290 Gouache to the Rescue

I go out Plein air sketching most weeks somewhere around my local area . Most of the time I start out with watercolour. Sometimes they are successful, sometimes not. Often looking at it at home away from the scene I can decide if it works as a painting or it’s a bin job. If I’m unhappy with my result when I return home I often “fix” it with gouache.

This little sketch wasn’t working for me at the time. It had too much green and was rather boring, but it had possibilities. A loose approach like this gives me a lot of leeway.After fiddling with gouache for a while it started to come together. Sometimes when I’m away from the scene I put a bit more effort into making the painting work, instead of simply copying what is in front of me. The only original part left here is the sky 😄

Another day, another Plein Air session and another failed watercolour. I really should bin some of these attempts and regard it as experience, or as added miles on the brush, but I don’t like to admit defeat. So I tried a Gouache makeover again, but I still wasn’t satisfied with the result. This time I resorted to adding pastel for the grasses and touches here and there on the foliage.

I’m continually learning with Plein Air painting. Each one is a challenge and sometimes I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to approach the painting.

Recently I have been trying to plan a bit more before I start by mapping out a composition with a preliminary thumbnail sketch using a Pilot V pen, a cheap disposable fountain pen with watersoluble ink and a waterbrush.

These are only quick scribbles, then a few strokes with the waterbrush to create different tones or values.

This tiny journal was a bargain buy, reduced from $10 to $2, originally bought as a notebook, just because I can’t resist an art bargain, but I started using it for these quick scribbles and found that I really enjoy using it for ink and wash thumbnail sketches.

I’m now remembering to note where they are sketched but I must start adding the date as well because it is becoming a good reference as well as a nice little memory journal to flip through.

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280 Sketches around Town

WordPress tells me it’s been a month since my last post so I guess it’s time for an update.

I have been busy, Plein Air painting, gallery painting, thinking about painting and simply messing around with paint. I’m trying to build up stock for the Southern Art Trail, an event that has about 80 artists and venues exhibiting all forms of artwork for two weeks in September.

I will be exhibiting in three of the venues, two of them being Plein air exhibitions, so some of these sketches might make it to the framers. I still have a few months to do more, so I’ll keep on painting.

I won’t bore you with too much but I’ll share a few I have done this past month.

These are mostly sketches from around town, done with ink and watercolour on various papers.

Firstly, the old buildings around town.

The old Post Office on Canaletto paper.

The first farmhouse built in the Albany area.

The oldest church in Western Australia.

The ruin of the Lighthouse keepers cottage.And the new – the Entertainment Centre.

And Rats Bar with a beautiful bougainvillea growing outside.

Looking across the bay to the town.

Lastly a watercolour sketch at one of the local rivers.

272 Plein Air Popularity

Plein Air outings are now a regular event each week for me. I find I am learning a great deal from painting on the spot, such as how to simplify a scene, choose colours and trying to make a painting work without being a slave to exact realism. My aim is to capture my thoughts and feelings about what I am experiencing at that time.

A couple of weeks ago our group visited a local winery and were able to set our easels up amongst the vineyards. I liked the view looking towards the distant Ranges.

Here is a photo of what I saw, although I find taking a photo in landscape mode always seems to flatten the image. And of course I exaggerated and used my artistic license.

The following week we painted in a street full of historic cottages, all lovingly cared for with beautiful gardens. We found out by chatting to one of the owners that many of these cottages were flat packed and imported from Scandinavia in the 1890s to house mill workers in the town.

At this time of the year on Instagram you see lots of posts popping up with the # 2017bestnine hashtag. A website works out the algorithms for your most popular posts for the year. It is interesting and often a surprise to see what pops up. This year mine were predominantly Plein Air sketches and paintings, with a junky tree study and a really quick silly Inktober sketch.

Does this mean I should concentrate more on Plein Air?

My downfall is that I can’t just stick to one thing. I love portraits, pet paintings, still life and more, and I want to try it all and keep on experimenting. I’m planning on taking a summer school course next month touching on abstraction. It will be interesting to see where that leads me. I’ll keep you posted.

265 Catching Up

I’m posting a few of my pleinair sketches from the last few weeks. Our sketching group adjourned over the winter months as the weather is usually cold, wet and windy, but now that spring is here we are back to meeting up weekly.

Early September we had a bit of rare sunshine and the group took the opportunity to meet at the local port. I chose a spot on some steps in the sun, out of the cold wind and this was my view. There were much better viewpoints but I’m too much of a wimp to brave the elements. I was going to do a bit more on this sketch later but I decided to leave it as it is.


Then the clouds came over and the rain returned so we adjourned to the nearby tavern and continued sketching. This was a sketch looking out the other way, done directly with my waterbrush. I should do this more often as I think the result looks fresher than a laboured ink sketch.


A week later the circus came to town. It’s always fun to sketch the tent shapes, but unfortunately there was not a lot of activity on the side we were allowed to sketch. 


The following week only two of us braved the weather to sketch at a spot along one of the rivers. We were lucky to have 20 minutes to get a quick sketch before the weather changed, and we adjourned once again to a nearby tavern to add the colour.  Most of this one was painted with a rough bristle brush, fun to use as you can’t get too precious with brush strokes. I added a little brown ink and white gouache to make a bit of sense of the rough blobs.


The next sketches were done at a local garden centre, a great place to visit with wonderful garden settings and an array of landscape paraphernalia.

I sketched the old wagon with a fountain pen at the garden centre and added colour and the darks with a brush pen later at home.


This last sketch was at the garden of one of our group. I sketched directly with gouache while I was there, but added a bit of watercolour pencil and fiddled a bit more with the gouache at home. I probably should have stopped sooner but that’s another lesson learnt.

Meanwhile, I’m still doing Inktober and I’ll post all those sketches in the next update.

248 My week of Sketches

We are experiencing stunning summer weather here on the south coast, well most days. One day last week my painting buddy and I headed to the King River, an idyllic spot with beautiful granite rocks. I forgot to pack my watercolour paper and all I had was a tiny journal with me so I used gouache for this sketch.

I’d finished my painting but Zoe was still working on hers so I sketched her still working.

During the week I had  a mini class on portraits. I demonstrated the basic proportions and features using a reference photo from Sktchyapp. This is an excellent free app available for iPhone and iPad, with thousands of portrait reference photos to use for inspiration. Some not so good but there are excellent ones there too. Unfortunately it’s not available to android devices.

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Each week on Sktchyapp there are a few challenges and prompts such as #quickdraw and #monday muse. The Monday muse last week loves the colour green so I grabbed a paint swatch from the hardware store and used that to sketch her for the QuickDrawimg_2448

You should know by now that I’ll sketch or paint on anything. While I was taking out the recycling papers and boxes I liked the look of the inside of a coffee box and thought it would be fun to draw on. I did another QuickDraw with a Pentel brushpen and seldom used oil pastels.

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It’s all good practise for my pet portrait commissions. Here is another practise …. in my journal this time 😀 This is Tiger.

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I am now doing custom paintings and if you would like a personalised portrait of loved pet or person, you can find further information on my Pets portrait page here.

245 

Oh dear, it’s been a while since my last post and we are already into 2017. I have too many other things getting in the way at the present, so much I’ll just do a little catching up for now.

Just before Christmas I had a day with my painting buddies and we painted in the gardens of a local church. I did a little warm up brush watercolour sketch first, on Fabriano Artistico paper.img_2033After that I switched to gouache and concentrated on the ivy clad wall.img_2036

More playing with gouache, a quick little selfie(supposedly😂) once again in gouache with Pentel brushpen on cartridge paper.img_2062Another in gouache, this one had to be a specific size hence the “portrait landscape” 😊 –  on Arches paper.img_2070 And finally some Sktchyapp portraits, trying to keep within my 5 minute time limit. These are all done with a conte carbon pencil and watercolour crayons. I enjoy doing stuff like this when I have little time to sketch. It’s fun and liberating doing these quick sketches, trying to make them a little recognisable while not being precious.

239 Portraits and Plants

Well I started Inktober with good intentions, but as usual for me life gets in the way and I get sidetracked 😄 I did get another 4 portraits done but no way will I get to finish the 31 for October. All the reference photos for these portraits were from Sktchyapp.

One great thing about participating in these challenges is that you get to see a great variety of artwork and different tools used. 

My first portrait sketch is with a Pilot V disposable fountain pen. It has water soluble ink which I didn’t really like at first so I only used it for notes, but seeing what others had posted using this ink I decided to give it a go. The lines were softened with a waterbrush. I really like the effect and will use this again. It will be great for tonal sketches and even adding watercolour over it.

Next sketch I decided to use a bottle of Quink ink and a dagger brush, both of which I’ve had forever. This is water soluble again and has a blue undertone which appeared when I tried to lift a little of the ink.img_1485

The following sketch is done with a small Pentel waterbrush filled with thinned Sepia ink. I’m right handed so I paint with the right hand and hold a water brush with my left, and use this to soften the ink. I dipped the brush into full strength ink for the darker lines.

Another experiment, this time trying a minimalist approach. Basic linework is Lamy fountain pen EF nib, and Pentel brushpen for the hair. Yellow gouache background.img_1505

That’s where the portrait session from photos ended. The following day I caught up with a group of sketchers to do pleinair, but the weather was not obliging. There happened to be a meeting of local spinners at the centre and they kindly allowed us inside to sketch them while they worked. This lady was obviously a talented spinner as she kept the same position (almost) for quite a while, apart from turning her head to chat to others. 

Others were stopping and starting trying to fix up their thread, a bit like jack in the boxes. Even so, it’s a challenge to capture the scene quickly. I used the Lamy pen and Pentel brushpen, along with some “new” water soluble crayons that just happened to fall into my basket. Yes! I am a member of Art Supplies Addicts Anonymous 😂img_1455

The next day I tried some quick sketches of a couple of old blokes. The likeness isn’t great but they do look like a couple of old blokes ……..  I think 😊

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And finally I managed to get to do a pleinair sketch, on a fairly rare sunny morning. It is spring here but winter seems to be hanging around a lot later this year. Hopefully we will get better weather for outdoor sketching soon.

img_1540I am learning a lot from live sketching, and there is a lot to learn. But it’s fun trying.