Sunday, 19 June 2016

Watercolour sketchbook

I have recently been big into bookmaking, but if you have read my previous post about boiling a book you probably already knew that. I have also however been making a sketchbook for exploring my watercolour set I bought July of last year. 
At the same time I bought this w/c set my mother in law passed an old watercolour block on to me, she used to do some very impressive drawing herself. I was not overly fond of the paper I must admit for it was of the very rough sort of variety and as I usually use Inktense pencils I shied away from it at first. I had it basically just lying around in my workspace and for some reason the other day I decided I would take the pages that were left and turn them into a small watercolour sketchbook.
Taking the pages out was not as easy as expected, they were glued down on all sides and I had to carefully cut them all loose. I then folded the pages in half across, decided I would like more than just 4 folios and also folded and tore across the lenght as well. I ended up having 8 folios (not signatures, just folded single pages). Now I have to admit that I can be very stingy somethimes and even though I was not overly fond of the paper, I did not want to loose any pages because I had to glue them to the covers. So instead I added 2 more folios, one in front and one in back, to glue to the inside of the covers, thus enabling me to make use of all the pages I got out of my paper. 
For the covers I decided to stick to my stingy mood and as the watercolour block I had finished off had some very thick board backing, I used that for the extra sturdy covers. I covered it with pieces from an old corduroy shirt my hubby used to have.
This is the finished little sketchbook I got, I loved the hemp cord I used to sew the bookpages to and so I did not hide it all inside the covers but kept it out for closure.

I also used some handmade paper beads made from some newspaper pages I was sent with an art trade overseas.
This is the spine, and no, I did not use the coptic stitch. I am not sure what this one is called, I got it from a very good YouTube Video tutorial on how to make a DIY Watercolour journal.

So by now I am a few pages into my little book and I have to admit, the rough paper I looked down on at first turned out to be THE BEST PAPER EVER! And of course I was so stupid to throw out the cover telling me the brand and weight and the garbage men had already emptied the bins! AAAAARGHH!
Maybe my mother in law will remember what she gave me and be able to organise me some more, and she is the best mother in law there is.

Anyhow, here are the pictures I painted so far. I tried out a good few tutorials on

How to paint lilac

How to paint a tree

Next just a sample of all the colours in my watercolour set

How to paint a Sakura Tree with a splatter method

And then I decided I would try out in watercolour what I want to paint into my moleskine accordion journal with acrylics. Just to figure out if I like the idea, the theme I chose is Tree of Life

Then I was given some Poppy plants for my garden

and then I tried out some more classic techniques. But I think the space I used them in is too small to really bring out every effect properly (or I used too much water and need more practise). I also used my new drawing nibs and Indian Ink for the outlines and the writing.

This is the last picture to date and so far the only one in this book where I used my Inktense pencils. I wanted to "get it right" and so avoided the very medium I want to practise in this book! It is a Lilly from my birthday flower bouquet my husband gave me.

I will wait until the same flower is fully opened and before my kids have torn it apart, and then paint it again but this time using watercolours!

Monday, 13 June 2016

A day outside

Yesterday was a great day! I have been cooped up with my bundles of joy now for a few weeks, and even though the weather has been exceptionally good and sunny (enabling us to spend a lot of time outside) I was getting desperate for a break. Sometimes I just need to get out of the house and away from the permanent clutter I am trying t fight on a daily basis, and away from the bickering and fighting and shouting (It's mine! No mine! ). But the last few weeks there was always something that stopped me from going, always some major task or occurence that needed urgent attention, plus some very sudden other demands on our time that we had no influence over. So busy and stressfull!

But yesterday morning my awesome husband told me to go off for the day and to do it quickly or I might get stuck at home again due to some emergency, real or imaginary...

So I took my drawing supplies and left, in search of a coffee shop that was already open on a sunday morning at 9:30. No such luck. I found an open supermarket and got myself a can of baked beans (I ate them cold in the car, straight from the can, that's how hungry I was), rolls, a huge mixed salad and some cooked ham. After that some coffee (not half bad), and while I was munching away in my car a thought struck me. Why not make the journey to an old castle and gardens in a neighbouring town? The weather looked a little doubtful, but I had wanted to visit the gardens without children in tow for years now, so why not?
The journey was good, but a good bit of rain so I was starting to have some doubts. But the minute I had paid admission and stepped outside into the park the sun came out and the weather turned bright and sunny with just a perfect breeze. Yay, lucky me. The weather was so good I even got a little sunburn.

And here is what I did that day. for about 6 hours I just walked around, never visited one spot twice and drew to my hearts content. Most of the things I drew I found out the names or already knew them.

The first thing that captured my eyes was a stem for some sort of rose, no flowers on it so I have no idea what the rose looks like. But the thorns on the stem where the most brilliant thorns ever!

Next I was stopped not by my eyes but by a wonderful scent in the warm air and I found a huge Yasmin bush like one I used to have in my own garden.

And then on my way into the formal part of the garden I saw the most queer plant ever. It had little 3 chambered hollow seedpods. I know they where hollow because some had fallen to the ground and when I stepped on one it popped. I found a name plaque on one of them: Stapylea bumalda, usually at home in Asia.

These took about 3 hours in total, drawing AND walking around, so I had my huge mixed salad and rolls and ham for lunch. Mjam! (I did not draw my lunch)

Next up is a Calla Lilly from the formal part of the garden, I know they are not unusual but I don't have amy in my own garden (yet) so I drew it.

And some lovely though nearly faded Rhododendron flowers.

And last a Poppy, I love Poppies, in bloom and after. The seedpods look awesome with furry stars on top and I hope the ones I have been given for my garden will survive my kids.

Drawing outside and in public was a very new experience to me, when I sit in a coffee shop and draw noone really pays any heed, but outside people notice very much and they will come up and peek over your shoulder. It took all my concentration not to let that make me too nervous. I also realised that if I want to do that again (yes, please) I will have to modify my mobile art backpack to accomodate a bigger size drawing pad. I had set out with a different thing in mind and so my watercolour pad was huge! (A4) My bag only takes half that size. Also it was tricky handling my roll of Inktense pencils. I wanted to practise watercolour when I set out but I was not confident enough to do it plein air. Instead I tried to concentrate to draw realistic (not whimsical) and keep outlines to a minimum. I tend to fence all my colours into an outline and I feel that takes away dimension. So definitely stuff to work with. I also took plenty of pictures and until the next time I am there (at a different time of the year with different flowers) I habe plenty of references to work from...