Tag Archives: walnut ink

Home Made Inks

1 Jun

Sarah Poland

I went to an event at the excellent GS Artists in Swansea’s High Street last weekend, featuring the artist Sarah Poland at the end of her recent residency. I loved her work, mostly on paper – some of it huge- and using her own home-made oak gall ink. It’s similar in colour and texture to my home-made walnut ink. Both inks are permanent and according to Sarah, oak-gall ink was used to write the Magna Carta and that was 800 years ago.

Of course I had to have a scribble.

Like Liquid Silk

30 May

culvert 1

I did some development work today, using one of the drawings I did en plein air on a recent field trip with colleagues from Swansea University’s FIRE Laboratory. I sketched some culverts up in the Brecon Beacons, near the source of the River Tawe and today I worked on a very large piece of vintage Waterford paper with my own home-made walnut ink and some Isabey brushes.

The paper is lovely, very thick with deckle edges and the ink glides across its surface like rich sepia liquid silk. I used the ink neat and watered down into a mid-brown wash and I also splashed ink across the surface. I’ll leave it a couple of days then decide how I want to proceed – do I use colour or not? Or should I put in some darker tones with Indian Ink?

 

 

Collage En Plein Air

29 Dec

Foxhole 7

Husb and I went for a walk down to Foxhole Bay on the Gower Peninsula today, partly to get some exercise and also to get some art work done en plein air. The land and sea are very rugged and I decided not to draw but to do some collage using papers I prepared quite a while ago, scribbling over recycled prints with oil pastels. I also had some sheets of sturdy watercolour paper that I had brushed with my home-made walnut ink.

 

 

We clambered down a steep, rough path and settled about 30 feet above sea level, on a flat area that is the remains of a rare Ipswichian raised beach, which was the sea level sometime in the past, probably before the last Ice Age. It was a good place to work, I laid out my board and ripped the different collage papers, laying them down on the watercolour paper and rearranging them, taking photos as I worked, inspired by, rather than slavishly copying, the environment around me. It’s an interesting way to work outside; the work of art is ephemeral, it exists in the camera. When I finished I smooshed the paper back into my folder to use another day.

More Rummaging

3 Apr

walnut

I had another rummage through the big drawers in my plans chest and found some more lovely papers that I’d used but didn’t do anything more with. This is a piece of paper stretched and gessoed then painted at random with my home-made walnut ink. I had taken it out on my journeys around Wales hunting megaliths and started drawing some ancient stone monuments on it, but I didn’t like the way it was going so stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it. Now, what am I going to do with it?

Coming Full Circle

10 Mar
b in

The triptych from the inside

A few weeks ago I was privileged to join one of Fern Smith‘s women’s circles, part of her ‘Seven Sundays In Spring’, walking through the beautiful deer park in Dynefwr, Llandeilo, drawing an extraordinary wintry tree in my sketchbooks, here’s one of the sketches below… 

Drawing 3

One of my original sketchbook drawings

I have thousands of sketches and dozens of sketchbooks locked away in cupboards and I only choose a few to develop into another piece of work, and this is one of those times. I was invited to do a pop-up drawing at the Women4Resources event for International Women’s Day at Creative Bubble today. I decided to do a triptych onto detail paper that I taped to the window, so that people outside could see the drawing developing without coming in – it’s a democratic way of doing art because it reaches out to people, not everyone is comfortable coming into an artspace.

d in

I started out with my home-made walnut ink, blocking in the base of the tree and working into it with sanguine conté crayon to develop a texture. Then I brushed in the upright trunks.

 

Then I switched to white gouache and brushed in another layer of uprights, trunks and branches. And finally, I used a black conté crayon to work tiny marks into the area of the sky behind the branches.

The work looks different from the outside, with the white branches much more prominent and the black sky almost invisible. I guess that if I ever exhibit it I’ll have to consider framing them with glass both sides.

a out

The triptych from the outside

And so full circle, from the drawing en plein air to the triptych in the window, from Fern’s creative women’s circle to International Women’s Day, it feels complete.

 

A Delicate Tracery

28 Feb

Drawing 3

 

I spent an hour or so making drawings of the same tree during my visit to Dinefwr Park last Sunday. I’ve never tried drawing a single tree before and certainly hadn’t done several studies. It was interesting moving around the tree and drawing from different angles and also varying my use of drawing media. In this, my final drawing, I used my home-made walnut ink  and a brush to block in the tree that was lying prone on the ground. Then I drew the strong lusty new growth in sweeping upward strokes of white conté crayon. Finally, with a sanguine conté I made jagged marks in the walnut ink while it was still wet and then sketched a delicate tracery of shadows on the white tree trunks. I’ve never worked like this before, the experience has given me a creative boost.

 

I joined a group of creative women just last Sunday, a women’s circle brought together the artist Fern Smith, a recipient of a Creative Wales Award who has organised “Seven Sundays in Spring: All The Women I’ve Ever Met“. This, the second, was in the 18th century landscape of Dynefor Park in Llandeilo.

 

INVITE

Reaching Lustily Skywards

27 Feb

Drawing 1

I joined a group of creative women just last Sunday, a women’s circle brought together the artist Fern Smith, a recipient of a Creative Wales Award who has organised “Seven Sundays in Spring: All The Women I’ve Ever Met“. This, the second, was in the 18th century landscape of Dynefor Park in Llandeilo. We walked in silent contemplation in the medieval Deer Park which was idyllic in the cold but bright Spring sunshine. I spent quite a bit of time drawing one tree. It had fallen and lay prone on the ground covered in moss, just a fraction of its original root system still anchoring it into the ground. But out of the twisted body of the fallen tree sprang large, strong trunks reaching lustily skywards.

I had taken a pot of my home-made walnut ink and some brushes, it seemed appropriate to draw the tree with ink made from the fruit of a tree. The ink is lovely to use, like drawing with liquid silk. I drew in sweeping broad strokes, capturing the essence of the shapes before me, rather than the detail in them.

 

INVITE

 

Walnuts And Gesso

21 Apr

CB5

This is the third drawing I did at Maen Ceti / Arthur’s Stone at Cefn Bryn on the Gower Peninsula this week. I used a piece of Fabriano paper that I had prepared with two coats of textured acrylic gesso. When it was dry, I sponged some of my home-made walnut ink over it. The ink pooled at random, giving a spotty sort of texture. This seemed to reflect the texture on the massive capstone itself, covered with colonies of lichens. I drew with conté crayons in black, sanguine and white.

 

I have put my series of drawings en plein air of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

Drawing The Artist

21 Jan

mission-jan-2017

Husb and I went to an artist talk at The Mission Gallery in Swansea earlier today. I like to scribble away in my sketchbook when I go to events like this. The artist, ceramicist Anne Gibbs was in conversation with Cath Roche, talking about her new exhibition, “Still“.  I find that if I draw, rather than take written notes, I remember far more, I connect far more. I drew into a sketchbook that I made from recycled pieces of lovely papers, all different. This is a piece of Fabriano that I had previously stained with my home-made walnut ink. I used a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size S.

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Base Of The Stone

16 Apr

Bonymaen 1

 

The second stone I drew on this week’s journey to explore the standing stones of South Wales is just three or so miles from where I live and I had no idea it existed. It’s in an area of Swansea called Bon-y-Maen and it never occurred to me to translate the name – it’s ‘The Base Of The Stone‘! And here it is, on the green in front of the local pub. The original village, later subsumed into the city limits, seems to have been built around the stone. It’s Bronze Age, possibly 4,000 years or so old. There’s a legend that the same stone ends in the village of Penmaen on the Gower Peninsula; Penmaen is Welsh for ‘Head Of The Stone‘.

 

Bonymaen 2

Many of the local stones are sedimentary and if you look closely you can see that I have drawn the patterns made by the sediments flaking on top of the drawing in white. Once again I’ve used Fabriano paper prepared with my home-made walnut ink and then worked on top in carbon and white conte crayon. I’m regularly using a restricted palette of 3 Daler-Rowney soft pastels in a pale blue and two greens. I am continuing to move away from realism and trying to interpret my feelings of the stone, my experience of it, concentrating on mark-making with the different media.

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.

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