Tag Archives: pen and ink

Last watercolour classes

I’ve been to my last two water colour classes. Next autumn I am going to a printing class at the Gloucestershire Printing Cooperative for a change and a challenge. The last classes produced some interesting work. First a Klimtish landscape of birch trees, painted using tube water colour, straight from the tube with no water. The trunks were done in white gouache, dragged on with a palette knife. The effect is quite convincing and barely looks like water colour at all.


In the last class, we worked outside behind Cirencester parish church. Pen sketch with quick watercolour washes over. I had taken a folding chair to suit on, but actually found it more comfortable to suit on the ground. Used a light weight sheet of double walled plastic as a drawing board, which worked well.

The result is a bit messy, but not bad overall. I am going on an urban sketching day in Cirencester next week, so this is a preliminary.



Working on my drawing skills

I’ve decided that I need to improve my basic drawing skills. To that end I am starting to do a lot of small copies of exemplars, starting with Leonardo da Vinci (may as well start high). It is also something I can do in the evening, perched on a sofa. Most painting requires and easel and all the other technology. Drawing just needs paper and pen.

I love drawing in ink. You are stuck with every line, whereas with pencil you can keep fiddling with it. I love charcoal too, but on a larger scale than this. Not suitable to sofas.

Views of Dorset

I managed to get down to my boat in Poole harbour at last a couple of weeks ago, coinciding with hot, sunny weather. A very rare coincidence this year. I also managed to do some simple pen sketches from the boat and whilst out walking over the heathland. I have tried turning a few of these into small acrylic paintings, with varying success.


This very simple sketch was quite tricky, as the boat was at anchor and swinging around in the breeze. What I wanted to show in the painting is that the sandy peninsula was caught in bright evening sunlight, whilst the background was quite shadowed. Only partly achieved.

wp-1471009380720.jpgA sketch of a chalk stack called Old Harry’s Wife. (Old Harry himself is far bigger and just out of sight around the corner). Very bouncy anchorage, with the Isle of wight on the horizon. The painting is on a very smooth art board, which I didn’t like all that much. The paint tended to drag off too easily.


The ink sketch was from the same anchorage as Old Harry’s Wife, looking towards Studland village. I coloured the ink sketch in at home, and then produced the acrylic based on that. More an impression rather than an accurate representation.


A quick sketch on Studland beach, which I worked up a couple of weeks later.I find the sea and sand really hard to paint. Once I had the basic layout laid down, I realised I had my viewpoint far too high, so I added the dune in the foreground to make it look balanced. There were far more people on the beach than I show, and I left off all the little tents and windbreaks as I think they are just ugly. It is a most beautiful beach, especially on a hot sunny day.

Our’s is a nice house, our’s is…


We painted a cottage scene last week in our watercolour class, which I quite liked, but thought I could have done better. So as it was a sunny weekend I decided to have a go at painting our own house, which is a classic cotswold cottage with roses round the door. It was very pleasant way to spend a couple of sunny hours, even if daughter-in-law’s puppy wanted to help most of the time.

I started with a complete pen drawing, trying to get the textures of various plants. Neither easy nor quick. You get cramp in your fingers from scribbling after a while.


Then I added the colour over a couple of days up in my studio.


I think the paint may be a little dense, but that’s better than being thin and wishy-washy, as far too many watercolours are. On the whole, quite pleased with the result, which is back up at the top.

Austrian landscape


Brandalm near Ramsau in Steirmark. Based on a sketch I had made 12 years ago. I was just walking back from going up the Dachstein and stopped at this little Jausestation for essential sustenance. I had walked miles that day, having completely misjudged the scale of the map (and I was teaching that sort of thing at the time). This little stop was like paradise. I sketched the view in ink there and added the colour back at the hotel. Finally, after more than a decade, I have produced the planned painting.

(A scribbled note on the side of the sketch says “endless bloody pine trees”. I was very footsie at the time.)

Watercolour Cottages

We worked form a photograph this week, which is not my favourite, but we were really exploring technique rather than subject..

A simple ink drawing based on carefully spaced pencilled dots and dashes


Then wetting the paper where the sky will be and dotting on blue colour, blowing it around and tilting and shaking the board to get it to spread


Next, more water on the paper and yellow and a bit of red again dotted and splashed around where trees might be.


The buildings now painted. This time the paper is dry, but roofs, walls and hedges just painted on with single strokes, followed by slight touches of contrasting colours.


Finally, the foreground, whatever it is, is splashed on. First wetting the paper in streaks and then touching on yellow. This is allowed to dry to give a bright background. Water again applied and blues and reds touched over the area. The wet paint is blown and tipped and shaken t get it to move around the surface before it dries.


Removing the masking tape reveals and frames the finished result in all its glory, or not.