Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Atlantic Inn

The Atlantic Inn
Watercolour, wax crayon and ink
Moleskine A4 watercolour album
210mm × 297mm (8.27" × 11.69")

Elaine and I are just back from a 2 week tour of the South West. We had wonderful weather and stayed in Dartmouth (Devon), Treen (Cornwall), Hugh Town (St Mary's, Isles of Scilly) and Penzance (Cornwall).

This is the evening view from our apartment above the Kavorna bistro in Hugh Town.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Castle Cove, Dartmouth

Castle Cove, Dartmouth
Watercolour and Acrylic Ink on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5)

Castle Cove is a small beach reached by steps from Dartmouth Castle.

One of my focuses for this picture was to include a lot of drawn marks. The tree trunks are a mixture of watercolour pencil marks and acrylic ink lines. The cracks and the marks on the rocks are acrylic ink drawn with a variety of implements. Some of the highlights in the water are marks made with a wax crayon.

This is the first picture for which I've used coloured thumbnail sketches to experiment with different arrangements of colour (see Castle Cove - Thumbnail Sketches).

Castle Cove - Finished and Thumbnail

It is interesting to compare the final colour thumbnail with the actual picture. While I was painting, I thought I was being reasonably faithful to the thumbnail, but they are quite different, especially in the arrangement of tones.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Latest Sketches

Not Spooky
9 June 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook
105mm x 149mm (4.1" x 5.9")

These gravestones may look like the backdrop for a Hammer Horror film, but I drew them on a pleasantly warm summer’s evening - Elaine came and sat with me and read while I sketched.

In the previous post about sketches (Outlines and Blind Contour Drawings) I was working on outlines and contours. In this batch I've reverted to my normal approach - start with a light extended gesture study, then draw outlines and contours before adding shading and modelling.

I enjoy sketching and can see a progression in my drawings since I've started to make more regular use of a sketchbook. Ideally, I want to make a 30 minute sketch a daily habit, but the gaps between these sketches show I haven’t got there yet.

Coffee Maker
29 May 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook
105mm x 149mm (4.1" x 5.9")

This is my espresso maker. I bought it after the last one exploded. There are so many expensive coffee makers on the market it is difficult to choose between them and to justify the expenditure. In the end, I choose the simplest one I could find - it makes great coffee.

The Mulberry One
10 June 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook
105mm x 149mm (4.1" x 5.9")

I am secretly pleased with the sketch of the handbag. It was a surprisingly difficult subject. At first glance, it looks like you could take a few liberties with the drawing, but the relationships between the handles and the opening have to be right to be convincing.

Devil Cat Thing
27 May 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A6 Graduate Sketchbook
105mm x 149mm (4.1" x 5.9")

The devil cat is the evil sibling of the angel cat sculpture by Marie Prett on the previous sketching post.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Castle Cove - Thumbnail Sketches

Castle Cove
Watercolour and Acrylic Ink on Paper
7cm x 10cm (3" x 4")

At the last meeting of the Shelford Group of Artists (see Into the Light), I considered painting a view of Castle Cove in Dartmouth. I decided against it because I realised the picture would require a strong composition – a composition I was unlikely to get right first time.

Castle Cove, Dartmouth

Since the meeting, I’ve used thumbnail sketches to work on a composition – inspired by a recent article by John Lovett on his online watercolour workshop (see

Thumbnails are small quick sketches. The sketches on this post are all about 7cm x 10cm (3" x 4"). John advises spending no more than a couple of minutes on each drawing.

Castle Cove, Pencil Thumbnails

John advocates thumbnail sketches as a technique for deciding on the tonal and colour composition for a picture work before committing your ideas to watercolour paper.

They are also fun to do and a great way to become more familiar with a subject which you haven’t sketched and are drawing from photographs.

Castle Cove, Coloured Thumbnails

John suggests using pencil sketches to decide on the tonal composition and coloured sketches to establish the colour palette.

Castle Cove - Initial Wash
Watercolour on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5")

This is the resulting composition transferred to watercolour paper with the initial wash in the sky and the sea.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

An Atmospheric Sky

Across St Ives Bay
Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 28cm (7" x 11")

I learnt a lot from my experiments with skies at the last meeting of the Shelford Group of Artists (see Into the Light). They gave me an insight into how I want to paint and have inspired me to further experimentation.

The sky on this post is an attempt to emulate the atmospheric skies painted by Randall David Tipton. It was painted on to dry paper. I started with patches of yellow ochre in the clouds and then added some shadow colours, some clean water and  the blue of the sky. As the paints merged and dried, I softened some edges with a damp brush and dabbed at others with a paper towel.

This is basically the same technique as Sky Wash 5 painted with more confidence and bolder colours.

The scene is loosely based on the view of Godrevy Point and Island from St Ives.