Friday, 25 February 2011


Every so often I get out my Venezia sketchbook to practice figure drawing. Sometimes I use DVDs, others magazines or books and even 'real' people! Here are a couple of recent attempts.

This first one caught my eye in the SkyMagazine as I loved the movement. A few errors stare out at me from the too large left foot and the too little left foreshortened hand, but at least I had a go. I'm glad I added the tennis ball as it adds a narrative to just a sketch.

Number two is a double spread of our youngest grand daughter when she was staying. Here she is in the sunroom after washing her hair. I like the way the second sketch reveals her lovely dark hair after removing the towel. Decided the features were so bad I would leave the second face blank.

Used Lamy pen with Lexington Grey Noodlers ink and a little Daniel Smith watercolours.

Now you know why I need to keep practicing!

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).

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


I took a little stroll down to the riverside this morning to deliver the three new little acrylic paintings to the Rising Sun for hanging.

Deciding to post the new third painting of the boat by the boathouse gate entrance again in the snow, I find I did not have a finished photo, so here it is in progress

The addition of the reds in the Union Jack flag top right and some colour on the two figures, really brings it alive - and of course the finished trees and gateposts. I'll stroll down soon with my camera and let you see it finished.

Meanwhile, here is the completed Signpost in the Snow of which I posted a WIP recently.

They make quite a smart handsome little pair hanging side by side.

Friday, 11 February 2011


My lovely neighbours brought me in a basket of six hyacinth bulbs for my birthday and now a week later they have grown into the most beautiful looking and smelling blooms. So on Thursday I painted them in watercolour when my ladies came round for an afternoon session of painting together.

Here is the watercolour afternoon effort:

Inspired by Penny creating a lovely work in pastel pencils, I created a study in watercolour pencils in my garden flower sketchbook when they left. Then this evening I decided to spend time doing another study in Inktense pencils to see how different they would turn out.

Here is the double spread: (which can be enlarged sepately)

Friday, 4 February 2011


This weeks Thursday meeting of the Coltishall ladies saw me starting the second little 7" x 9" acrylic painting for the Rising Sun. One that had sold was of the pub sign in summer and I decided to replace it with a version in the snow I photographed early December. I liked the couple seated on the wooden fence of the footbridge over to the common and here is the stage I managed during our afternoon together.
Not sure the angle of the house in the background is correct, but I'll wait until I've added the bridge, figures and the geese in the snow before deciding what to do. The dark line of the water running down into the river will make sense once the bridge is in - I hope.
Here's number one finished with lots of amazing colours in the geese from reflected green from the grass to some soft pinks and greys in their plumage. The most difficult section of the painting was the bank supports at the back - nearly drove me mad!