Tag Archives: walnut ink

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.

 

 

 

Bitterns And Stripes

8 Jul

Bittern 1

I think I’m falling for those crazy bitterns. I couldn’t take my eyes of them at a recent drawing day at Swansea Museum, they’re awesome…..

Bittern 2

I used my Issabey brushes and my home-made walnut ink into a Khadi sketchbook, using the double spread. I focussed on the shape of the group, doing a sort of negative silhouette and using those thick stripes to enhance the composition.

 

 

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.

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