So I started the Gordon Cullen inspired walk through Volterra last week. I wasn’t happy with how it went. I had taken my own images from Google Street View, and they were mostly of doors and windows. Those, along with rooflines are what I like to sketch when I’m out in the field.
The second image (the yellow one) was the one I did first, then I realised my ‘mistake’ in not including more streetscapes, and pulled out some more images to work from. I had painted the basics in watercolour first, then used Noodlers brown ink which does not smudge. Then final watercolour and a little white pen.
But the second image I drew – the one with the red awning, I used a different process. Ink first with Super5 fountain pen with Noodlers Bulletproof black ink. But it smudged under my hand, even though I had gone away for a while to let it dry. My second step was to paint in the shadows with a mixed black, then some minimal colour. Even hours later, the ink bled into the pale yellow ochre wash on the buildings.
Well….on the third day, Cosmo the cat didn’t want me to draw. He wanted attention. He sat on the sketchbook and bit right through the page…through the yellow drawing and one on the reverse side that I was just starting. Which is why it is smaller. Eventually he had to be shut in another room because when I started the third sketch with very wet watercolour, reserving the whites – he rolled on it.
At this point in the project, there was some discussion with others who are doing the project and I decided my sketches didn’t look enough like ‘a series’. So I have started again with a new strategy to ensure that it will be more like a series.
I did this one before my May trip to Bali. It was from a photograph taken during my February trip, and it was experimental. The gate is at Tirta Empul, where there are holy springs, but I think it was a private gate. Two men came out and looked at me strangely while I was taking the photograph. The light was falling beautifully on the different levels on the fence and I may well use this photograph again.
Holy springs at Tirta Empul
I sketched it with my Hero pen with water-soluble ink. I thought I had green ink in the pen but it turned out to be brown. Then I threw a lot of watercolour, allowed it to dry, then a bit more with the pen.
I sketched this with my SUPER5 pen, given to me by a friend. I really like this pen. It is currently filled with Noodlers Bulletproof black ink (which I never use with colour because it is not waterproof on may of the papers I use in my sketchbooks). This is from a photo from my recent trip to Bali. It was taken at the Griya Santrian Hotel and is along the path past the art gallery there.
I enjoy sketching these carvings and statues. I did another one here, and here. Well, there are a lot really. Of course it is someone else’s art. I talked to someone about how the carvings are done while I was there, and yes, it certainly does start with a drawing, then this is transferred to the area to be carved.
The one I like best of all my drawings of carvings is this one from Kalibukbuk, which I also made a solar plate etching of. It is from a previous trip. Of course, the art work still belongs to someone else (such elegance of line!) but my interpretation is about the way the light falls on the carving. So is the sketch in this post really, though I think the media I chose doesn’t set it off best.
This has led me to thinking ‘what is my subject matter going to be this time in Bali?’ I’m going to be there for almost a month. I need a plan. So what is it I love about Bali? Apart from the people, I love the lush tropical vegetation and I love the way everything is so over-the-top decorative. which brings me back to other people’s art work. Though I do prefer to draw hard-edged things rather than natural things. My main interest in tone and the way light falls on things. I’m still working it out.
This old tree is in the park I walk through all the time. It is so complex. It goes along the ground in various directions, and then eventually there are some branches that go UP. But everywhere you would sit to sketch it, you’d get a different picture. I will sketch it again.
I have filled my HERO pen with Salamader ink that I bought in Florence. It is not water-soluble, so I used a waterbrush to pull in some mid-tones.
Not the best sketch I have ever done. I was exhausted for some reason. But I told myself “do it anyway!”
The ink is a new one I bought in Florence at the pen shop and hadn’t used yet. I’ve been home since 19th May, but so many days with cold and rain. The colour of the ink is called Salamander. I was using it with a dip pen. As you see, it’s not waterproof. But the lines read as black, and when you add a little water you can pull out a wash in a sort of Perylene Green. I love the colour. I will fill up one of my fountain pens with it in a while. I added a bit of watercolour pencil to brighten it up a bit. I need the colour.
While sketching, I had Cossie Foo in a harness, attached to a chair. Immediately he goes round the hibiscus bush and shortens the length of the leash by about 90%. But he played happily there and wriggled a lot, chasing an insect as far as the leash would allow (maybe 12 inches) then wriggling on his back. Suddenly he jumped up, and ran inside, obviously scoffing at me. The harness lay there on the ground still with the clasps fastened. How did that happen? I had one eye on him the whole time.
I 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.
Filed under boats, Charcoal pencil, Copic Multiliner, dip pen, inks, Italy, Ortigia, pen, Sicily, Siracusa, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour, watercolour pencils
Finally I get a brown ink that suits me fine. It has been a long search. I have looked for inks, pens, whatever, for a few years now. The pens are either so light as to not give definition to a line, or so dark as to read as black. I bought some lovely brown ink in Florence, gorgeous colour, but not at all impermeabile (waterproof).
Cathy Johnson recommended this Noodlers Ink, Brown #41, to me a long time ago, but there are very few Noodlers colours available here. However recently my friend Peter had a holiday in New York, and asked me Do you want anything? Well!
I have the Noodlers Bulletproof Black and Lexington Grey for quite some time. They’re ok, but on the fine art papers I use in my handmade sketchbooks, they don’t dry quickly enough. This new brown ink seems to dry quickly and I LOVE the colour.
My sketch of a church for the test run, is from Buscemi in Sicily. I wrote about this when I was there in April – a small town that is a living museum. There were two quite wonderful churches, and as was usual (and very disappointing) with our tour, there was no free time to sketch. So now I sketch it from a photo.
My printer died last week and this is my first scan with the new one. It seems simpler than the old one and quicker, and there was no learning curve at this stage …. Until I start to customise it.