She Sells Seashells…

It’s the hottest day of the year so far in the UK, 31 degrees C in Norfolk. I’d like to be at the seaside, but that’s not possible today. Generally, our trips to the beach are inevitably accompanied by full pockets on the way home, and over the years we’ve accumulated more interesting pebbles than we know what to do with. We’ve fewer shells, as on Norfolk beaches they tend not to show a great deal of variation to the uninitiated (that’s me). However, these ones made it home on various trips, and I thought they presented an interesting subject for an ink sketch, since I’d enjoyed doing the hand so much yesterday.

Shells inkOnce again I drew these straight into ink with the brush – my idea of living dangerously. I’m trying to learn to observe well first time, and then to handle the brush with spontaneity and accuracy…it’s taking time. I also hope that working in monochrome will help me bring more depth of tone to my watercolour pictures too.

Each shell presented its own problem. The whelk shell (top right) is very pale, bleached almost, holey and worn by tides. It was the most interesting to paint as it lent itself easily to the wiggly lines the brush can produce on this textured watercolour paper. The common otter shell (bottom right) is rather featureless, just having very delicate striations across it. The periwinkle shell (top left) was extremely dark with delicate grey banding, both in the direction of its whorl and across the shell. I found this one the most challenging, not least trying to set its outline curve. The cockle shell had quite a lot of colour variation from a prawn colour to pale pink, once again with bands going vertically and horizontally. Getting the angle of the curves right to show its shape was tough, as it meant moving the brush both accurately and delicately.

Once again, I really enjoyed playing with the ink. I think it’s currently my favourite medium – I feel like I’ve only just started to scratch the surface of how to use it. It’s exciting!


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