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Thursday, July 22, 2010

London Pigeon

I still haven't brought my travel sketching kit into work yet after my holiday break, so I used that once-great medium of the ad agency world, the 'Magic Marker' or, Pantone Pen as I always have a set of greys on my desk. In fact I cut my teeth on Magic Markers and they gave me the confidence to try watercolours as they have very similar properties. Both transparent, fluid and require the need to work very fast to avoid unsightly drying 'stains' half-way through a block of colour! Wet-into-wet techiniques apply too. You can't beat a brush and the real thing of course, I was simply using these pens as an alternative to drawing nothing in my lunchour! After scanning in what was essentially a greyscale or monotone image, (the penwork and greys of the bird) I added the 'Thames' water and sandy concrete colour in Photoshop on two seperate transparent layers. Note that I haven't been such a perfectionist and have avoided correcting any overlapping of the two colours or where it goes over the bird's back. I think it adds something, like a mis-registered linocut print ;) The white highlights on the bird's glossy neck were made with an office white correction pen.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Soho Square Gardens

Originally sketched lunchtime today with a black Fountain Pentel (ref: JM20MB) onto a manilla envelope (I didn't have my usual kit with me), I wanted to muck about in Photoshop with tones a little on this one to add a bit more zing. It's easy to overdo effects with computers so I just used subtle layers of grey to pick out the Tudor-style house in the middle of the composition. Erasing a layer of grey one spot at at a time in the foreground at different sizes adds a sun-dappled feel.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Agistri, Greece - Rosy's Little Village, Nonda's friend's boat

Finally, in this sketchy journey through Rosy's Little Village, as you look out across the sea to nearby Aegina, Rosy's husband Nondas has his own speedboat and this larger sailboat moored nearby, belonging to his friend. Both take guests for trips round the island to swim and picnic in secluded, turquoise coves. RLV also have two sit-on-top canoes for their guests, which Fiona and I took out one day for a lovely view of the land from the seaward-side. Here I used masking fluid to retain the white of the paper for the narrow masts. In the Greek sun, (around 35 degrees C), the paint dried very quickly and it was quite hard to keep up with the fast-evaporating water, even in my shaded spot!

Agistri, Greece - Rosy's Little Village, the cove by the derelict bar

Spoilt for choice, swimming-wise, this little bay was just to the right of the sea steps. I snorkled and fished here by an old, dilapidated waterside bar no longer used by Rosy's place, the fence is seen just to the right. Bottom left is an old milk carton used as a buoy. All you could hear here, apart from the soft lap of the sea, was the distant thrum of occasional ferries' engines and the ratchety rasp of cicadas all around us. White highlights in Conté pencil/crayon on Daler-Rowney Murano pastel paper (cool range).

Agistri, Greece - Rosy's Little Village, sea steps

Using the same paper pad, I used both a soft (5b) pencil and travel watercolour pack to sketch in these steps we used to get into the water (on the rare occasion when I didn't want to dive staright in!). Because of the grey substrate, I had to adopt a 'non-purist' watercolour technique of adding the ripples and steps colour in white Conté pencil/crayon. (Normally the white of the paper is retained for pure whites).

Agistri, Greece - Rosy's Little Village, Fiona reading

Charcoal pencil this time on coloured paper, I did a quick sketch of Fiona reading her novel. She looks rather like she's on the deck of a ship, with the railing behind her and distant Aegina island in the background, as the terrace looks down over the bay. Charcoal pencil on cool grey Daler-Rowney Murano pastel paper pad (shown).

Agistri, Greece - Rosy's Little Village, chair

On the same terrace with the sunloungers, I sketched a plastic chair, pure white against the cerulean blue of the sea. Even plastic chairs look good when painted! 2b pencil and watercolour on heavyweight watercolour paper.

Agistri, Greece - Rosy's Little Village, young banana palm

In between the entrance and the steps down to the sea, Rosy has some banana palms and what look like young sunflowers dotted around a sunbathing terrace. The evening sun projected some nice shadows across the leaves. I used artistic licence to omit the fussy backround detail that was really there in order to keep it simple. 2b pencil and watercolour on heavyweight paper.

Rosy’s Little Village, Agistri island, Greece

Just back from our honeymoon at Rosy's Little Village in Agistri, a family-run outfit on the edge of this small Greek island about an hour by ‘Flying Dolphin’ (see pic) from the port of Piraeus, near Athens. Sans the kids, we swam in turquoise coves, lay in the warm sun and downed much Ouzo, Amstel beer and all manner of seafood, the favourite being the island speciality of fresh, grilled octopus. Oh, and I did a good amount of sketching and painting too. The 1st one is the entrance to Rosy's. 2b pencil and watercolour on heavyweight paper.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Woman in hotel room

This came out rather Edward Hopper-esque in style. A woman looks pensively out of a hotel room’s unseen window. Acrylic on canvas. (Not for sale).

Friday, July 02, 2010

Wave, Botany Bay, Kent

Botany Bay is a rather exotic-sounding but admittedly beautiful sandy beach found in the north-west corner of Kent. There are some impressive 'stacks' here, huge chalky structures with caves and arches, such as the one shown here in the background. The spray was achieved with copious amounts of masking fluid spattered onto the paper before any colour is laid down and retained right until the end.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Printmaking: Collagraph: "And the fish flew with the birds"

Collagraphs, as the name suggests, are prints, (normally a short run) made by assembling shallow pieces of anything from paper to wire mesh, in order to build up layers to print from. Once assembled, the 'plate' is wiped with ink, drypoint-style and excess ink is wiped away with scrim and newsprint until a contrasty image is reached. The paper (in this case a heavyweight Somerset) is soaked for 5 mins, blotted and laid over the artwork then pressed (roller in this case). The main substrate here is a coated/laminated card which itself can be inscribed with needles, etc, or torn to achieve a dark tone as the underlying pulpiness is more absorbent than the coating. The frame is such an example. The untorn surface, because it is more easily wipeable, becomes lighter as ink is rubbed away, as in the sky and sea here. The fish bodies and palm are made from parcel tape cut-outs. The clouds and water patterns are inscribed with a needle. This was made up as I went along and, grasping for a poetic title for this piece, I found a happy tie-in between the fish and the birds both flying. One of only two prints made. Oil-based ink on Somerset 300gsm heavyweight paper.