What is it? Who knows? But I can tell you how it was done. Quickly, and drawing with a pipette loaded with acrylic ink – an experimental technique currently being enjoyed by my painting pal Andy.
The bird was far more vibrantly coloured until the inks ran together (boo), but it’s all down to experience. I was very excited by the way the leaves turned out though. I can definitely see me having another go at this, the dribbly randomness of the line is liberating.
Sunday afternoon, sketching in the garden. Husband (Mark) drawing vine leaves, me drawing him. I chose pencil this time, feeling somewhat obliged to put my money where my mouth was after giving him a long diatribe on why it’s important to be able to use pencil for shading, because of the subtlety of grades it offers the user. I have a nasty suspicion that I spent less time drawing this than telling him why he needs to get over the ‘messiness’ of graphite and accept its many merits.
This in mind, it’s rather ironic then that I didn’t really smooth out the shades or get a particularly wide variety of tones…but you know, the sun was very bright and the contrast high. That’s my excuse, for what it’s worth, and I’m sticking to it. Anyway it made a nice, comfortable change to get stuck in with the old 4B for a few minutes.
While staying with some friends I found myself with a few minutes to spare for a quick sketch. My funsize (3.3in) sketchbook came in handy to draw this equally dinky netsuke sumo wrestler. Not necessarily beautiful, but he has attitude aplenty.
I used a fineliner for the drawing, then added the contrast with a black Tombow watercolour pen. I really enjoy how the ink separates into blues and reds when water is added, and the crunchy edges which ensue. The Tombow with water behaves so much better on this Pink Pig sketchbook paper than in my newer super-smooth W&N sketchbook. The trouble of course with working this small is that every mark seems to count double, and mistakes even more so! But it’s good practice trying to get it right first time in the ink, and I don’t mind (in fact I quite like) the scratchy pen marks round the edges as I felt for the shape.
We couldn’t be with our South African friends when they got married, so we sent this little messenger from us, with love.
It’s another watercolour bumble bee loosely in Kate Osborne’s style, this one made from a photograph rather than being a straight copy of Kate’s. Such fun to do!
Isn’t it strange how some things don’t change, and can connect us across centuries? Visiting the British Museum on one of the hottest days of the year, I was drawn to this Roman dog statue. It looked as fresh as any contemporary statue, just a hound being a hound. You could almost feel the heat of his breath and the texture of his fur.
There was no sitting room, so I stood in the sweltering gallery to capture him. Before I even started I found myself ‘drawing’ the outline in the air over the paper, trying to get a feel for proportion and positioning. Using white pen ensures I look twice, or three times, before drawing, as all marks and mistakes are committed and irreversible. I like the fact that I’m initially forced to be very considered, but that once I’ve committed to the lines I can stop worrying so much and get lost in the shading, which is also a buzz as, in a reverse to the usual order of things, it’s a case of adding highlights and mid-tones rather than darks. It’s got to be good for the brain, surely?
In the Cypriot section of the British Museum, two heads overlook a bench. This bench is irresistible to tired sketchers, looking to fill in a bit of time before viewing the fabulous Katsushika Hokusai exhibition.
So, while there were, no doubt, other items which may have deserved to be sketched, it was a case of ‘if you can’t be with the one you’d sketch, sketch the one you’re with.’ Any anyway, who can resist a beard like that? Hipsters eat your hearts out.
The bearded statue was particularly interesting in one respect, which was his smile. It seemed the Cypriots liked a smiling statue, but never with teeth showing. It was rather a forced, stylistic smirk, it seemed to me, whereas the rather chunkier chap behind was veering towards a more Roman mien (and reminded us of Napoleon’s bust).
There were a few issues with this sketch, as it was the end of a long day, in a roasting gallery, and my water pen ran out whilst shading… but you know what, it was ok. Because the Hokusai exhibition was marvellous, and well worth hanging around for. If you have a chance to see it, I’d give it my wholehearted recommendation.
Our 14 year old son is a beekeeper, as of last autumn; an ambition he held for at least two years before it became reality. Amazingly, he was fortunate enough to win the beekeeper’s association raffle, which offered him a 10-week beekeeping course. He signed up to it, but was too young to attend on his own, so it fell to me to accompany him. I did not intend to take the course, but the organisers kindly agreed to let me sit at the back.
On the first evening I took my sketching materials, just a brush pen and book, and tried some very rough-and-ready images of the attendees. This is, sort of, what beekeepers look like round our way. (Apart from the very large bee which has squeezed in at the bottom.)
Sadly, there were no more sketches at subsequent meetings as I got gradually sucked in and ended up being a full participant… I’m sure that was their intention all along!