Paints and pomegranates

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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.

9 May 2008

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Today’s journal entry was achieved despite many interruptions from the hyperactive small person whose shoes and nappy rash ointment you see here.


I find that lightly pencilling in a rough grid to use for my day’s sketches makes it easier to create a pleasing overall composition; breaking out of the grid in places also becomes great fun.

Pen, watercolour & Inktense in Canson w/c sketchbook.

I blame Nitsa!!

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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.

Freesias

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Freesias, purchased today and rendered in Caran d’Ache oil pastel, directly from life, over three very enjoyable hours. The support is leaf-green Art Spectrum Colourfix paper.

I’m reluctantly posting a digital pic rather than a scan, due, not only, to lack of access to our home network (the complexities of modern technology!), but also to the painting’s overall “bigness and largity” – to quote Fast Show weatherman Willi Wooliman.

I’ll let you know the dimensions when I have access to the scanner again; and I will post a scanned image, to show you just how much vibrancy is missing from this one. In the meantime, I just had to share it. I am incredibly excited to be painting again!

Outside, Inside … Outside

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Jubilee Gardens, Ely, 7 Feb 2008, from life. Pen & watercolour in small hand*book journal


Sofa in the “Blue Room”, 9 Feb 2008 – a 20-minute sketch from life. Pen & wax pastel on blue art paper pasted across a double spread of my small hand*book journal. This is my #9 in the WetCanvas 100 Pastel Sketches Challenge.


London Plane tree, Dean’s Meadow, Ely, 14 Feb 2008, from a photo. Too cold to sketch out in the open, so I took a snapshot and uploaded it to my screen so I could try to untangle my subject. Sepia pen & wax pastel on yellow A4 Canford paper

EDM #137 Something turn-off-and-onable

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A couple of indoor sketches from January. The first is in Profipen & Aquatone, the second in Profipen & coloured pencil, both in my small hand*book journal. Not much to say about these, except that the mp3 player sitting in its customary spaghetti of wires is a Creative Zen Vision:M – because i(don’t)Pod. Oh, and that I’ll be a happy bunny the day our scanner is back in action, because some media just refuse to make friends with my digital camera.

EDM #137: Draw something you can turn on and off.

Spicing up Sunday

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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

Old Year, New Year

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I hadn’t sketched for a while, but Melody was given a xylophone for Christmas, and the areas of bright, solid colour seemed to invite a little playtime with my new set of Aquatone watercolour sticks. This is across 2 pages of my small hand*book journal. EDM Challenge #17: Draw a musical instrument.

Back in February/March 2007, I’d only just joined the EDM group, and I didn’t post the following sketches because I was trying out a Danny Gregoryesque mix of drawing and journalling, and felt uncomfortable exposing my clumsy, rambling thoughts to public view. I was also tentative with the no-pencil-first approach to drawing in ink.

My very first EDM sketch was of M’s Bumbo® seat (she couldn’t sit unaided back then); the second was a toy we knew as Adam Butterfly, sadly long since lost, who played a high-pitched version of “You Are My Sunshine” when you squeezed his bottom. The third in the montage came a little later: it’s a gum soother we used to chill in the fridge, and illustrates EDM #77: Draw something cold or cool

I’m fond of these pages now, as they conjure up a life dominated by a 6-month-old baby; and while life continues to be just as dominated by her as she toddles her way at high speed towards a year and a half, it’s odd to be reminded that the paraphernalia so familiar to one phase of a little one’s development has no place whatsoever in the next.

SketchCrawl #14: Ely

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Anita Davies and Diane Mainzer joined me in Ely on Saturday 19 May for the 14th WorldWide SketchCrawl: one small city, three enthusiastic artists, five sunny (if breezy) hours, three bags full of sketchbooks – and several tons of cake!

We grabbed ourselves a coffee and a table outdoors, and I took up Anita’s challenge to sketch the corner of Starbucks coffee house. But whereas Anita has a weakness for sketching buildings, my sketches of buildings are merely weak. Bah.


Profipen across two pages of small hand*book journal.

Our second sketchstop was Palace Green, where we spread out a blanket on the grass and became quite the tourist attraction. A middle-aged woman, who had marched up to peer over my shoulder, uttered a deflated and somewhat contemptuous “Oh” on discovering that my sights were set, not on the ornate majesty of Ely cathedral, but on the whacking great brick of chocolate button marble cake in front of me. An American gentleman later ambled over and exclaimed, quite superfluously, “You’re drawing food!” I sketched until both the cake and my oil pastels started to melt. This is my #7 in the WetCanvas 100 Pastel Sketches Challenge.


Caran d’Ache oil pastel & wax pastel in 9×6″ Daler-Ingres pastel pad.

My late al fresco lunch of fried chicken wings found itself the subject of a final sketch (done rapidly, so please overlook the wonky ellipses). I’m counting this as EDM #87: Draw your lunch. Though very tasty, these were almost cold by the time I ate them. How I suffer for my art!


Pen & watercolour in small hand*book journal.

EDM #76: Draw some flowers

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I bought a bunch of the most gorgeous white lilies for £2 at the Thursday market: seven blooms whose waxy sheen, juicy greenery and scent of fizzy lemonade said, “Take me home and have your wicked artistic way with me.” This sketch was done in Profipen and watercolour in my small hand*book journal.

I love to watch lilies as they awaken, yawning and stretching, their petals taking on those lovely flowing curves. I did this in a leisurely hour and three quarters, which makes it the closest thing to a painting-not-a-sketch that I’ve produced in over a year.

Caran d’Ache oil pastels & wax pastels in 12×9″ Daler-Rowney pastel pad.

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