Most mornings, for over a week, the first thing I have done is make book cloth. It needs to dry overnight and the only place I can keep it safe from the cat is on top of the washing machine, so it’s one sheet at a time.
Three of these pieces are from silk scarves bought in Bali in May for this purpose. I previously used this beautiful red and gold, and another similar fabric of a vibrant purple from fabric I had bought about ten years ago. After much searching, and a visit to the fabric market at Klung Kung, I found that although there are many gilded fabrics that look similar to these, they are all polyester, and not suitable for bookcloth. One must use pure cotton or silk, which is then laminated to kozo paper.
At Klung Kung market in February I found a navy and white pure cotton man’s headcloth from which I have made one piece of bookcloth so far. It will be very robust and look good too. When I got home, it occurred to me that I could make bookcloth from the silk scarves that are available everywhere in Bali. So in May, I bought these three scarves. The blue one at the top is not as blue as it has photographed. More a burgundy/tan colour with some blue and magenta. I think it is my favourite.
The pink has photographed true to colour, though the one with the peacock green pattern is brighter.
Three scarves (and a headcloth) make a LOT of bookcloth. Each scarf has used a whole sheet of kozo paper. The silk is not very robust. When I made my first piece of bookcloth, I thought I had damaged the silk in the process, but once I went on to make the others, I saw that the silk, which is finer than silk I have used for bookcloth before, has many small flaws and I am not making them worse. See close-up.
I’m not sure how the silk will last ‘in the field’. The books are intended for the 30th anniversary of my first trip to Bali in 1986. We have enough bookcloth though, that should it become too ragged, we can make new covers.
This Volterra sketch is done on pale grey paper. The choice of colour was inspired by the colour of the building. It was partly grey, partly ochre. So I got out my Prismacolours to add some yellow ochre, partly to make this sketch fit in with the rest of the group, partly because the grey is a little pale for a mid-tone.
Something completely different coming up in my next blog post.
So far in this new Volterra series on toned paper, I am sticking to earth tones. Maybe when I get further down the track I may surprise us all with something entirely different. Strangley, I have found, now that I have three of the new series on toned paper done, that two of the earlier series can also be included, as they are predominantly ochre in colour. See below; I have included them again so you can see what I mean.
I am enjoying working on the toned paper again. However this Posca pen
has inspired me to buy a few more, and when I get off the toned paper I will be experimenting with them.
A number of other people are doing Volterra drawings from Google Maps travelling a particular route, which can be seen here.
Our drawings are due on 20th August and are slowly being published on the Facebook group SW Games.
This is my strategy for my new Volterra series. Some time recently I saw a sketch I really liked on toned paper. It occurred to me that I had a sketchbook of toned papers, half full. This is the first of my new Volterra series, aiming for streetscapes, and the ‘look’ of a series.
Another reason for this strategy is that on Saturday I bought a white Posca pen to try it out. That’s what I am using for the whites here.
I had forgotten about this sketchbook. I don’t like the cover. Now I have decided to make a new cover. The problem was that the itajime paper I had used for the cover was semi transparent, so when I glued it to the grey bookboard, it didn’t look so good. I shellacked it all over, but was never thrilled with the result. I think I will use itajime paper again, but put some plain white paper underneath. Then I will be more inclined to pull out the book and use it.
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.
Saturday was Urban Sketchers Sydney sketching day. I haven’t been for a while because it is too jolly COLD outside for me. Saturday was fine and sunny, though it became very windy.
The venue was St Stephen’s churchyard, just across the park from my place. I used to go up there a lot on warm mornings to do some sketching. Here is one from 2011. And another. And one from 2010. That’s enough!
In Sydney terms, this is a historical churchyard (graveyard 1848, church 1874). The park outside the walls, that runs down towards my house was a cemetery at one time, and now the gravestones are fixed to the inner walls of the churchyard. Here is how the park looks now. In its early days the church had a long drive(now a residential street) that the carriages would drive down towards the church to a circular drive within the churchyard. You can read more about the history here. And also an EXCELLENT blog post about it.
As I often do at this place, I wandered around aimlessly trying to find somewhere to sketch. I wanted to be IN the sun, and I wanted light and shade falling on what I was sketching. In the end, my decision was to draw these colourful gravestones. After I settled down to sketch, I decided to include the two sketchers sitting in front of me.
I am working quite large – 15″ wide by 7 1/2″ high. The wind came up VERY strongly and I had to hold the pages to stop them flapping about. At one point, while there was a lot of wet watercolour on the page, the book slammed shut. Strangely it did no damage. I put the red on at home and darkened some of the darks a little, but mostly it was done in situ.
I will be posting some sketches of my ‘Volterra Walk’ soon.
Finally I am going to post this sketch i did a few weeks ago. What has been holding me up is the COLD. My desktop computer is in the spare room, and it’s like ice in there. So here I am at last. I scanned the sketch in there and got it onto WordPress, and now I can write the post in another room where it’s warmer.
We went to Redfern with Sydney Sketch Club. Several of us were late, as there was track work on the railway lines. Buses replaced trains, but the problem was, they were skipping Redfern and going straight into the city. However, once we arrived we got right into sketching. Again, I am sketching right across the spread of two pages and using the width of the pages as the height. So, a big sketch.
Monte de Piete was a Catholic pawnbroker and moneylender, dating back to the Middle Ages. Mr A. Margoschis was a local pawnbroker who in 1877 was involved in a murder at his nearby residence. You can read the story here. The things you learn from going out sketching!
Redfern is only two train stops from where I live. At one time I spent a bit of time there, because I had a friend who worked there and I used to go often and have lunch with her. Because it is so close to the city there are some more interesting shops springing up there now.