Sunday, 27 April 2014

Experiments with Acrylic Ink

Teasels and Grasses – Durlston Head
Acrylic Ink on Paper
10cm x 11cm (4" x 4.5")

The pictures on this post are inspired by Ann Blockley's recently published book - Experimental Landscapes in Watercolour

The first major subsection is about acrylic inks. I've used them before, but this is the first time I've set out to paint pictures almost entirely in ink.

Tree on Old Hill
Acrylic Ink and Water-soluble Pencil on Paper
10.5cm x 10.5cm (4.25" x 4.25")

Tree on Old Hill is my first experiment. I applied strips of blue, white and green using the pipettes from the ink bottles and then spread the ink out with a wet brush. I drew the tree with Graphitint water-soluble pencils and sepia ink while the initial washes were still wet. I accidently splashed some water on to the top of the tree, so I dabbed this with a paper towel to create a cloud.

Bluebells in Oversley Wood - Step 1
Acrylic Ink on Paper
10cm x 10cm (4" x 4")

Bluebells in Oversley Wood is based on the impressions of a sunny springtime walk with Elaine, Paul, Wendy and their old dog Jack. I've let white, yellow, green and blue inks merge on the page and while they were still wet drawn tree shapes with sepia and white ink. This looks more like an underpainting than a finished work. The next subsection in Ann’s book is “the versatility of gouache”, so I will finish it with some gouache during the week.

The colours in the first two experiments are vivid, but Ann reveals acrylic inks can be used to produce more subtle colours. In the third experiment, I diluted the inks with lots of water and toned them down with Payne's grey and sepia inks. I drew the teasels and grasses with a variety of implements as the washes dried.

The RSI (repetitive strain injury) symptoms I've been suffering from haven’t changed significantly. Typing seems to be the main trigger. I've started to paint again this weekend and plan to do some drawing during the week.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Starting To Sketch

Anglepoise & Bedside Cabinet
10 & 11 March 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook

Regular sketching is the next step in my quest to become a better draughtsman.

24 February 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook

There is some good advice on starting to sketch from Katherine Tyrrell on and Adebanji Alade on

Salty & Ducky
25 February & 2 March 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook

Initially, I am drawing things rather than scenes and I’ve set a nominal 30 minute time limit for each sketch.

Watch & Spotty
12 & 24 March 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook

The pictures from this post are from a Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook. Each page is 105 x 149mm (4.1 x 5.9 inches).

Kettle & Toaster
27 & 31 March 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook

The sketches stop abruptly because I’ve developed an RSI (repetitive strain injury) through overuse of a laptop. I don’t think drawing and painting is the cause, but I am abstaining for a few weeks to give the tendons chance to recover - I am typing this one handed. I hope my arm recovers soon because not being able to draw and paint is driving me crazy.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Shelford Group of Artists’ Easter Exhibition 2014

This Little Piggy
Watercolour on Paper
34cm x 24cm (13.5" x 9.5")

It’s Easter and time for the Shelford Group of Artists’ annual exhibition. This year I am exhibiting the 7 pictures on this post.

The exhibition is in Shelford Village Hall (NG12 1EN) and is open between 10am and 4 pm on Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

If you get the chance, please drop in.

Between Tresco and Bryher
Watercolour on Paper
28cm x 38cm (11" x 15")
Sorry About the Chips
Watercolour on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5")
Smeaton’s Pier, St Ives
Watermedia and Oil Pastel on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5")
Misty Morning - Hugh Town
(Based on a photograph by Tony Slater)
Watercolour on Paper
38cm x 28cm (15" x 11")
Early Autumn on the Kennet and Avon
Watercolour and Acrylic Ink on Paper
27cm x 18cm (10.5" x 7")

Brixham Fishing Boats
Watercolour on Paper
34cm x 24cm (13.5" x 9.5")

Sunday, 6 April 2014

New Skies

Sky Wash 11 (Late Afternoon on the Garrison, St Mary's)
Watermedia and Oil Pastel on Paper
28cm x 18cm (11" x 7")

Back in 2012, I did a number of exercises to practice painting skies. See:

The skies on this post are a couple of recent experiments I painted as warm up exercises.

Both skies started off in the same way. I painted the main area of blue on to dry paper and then painted the rest of the sky around this with water – trying not to get the paper too wet.

As the blue pigment diffused, I dabbed the cloud shapes with paper towel. This can cause hard edged clouds, so to avoid this:

  • I was gentle with the paper towel – I didn’t press too hard, 
  • I always used clean paper – I didn’t dab with a piece of paper that already had paint on it
  • If a hard edge started to form, I either dabbed it again or softened it with a damp brush

For the picture of Saint Martins, I added extra shadows to the clouds after the initial wash had dried.

The main intention of both of these pictures was to experiment with using oil pastels to resist the watercolour. This is a technique Chris Forsey uses in his “Pushing The Boundaries Of Watercolour” and “Beyond Watercolour” DVDs.

Sky Wash 12 (St Martin's)
Watermedia and Oil Pastel on Paper
28cm x 18cm (11" x 7")

So far, the technique is not working for me. The oil pastel dissolves into the paint and makes a watery oily soup. I suspect I am applying too much pastel and not pressing heavily enough to push it into the paper.