I went to Slimbridge two or three times a week during November and early December, and really worked on my bird drawing. Mainly dry media although I still take all of my watercolour kit with me . I find it hugely satisfying.
The drawing process itself is thoroughly enjoyable , but you also learn so much more about the birds just by studying them so closely and intently for a long period. The colour and pattern on some of the birds , such as shelduck or lapwings , is just staggering. Even drab looking greylag geese have the most beautiful feather patterns.
I haven’t used simple pencil drawing all that much, but over the last few weeks I’ve been falling in love with it. First at Susan Kester’s drawing class, where we were simply practising gridding a photograph to produce an accurate copy of it. I used a photo I had taken of Furzey island in Poole Harbour over the summer. Susan showed me a technique for skidding the pencil over the paper to produce feathery marks, and I was hooked.
I think, as for most artists , it is the range of tones you can produce which is so satisfying . Not just with different pencil grades, but with careful use of a putty rubber to knock back certain areas.
The next was simply drawing what was in front of us , in this case some basic Christmas bits and pieces on the table. The silver bauble brought out my inner Escher as it were.
Again this is all about tones and marks.
There will be more…
My old hydraulic lino cut press finally gave up the ghost last week. After a period of lurching rather unnervingly to the right when loaded, it pulled one of its bolts right out. So I’ve spent the last couple of days building a new one with a new oak worktop base and four steel rods to hold it all together. I haven’t printed with it yet, but it barely creaked when I powered it up.
This afternoon I was back at the life class, where we did a portrait, starting with a detailed pencil drawing, and then painting over it with acrylic. Quite pleased with the outcome.
I’ve been back to Slimbridge and the Wildfowl Trust. I treated myself to a small telescope which I’m very pleased with. Now I can work with my hands free from holding binoculars all the time.
Having got it all set up, there was ne’r a thing to see, apart from one solitary goose plodding around, so I painted him /her.
I spent a day at a coptic stitch bookbinding course at Ardington School of Craft last week. Produced two quite acceptable sketch books as a result. I don’t like these open backed books all that much, aesthetically, but they do work very well as sketchbooks as they open out completely flat. I may get to love them.
I spent an hour or so at Slimbridge this afternoon, watching and painting wild geese. I didn’t have long, but I wanted to try out a stripped down watercolour kit.
It seemed more than adequate, and didn’t take up half the room of all the boxes I took part time. Only time for one page of sketches of greylag and barnacle geese.
Back at Susan Kester’s Thursday morning drawing class. Working with pastels and a selection of vegetation. Not my usual subject, but I suppose, what is.