Tag Archives: walnut ink

Beginning To End

3 Oct

snipe

I started with an ink and wash sketch of a snipe (using my homemade walnut ink at Swansea Museum) drawn with brushes.

 

a

Then, at Kelly Stewart’s screenprinting session at Swansea Print Workshop, I redrew it onto cellophane with brushes and black acrylic paint. These are the transparencies I used to create photoscreens.

 

work station

And then I screened them onto different papers, Fabriano and Somerset, with Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylic paint, mixed with Screenprint medium in an 80:20 paint to medium ratio.

 

That’s it from beginning to end.

The Grey Mare

18 Sep

Horsehead 2

 

Here’s another view of the horse skull I drew yesterday evening at the little Zoology Museum at Swansea University’s Wallace Building. The Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare) tradition in South Wales centres around a horse skull, which is made into a lifesize puppet and decorated with flowers, bells and ribbons. It’s paraded around on the night of Hen Galan – the Old New Year – as part of a ritual that goes back thousands of years to the ancient Celtic horse goddess Epona, also know as Rhiannon in Wales.

 

 

Drawing A Horse’s Head

17 Sep

Horsehead 1

I spent a great hour or so down at the Zoology Museum in The Wallace Building on the Swansea University Singleton campus this evening. A drawing group meets there twice a month to make the most of the specimens tucked away. I fancied studying a horse’s skull, to tie in with my previous work with the Mari Lwyd. It was nice to draw a still one that wasn’t carousing all over the place. I used a biro pen in the continuous line method with a wash of home-made walnut ink into a small, A6, sketchbook.

 

 

The Swansea Devil

3 Sep

 

sketch 3

 

I popped down to Swansea Museum today to do some sketching. It’s a lovely museum with loads of interesting stuff to draw and it’s served generations of Swansea people. I sketched the Swansea Devil, a local legend.

 

Two quick sketches to start

Two quick sketches to start ….

 

He was recently rehomed to the Museum because after a chequered history he was in pretty poor condition – he’s made from wood- and the Museum is able to look after him under the controlled conditions he needs.

 

sketch 1

I did a few sketches in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen and one with walnut ink wash and a brush. Today I wanted to get a feel for the sculpture before I develop some more complex work. I find it difficult to draw other people’s art as I keep wanting to put my stamp on it.

My Geographic Palette #3 – Walnut Ink

23 Jul

 

culvert 1a

About 3 or 4 years now some friends gave me a bag of fresh walnuts – that’s walnut fruit – the nut is in the centre of an apple sized green fruit. I made my own walnut ink from them, please click here if you want to see the technique I used.

 

 

Anyway, I used it to work up a painting using ink washes of different intensity based on one of my original sketches of culverts way up in the Brecon Beacons. I was on a field trip with colleagues from The FIRE Lab a few weeks ago and I’m using those sketches to develop a new body of artwork.

The ink looks lovely when it dries out – it rehydrates as well so it doesn’t go to waste.

walnut ink dry

The FIRE Lab has some great blog posts, check out this one about the technology of the Tawe Path walk.

 

 

 

 

My Geographic Palette #2 – Bideford Black

22 Jul

 

Bideford 4

So, day 2 of drawing from my geographic palette. This is Bideford Black, an unique oily carbon-based pigment from North Devon, where is sits in the ground next to anthracite coal. It was mined for about 200 years up until the late 1960s but lost out to cheaper competitors and the mines closed. I was sent some by artists based near the geological seams a while back, in exchange for some of my homemade walnut ink. It’s quite greasy to draw with and a bit crumbly, and when used dry it looks a bit like a dense charcoal on paper.

 

 

I put some bits into a pestle and mortar and crushed it – surprisingly tough – into a fine powder and mixed it with water to experiment into an A5 300gsm Waterford sketchbook. I like the result. It’s a dense black – I watered it down quite a bit – and it flows easily. I based the little drawing on a sketch I’d done a few weeks back while I was out on a field trip near the source of the River Tawe with colleagues from the FIRE Lab team from Swansea University. FIRE Lab has a cool website with some great blogs – here’s one on walking the River Tawe path.

 

 

 

My Geographic Palette #1 – Charcoal

21 Jul

charcoal 2

 

This is my first tryout with my geographic palette, a drawing based on a sketch I did en plein air on a field trip with colleagues from Swansea University’s FIRE Lab a couple of months ago when we went off exploring culverts up in the Brecon Beacons.

 

The charcoal I bought a few years back when I visited John Ruskin’s house, Brantwood, at Coniston Water in the Lake District. At the time they made charcoal from willow grown on the estate, using traditional methods. It’s quite crumbly and benefits from being used with a heavyweight textured paper. I’m using a 300gsm Bockingford here and I’m pleased with the results, lots of tonal variation depending on the pressure I’ve used. It’s only a small drawing, I’m using an A5 size sketchbook, spiral bound from Pink Pig in Barnsley, and I’m abstracting away from the original which is starting to excite me.

 

 

 

 

My Geographic Palette

20 Jul

Geographic Palette small

I’m thinking about how to develop from the sketches I’ve done on a couple of field trips with colleagues in the FIRE Lab team and, as the research project is about ecosystems and environment, I thought I’d try as much as possible to use natural earths, plants and minerals in my artworks, so I’m putting together a geographic palette. I’ve made a pretty good start already, with graphite, lapis lazuli, ochre, charcoal, Bideford Black, some red sandstone and my own home-made walnut ink.

Over the next few days I’ll be researching and writing about them so watch this space …. 🙂

 

 

 

Snipe Silhouette

12 Jul

 

Snipe 3

So now I’m getting a bit obsessed with Snipe, a funny little bird with impossibly skinny legs and beak, for wading and probing at the water’s edge, beautifully designed for its environment. In these drawings I focused on the silhouette to try and establish the overall shape of the bird, using my own home-made walnut ink. Thinking ahead, I can see one, or both, of these being cut into a block of lino or vinyl for printing – maybe a reduction print?

I was down at Swansea Museum, working with a group of artists from Swansea Print Workshop and scientists from the FIRE Laboratory. It was so interesting getting that interaction and input, finding out about the birds habits and habitats fleshed out their personalities and helped with developing an artistic interpretation of the little beasties.

Snipe 5

 

 

A Greenfinch In Stages

9 Jul

 

greenfinch 1

Here’s a little greenfinch I drew recently, a stuffed one, very old and fragile. I took photos of the different stages of development using conté crayons into my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook. I used the white first, then sanguine and finally black.

 

 

I spent a day drawing with a group of artists at Swansea Museum, organised by Swansea Print Workshop and the Edinburgh-based artist Kelly Stewart.

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: