Tag Archives: art papers

Quick Little Pastel

9 Aug


Today I was giving someone some tips for using pastels, so I thought the best way was to have a bit of a scribble myself. It’s so nice to work onto proper pastel paper; the darker tone of the paper and the toothed texture make a huge difference. That’s half the battle with art, using good quality materials that are suited to the job. I just did a quick post-impressionistic semi-abstract landscape in my usual scribbly style.


I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you’d like to see them, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Wookey Hole

1 Feb


I was given a stack of vintage art papers by a kind benefactor a while back and I am gradually using them for drawing and printmaking. Today’s daily drawing was done on a beautiful piece of W.S.H. & Co British Handmade Paper, made at the Wookey Hole paper mill near Cheddar in Somerset in the West Country. Wookey Hole is probably more famous for its wonderful ancient caves, the legend of the Witch and its cave-aged Cheddar cheese, but in amongst all of this is a paper mill that has been operating over 400 years, since at least 1610. The paper is beautifully textured with deckle edges, a large watermark and a slightly bluish tint.

I had used this sheet of paper to do a bit of opportunistic marbling. A fellow artist had some left over black oil paint mixed with turps and chucked it into a bowl of water with washing up liquid and the surface went all marbly. So I grabbed a few sheets of paper and laid them on top and got some lovely marbled effects. I scribbled this while Husb was Skyping a relative this evening, using compressed charcoal and black and white conte crayons. It took about 10 minutes. It is fairly accurate but makes him look much older than he is.

I like to spend my time fondling beautiful papers and doing research and reading about them. I am such a geek 😀

Drawn In The USA

28 Apr

28 studio

Yeah I know, that’s a cheesy title. But what do you expect from an ageing rock chick??!! In 48 hours I will be in Boise, Idaho, working with a group of artists in Wingtip Press. And I’m getting really nervous now, so I’m checking and double checking my lists and I don’t know how many times I’ve made sure my passport is packed and other obsessive stuff. I’ll be doing loads of drawing when I’m in the USA and I like to draw on pre-coloured paper, so here’s some I prepared earlier. I have a mixture of papers; it’ll be interesting to try out some papers I’ve had for ages and not used before; Bockingford, Arches, Somerset, Aquarelle and WSH. I’ve coloured some of the more robust ones with oil pigment – rhodamine red and yellow ochre – after coating them with gesso first. Others I’ve coated with ink wash and I’ve also included a discarded cyanotype (on Bockingford) that I recycled – that’s the one in the front on the right.

I’m just tying up loose ends here but I’ll probably be faffing around until the last minute and you can bet that once I’m on the coach for Heathrow, I’ll remember something I haven’t packed! I’ll be blogging every day from Boise so you can follow my adventures with rattlesnakes and coyotes. Drawn In The USA is the name of the ‘project’ that I put together for funding from Arts Council Wales, who are contirubuting towards the travel costs.

Apricots And Bunnies (not for vegetarians)

9 Mar

09 apricot tree

I’ve been having lots of discussions about rabbit skin glue with local artists recently. It seems that some art colleges don’t bother teaching about technique and materials any more. Well, there we are then! Anyway, rabbit skin glue is a very versatile and cheap size for applying to canvas, paper, wood and cardboard before painting, drawing or doing traditional or digital printmaking. It forms a barrier between the surface and the material you are applying. This is important because the surface might contain chemicals that will damage your pigment, such as cheaper papers, some kinds of wood, and also because your pigment might rot the surface, such as oil paints on canvas or paper.

It’s largely been superceded by acrylic gesso, printmaking papers with internal size, and commercially prepared art papers for digital printing. These can be very expensive. To prepare rabbit skin glue I use one teaspoonful of glue granules to 12 teaspoons of cold water, leave overnight to set into a revolting grey jelly then stand the pot in a bain marie (I use an old saucepan) to melt the glue. When it’s thin brush it quickly over the surface you want to prime. It leaves a lovely satiny sheen and is a joy to work on. I usually do 2 coats and stretch papers first, although some heavy-duty artpapers can take the strain.

This piece started as a digital photograph I took on my travels to the Hunza Valley in Pakistan when the millions of apricot trees were in Spring bloom. I tweaked it a bit in Photoshop (just very slightly with Cutout filter) and then printed it out using a good quality inkjet onto an A3 piece of Somerset I’d previously sized and dried with rabbit skin glue. The piece has a beautiful velvety quality that doesn’t really come over on the screen.

ps Toulouse-Lautrec did loads of paintings onto cardboard, usually with gouache and oil.

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