Monday, January 28, 2008

Another angle

So, now I´ve tried a few takes on the view from our kitchen window. I used different primary triads of watercolours, together with one earth colour, tried to find different compositions and so on, but I still think they all look kind of the same. And a funny thing is, it took me until this third watercolour to discover what it is that feels so awkward to me about these: They are paintings! I don´t have any ink lines in there! I feel kind of lost in space... I´m getting too used to drawing, and I don´t really feel comfortable with just colours any more.

I´m taking a two-day watercolour class soon, one that promises experimental techniques and ways of letting watercolours do their "thing". I´m looking forward to it, hoping to find a way out of my need to control this media all the time. I think the small formats of these have got a lot to do with the way I get far too deep into details, but I think trying out some unorthodox techniques and getting new input from others may do a lot of difference too. We´ll see.

14 x 20.5 cm, watercolours on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper, fine grain.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dip pens!

Every now and then I just have to bring out my dip pens and a bottle or two of ink. As much as I love drawing with Lamy Safari (I use it every day, even at work), nothing, and I mean NOTHING, beats dip pens for drawing with ink. Once you find the nibs you love, you just have to keep on drawing with them. A little more pressure and you suddenly have a thicker line, hold the pen straight up on it´s tip and the lines get thin as hairs...

I have no idea what nibs I used for these drawings, I have a whole jar of them, and I change them quite often while drawing.

They all have their own personality, and depending on my mood or what I want to do, I like different nibs.

The only disadvantage with these lovely drawing instruments is that it´s kind of messy to bring them along to draw somewhere else than at a sturdy table at home. I would love to take them with me on a drawing tour on the town, but I haven´t dared to yet. I know I will spill ink all over my jeans, I just know it.

Drawings are different sizes, dip pens and different inks on large Moleskine sketchbook pages.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Finally a bit of sun!

There were actually shadows on the buildings outside our windows yesterday, a bright cold sun managed to find it´s way above the horizon in the morning. What a relief after all the gray weather we´ve had lately.

I´m trying to limit my choice of colours working on these views, I think it´s a good practice not to use all fourteen or fifteen or whatever it is I have in my usual palette. You can see the colors I used in this painting sticking up at the bottom of the paper - the rest didn´t fit into the scanner...

20,5 x 20,5 cm, pencil and watercolours on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper, fine grain. Colours used were W&N lemon yellow, winsor red, cobalt blue, and Rowney burnt sienna.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fold a simple sketchbook

I´ve been asked how I folded the simple one-sheet sketchbook I used during December, and thought I´d write a simple how-to. You´ll have to excuse the quality of the photos, the light conditions weren´t the best when I did this...

I have seen this method on the internet before, I think one description was in a YouTube movie and one on a homepage, but I can´t find any of them. If I knew who did it, or who invented this sketchbook type, I would gladly give credit here, but I don´t know. Still, thanks, whoever it was. It is a very useful little thing.

I hope the images show most of what you need to do, since writing an instruction like this is really putting my English to the test. This should be interesting...

First, pull out a big sheet of your favorite drawing paper. This instruction is made with an A4 cartridge paper, but of course you want a Bigger and Better sketchbook than that.
Fold it in the middle, lengthwise, and then fold each half in the middle as well.

Turn the paper 90 degrees, and then do what you did in the first step - fold in half, and then fold each half in the middle. Now you should have the folding lines ready to start cutting.

If you want landscape format on your sketchbook, cut according to these red lines. Please cut along a ruler, the sketchbook will look better the more accurately you do this.

If you want portrait format, cut this way instead.

Start at one of the loose ends and fold the paper accordion style to the other end.

Then fold this little "pile" in under the next strip, as the image shows.

Keep folding the next strip accordion style too.

Then start from the other loose end, and do the exact same moves as in the previous three steps.

You should end up with two piles of accordion folded paper, hinged together at the bottom.

When you pick the pile up, it should look something like this.

Fold the two piles together, as in the picture. Now your sketchbook is finished. If you want to, you can fold a cover to stick it into, to make it a bit sturdier and keep it together.

You´ll note that almost the whole book is accordion style folded, except for two pages that are open in the front end. I guess you could put some glue here, but I never do. If you glue, you will not be able to unfold the book completely afterwards.

As I said in December, I think this would be a great way to bring some good quality watercolour paper on a journey, for example. It would probably be hard to fold a paper that´s too thick, though, but 300 gsm or less should be ok. Since all drawings/paintings end up on the same side of the original big sheet of paper (unless you draw on the outside of the first and last pages) it is easy to cut out single paintings that you want to frame or sell or give away or whatever.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A little art plan for 2008

2007 was the first year I ever had some kind of plan with my art. It worked out pretty well, I did almost everything I had set out to do. I´m not going to do any heavy analysis here about the year that passed, only make the conclusion that it was a great thing to have some art goals written down, it helped me focus a bit.

So, what´s up for 2008, then? Well, I have decided not to make my art plans for this year so extensive and detailed, so after a bit of thinking, I´m down to a list of three main things to focus on:
  1. Work in series - this is probably the most important point for 2008. I´m not very good at concentrating on things for a long time, so when I´ve drawn or painted something once, I´m already tired of it. But even I can see that when I do try to work on some subject a bit more, study it from different angles, try out different colour themes, I get better results. So for this year, whatever I draw or paint (except in my sketchbooks - a girl´s gotta have some plain fun too), whichever technique I use, I´m going to do several pieces on the same theme. Partly because I want to get better at carrying through my ideas (and my head is full of them!), and partly because I get a greater feeling of accomplishment by working my ideas through properly.

  2. People and faces - drawing people was on my list last year too, and I did a lot of it. I drew people in town, went to some life drawing sessions and started to get the hang of it, and I´m going to try to keep it up. I´m adding faces this year, though. I´m beginning to feel more comfortable with the human body and it´s proportions, but I totally forgot how to draw faces...

  3. Cars - also in my 2007 art plan, but since they are still so impossible to get down on paper, I´m keeping cars on this list for 2008. Just for the challenge and practice of it.
Today´s painting is one thing I´m going to work with during this year - a series of watercolours of the view from our kitchen window. I´ll never grow tired of those houses down there. They look different in every weather and the light changes every hour of the day, so it is a perfect subject for a longer series of paintings.

17 x 20 cm, pencil and watercolours on Arches 300 g watercolour paper, fine grain.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy new year!

On the last day of the year I did an imaginary summer landscape... must be the lack of light in Sweden this time of year that inspired it. Like yesterday I chose some colours to work with, to try to limit myself a bit, but it´s harder to mix the Neocolor II crayons than ordinary paints, so it was difficult to get all the nuances I wanted from the chosen colours. I dipped the crayons in water to work wet and tried to keep out the fine details.

Anyway, Happy New Year, everybody, I hope 2008 will bring you much joy and happiness, and just the right amount of hardship to better appreciate the good things in life!

15 x 20,5 cm, light gray Pitt brush pen and Neocolor II crayons on drawing paper (that dissolves and makes a mess if you work in too many layers with wet crayons on it...).