Sunday, 7 March 2021

Dots and Lines

Across the Fields to the Old Mill on Kneeton Road
Dots and Lines - Drawing and Painting the Landscape
Ink on Paper
11.5cm x 15cm (4.5" x 6")

Lesson 21 of Drawing and Painting the Landscape by Philip Tyler is about Dots and Lines. Philip asks:

How would you draw the landscape using only horizontal lines, or vertical points? What if you combined both or introduced diagonals or curves? This drawing exercise does just this, reducing the landscape down to some basic elements.

I tried a few drawings using just dots and horizontal lines. They look like Phillip's simplest examples and do not contain enough information to convey a sense of place or atmosphere.

Vineyard - Niagara on the Lake
Dots and Lines - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Ink on Paper
15cm x 10.5cm (6" x 4.25")

Phillip also includes examples with a wider variety of marks. He seems to identify the major lines in the landscape and use smaller repeating marks to create details and texture.

The pictures on this post are more like quick gesture drawings of a scene. I plan to try a few more and give more attention to the quality of my mark making.

Boats in Front of Smeaton's Pier
Dots and Lines - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Ink on Paper
13cm x 10cm (5" x 4")

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Volcanic Rock

Watercolour on Paper
24.0cm x 15.5cm (9.5" x 6.25")

Elaine gave me a Moon and Lagoon Bath Caddy Tray for our Anniversary - to use in our new bath. The set came with this pumice stone. If you look carefully at the Moon and Lagoon website, you can find the item in question.

The picture is inspired by the Volcanic Rock topic in the Earth Textures chapter of Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice.

I strived to make the drawing as precise as possible – which is a strange choice for this subject. It is not like a face where everyone can tell whether it is accurate. I had to reposition the cord a couple of times before I was happy with the relationship between rock and rope. 

Claudia suggests applying paint with a natural sponge to create some of the texture on the stone. This was fun and worked well.

Initially my painting of the rope was too dark. I dry brushed over it with tinted gouache. This improved the colour and gave it an interesting texture as well. 

When I read the topic heading, I immediately thought of the granite landscapes of Devon and Cornwall, but I had to save my holiday snaps until next time because Claudia has given Granite its own topic.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

The Missing Piece of My Heart

You Are the Missing Piece of My Heart
Watercolour and Ink on Paper
10cm x 10cm (4" x 4")

It was a challenge to work out the perspective and shadows for this picture because we don't have a heart shaped jigsaw I could use for reference. This is why artists who create realistic images of imagined scenes sometimes make maquettes (models) (see James Gurney - Miniatures). These can be detailed little artworks in their own right or just accurate enough to give the information that's needed.

Happy Valentine’s Day Elaine

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Drawing and Painting the Landscape – Making a Mess


Messy Tree
Making a Mess - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Water-Soluble Graphite, Ink and Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 26cm (10" x 7")

Making a Mess is Lesson 20 of Drawing and Painting the Landscape by Philip Tyler

The instructions are to reach for any tool in your art bin and using scraps of paper, try to make a mess. Phillip urges us to be playful and to fill pages with as many different marks as we can without worrying about the results. 

I used a variety of tools - focussing on graphite and charcoal because I used ink for the grid exercise (see Drawing and Painting the Landscape - A Grid).

The biggest revelation was the fun you can have with water-soluble graphite. It lends itself to messiness and gets all over your hands. You can draw with it and then add water to create washes. I used a block called ArtGraf Tailor Shape. The manufacturer says:

Inspired by traditional tailor's chalk, ArtGraf Tailor Shape is a rich, water-soluble block of pigment. It is extremely soft and provides artists with a wide range of shades depending on the amount of water used, from light, transparent tones to deep, rich, opaque colours. When diluted, the Tailor's Shape acts similarly to an ink, it can also be used dry as a drawing medium by itself. It can be used as an entire block to draw or paint with or colour can be picked up from the block with a brush, similarly to how you would use traditional watercolour paint. (see

I bought a block from Jacksons (see

The picture at the top of the post is my favourite of the experiments and these are a few more from the pile.

This is the sort of exercise I need to incorporate into my regular practice. If I don’t feel like drawing, but I have a few minutes, I can experiment with mark making.

Sunday, 17 January 2021


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

Gravel is the third topic in the Earth Textures chapter of Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice.

I struggled to find inspiring reference images of gravel. Am I odd? Does everyone else have albums full of their favourite gravel photographs? Claudia included drawings of small stones in her gravel drawings, so I took the  same approach. While I was drawing these stones, I realised how much I enjoy and miss detailed observation. I plan to do more over the next few weeks.

Hurlstone Point from Porlock Weir
Watercolour and Ink on Paper
21.5cm x 13.0cm (8.5" x 5")

The one photo of gravel I found is this view of Hurlstone Point from Porlock Weir. I've posted pictures of this view before (see The View From Porlock Weir). I prefer the colours in those earlier paintings, but I quite like the gravel in this one.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Drawing and Painting the Landscape – A Grid

A Grid - Drawing and Painting the Landscape
Ink on Paper
21cm x 21cm (8.25" x 8.25")

Chapter 5 of Drawing and Painting the Landscape by Philip Tyler is about mark making. The instructions for Lesson 19 (the first lesson in the chapter) are to draw a 20cm by 20cm grid and fill each box with a different set of marks. Philip observes “At first it will be easy but as you continue to fill the 400 boxes, you will probably begin to repeat yourself.” 

I usually use fineliners for drawing - these are pens with a plastic or fine fibre needle-point tip. They are easy to use and available with various tip sizes. During the exercise, I used various fineliner, brush, fountain and dip pens. It struck me that pen with nibs and brushes are more interesting to use than fineliners. With a nib or a brush, you can alter the mark by playing with the orientation of the pen and the amount of pressure you apply. If you press hard on a fineliner, you don’t achieve much other than knackering the tip.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Happy Christmas 2020

Happy Christmas 2020
Watercolour on Paper
7.5cm x 7.5cm (3" x 3")

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2021

May We All Be Safe, Healthy and Happy