Sunday, 9 April 2017

January and February 2017 Sketches

Valentine's Day Cufflinks
15 February 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Elaine and I are busy looking for a new house, which is not leaving much time for sketching. Most of my recent sketches have been done quickly without a pencil under drawing. The cufflink and little brown jug sketches are the only exceptions. In both cases, I used some under drawing to better understand the shapes and perspective before committing to ink. The eye-catching Paul Smith cufflinks are a Valentine’s day gift from Elaine.

Ragdale Tree
11 February 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
10.5cm x 14.9cm (4.1" x 5.9")

We had a relaxing pre-Valentine long weekend at Ragdale Hall. I managed to squeeze in one sketch from our bedroom window.

Ivy Clad Tree
7 March 2017
Ink
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
10.5cm x 14.9cm (4.1" x 5.9")

I’ve started using a grey Tombow dual brush pen to establish a mid-tone in quick sketches. The ink doesn’t seem to be waterproof, but if you give it a moment to dry and blot it, it doesn’t bleed too badly into a watercolour wash. This is a quicker alternative for creating tone in a coloured sketch than waiting for layers of watercolour to dry.

I’m experimenting with this technique, with the intention of it being my sketching approach of choice for the summer holidays.

Little Brown Jug
23 March 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
10.5cm x 14.9cm (4.1" x 5.9")

Elaine’s grandmother used to have 3 of these jugs, but this is the only survivor.

Driftwood House
28 March 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
14.9cm x 10.5cm (5.9 x 4.1")

This driftwood sculpture by Kirsty Elson is a great little subject.  It’s not the first time its appeared on this blog (see January 2015 Sketches).

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch

St Peter's Porch
Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch
Watercolour On Paper
26cm x 18cm (10" x 7")

The Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch is the third "exercise" from Watercolor Painting by Tom Hoffmann. It is another study that helps to explore how much detail is needed in a picture (see Five-Value Monochrome Study and Two-Layer Geometric Sketch).

The Three-Layer Thumbnail Sketch builds up an image in layers - that progress from light to dark and from general abstract marks to more specific details.

Tom recommends this as an approach for interpreting complex subjects and making them less daunting.

The process starts by asking what pattern is formed by the whitest/lightest parts of the subject. Once the pattern of whites is understood, the lightest layer is painted around them with abstract marks. The first layer can be painted confidently with abstract stokes because most of it will be covered by subsequent layers.

The second layer is another pattern of abstract strokes. It is started by asking how much of the lightest layer needs to remain visible and what pattern does it form.

Each new layer gets darker and more detailed – moving from general to specific information.

You can either stop after three layers or continuing adding layers with more and more specific information.

Once again I failed to keep the first layers as simple as Tom suggests, but the exercise was illuminating. It opened my eyes to a different way of looking at and painting complex subjects.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

January 2017 Sketches

Dog Crockery
28 January 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Hamish came to stay for a few days in January. He is very polite. He brought his own crockery and some flowers for Elaine.

Dog's Rose
30 January 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

He’s an old man now, so I managed to grab a sketch of him while he was having a snooze.

Hambo!
24 January 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
10.5cm x 14.9cm (4.1" x 5.9")

Mark Taro Holmes (Citizen Sketcher) wrote a recent post about drawing quick sketches while out walking (Personal Trainers Hate this Sketcher – How to lose weight by drawing!). This has inspired me to do the same. I try to take a 30-minute walk most lunchtimes and I’ve added a 7-minute sketch into the routine. It’s been too cold to comfortably hang around for much longer.

Stokes’ Mill from the Foot Path
20 January 2017
Ink
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
14.9cm x 10.5cm (5.9 x 4.1")

So far most of the sketches have been of bare trees, but I’m moving on to buildings and other objects.

Very Cold Finger Post
23 January 2017
Ink
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
10.5cm x 14.9cm (4.1" x 5.9")

The exercises for my latest project (Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone) require some new materials.

Materials for Expressive Drawing
16 January 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

I will share some of the results in the next few weeks.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

What Comes Next 2017

Christmas Books - 2016
29 December 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Elaine gave me Experimental Drawing by Robert Kaupelis and Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone for Christmas. I intend to use these to structure my drawing practice in 2017. The other book in the sketch is Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for ages and was a present from Julie.

It’s a long time since I’ve thought about what I want from drawing and painting. The last time I wrote a blog post on this was in July 2013 (see What Comes Next).

I enjoy ink and watercolour sketching and I intend to carry on with this in 2017, but I also want something more. Sketching stuff around the house using the same techniques is becoming repetitive, so I’m going to explore some other approaches to drawing and painting.

I’m going to be more experimental in my sketching - use some different tools and maybe even try some collage, but this can wait until the summer. Initially, I am going to focus on drawing and painting techniques.

I know I want to paint, but I don’t know what or how. As a result, I’m not very inspired. Part of the problem is also my lack of mastery of watercolour, so I am going to continue reading and following the exercises from Watercolor Painting by Tom Hoffmann.

I want to make more confident and interesting marks and to incorporate more emotion and spontaneity into my drawings and paintings. I hope to achieve this by reading and following the exercises in the books Elaine bought me for Christmas. The exercises in Experimental Drawing look like they could take a couple years to get through, so I’m going to start with Expressive Drawing - which is all about intuitive mark making. The emphasis is on nonrepresentational drawing which will be a change for me but I’m excited to give it a go.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

December 2016 Sketches

Additions to My Sketching Kit
28 December 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Father Christmas’ helpers were kind to me. Julie (Elaine’s sister) gave me an excellent bag for my sketching kit and amongst the many presents from Elaine, were a couple of pencil cases.

Holly 2016
December 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

In recent years, Elaine’s friend Nicola has kindly donated some holly for me to draw. I look forward to the challenge. Holly is a tricky subject and Nicola’s holly is particularly challenging because not all the leaves are especially spiky.

Fancy Chair
30 December (not September) 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

Over the New Year, Elaine and I stayed at the Marlborough House B&B in Bath. The chairs in our room were interesting. I am not sure how old they were, but the castors under the front legs seemed out of place.

Fancy Chair Foot
30 December (not September) 2016
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Ebony Sketchbook
10.5cm x 14.9cm (4.1" x 5.9")

I wasn’t particularly happy with the feet in the sketch of the chair, so I drew one of them more accurately and modelled it in pencil. I haven’t done much pencil drawing recently and I want to keep my eyes/hands in.

(I don't know what I was thinking when I dated these sketches - we were probably rushing to get to the Hop Pole.)

Bronzy Looking Plate
31 December 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

The decoration in our room included a bronzy looking metal plate. It was covered in low relief pictures/sculptures. In the middle, there was an ox or horse pulling a chariot which I assume is some kind of sun (or moon) chariot because around it there was a ring of reliefs representing the signs of the zodiac. There was an outer ring of pictures which I couldn’t identify. I thought it might be the Chinese zodiac, but there seemed to be too many of them and I couldn’t find a dragon.

Happy New Year. I intend to keep up the ink and watercolour sketching in 2017 and to explore some other aspects of drawing and painting.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Happy Christmas 2016

Christmas Tree 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

Wishing You Peace and Happiness for Christmas and the New Year

Sunday, 11 December 2016

November 2016 Sketches

Not even Advent
21 November 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

My festive indulgences have started earlier than ever this year - I normally wait until at least December before starting on the mince pies.

Merryteaser
27 November 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

This wasn’t my fault. Someone left it for Elaine at work and she doesn’t like Maltesers - who else was going to try it.

Elaine with a Sling
2 November 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")


Elaine had carpal tunnel release surgery on October 31 and had to keep her arm in a sling for 2 days. She’s not a very patient patient and wanted to be back to normal straightaway.

After the Operation
9 November 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

She was heartbroken when the dressing came off. The scar was very red and angry. She had visions of ending up with scars like Brenda, but they are already disappearing. (Brenda is a character in a series of books by Paul Magrs http://lifeonmagrs.blogspot.co.uk/)

We Buy Flowers Too
17 November 2016
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

This vase is a favourite subject, but I only seem to post the results when Sally has bought flowers for Elaine (see September 2015 Sketches). Note to self – Buy more flowers. Note to Sally – Thank you for the flowers.