In amongst work on my boats, I’ve managed to do some drawing today. I went to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust at Slimbridge, which is just down the road from us, and had a go at painting some of the birds from life. Not brilliant, but it’s a start. I shall go back over the winter to see the migrants.
In the evening, I went to the Stroud Life Drawing drop in session for the first time in a long time. We had a lovely model, which made a nice contrast to the middle aged men that I seem to have been drawing in life classes for years. I used pencil to try a tonal drawing, which is not usual for me. Worked quite well and was fun to do.
Start of a new session with Susan Kester. Looking at negative space and basic pencil rendering. I was late, so couldn’t complete a whole drawing in the time.
Catching up still on art projects. after St Abbs Head, we spent two weeks in New York State, with one week in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. I didn’t paint any birds directly, they flitted about too quickly. But I did paint four that I saw flying around the house in Woodstock, even though I copied the pictures from a guide book. I feel the world is a better place for having a bird in it called the yellow bellied sap sucker.
I’m getting very behind with this blog. In early July I spent four days at St Abbs Head on a sea bird painting course, lead by Darren Woodhead, a superb wildlife artist. Despite being coastal Scotland, the weather was superb, with scorching sun each day. I’ve never painted birds direct from life before, peering at them through a telescope, so I was pleased with the outcome. Most people produced one, or maybe two paintings a day. I produced 14 overall, in three days! I’m planning to go on a week’s course with Darren next June, out on the Bass Rock. I doubt the weather will be so kind again, but who knows.
I’ve just completed an excellent two day workshop at Ardington School Of Crafts run by Laura Boswell. An introduction to Japanese woodblock printing. An art form I love but I have never tackled before.
I started with an image of pine trees falling into the sea on the end of Furzey Island in Poole Harbour. I photographed it last week and even did a sketch of it in charcoal whilst sitting cross legged on the roof of my boat.
Laura took us through the stages of breaking the design down into blocks which would build up the image. These are carved on both sides of the wood block and coloured using horse hair brushes, watercolour paint and rice paste.
The blocks are printed onto damp paper, using a baren to burnish the back. I produced several multicoloured images and a final, fairly rushed one just in blue, which is very traditional.
It’s a fascinating technique. These results aren’t that great, but they are a starting point. Hokusai, here I come…
I’ve started a series of drawing sessions with Susan Kester in Chalford. Just drawing what is in front of us, with guidance from her. I used charcoal to produce this plant, which is quite reasonable I think.
An interesting one day workshop combining these two unlikely media. I’m still unconvinced by water colour pencils. They are OK as pencils, but when water is applied I think the result just looks insipid. But going over it in biro does help. I like the effect of building up layer upon layer of crosshatching. This abstract based on pots is dirt off OK. I need to do more experimenting.