Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gouache on Terraskin stone paper

Morning Snow - Gouache on Terraskin 19.5 x 13.5cm

At the beginning of December Jeanette Jobson who blogs on Illustrated Life started testing various media on a new ground called Terraskin which is made from a crushed mineral powder held together with a non-toxic resin - effectively paper out of stone. Since Jeanette only has one tube of gouache I volunteerd to test the Terraskin as a ground for gouache.

We woke to snow this morning so I dashed out to the garden to take some photos and used one as a reference for the little painting above. The 'paper' has a beautiful soft, smooth, almost velvety surface and is quite heavy. It cuts beautifully but wouldn't tear easily. I noticed in the tests I did on a scrap that it is quite easy to lift highlights from painted areas but one has to be careful because the paint takes longer to dry than on watercolour paper and colours will run into semi dry areas. The gouache dries to a lovely smooth bright finish on this paper. I imagine it would be great for reproduction.

I'm trying very hard not to fall in love with Terraskin because I don't imagine I'm going to find it in Italy in the near future. Many, many thanks, Jeanette for your generosity in sharing some samples.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Gouache sketch, plus...

Neighbours' Washing
Gouache on Clairefontaine brown kraft paper

If you visit on Sunday night you are probably going to be offered leftovers. That's what this post is ... leftovers from a few days of experimenting.

That's a new Clairefontaine sketchbook above - I like the colour but it is very thin and the paint is inclined to collect on the ridges of the paper.

Another experiment - Pigma Micron 005 pen with watercolour wash on rough CP paper. It's a corner of my favourite Piazza in Florence, where I'm going to stay next weekend. So you could call this one Practice.

Hydrangea - Monotype
- Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watersoluble pastels on Japanese Ho Sho paper

Monotype - oil paint on Fabriano white paper

So, who said I have too many art supplies?!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Persimmon Monotype Print

Persimmons -Monotype 20cm x 20cm Gouache on Fabriano Paper

This is a hand-rubbed monotype of gouache transferred from a glass plate.

Unfortunately with the gorgeous ripe persimmons of autumn comes the thick, grey fog that makes it very difficult to photograph prints and my scanner has dropped out too much detail.

Persimmon Tree decked with ripe fruit.

And another - they are all over the place.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Autumn Leaves - Monotype Print

Handpulled Monotype 8cm x 24cm
Red Ochre oil based ink on cream paper

This print evolved through three steps. I inked a plexiglass plate and arranged leaves and plants I had picked up on my morning walk. I covered the plate with foil and pressed it in a book press. The first 'print' was a fun negative image on silver. I then ran the plate with the leaves still in place through the etching press and while the leaves embossed nicely there was still too much ink on the plate and the print was crude. Disappointed, I started lifting the leaves to clean the plate. That was when I discovered a delicate image traced on the plate. Through the etching press once more and above is the final result. You can click the image for more detail.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Collegiata di San Giuliano Print

Collograph Print in Raw Umber
image 14 x 21 cm on cream Grafia paper

This collograph was built up from shapes I cut out of textured Fabriano drawing paper and glued to my original sketch on a piece of mat board. The plate was then coated with several layers of acrylic medium and inked with oil based ink, wiped with talatan cloth and newsprint and run through the etching press.

Everything I've learned about collographs has been gleaned from artist/printmaker Belinda del Pesco. Belinda has generously posted a series of step-by-step demonstrations on collographs on her blog. She is a never-ending source of inspiration.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kaki Pen Sketch and Gouache

Lami Safari Pen and Gouache

What I most love about winter in Tuscany - and I'm keeping count on one hand - is all the Kaki (Persimmon) trees dangling their golden fruit like Christmas trees.

I picked up a couple of fallen fruit on my walk the other morning and by the time I'd sketched them we were off to buy our own Kaki tree.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Flying Pictures, Different Strokes Book

Remember our Flying Pictures Sketchbook exchange last year? Well Lindsay Olson has organised an exhibition of our books in her local library in Chicago.

To coincide with the exhibition I've created a book of my contribution to all seven of the sketchbooks.

Flying Pictures Book

I'm hoping this first tentative step into virtual publishing may inspire our other Flyers to make their own book.

P.S. It's been a nightmare trying to create this book. First I tried in ISSUU and my PDF upload failed - days were wasted, so I decided to try to test my PDF. FANTASTIC. It worked! First time! But as I'm new to this virtual publishing world may I ask you to choose 'BOOK' in the 'view mode' window at the bottom in order to view it as it was created.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Small House Big View - watercolour sketch

14x9 cm watercolour sketchbook from Zecchi

I took gouache rather than watercolours on my morning walk and then tried to use them as watercolour washes. I don't know what I was thinking. It was very frustrating trying to mix colours and then the paper in this new sketchbook stayed damp for a long time so when I came to add some detail with ink it ran everywhere. As a result I added a little transparent watercolour when I got home.

Lately I have become very interested in monotype prints using diluted oil paint. This iris print was the first large work which was produced in three stages. The first stage I used a japanese brush to paint the iris in black oil based ink. I pulled the print and loved it. Stage two I went back to the plexiglass plate and guided by the original sketch which I'd fixed under the plate I painted in the flower and leaves. I pulled the same print through the etching press again. Less certain about the result this time. Stage three I added the background. Horrible choice of palette. I should have thought a great deal more about this. End result - very disappointing.

I'm not going to give up on this idea. Next time I'll work backwards through the three stages .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sketching & Walking

W&N Sepia Calligraphy Ink, Montblanc pen & waterbrush

As daylight saving ended today I managed to get out of bed early enough to go for a walk. I made this sketch in a cheap book (not confident about what I would achieve) as I returned to town through the olive groves.

Drypoint etching of Dermott

I've reworked the zinc plate for the above print with a diamond tipped drypoint tool. Zinc is not as pleasing to work as copper so I don't think I will be economising in future. Anyway, as HWEM points out, there's probably a limited demand for prints of our dog with his begging bowl.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

La Snowy

March 1, 1992 - October 1, 2009

We all loved her.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Out and About Sketches

Here are a few recent sketches. My heart isn't in it at present and I've been greatly tempted to tear pages out of sketchbooks. Posting them here will keep me honest :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Apple Sliced Watercolour

Watercolour Arches CP paper

Apple & Sliced Apple across HP & CP paper

An additional contribution to Jeanette's Apple Challenge. These watercolours are in a lovely 6" x 8.75" hand-bound sketchbook made for me by Marta in a combination of Fabriano HP and Arches CP paper. The inside cover is a map of Florence. She gave it to me when we met there. It's become a favourite.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple watercolour

Watercolour Fabriano Artistico HP paper

Fitted in around the chores on a wet Sunday afternoon, my contribution to Jeanette's (Illustrated Life) Apple Challenge.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Black Fig - watercolour

watercolour on HP paper

Finally the black figs are ripe. Black figs with Gorgonzola - YUM!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Collagraphs and Monotypes of Italian Subjects

Corso Italia Collagraph Print 14 x 22 cm

This handpulled collagraph print was developed from a sketch I made in the historic centre of our Tuscan village, Castiglion Fiorentino.

A reversed scan of my original sketch was transferred to a piece of cardboard and the outlines carved out with a sharp blade. Additional texture was made by gluing plastic net, tissue paper and pieces of scrap watercolour paper to the plate. The plate was then coated with Acrylic gloss medium and varnish and inked with black oil based etching ink. Areas of ink were wiped away before printing on C.M. Fabriano 100 percent cotton paper using an etching press.

I'm a big fan of the beautiful monotypes of Martin Stankewitz which he prints with oil paints. Since I have quite a stock of oils and have decided it's not one of my favourite mediums for painting, I got quite excited about the possibility of using up my paint for monotypes. Below is my first effort.

Venice Lagoon with San Giorgio Maggiore 8.5 x 10cm monotype

After this experiment, I'm even more excited about the potential of monotypes in oil paints. This photograph doesn't do justice to the beautiful silky finish of the paint on the paper and the result is much more painterly than I can achieve on canvas because painting onto a plexiglass plate, I don't get caught up in too much detail.

It's a lot of work for one unique print but I think I'm hooked.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Owl after Hiroshige - with a twist

Dark Side of the Moon 3" x 3" intaglio print

I've fallen in love with a little Japanese print called Owl on Maple Branch in the Full Moon by Hiroshige. I saw the print at the Hiroshige - The Master of Nature exhibition in Rome earlier this year. Ever since I can't stop doodling the image of the little owl.

This tiny print was made using a small V-shaped tool to carve the image into a piece of recycled plastic advertising card and then wiped with oil-based ink and pulled through the etching press. This Hiroshige inspired owl is reversed and overshadowed by the dark side of the moon.

Hand coloured intaglio print 3" x 3"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dorset Landscape in Gouache

Dorset in Gouache on grey paper - 5" x 7"

Even though August is supposed to be my printmaking month, I'm missing the little landscapes I was painting during my morning walks in July.

Since it's been too hot and I've been lacking motivation, I haven't been Sketchercising but when our friend Catherine M. sent some photos of a walk in the Dorset countryside, I decided to make it a gouache exercise. I'm still not at all comfortable with gouache but when I see what artists like Nathan Fowkes can do with opaque watercolour, I have to keep trying.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hat Rack - Collagraph with watercolour

Original collagraph print with watercolour - 10.5 x 25 cms

Original collagraph print with watercolour - 10.5 x 25 cmsOriginal collagraph print with watercolour - 10.5 x 25 cms

The plate for this collograph was carved out of a piece of thick cardboard then sealed with Acrylic Gloss Medium and Varnish. Each print was hand-wiped with oil-based ink and then run through an etching press.

Hand painted limited edition of three different hand-coloured prints
Printed in black oil based Charbonnel etching ink on
Fabriano 100% cotton paper 17.5 x 33 cms

This is my first collagraph. I was inspired by the beautiful prints of artist/printmaker Belinda del Pesco who so generously shares her collagraph technique on her blog here.

The coat/hat stand we bought at a street market here in Tuscany. The hat is a white panama from Venice. After sketching the hat on the stand, I scanned my drawing and reduced it in size before tracing onto the cardboard plate. I've used some of my favourite colour combinations - Magenta/Sepia, Quinacridone Gold/Indigo and French Ultramarine Blue/Burnt Sienna to paint the hats.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Art Map

Map! is a four letter word. I'm not good with maps - well that's what HWEM* says. He says I can't read a map. He usually says this when he is sitting behind the steering wheel - going too fast - missing our turn-off!

The Christmas before last there were two identical presents under our Christmas tree. We had each bought the other a TomTom portable GPS Car Navigation System. Since we now only have one car it was obviously a last ditch attempt, on both our parts, to save our marriage.

The story has a happy ending because, even though I had warned him: 'Don't buy me anything you want yourself!', I got to take the one he bought me back to the store, where I gave the nice young Italian a bit more money, and got myself the Nikon D40x digital camera I'd really wanted.

Where is this ramble going? It's going on a ramble! Some of you will recall I joined the Sketchercise Ning a while back as one of a group of artists who like to walk for pleasure and exercise and sketch along the way. Sketchercise was created by Katherine Tyrrell of Making a Mark. Joining gave me a tremendous boost because I actually started painting little watercolours en plein air.

Recently some of the clever people at Sketchercise started posting links to Google Maps that outlined the routes they took on their walks. Ignoring the fact that map! is a four letter word, I wanted to get with the technology and make my own Google Map which would not only include the route but photos of my paintings where I painted them. Easy! Well, not exactly. It may be a problem with my Mac not having an Intel processor but I still can't post a photograph on a Google Map, so I've come up with two alternative versions.

1. A map marking the routes of my regular walks.

2. A map showing my paintings on location.

I have lost a couple of days trying to sort this out but I thought some of you with smarter computers; more technological nous; time on your hands, might like to map where you paint and sketch and share it with the world.

* HWEM - He Who Encourages Me

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Best Friends - Watercolour

Best Friends - 16 x 18 cm watercolour

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Morning landscape - watercolour

Corner Tree - 3" x 3" watercolour

When I set out on my walk this morning I had high hopes for some clouds in the sky. By the time I'd found a shady spot and the subject of my painting, they'd gone and the sky was again a bright desaturated backdrop.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chiesa della Consolazione watercolour

3"x 3" watercolour on 6"x 6" on rough 140lb paper

Santa Maria della Consolazione

After the scorching day we had yesterday, I restricted my morning walk to inside the walls of our town. I found a shady spot to sit with a nice view of the octagonal church.

This is six days in a row of walking and painting. Tomorrow I rest!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tuscan Church Watercolour

3" x 3" Watercolour - Tuscan Country Church
3" x 3" watercolour - paper 6" x 6"

Painted on this morning's walk.

Currently 37ºC, too hot to be out painting! The colours were drying on my brush before I could get them on to the paper.
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