Roses are Red…

…But not in this case.bTwo of these blooms were actually a beautiful peach, the other white.

Originally I had considered doing this sketch in watercolour, but chickened out, uncertain of how to depict the deeper shades between the petals.  Instead, I remembered the lilacs and irises I had previously sketched in ink, and so my favourite Parker blue-black calligraphy ink and a small brush came into play, accompanied by a little pot of water for dilution.

I confess I was dreading the tightly curled petals of the lowest flower, but in fact they were not the biggest challenge – the structure of the more blowsy petals was where that lay. Originally, the plan was to put a dark background in (which would also cover up my messy mistakes), but I’ve held off doing so as I’m not sure whether this would add to the sketch. The jury is still out.

Hopefully before the season is over I will get my courage up and get on with a watercolour rose picture. In the meantime, this will do.

rose-posy-calligraphy-ink.jpg

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Sitwell? Don’t mind if I do.

Wayyyy back in February I had the opportunity to go tho the National Portrait Gallery in London. I was scouting around for something to sketch, when this striking bust caught my eye. It’s Dame Edith Sitwell, by Maurice Lambert. Made in 1926, I think it totally captures the spirit of the age – it’s strongly Deco in feel, and cast in silvery aluminium.

This A5 sketch was made with a fineliner outline, and black Tombow with waterbrush for the shadows.

Edith Sitwell bust tombow

I really enjoyed its clean lines and bold shapes, even if the super-elongated neck does rather remind me of the old Cluedo cards…

Rooms in Spanish for Cluedo game

Inappropriate

In the middle of this heatwave we’re having in the UK it seems a bit perverse to post a snowy scene, but I’ve a small backlog which must be blogged, so my apologies.

This scene was made after I’d been for a run along a track I know very well. I used my impressions of the view, rather than an accurate recording. The aim was to have a little experiment with my Dr PH Martin’s inks, using a coffee stain ground. I wasn’t sure what paper I wanted, and ended up on some textured acrylic paper which gave me plenty of opportunity to move the pigment around. I’m not a coffee drinker, and found the smell of the coffee very off-putting. I think I’ll use tea (which I also don’t drink, but which I think smells nicer) next time. I quite like the effect though.

More background was added in blue with water on a big brush. From then on it was all mark-making starting with a sepia fineliner and then adding sepia ink with a small stick,  a brush, and finally my fingers.

Running track ink

This picture was pure escapism and experiment. I’m not sure it entirely works, but what does that matter?

Swoop

As you may already be aware, in my next life I intend to come back as a corvid trainer in a spangly leotard. Until then, I’m making do with the occasional sketch of these intelligent birds. This one’s a jackdaw, of which there are plenty in my local area – cheeky, clever and sometimes just a little raggedy.

The picture is pretty big (for me) at about 16 x 12 inches, and done quickly in Dr PH Martin’s inks with a fairly generously sized Chinese brush. I did do some vague outlines in pencil before beginning, just to try to position it correctly on the surface (the back of a spare piece of mount board). I still didn’t get it all on, but it was refreshing to work much larger than usual. I think I will have to invest in some larger paper to allow for a new scale of sketch.

Jackdaw landing ink

Funny, Runny

Oh, so many issues with this one, but there are also some places where the watercolour did something unexpectedly pleasing, like the interesting backwashes and blooms, and the way the depth of colour changes on the woman’s hair. The colour choices were dictated by the leftover paint I had from the previous portrait I’d done, and it was refreshing to use so much pink, which rarely features in my sketches.

I’m still feeling at the mercy of the paint, letting it have its way while I try to create opportunities for accidents and chance evolutions to happen. It’s a risky business, and success is definitely not guaranteed!

Flamenco watercolour

The weirdest thing is that this has more than a hint of Jots from a Small Apartment’s latest watercolours, yet I did this one before that post. Synchronicity! I love it when that happens.

Simple

Keep it simple, stupid, was my motto today. I was aiming for suggestion rather than detail, and fluidity. I took a variety of photos from the internet as a starting point, three colours of tube paint and my favourite round brush – what came out wasn’t quite what I’d imagined, but I’ll take it nonetheless as a stepping stone.

Ultimately, I’d like to get something approaching Shelley Morrow’s beautiful watercolour forms, but I fear that’s going to take some time and a lot of practice! Shelley’s blog/website is well worth a look…inspirational stuff for me, at least.

Dancers watercolour

Wet-in-wet

Trawling the internet, looking for an image for watercolour practice, I came upon a black and white photo with a 60s vibe. It was a good opportunity to have freedom over colour choices without feeling the need to obey colour prompts from the source photo. As you can see, I drew pencil guidelines first, to alleviate the worry of trying to get proportion right in paint. Once again, employing my favourite round brush, I used the pigment still in my palette from a previous portrait. This meant I kept to a handful of colours, mixing happily to get that pistachio.

It’s easy to see where things went well and fluidly, and where the struggles were. I really like the spontaneity, looseness and colour flows of the legs and umbrella, but wish I’d had an easier time with the face. The umbrella handle was lifted out afterwards with a small flat brush, as I forgot to leave it white, but actually I don’t mind, as it’s less stark than it would have been if I’d left the paper blank. All in all, this was a good session.

Umbrella girl watercolour