A week or so a friend asked me to help him work out a new idea or two for using Liquid Pencil. I got my books about sketching out for some inspiration. You can see all my sketching books on this page on my website. We found quite a number of good ideas, but this one was the most effective and the simplest. It is an adaptation of a drawing in Moira Huntly’s The Artist’s Drawing Book – an older book with some interesting and unusual things in it.
These initial experimentations are postcard size, though I’m looking forward to doing a large one. If you click on one, you will see it actual size. We used permanent liquid pencil – it also comes in a rewettable variety. We started by blobbing on runny liquid pencil (watered down) and blowing it in various directions. We didn’t have any straws to blow through so we just tilted and turned the paper and it worked fine.
Once that was dry (having run up to the shop to buy straws) I put out Matisse Inks in Ultra Blue, Green, Carmine and Yellow. The blue was used alone, and the green was used both alone or ‘olivised’ with some red and yellow. Each colour was allowed to dry before putting on the next colour.
The last step was to paint on some leaves and fronds using white ink tinted with one of the greens I had used. Moira Huntly’s version used watercolour pencils, but I found that didn’t work for me, nor a white charcoal pencil. I painted the leafy shapes with a No 3 (small) sable brush. I plan to try the ink again but with a pen and nib. I think that line would differ more from the blown lines of ink and perhaps be more dynamic.
Here are more solar plate etchings I printed last weekend. The bins are from photos I took in the factory where the Matisse and Derivan acrylic paints are made. They are just wonderfully textured and coloured from a myriad layers of rivulets of acrylic paint dripping on them over the years. I thought the texture would be fun to use on a solar plate. Once I had the photo transferred to acetate, I drew into the dark areas around the bins. The one with the yellow is viscosity printed, with part of the image masked while they yellow roller was rolled over it. The other image only had the roller with the blend.
The little machine is from a drawing I did on the harbour at Blackwattle Bay a couple of years ago. I traced it onto architects drafting film with a pen, then I put some tones in with Liquid Pencil.
I took my new Liquid Pencil set to demonstrate with at the Royal Easter Show, so I had the full range to choose from. I also took a bunch of my own photos as source material. I decided to do some kookaburras, as I had a few different photos of them. I particularly liked the one with his right side all in shadow, so I did several of him. We were given some new brushes to test, and each of these was done with a different brush. Two of the brushes were quite large (a 16 and a 24) but they were rounds with a good point so it wasn’t a problem although I was only working at postcard size. All these were done with the rewettable sepia and blue and they’re on watercolour paper – great for lifting out either highlights or mistakes. The only exception is the one that has bright turquoise on his wings and that is acrylic Matisse Cobalt Teal. Love that colour!
I was inspired by this drawing to try liquid pencil with washes of colour. There are two kinds of liquid pencil - permanent and rewettable. Because I knew I was going to wash over it, this time I used the permanent. Using the blue, I painted a tonal grisaille from a photo.
The reason I chose the blue is that in my new book, Moira Huntly’s Sketchbook Secrets there is a great drawing in blue of an umbrella plant with only some of the leaves coloured. For the washes in my drawing I used the three primaries, and mixed greens that were very heavy on the yellow to compensate for the blue already on the page.
It took me a long time and I got bored with it, given that it is only postcard size. I was demonstrating at the Royal Easter Show on Sunday, so I took it along and finished it before I did any other work.
A couple of weeks ago I went to David Wilsher’s exhibition on an old ferry at Blackwattle Bay. David, who teaches drawing at the Sydney Community College was successful in gaining a residency on this old ferry. What a treasure trove of images in that area. I took many photos on the day, but the sun was high in the sky, and a week later we went to take photos at 9 a.m.
The last two Saturdays, I did a solar plate etching course with Seraphina Martin. Fantastic! Last week we made four plates and this week we printed them in various ways. The first and second ones have been inked up a la poupee (different colour inks on different areas). They are also both photographic, with a bit of Photoshop, then after they were printed onto acetate I worked into them with a stylus.
The last one has been inked up in a dark brown and viscosity printed. The first colour roll (the blue) was masked with torn paper, then it was rolled with a blend. This one was drawn onto architects drafting film with Liquid Pencil, then some stronger darks were put in with a very thick propelling pencil.
I am really pleased with these three. Now I know the process I can’t wait to get some more solar plates and make some at home.