Tag Archives: watercolour pencils

Siracusa relections

siracusa_boatsI have the John Lovett DVD and the way he does reflections is just amazing.  I watched the video, but mine is nothing like the way he does it. His are so simple and direct. Mine are played about in. But then again he has done it a million times.  I was working from a photo. (No turning your nose up here. It has been raining for three weeks and I also have some health issues.)  My water does look like the photo, so that’s something.

It is a photo I took in Siracusa, in Sicily. We were staying on the island of Ortigia, which is part of the city of Siracusa. It is joined on to Sicily by three short bridges and I took this photo when we were on our way to the flea market one morning. Although it was supposed to be an art tour, there was no waiting for anyone who stopped to take a photo, so it was just ‘grab a snap’ and move on.

And yes, I bought some interesting little things at the flea market.

 

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Filed under boats, Charcoal pencil, Copic Multiliner, dip pen, inks, Italy, Ortigia, pen, Sicily, Siracusa, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour, watercolour pencils

Jorge Royan

jorge_sketchA valued friend of many sketchers, Jorge Royan, died unexpectedly just over a week ago as the result of a medical procedure. He is being missed by many people all over the world. Though I never met him face to face, I always thought I would. There is nothing I would have liked better than to sit and have a chat with Jorge.

Jorge’s sketching friends are doing a book of portraits, or they are sketching floral tributes, that will be put together as a book for his family. This is my contribution. I didn’t know how to approach it. A hard thing to do. I decided to use the mixed media techniques I have been using recently. Watercolour, watercolour pencils, gesso, charcoal pencils, both black and white. I am not a portrait artist, so I am happy enough with it.

Jorge started the Sketching Workshop a couple of years ago and I was lucky enough to be asked to join right away. The group is deliberately kept to 150 members, so that we all have the opportunity to get to know one another.  We are all peers – relatively competent in sketching – so that we can critique one another’s work from an equal footing. And critique we do.  The words ‘wow’ and ‘amazing’ are forbidden. It is a truly international group – not dominated by any one nationality. We have great projects and great fun with them. Jorge never asked for anything in return. He wasn’t selling anything.  His motto was “all that is not given is lost,” and that philosophy has influenced  the group. To me, he was the non-commercial face of sketching.

 

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Filed under Charcoal pencil, gesso, inks, sketching, watercolour, watercolour pencils

Siracusa ….another door

siracusa_door_2Stuck in the kitchen while electricians roamed the house, I decided to sketch another of the three doors from Siracusa. Again I used mixed media techniques I picked up from the John Lovett book. Watercolour, watercolour pencil, ink, charcoal pencil, both black and white, and gesso.

I didn’t look at the one I had already sketched, because I didn’t want the way I had handled it to influence this sketch. I have decided to leave it a while before I do the third one, and see if that makes any difference. I love to look at the photos of these doors, because we walked past them several times a day and it takes me right back to Sicily. It would be so nice to be there now when it is warm there and so cold here.

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Filed under Charcoal pencil, gesso, inks, Italy, Ortigia, Sicily, Siracusa, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour, watercolour pencils

Another John Lovett landscape

jl_project_3Everything broke last week, so while I was waiting for tradesmen to come and fix things, I painted another little landscape from the John Lovett book. This is a step by step project from the book. I learn so much from these projects, but on the whole I would much rather paint from my own photos.

This one is also mixed media and the main difference is that the sky is mixed with ultramarine watercolour and white gouache. It certainly makes it pop against those orange rocks. A very Australian landscape, not that I have been to the outback to see country like this.

So, mixed media again. Watercolour, watercolour pencils, ink, charcoal pencil and gouache.

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Filed under Charcoal pencil, inks, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour pencils

A little landscape – from my John Lovett book

jl_project_2This book is crammed with information, and I have decided that the best way to take it all in is to do the projects. However this raises even more questions, and I think the best answer is to do a workshop with John Lovett at some time, and actually watch him work.

I did this little landscape on Saturday morning, when it was raining, and I spent a lot of the day waiting for it to dry. This is a real mixed media effort, with watercolour, gouache, watercolour pencils, charcoal pencil, ink and gesso.

I have decided that this style of painting (or any watercolour beyond ‘pen and wash’) is in direct opposition to the qualities required for urban sketching. Well, you wouldn’t really want to carry around all that long list of materials. But the main thing is that sketching is fast, and ‘real watercolour’, to be done well, really needs time to dry. I have seen some very experienced watercolourists achieve it, but I have seen others make mud.

I am a bit of a ‘glazer’ when I paint in acrylics and oils, and I guess I am the same with watercolour. Makes for wet paper. I think this little painting (postcard size in my sketchbook) needs some stronger darks under the rocks, but it was an exercise and I had had enough with the waiting.

This time I had learnt to be less heavy-handed with my charcoal lines. That’s why I’m doing these projects…..to learn.

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Filed under Charcoal pencil, dip pen, gesso, inks, sketchbook, watercolour, watercolour pencils

A door in Siracusa

siracusa_door_10In s street very close to our apartment in Siracusa were these wonderful old doors. I took several photos of them because I knew I would want to make art work from them later.

Yesterday we were going to go out sketching, but the weather was too miserable. Rather than go to a museum and sketch inside, we decided to do a project from the John Lovett book I was given recently. There is a section on Buildings and Architectural features, and within that section is a number of Italian doors. We chose one of these three doors, and got started.

We didn’t have the correct colours in pastel pencil to draw it up, so we used watercolour pencils and that worked fine. Then we put in our structural marks (the darks). The next step was to work in charcoal pencil with big confident strokes. I understood that to be bold, and I was wrong. You paint after than and the trouble is that when you wash over the charcoal pencil marks, it makes the washes dirty. From the examples I see that the author’s strokes are thin and spidery. I don’t know how big he is working either. Maybe the strokes look so fine because the image size has been reduced. I am working in a sketchbook. He also says to work from the shoulder and elbow rather than the wrist. To me, that means he is working at an easel. Oh how I would like to do a workshop with him and see how he does it.

John Lovett uses gesso so I also used it to restate my whites so that I could put clean paint over the top. We also used ink…my lovely ink from Florence. And I went back to the watercolour pencils as well.

These were particularly grungy doors, so I am happy enough with the result, though I will do it differently next time. I have already printed out a photo of one of the other doors, so that I see if I get a better result when I try it again. We had great fun doing it though, and learnt so much.

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Filed under Charcoal pencil, dip pen, gesso, inks, Italy, pen, Sicily, Siracusa, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour, watercolour pencils

The Circumetnea concertina book

etna_book

 

I wrote before about the trip on the Circumetnea train. Finally I get to scan my little concertina book. It is 12cm high by 15cm wide, and there are eight pages.

It was a small, quaint little old train, and we had our books on our knees. We went between Catania and Randazzo (see map), and it took about two and a half hours. We sketched non-stop. I had three different ‘magic pencils’and four watercolour pencils, indigo, a dark green, yellow oxide and an earthy red. We went through many tunnels; there were no lights but we sketched on. More loopy cacti. At one point the carriage filled up with school children. They were very interested in what we were doing, but we had no time to stop. The book was substantially finished at the end of the journey. I added just a little more dark green and blue pencil, and then sploshed on some yellow watercolour, simply because there had been so much yellow in the wildflowers and vegetation.

I have always suspected that obsessive sketchers miss a lot while they have their nose in their sketchbooks. It’s true! I would have liked to go back to the beginning and to do it all again, so that I could look.

imageI haven’t put the covers on the book yet. I bought a lot of Italian decorative papers in Rome, where I found some shops off the tourist trail that had wonderful papers. I think I will go with my first choice, which is the simplest. I don’t want to overwhelm the drawings. These are just a few of what I have.

(Just a little diversion from Bologna, while I put colour on a very complex sketch that I did in pencil in a museum. Done now. Posting that tomorrow.)

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Filed under artist's book, book art, Etna, Italy, magic pencils, Sicily, sketching, watercolour, watercolour pencils