Local Sketches

The weekend often provides more opportunities to go out and do some urban sketching, here is a quick 10 minute sketch I did from the bus stop in town.

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Finally got the nerve to start sketching in my Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook.  Oh this paper is simply wonderful, it works with watercolour beautifully and the colours stay so bright and fresh.  My first page is a sketch of my current travel palette.

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Then in the evening we took a walk in our village and I sketched one of the cottages from a sunny bench.

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Two Local Landscapes

Yesterday I worked on doing a couple of local landscapes.  What we lack in urban architecture around here we make up for in sheer natural beauty.

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Pen and Daniel Smith watercolours in HandBook Journal

This is the view of the hills from our bedroom window, it’s hard to get sick of this view which is always changing throughout the year.  The heather and bracken can go from purple, brown, yellow and green depending on the season.

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Pen and St. Petersberg Watercolours in Derwent Cachet

At the childrens’ request we went to the nearby beach which is hidden gem for these parts, at the bottom of some interesting cliffs which the twisted strata is clearly visible.  This was an amazing sketching experience as I was knee deep in sea water, drawing while the children splashed.  The sea gets so warm in this particular spot, like a bath.  I added colour after we got home.

Though neither of these are perfect I feel like I’ve made a bit of progress with my landscapes, despite not working on them for a while.  I did do little value sketches before working on the bigger sketch which I think helped a lot.  Looking forward to doing more of these in the future.

Urban Sketching Pirate Ships

Yesterday I took the children to a very small local zoo.  It doesn’t have much to boast in terms of animals but it does have a fantastic full sized pirate ship to play on surrounded by sand.  This gave me the rare opportunity to do some urban sketching while my children happily played.

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The pirate ship was a huge challenge in perspective.  I was sitting fairly close to it from two different angles and it was hard to make it look convincingly three dimensional.  There were a lot of decorative details on the ship that I didn’t have time to include.  I used my Lamy Safari F nib and Pentel brush pen for the shadows.

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This morning I sketched this old bike near the village shop.  I don’t often draw mechanical things but this was a pleasant challenge.  And my husband even could recognise the model so I consider it a success.

Fast, Loose Vegetables

Yesterday we took a trip out to a couple of local farmshops searching for seasonal treats, particularly purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb.  Purple sprouting broccoli is only available in early spring so it always feels like an occasion when we have it.  It is also quite beautiful with its purple florets, just a shame it goes green when you cook it.

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I felt like dipping back in the watercolours last night and went for straight-to-watercolour slightly abstract, loose, splashy look to this spread.  The broccoli is probably more abstract than I intended but the one thing I am particularly pleased with is the variation in colour.  Now I’m really looking forward to the growing season to get a chance paint and draw more vegetables!

Have you done any fruit or vegetable drawings?  Or growing anything in the garden this year?

Back to Pencil

It’s been a while since I’ve sketched with a pencil, I did some very early in my daily art project but then started inking over my drawings with pen and then progressed straight to pen drawings.  I love the boldness of pen but decided to do some more pencil drawings to see how I felt about it.

tulips

A few tulips in my garden have just started to open and it was fun sketching them in pencil.  I started out with very light lines making the basic shapes and then went progressively darker.  I forgot how nice it is to have softer shadows.

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In the evening I did this one of some spoons my husband carved a few years ago.  The pencil works better for the texture of the wood than pen.  The only things I didn’t enjoy was smudging the graphite with my hand.  I worry that these probably won’t last long-term in the sketchbook.

Do you use pencils for sketching?  Or are you devoted to ink?

Dreaming of Summer Flowers

This weekend has been all about flowers and gardening, on saturday our little village had its Spring Flower Show.  That sounds a lot grander than it was, which was essentially a few stems of daffodils and other spring flowers scattered around an incredibly crowded village hall.  I was particularly taken by the delicate long petals of the magnolias.

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I did the sketch while I was there, and wanted to do more but I was being jostled by traffic and didn’t have a place to sit.

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Some of the buds of the silver willows have started to open.  Don’t you just love those fuzzy flowers?

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I was flipping through one of my gardening books when I came across some photos of beautiful opium poppies.  They seem like such a long way away now, but I enjoy dreaming of these summer flowers.

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My plan this year is to fill my garden beds with lots of flowers for cutting (and plenty for bees and butterflies too).  I don’t often buy flowers from the shop but find so much satisfaction going around the garden cutting my own.  I am only a beginner but I hope I can get at least a few things growing this year.

Daffodils Three Ways

Nothing says spring to me like daffodils and I’m so lucky to be surrounded by hundreds in our garden.  Flowers always are an inspiration to me, their colours, shapes and scents are simply intoxicating.

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Here’s me trying to break one down to its simplest form in straight up watercolour.

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And a more intricate line drawing of some in a bunch my little children picked for me.

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And the same with a bit of colour added.  The last one is my favourite.  I pulled out my set of Ph. Martins Liquid Watercolours, they add instant punch to a painting.  I lost a few highlights here and there so I added some with white acrylic ink.  It took on a slight yellow tint but I think it looks fitting here.  The white ones were difficult to do, shadows in white or yellow are always challenging for me.

Do flowers, or nature, inspire you too?  Hope you are all starting to see first signs of spring wherever you are.