Tag Archives: sepia

The Difference Of Materials

14 Apr

 

The difference of materials. I was engrossed in drawing at Galerie Simpson on Swansea’s High Street a couple of days ago. I’d taken a few sheets of very different papers and lots of drawing materials and I settled down to draw a fascinating clay sculpture by Tomos Sparnon which is in the current exhibition.

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The first drawing I did in white, sanguine and black conté crayons onto a piece of smooth heavyweight cartridge paper that I had prepared with a coat of white acrylic gesso and then when it was dry I sponged it all over with my sepia home-made walnut ink. After drawing in conté crayons, I filled the area around the drawing with a square ended brush dipped in the walnut ink. I love the way the ink flows over gessoed paper and how it holds the brushstrokes. It’s a delicious ink to use, like liquid silk.

 

Then I moved my chair to take in a different angle and drew, again with the white, sanguine and black conté crayons onto a sheet of heavily textured grey Khadi paper. The result is completely different. I know I’m stating the blatantly obvious, but I was surprised at the extent of the differences. You can just see Tomos’ sculpture in the background.

 

Man Engine

12 Apr

manengine

Back last week I was rummaging through the drawers in my plans chest and pulled out some used paper that I thought could be reused and today I got my chance. Swansea hosted Man Engine , the largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain, which has been journeying up from Cornwall. It’s amazing. I was invited to take part in a live drawing event (with afternoon tea) at Galerie Simpson on Swansea’s High Street to coincide with the behemoth’s progress through the city. It’s very slow moving so I managed to sketch the giant head outside the gallery on the pavement as it rumbled by. I drew with black, white and sanguine conté crayon and some of my home-made sepia walnut ink onto a recycled cyanotype print on Bockingford paper. If you want to know how to make walnut ink, please check out my blog post here.

The Stone By The Motorway

25 Jun

Tyn Cellar

This is a thumbnail sketch I’ve done based on field drawings and photos of the Tyn Cellar Neolithic stone, near the motorway not far from Margam. I’m doing thumbnails, small working sketches, to learn more about the subject, to get used to it, to explore different ways of making marks, looking for ways to develop it. This is starting to look like it might be good cut into wood or lino and printed up, maybe in 2 colours with some chine collé in the background. I’ve used some heavyweight Tate Gallery paper and randomly sponged it with a walnut ink wash. Once it had dried I drew into it with a 6B graphite stick and a white Kohinoor stick.

 

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

 

Catacombs & Xmas

24 Dec

catacombs

Following on from yesterday’s post, here are a couple more sepia drawings I did based on sketches from the St. Paul’s Catacombs in Rabat in Malta. The originals are very slight, quick scribbles. I wanted to try working with the walnut husk ink I made a few weeks ago. I don’t normally work with wet media so it’s good practice for me. I used several different sizes of sable brushes and watered the ink down to make a variety of paler washes. I’m really enjoying this and looking forward to seeing where it takes me.

Tomorrow is Xmas so have a Cool Yule and I hope the day is lovely for you. xxx

Sepia Catacombs

23 Dec

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You never know where and when you’ll get inspiration from. Husb and I visited Malta last week and I carried my sketchbooks, scribbling as we trekked across the lovely island. But it wasn’t until late in our stay that we visited the early Christian catacombs in Rabat. They are extraordinary and I felt a strong urge to draw, but at the same time the atmosphere was so powerful and ……. maybe sacrosanct …… that I felt inhibited and only managed a couple of quick sketches. Husb felt inhibited from taking photographs there too. I don’t know, maybe it seemed disrespectful to act like tourists in a mass grave.

 

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Anyway, a few days after we got back, I was working with my colleagues in the 15 Hundred Lives art collective at the Creative Bubble artspace and I decided to experiment with the walnut husk ink I made a few weeks ago. I used one of those very quick catacomb sketches as a starting point and just started to develop the drawing with a brush and ink, building up layers in the rich sepia and pale washes onto a piece of Fabriano Accademica paper. It’s a new thing for me, I really enjoyed doing it and I’m pleased with what I have so far. I’ll be doing some more experimenting over the next few weeks – there are some ideas fermenting in there! There’s a lot of marks in the piece and that reflects the reality of the catacombs which have very rough, textured surfaces left by the simple chisels they used to hack out the tombs from the soft limestone.

Walnut Husk Ink Revisited

20 Oct

UPDATE:

It’s been about a year since I wrote this post when I made a batch of walnut ink. I’ve been using it regularly and it’s delicious, silky, smooth and rich. It seems to be lightfast, no signs of fading on any of the pieces, although I’ve been careful to use best quality acid-free paper like Fabriano and Saunders.

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Here’s the most recent drawing, in carbon and white conte crayon overlaid onto a background of walnut ink.

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So today I finally finished the walnut ink I started a couple of weeks ago. A friend gave me 4 fresh walnuts (juglans regia) in their husks. I peeled them and left the husks to stand in a basin of water for about a week and a half. They went very black and mushy. I put the basin, covered with tin foil,  into a slow cooker with hot water coming up to half way and left it on the lowest setting overnight, letting it cool completely for another day and night.

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Then I strained it through a ‘J’ cloth into a large jar and tested its strength on a bit of cartridge paper. It was quite pale so I boiled it on the stove and reduced it, checking occasionally until it was a decent sepia colour. There wasn’t much to bottle, about a quarter of a tea mug. The recipes I’ve looked at online suggest adding up to 20% surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol) as a preservative, but there’s so little that I think I’ll use it up pretty quickly. I’ll do some drawings with it and leave them in the light until this time next year. If they haven’t faded, I’ll see if  I can get hold of a larger amount of husks and make some more.

 

Another Digital Nude

21 Feb

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We always finish with a long, one-hour, pose at Thursday night’s life drawing group at Swansea Print Workshop. I couldn’t be bothered to pack my drawing bag, if I’m honest, so I just took my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet and used the free Markers app. I’m learning more and more about the digital approach as time goes on. I started by laying down a background, overlaying several translucent colours with my finger – white, grey, beige and white again. Then I drew the figure and surroundings with the stylus, keeping my pallete restricted to sepia, olive, sanguine, grey and white with a splash of pink, varying the limited brushes to achieve different lines and pressures. I saved at several stages – never forget to save – I lost a few drawings in the early days – they just disappeared! The act of saving also gives you a little slideshow of the progression of the drawing too.

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On The Other Hand…….

30 Aug

Just a quickie tonight as I’ve only just come back from life drawing and it’s nearly my bedtime! Sometimes, bits of body look really weird and this is one of those. The angle of the wrist made the hand look a bit disembodied. But that’s the way it was 🙂

Drawn onto hand-made heavyweight paper stained with sepia ink with a dip pen and Indian ink and a grey wash.  Goodnight zzzzzzzzzzz

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