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
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.