Tag Archives: inks

The Creative Commons – Day 3 of ODAD

gamelan_playerODAD – One Drawing a Day. I had to draw a person with a bamboo pen. I don’t have a person right here, unless you count the cat, and he is not the most co-operative.

I decided to use a photo from the Creative Commons. Follow the link if you need to know what it is. I believe strongly in respecting artists’  copyright, but I believe just as strongly in never talking about copyright on the net. Too many entrenched opinions. Too many people telling me what the law is, when they don’t live in Australia, which is the country whose law I need to follow. Don’t talk to me about copyright. I won’t answer. Enough said.

But there are a number of sites where there are photos that you can use. I have had a document for my painting students for a long time. I have just re-checked the links to make sure they are current, and put it on my resources page. You are welcome to use it. Many of the links came from a NAVA newsletter, an extremely reputable organisation representing Australian artists nationally.

So, this man is a gamelan player from Bali. The first ‘people photos’ I came across in my search were Balinese, and why not! I love it there. I also love Balinese music and degung music, which they also play. It is from Java. You can listen here. I have many CDs.

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Filed under Bali, inks, sketchbook, sketching

It got the better of me

hibiscus_pensSunday and early in the morning out in the courtyard, Exercise Two of One Drawing A Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity with Illustration and Mixed Media (One A Day) .  Broni put in a watering system for me when she was visiting recently, and my Hawaiian hibiscus loves it.

The exercise was to use dip pens with a number of different nibs. I found I have many nibs, and four thingy-os to stick them in.  In the event, I used three. My trusty Post Office pen with matching Post Office nib. I love to draw with this pen. It has a wavery line on the watercolour paper (hot press) and to me that really shows the hand-drawn-ness of it. As well as that. I used a wide calligraphy nib, and another nib … I don’t know what you call it.  It tapers off like a normal nib, but it has a small round flat piece that glides along the paper. I used these three nibs to sketch my hibiscus.

And then…..on only exercise two, I added colour. I have seen some lovely sketches recently with selective colour, and my hibiscus are such a rich vibrant red…I couldn’t help myself.



Filed under dip pen, inks, One Drawing a Day, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Playing with Gel…testing, testing, testing.

self_levellingI have been playing around testing a new product for the manufacturer. Lots of fun, though time-consuming. It was weighing on my mind, and first I had to come up with a PLAN.   I got an idea about transparent plastic sheets from a video from Jane Davies, then I put my own take on it. I love the vivid colours of the Matisse Inks so I wanted to see how the  gel would dry with the ink mixed in. I wanted to find a use for the gel for fine art purposes, rather than craft, but not to just pour it straight onto canvas.

I knew this needed a safe place to dry over a number of days without a cat walking on it. So first I did all my washing, so that the top of the washing machine would be available. The gel was to dry on plastic sheet protectors – the ones you use in display books. So I started with a sheet of perspex under the sheet protectors, so that I could move it to the top of the washing machine when I was ready.

I mixed up four little potions of ink with the self-levelling gel, each colour in its own little plastic shot glass. Each shot glass was about 2/3 full of medium, and I added ten drops of ink. The colours I used  were yellow, red, turquoise and green. (I wouldn’t use the green another time, because the colours mixed sufficiently that the  yellow and turquoise made green). I dribbled each colour on and they merged and blended as I poured more on.

When I was finished I moved them to the top of the washing machine to dry. I didn’t take into account that this is an old terrace house and the floors are not totally level. Nor the fact that the perspex bent a little to follow the contours of the top of the washing machine. Soon I was having to wipe up small spills and to  wedge articles under parts of the perspex sheet to ensure it was level. It caused the colours to move about and blend and marble some more. This is the part that gave me some lovely feathery edges as the medium retracted when the perspex was level. It was touch dry by the end of the day, and after a day or two I could pull it off the plastic sheets. I have left it three weeks to cure. Acrylic often appears dry long before it is cured. Now it is not sticky on either side.

I have cut this piece off with a craft knife and stuck it in my sketch book with PVA glue.  This is a test also. I will leave some waxed paper in there for a while to stop it sticking to the facing page, but eventually I will remove it to see what happens.  Then we will know if it can be used inside a book. It is a couple of millimitres thick, and quite flexible.  Possible uses: 1) an art piece made by cut-out pieces glued to a perspex sheet with the light behind it. (2) an installation of pieces with the top rolled around a small dowel and hung with the light behind them. I’m sure there are many more uses.

I think it is quite possible to control this product and make many kinds of flexible transparent sheets. It is possible to peel it off a large perspex sheet as long as you coat it with Vaseline first. I would use scissors to cut it in future, as the craft knife drags it a little.  I also think it would be possible to peel off a sheet that had a lot of holes in it as long as you were careful.  But the gel also does have a mind of its own. Control is not absolute, and you might get some happy surprises.

I was hoping to add some more close-up photos to show you the lovely feathery edges, but the days are so dark that the flash keeps going off. Maybe later.


Filed under acrylics, inks, Matisse Derivan

Sherlock – sketching with a twig

sherlock_2An online sketching group I am part of occasionally has a  ‘Sherlock’.  This is how it works:  there are a set of parameters that each person who takes part must abide by. Then we email our sketches to one person, who puts them online anonymously. After the deadline, all sketches are revealed and everyone has to try to guess which sketch belongs to who.

In this Sherlock, we had to work on a 10cm square.  We had to use all of the materials listed:

  • black ink
  • ultramarine
  • a twig
  • one brush
  • cotton wool ball(s)

sherlock_1I began with the ink and a twig, then lay on ultramarine glazes with a brush. I made a ‘cotton bud’  from the twig and the dampened cotton wool ball and softened the edges with that. My two sketches were from photos taken in the Tuscan village where I stayed in September.

It was a very interesting exercise. A number of the sketchers sharpened their twigs (I think from a tutorial by an Asian Urban Sketcher found somewhere on the net). However at art school I became very accustomed to sketching with twigs, so that option wasn’t of interest to me.

In discussing afterwards, we found varying results with the twigs. Some of the sharpened ones took up a lot of ink, making it an expensive proposition.  Another sketcher tried a number of twigs from different trees and found the results quite different. My twig was from an albizia julibrissin (Persian silk tree) in my courtyard. I think I’ll stick to that.

You should be able to see all the Sherlock entries on this  Facebook page.


Filed under inks, Italy, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Monoprint landscape from The Art Scene demo.

the_soundsThis ink mono print/painting was done at the demo at The Art Scene also. It is the same technique as the ‘Fantasy Fish‘. I did the step of dropping the inks and rolling at home, so that I could demonstrate turning the mono print into a landscape painting with a pen and ink, and a wash or two. I used blues and greens and a few drops of some other colours also, just to add interest.

Of course, I did do the ink mono printing step in the demonstration also, but not this one. I needed to work on a dry one. The first one I did was called ‘Guilin Landscape‘ because it reminded me of the scenery when I travelled down the Pearl River in China many years ago. This new one is called ‘The Sounds’. I wanted to sketch a small boat on the water. I have photographs of Milford Sound in New Zealand where the boat is dwarfed by the mountains like that.

So, how did I turn it into a painting? I washed a few very watery white ink in drifts over the bottom half. Then I drew the waterfalls with white ink and my post office pen. I outlined most of the mountains in white and added some blue ink where I thought it was necessary. With watery blue ink and a brush I put shadows at the bottom of some of the hills that were behind others. I also drew the lines on the water with my post office pen, and then the small boat, and its reflection. I did a tiny blue shadow under the boat also. Not a lot of drawing at all really. Spent more time thinking than drawing.


Filed under inks, Matisse Derivan

Another fun thing to do with inks

Photo 27-07-13 11 19 31 AMDerivan Dave and I had a play with this technique…oh, I don’t know…. over a year ago. At the time we were looking for new techniques suitable for Liquid Pencil. I found this idea in Moira Handly’s book “The Artist’s Drawing Book”. It’s an oldie but goodie, and if you are happy with a second-hand one, the price is certainly good!
I have had one of these left hanging on the fridge with a magnet since that day. I decided that this technique would work just as well with inks, so I had another practice at home before the demo. Photo 27-07-13 11 18 26 AM

The first step is very simple. You need a limited palette, a blue, a green and a brown. I usually add a bit of red to the green to make it more of an olive green. The aim is for it to look like the forest floor. You drip a few drops of ink ( or watered down Liquid Pencil works just as well) onto the area that will be ‘the ground’. Then tip the paper so that the inks runs in various directions, then take an ordinary drinking straw and blow little tendrils and branches out from the main lines of ink.  When you are happy with your composition, allow to dry. One alternative is to paint on a little colour before you start, as I have done with the olive green colour in the second one.

undergrowthThe first one pictured is the Liquid Pencil one from a long time ago. I drew into that one with ink and a ‘post office pen’. I used actual plants and drew them from life (weeds actually).

The second one is a new one with the inks, and I do wish I had toned that blue down with some orange.This one I used watercolour pencils as Moira Handly does, but for my preference they don’t stand out enough. I prefer the pen.

The third one is also with the inks. It is the one I like best. I loved the Liquid Pencil one before I drew on it, and wanted to think of a way to simplify. So I just started doodling some diagonal lines and I found that they looked like the veins of leaves, so I carried on in that theme. Easy as anything. You can do it with children.


Filed under drawing, inks, watercolour pencils