Tag Archives: soft pastels

Scribbling Iceland

23 Nov

volcano 1

I spent a few days in Iceland recently and although I took a sketchbook and some pastels with me, it was too cold to draw. Even just 30 seconds or so without my gloves and my fingers stopped working. So now I’m back home and back in the swing of all the arty shenanigans going on in Swansea at the moment, I’ve taken a look at the photos I took and I’m catching up with some drawing.


I took this Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook with me and also a set of Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels. The black paper lends itself to the climate and volcanic landscape of a wintry Iceland and is a good starting point. I used the pastels mainly in strong diagonal strokes, occasionally rubbing the surface with my fingers, again diagonally.

Land Of Ice And Fire

4 Nov

trolls small

Husb and I visited Iceland (the country, not the shop) three winters ago and we managed to get a really cheap package deal to go again in a couple of weeks. It’s a fabulous place for an artist, although hard to draw outside in winter temperatures. I tried out different preparations for the papers I took last time so I’ll be replicating those when I go again. You need robust, thick paper, like a heavyweight Khadi, or card – I used mount board (matte board). I laid down some colours onto my papers and cards with ink washes and acrylics last time and drew over them with oil bars and soft pastels. I’ll be doing that again. My usual M.O. of lightweight sketchbook and drawing pens just doesn’t stand up to the moisture in the air and the piercing cold.

We’re hoping to see the Aurora Borealis this time – they didn’t show up on our last visit and I’ve booked myself into a half-day introduction at the Icelandic Elf School.

A Visual Odyssey

19 Jun


I’ve edited all the sketchbook drawings from my Pakistan residency into a short film with Adobe Premiere Pro. I drew them consecutively as I journeyed through the country and I also recorded sounds as I went along on my phone, so I’ve added a soundtrack as well. Isn’t technology brilliant?

The drawings were made with Daler Rowney artists’ soft pastels into a Khadi handmade paper sketchbook, 6 inches square which I scanned into my PC. The sounds were recorded on a Samsung Galaxy S3 mini.

The Ghost And The Fishermen

29 Apr

april 29 ghostI produced two new monotypes during my recent residency in Pakistan. The technique also gives a ghost image as well as a full-colour one. Impressionists such as Degas and Monet used to work over their ghost monotypes with pastels and if it’s good enough for them…… Here’s the ghost of ‘Footfall At Taxila’. I applied a little Daler-Rowney soft pastel (artist’s quality) to bring out the lowlights and to slightly enhance the colour on the socks, trainers and kemeez. I also added a light emphasis to the edge of the rocky outcrop to delineate it from the background landscape. It’s not a complete reworking, just a little tweak.

april 29 fishermen

Just before we left Pakistan, friends took us to Rawal lake and we watched the sun setting, listened to the muezzins calling to prayer and sipped lemongrass tea as these two fishermen quietly went about their business. Idyllic. I’m back home now and missing it.

This residency was supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.

rose acw

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