Paints and pomegranates


What a long, strange week it’s been. But enough about me.

Tuesday’s sketchjournal entry was really just playtime with a couple of colours I bought to celebrate the prettiness of the frosty autumnal weather: a half pan of dioxazine (Winsor Violet) watercolour and a tube of gold gouache. The scan doesn’t capture the shimmer, but I fell in love with the warm, pearlescent purple created by mixing the two.

I emptied out the student-grade watercolours from a lightweight Cotman box and squeezed gouache into the half pans: much faster and easier for sketching and journalling than having to faff around with the tubes every time, and my Winsor & Newton Designer’s Gouache seems to rewet pretty well.

As you can see, I decided to forget the ubiquitous pumpkin today and celebrate the fact that it’s pomegranate season. Pen, watercolour & gouache in Canson watercolour book.

I blame Nitsa!!


COSTA COFFEE. Thursday 24.4.08 … How to justify a cappuccino & triple choc muffin at 8.20 on a Thursday morning? Make them your sketching subject. I seem to be channelling Anita today, so I can always blame her! She has influenced more or less every element of this sketch …

… from the use of sepia pigment liner to the cup of coffee I hadn’t planned to order to the desire to make more use of watercolour paper to the irrational urge to sketch my food to the purchase and use of a set of Inktense pencils to the postcard format to the gluing of a scrap of the brown muffin wrapper onto the page, the inspiring Nitsa has infiltrated my artist’s brain.

6×4″, sepia pen & white marker with Inktense pencils on watercolour paper.

Spicing up Sunday


I have my very own domestic god. Yesterday, he baked some subtly-spicy Sunday afternoon cinnamon biscuits, and the 3 of us devoured them eagerly.

Since my window of opportunity for uploading sketches is even narrower than the one I have for actually doing them, I figured I’d better share this now. A couple of strokes are still needed to redefine the shadow of the plate. It took 45 mins, and is my #8 in the WetCanvas 100 Pastel Sketches Challenge. Yum.

9×9″ oil pastel on dark blue Canford paper



I wish to thank whoever came up with the concept of sketching grids, for s/he is truly a genius. Not only does it allow me to fit drawing into my limited time, having the satisfaction of completing something after just 5-10 mins and, eventually, of covering a page with variations on a theme, but I’m also finding that drawing out boxes of random size and shape and seeking subjects to fit them, cropping where helpful, means that even with a tiny drawing of one inch2 I am forced to consider composition.

Recent scans of my hand*book journal have made my watercolour sketches look so washed out that I hesitate to share them. But here’s a spread representing our “holiday at home” these past nine days, much of it spent outdoors in the sunshine with our 8-month-old daughter.

In a spiral, starting from the top left-hand corner and ending in the middle: Melody’s foot; a soft toy known as “Starman”; the smily octopus from M’s new playnest; baby sunscreen, SPF 50; a jingly toy we’ve imaginatively nicknamed “Ladybird”; Bonjela (tooth #5 appeared this week); a cloud of unidentified genus; peach-flavour Alpro soya yogurt; and pushchair wheels.

This is an earlier grid on a foodie theme. The colour is way off; those are blueberries, not marbles.

Pen & watercolour pencil in small hand*book journal.

Twists and turns


“E-J’s Christmas Yarn”. This is one of three skeins of merino wool that Liz hand dyed for me as a Christmas gift. I’m using them to knit myself a cabled scarf. Profipen, watercolour & white gel pen in small hand*book journal.

EDM Challenge #96: Draw something sweet

I saw this Chocolate Twist at Costa and it reminded me of a skein of yarn. Pastry, chocolate chips, a dusting of icing sugar. I don’t usually go for pastries, but I bought it to draw. It smelled so good when I took it from its white paper bag that after I drew it, I (and Paul) ate it. It was fabulous! Profipen & watercolour pencil (used dry everywhere but in the shadow) in small hand*book journal.

Here there be dragons


As usual, you can click on the images to see them “in big”, but I’ve copied out my rambling notes for those of you not inclined to incline …

1 April 2007 DRAGON FRUIT ~ I bought this tropical fruit (PITAYA) at the supermarket today, fascinated by its wacky bright pink colour and twisty, spiky, greenish-yellow scales. It cost £2.29! This is not an April Fool’s joke.

2 April 2007 ~ The unexpected insides of the dragon fruit. Quite juicy, with a subtle flavour, like kiwi fruit without the sweetness.

Pen & watercolour in hand*book journal.

Challenges #7 & #14


Going almost monochrome for this entry. These are both in my 3.5 x 5.5″ hand*book journal.

EDM Challenge #7: Draw a bottle, jar or tin from the kitchen

Marmite, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a savoury spread made from yeast extract which looks like tar and tastes indescribable. This sketch was done in Profipen & watercolour pencils with black paper & white pen.

EDM Challenge #14: Draw what you see in the morning when you get up

Technically, this is what I see before I get up, while I’m still on the pillow: my bedside table, sideways on. I’ve noted “THIS WAY UP!” to remind me not to turn the sketchbook clockwise 90°, which is what I do without thinking every time I glance at the page.

The stuff you can see is, from left to right (I mean, bottom to top): Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides; a failed bit of crochet I use as a coaster; alarm clock; lamp; aluminium photo frame. Every night before I sleep, I turn the frame so that I can see the photo. Every morning when I awake, it is facing south west, away from me, and has slid an inch or so forward.

Profipen 0.1 and a Derwent Inktense pencil.

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