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…
Just a sitting, clothed figure this week. I did two full figure drawings and two sketch book portraits. I am really poor at portraits so want to concentrate on them. I’ve just ordered a book on drawing the human head.
These full figures are largely in contè crayon, which I really like. You can get very subtle effects and really dense darks.
These two portraits are in Derwent Graphik pen. I haven’t liked it before, but it really came into its own here. It isn’t waterproof, which is where I have come badly unstuck before, using it as a base for watercolour. A real mess.
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.
This was just an exercise in the class yesterday, building up a classic English landscape using multiple layers. I wasn’t too pleased with it when I finished, but it had rather grown on me. A complex, technical watercolour, with a wax resist layer which looks like it was just thrown together.
Experiments with watercolour on coloured paper today. The paper colour will change the paint colour except where you use opaque white gouache. That can either give you a white base or an opaque version of the main colour. We painted little daffodils on three colours of paper. Well, it is nearly spring. I think the last I did, on light brown paper, was best. Largely because I was getting used to the subject and zoomed in on the detail.
This week’s class was about drawing and painting. We spent nearly two hours using fine line pens to build up a dense, textured drawing of a garden with an old shed in it, and then half an hour sloshing watercolour over it. It needed longer than that as the paint really needed to dry in stages.
Although I quite liked the result, I think it probably looked better when it was just a drawing…