at first sight like childrens wax crayons, chunky and suitable for working on a large scale. This sketch book was an A4 - about 11x8.5 inches or something close to that. I want to find them t

Watercolours at the Mall Galleries and Monet at the Royal Academy

Todays trip to London was great First was the Mall Galleries and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours - an exhibition of contemporary watercolours. We met up with Katherine again. Watercolour here includes acrylics and gouache and there was a great deal of mixed media work involving charcoal or pastel or oil pastel, ink or pencil. No hard and fast rules to stifle creativity here :) Unfortunately they have no web site so it isn't possible to link here to images that were in the exhibition but where I can I've given links to see other work by artists I liked. The work was wonderfully varied - from the super realism of Janet Skea, incredible paintings showing every fibre in fabrics, simple arrangements of delicate objects in a limited colour range, creating subtle and beautiful finished pieces, quiet and contemplative; to the luscious abstract paintings of Morocco by Leslie Goodwin, again with a severely limited palette but this time freely and boldy painted with th

last light, moleskine and coloured pencils

I should be doing lots of things instead but I wanted to draw - so I did :) ... and now I have to face the dirty dishes, pile of washing and tidying up :( I did this from a combination of the sketches I did on the beach at sunset and memory. I've done a series of works from those sketches - in oil, pastel and digital images. It was interesting to see just how intense and dark it's possible to go with coloured pencils. I think they hold up well in comparison with other media. I'm speeding up with them and can now imagine sketching more with them plein air. I think they'll feature more often in my sketchbooks in the future. It was done with a mix of Polychromos, Lyra and cheapo Tescos coloured pencils and one Derwent. I like the heavier waxier Polychromos and Lyra - in future I'll know which to go for. Luckily I took the advice of expert CP users and bought quite a few polychromos - the Derwent is an old one, though it's good I don't

Kurt Jackson

image: Kurt Jackson I mentioned yesterday that KJ has a new book out, with his paintings of the Thames, from its source to the sea. They look amazing . I've treated myself to the book and can't wait for it to arrive :D Another book on my ' want' list is the one with his paintings of Cornish hedgerows. Do take a look. This is one example, not my favourite as a painting, but very typical of the quantity of flowers. Cornish hedges are something very special. They aren't simple hawthorn+ hedges like a lot of the country but high stone walls with earth banked up and they are a mass of wild flowers, Do read the description of them on the page with the paintings. It explains them perfectly. In Spring they are full of primroses, bluebells, wild garlic, campion and more. I lived in Cornwall as a child and loved them. The lanes are narrow, often only one car wide so they are '

charcoal pencil in that moleskine

I've got some very cheap charcoal pencils that I bought - a dozen for £1 ! - they are a bit waxier than a true charcoal pencil but I rather like them. They don't smudge quite the same as a true charcoal pencil. Some charcoal pencils can be a little scratchy and I don't enjoy using them. These are definitely not, they create lovely rich blacks. This is a very quick sketch trying them out in the moleskine - the slight waxiness means that though normal charcoal doesn't work at all with the slightly waxy feeling paper, these do. I considered sketching the tree in last Wednesday's post again yesterday, as I left work, as the leaves were now partly open and it was a haze of spring green, blowing in the icy gale from the north .......... which made me decide not to stop! Kurt Jackson did a long series of small sketches of a little hawthorn tree. He took his daughter to her ballet lesson and didn't have time to go home before picking her up again - so he looked at t

moleskine, watercolour, coloured pencil, pencil - and seascape

I knew that people had said that moleskines didn't take watercolour - but I had to find out for myself :>) I started off with a rough pencil sketch of a marsh harbour at Brancaster Staithe from the small moor on the hill above. It's a tiny area but real moorland with gorse and bracken and rocks. The watercolour just rolled off its waxy surface and had to be scrubbed in quite drily to get it to stay on the paper at all! Definitely not one to try again - maybe gouache? or acrylic? Then I used coloured pencils to reinforce colours, letting some of the watercolour that 'stuck' show through. A mix of Polychromos, Lyra, Derwent and some cheap unnamed supermarket coloured pencils were used, reinforced with graphite pencil. This is a view I'd like to do in oils some time, working plein air. It was done from a photograph taken when I sketched there last year. There's a wonderful view from the moor, known as The Common, of the harbour with its islands and twisting cree


Later in the year I need some work for an exhibtion where the subject is reflections and I wondered if it was worth looking through my photographs to see if there was anything there I would want to work from. As I've said before, I don't normally work from photos but I fancy giving it another go - I knew I had some images that I like and maybe ..... Anyway these are the images that I found quite quickly that would meet the brief. I love the coast so naturally a lot of them are to do with the sea :>) I really liked these seagulls waiting for the incoming tide on a grey afternoon. I like the subtle limited range of colours - watercolour and CP???? Watercolour and pastel? Then there is the boat lying beached on the wet mud with all the lovely sky blues in the reflection of the sky - something out of nothing. Or the boat in the harbour with the lovely old stone walls - pastel and charcoal over acrylic or watercolour? It's the busiest of the images with all the peop

adding feedblitz and feedburner

Eureka!!!!!! I finally got there! You would not believe how long I struggled to get feedblitz and feedburner to work .... first of all I'm not techie and second I was looking for something more complicated than I needed to - it simply needed pasting into a text box rather than the feed box, that I was attempting to use, expecting that to be the correct one for a feed - apparently not. Anyway , anyone who would like to subscribe is now welcome to do so. I can't believe how difficult I found that! and thank you to Katherine, Diane and others who tried to help me out :)

sketch clubs and beaches and mixed media

I was asked to give a talk at a local amateur art group (small) and refused a straight talk but agreed to take work and sketchbooks to show and do a demo of some techniques, rather than finished work, followed by a workshop with help and advice - people love hands on don't they? and I wouldn't be comfortable talking for 2 hours about me! So I did a couple of doodles to show how things worked with mixing media. This one was showing them how oil pastel as a resist with W'col is great - later I added CP and pencil to show the effects ....and finished it off this morning. 6x8 inches. I hadn't actually intended it to be a finished piece, just a demo of techniques, but it was working reasonably well so carried on with it. .... then another one throwing the same mix of media adding chalk pastels. I paint plein air at the coast a lot so was drawing on memories of light and colour, wet pools and the colours of damp sand These are much more finished than the group saw - I'm g

sunset in the shires

Done on the way to the evening class I was teaching, I had some spare time and the sunset was lovely. I only had those skin tone Lyra pencils and Moleskine to draw it with, so I sketched with them, making colour notes and then added the extra colour later (blue, purple, orange, yellow and green) - using the coloured pencils in the art room at the college - they were nasty scratchy Verithins so not as nice to use at all. It fixed the scene in my memory though. I'm wondering whether our local pastel society allows coloured pencils in the exhibition - I have to have 3 for a show coming up and it would be nice to include a CP one if it was allowed - charcoals and conte are allowed - it's more about being a dry drawing medium - so I wonder? I'll have to make enquiries.

moleskine, lyra pencils and kitten

I should be getting on with all sorts of other stuff but couldn't resist playing a bit more with the moleskine and lyra pencils. This is from a photograph taken when this little monster was really tiny, The colours of the skin tone set are perfect for her fur. The moleskine is really nice to use with coloured pencils, I like the smooth surface and the ease of rubbing out to draw back into colours . I don't use coloured pencils in the way that many people do, I'm not interested in creating a painterly smooth finish with no paper showing - I like to use them freely, in a scribbly way, more as a drawing medium, using the paper as another element. Incidentally, she may look sweet but she was busy chewing my husband's fingers with very sharp little fangs!

sketch of the crowd at the Renoir exhibition and a moleskine sketchbook

A quick sketch of the crowd at the Renoir exhibition - done at the time in biro and coloured later with those Lyra 'skin tones' set of coloured pencils - I really like them :>) - these are on loan from the college I work at but I must buy a set. They have a lovely range of colours from honey, through siennas, cool browns, dark browns, honey and an almost caput mortem - that dead purple (literally dead head in Latin from the colour of corpses!) that's ideal for some shadows. The tiny lady with the bun at the front I just had to draw! She had so much character, She had a hunched back and this suit with incredibly wide shoulders and that lovely cottage loaf bun hairstyle. I was exhausted by then, sitting listening to the headphones on the benches and trying work up the energy to move on :>) Incidentally, this is my first sketch in a moleskine sketchbook - as people kept raving about them I thought I'd try one. On the first page I simply tried out scribbles of the

Renoir Landscapes at the National Gallery

Finally I manage to write a bit about this exhibition. Renoir is not a favourite artist of mine, though I appreciate his work his good - his women are very simpering, shallow and sugary and having done some research for an art history assignment at uni, I found he had a very unpleasant attitude towards women, thinking women artists were an abomination and women should be in the kitchen or bedroom! He 'painted with his *****', he said. Some of his works, like the Bar at the Folies Bergere I do like, very much. Anway, to the landscapes. I really hadn't seen many of his landscapes before so was interested to see them. It was noticeable straight away that, unlike Monet, he didn't look hard at the greens that were there , but used bluey-greens and generalised, choosing his own colour scheme, though in the example shown here the greens aren't so blue - probably because the water is very blue and it simply wouldn't have worked in this case. The early landscapes we

Sketch clubs and artists talks

Tonight was a meeting of a sketch club I've belonged to for a long time, since before I did my degree. It has about 100 members, from keen amateurs to professionals, and meets once a month with crit nights and speakers, days out, studio days, demos and plein air trips. Other groups I belong to are by selection/election but this one is open to anyone keen, regardless of ability. Once a vacancy occurs, it's simply the next on the waiting list. It's a very nice friendly group. Tonight was an artist's talk by Mikki Longley who has a background in illustration and has developed her own interesting quirky style, painting local towns and villages in heightened colours and skewed perspectives. She was brilliantly prepared with a powerpoint slide show and projector and explained the ideas behind her work from the beginning, how and why she developed her houses and trees that lean confidingly in towards each other, encircling village squares or

The Pastel Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London

One of my pastels to start off with as the post is about pastels - done plein air at local allotments (plots of land, rented to grow vegetables, home made sheds, recycled baths and barrels and all sort of 'useful' objects). The allotments were only half let - the one on the right of the grass path neatly tended and the one on the left running riot, nature reclaiming the land. I loved the tumble down sheds and junk being recycled and the contrast between the neat plots and the luxuriantly overgrown ones. You can see a lot more of the work that I did there on my sketchbooks site in The Dying of the Day. Unison pastels are my favourite as they are lush and velvety but don't break easily - and they come in a great range of colours. On Saturday the pastel society I belong to went to the Pastel Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. I try not to miss it as it’s usually a very good show. Glen a friend and fellow member, and I, met up with Ka

digital images

I've been feeling really yuk with this virus and my asthma making it last :( so I haven't been getting on with the big paintings. I also had to cover for a sick colleague and ended up working extra hours. I did play with some photographs of trees and skies though and created these images by combining, layering, manipulating and generally playing with them :) They may trigger ideas for paintings - watercolour? mixed media? I think I fancy using those and experimenting - a change from oils.