Sunday, 20 February 2011


I went to a demo recently organised by the Norwich Art Circle when David Mynett demonstrated pastel landscapes. He brought along numerous sketchbooks from his travels and everyone (including me, Denise and Marianne I went with) was bowled over by his sketching technique. He was happy to share with us the fact that he covered all the white pages with gouche (created from watercolour and white mix) and then when he was out working he would choose a page colour suitable for the scene he was painting. They were very striking and most inspirational.

So much so I came home and had a try, covering some half dozen double spreads in my Derwent 5"x 7" leaving a small border of white around for notes. Here is part of my very first attempt - I cropped the image as the figures on left were completely out of scale and looked hideous but this central section gives you an idea of how the light and dark background gouache affected the result. !

This one of the Spanish Steps in my Italian practice sketchbook was a little better although I felt I needed to add pen at the end to sharpen it up and I know it is wonky!!


... but the third attempt was much more pleasing of the Trevi fountain and I could see how the different ground colours could really enhance the painting if chosen carefully. I needed to put a number of layers on in various parts.

It was necessary of course to add white to my watercolours in areas otherwise the paint just acted as a glaze and the base gouache came through too dominant.

I sourced all three Gerald Brimacombe photos I took the sketches from in an internet gallery on Italy. As they are only rough sketches in my own little book I could not see a problem with copyright and of course the colours were determined by the gouache background with his photos providing a realistic reference to the subject.

It was fun and I certainly plan to try some more and maybe use this technique as a contrast to my stabilo sketches when I eventually get to Italy (in May).


Christiane Kingsley said...

Joan, what great ideas! I really like all these sketches, especially the third.
May will be here quite soon - I can't wait to see all the gems you will come back with in your sketchbooks.a

RH Carpenter said...

Yes, these are great and I hope you use this technique with some of your Italy sketches in May :) I think all three are good (I don't mind the wonky building) but the first and third are my faves.

Sandy Maudlin said...

I LOVE what you're doing. Very powerful. I'll be over your way in France in 2 weeks. Can't wait! Happy painting.

Pat said...

You do absolutely amazing work. I've been here awhile simply enjoying all the beautiful things you have here.

Just thought I'd drop you a line to tell you this.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Yes, Rhonda and Christiane it is a bit different for me but most enjoyable and a little uncertain how they will turn out.

Enjoy your trip to France Margaret - so much nearer and yet still so far from Norfolk England.

Thanks Pat for viewing my work and your lovely comments.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Ooops! I always think of you both Sandy and Margaret together as my special American blogger friends. My apologies for the mix up.

SKIZO said...

good creations

Sue Pownall (aka travelingsuep) said...

What a great idea and good interpretations from you.