Experiments with colour: sci-fi landscapes

Yesterday I was experimenting with Daniel Smith watercolours. The aim was to get a really good deep black with just two colours.

IMG_2980

The Perinone Orange with Prussian Blue is particularly magic. Two quite pale colours suddenly combine to a carbon black. It’s like watching a chemical process. Although it is, of course, a physical process. These two colours are complementary, and together they absorb all the visible spectrum. Impressive.

I did other experiments:

Then I had a lot of colours left in the mixing tray. I didn’t want to throw them away, they looked so lovely and jewel-like in the mixing tray. So I made some sci-fi landscapes.

The watercolour experiments were in a Khadi sketchbook. The Sci-fi landscapes in a Carnet de Voyages, by Arches.

Shetland, July 2018

Shetland is a place of sky and water. I was working on reflections.

Here are reflections of rocks:

Here’s one that is almost abstract. Perhaps it reflects a mood.

IMG_2936

The rocks round Burrastow each have a skirt of yellow and brown seaweed. So does the pier. There are lobsters down there.

IMG_2933

I am using a new paintbox and experimenting with the colours.

IMG_2891

You see the brown seaweed on the shore.

The island of Foula is sometimes visible from nearby cliffs. It is about 20 miles away, so it floats on the horizon. Foula is a mysterious place.

IMG_2930

Here is another picture of Foula. The island disappeared while I was making these photos of my painting things.

I walked to Footabrough. Here’s the route, and some pictures of Footabrough.

On the way, there is a lagoon where the seals live. The arrow on the map shows the direction of the view in this drawing. The weird dots on the map are because I drew it on the left hand page of the sketchbook. I’d previously used that left-hand page to try out colours (see photo below). Note I am wearing gloves. This is July, in Shetland.

Here are the headlands north of Footabrough. They have marvellous names: Knowe of Banascord, The Hamar and West Stack, Gerdipaddle, Skerries of Watsness. The picture is from Braganess, south of Footabrough.

IMG_2910
Headlands north of Footabrough

This is a characteristic Shetland scene. It shows the remembered view across the Weisdale Voe.IMG_2909

As you see, there was a lot of wind and fine rain. Here are some local drawings around Burrastow (click to enlarge).

On the way to Burrastow I stayed in my favourite Shetland B&B: Hayhoull, in Bigton in South Mainland. It is right next to the amazing St Ninian’s Isle, which is connected to the Mainland by a strip of sand.

On this trip I also did quick sketches using pen and ink. Each of these takes about 10-20 minutes.

These pen sketches are done in the Travelers Company Sketchbook. The other sketchbook I used, shown in some of the photos in this article,  is the Seawhite Watercolour Journal. I also did some drawings on a thick spiral pad from Jacksons Art Supplies. All watercolours are Daniel Smith, from Watercolour Box 3, July 2019.

IMG_2908

Mostly I use just one brush, the marvellous L. Cornelissen 1855 Kolinsky No. 12.

IMG_2641
Cornelissen brush and water pot, on beach near St Ninian’s.

I stay in Burrastow, near Walls on the West Mainland.

Strange Landscapes from Wood (2)

fullsizeoutput_3327

Here’s a print I made at East London Printmakers yesterday.

It’s a continuation of the project “Strange Landscapes from Wood”, which I started in November 2018, before work for the exhibition and New Year Cards took over.

This print shows a dialogue, or perhaps an exploration. Are they perhaps looking down a tunnel? Or watching a sunset?

This is a chine collé print from a copper etched plate. The paper is thin Japanese paper brought to me by kind friends directly from “Paper Nao” in Tokyo. You can see how the plate was made on this link: Strange landscapes from wood

The plain print, with no chine collé, looks like this:

fullsizeoutput_3326

The coloured bits are placed on top of the plate, glue side up. I’ve described the process on this link: The chine collé process

Here is work in progress:

Périgord, France – Sept 2018

The village of Montcigoux has a house with a long roof.

Scan 5

Note also the extraordinary number of electricity cables. The plan is to put them underground. This was in progress. But so far not on this side of the village.

IMG_0297

The queue at Limoges airport Passport Controle took 1 hour. There were only two officials and a huge number of people on the aircraft.

We went to Brantôme, a town on the River Dronne. It’s on an island in the river. There’s a food market on Fridays. At the cafe I sketched the Abbey.

IMG_0288

We walked by the river and found a poem on a stone tablet. I wrote it in my notebook.

IMG_0307

With the help of friends, I am still puzzling out what the poem says. Here’s the latest attempt:

Philosopher, it is there, right at the end of the convent
Whose façade is washed by the River Dronne in flood
That in this enclave, having spent the summer under the majestic elm trees
While leaving your monastic cell to its gigantic books
You would be in free dialogue with your memories.

All suggestions, improvements and interpretations welcome. The verb “jaser” seems to mean “gossip”, but perhaps “faire jaser” has a different meaning. Any ideas? I also assumed that the “G.B.” was the writer “Brantôme”. Georges Brantôme I guessed. But no, the writer Brantôme is Pierre. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de Brantôme (c. 1540 – 15 July 1614), also known as the abbé de Brantôme, was a French historian, soldier and biographer.

I rather get the impression from his Wikipedia entry that the abbé de Brantôme was more of a chronicler than a poet. So who is “G.B.”? I definitely need to go back to Brantôme to have a closer look at that stone plaque. And to buy more of that cheese with nettles in, made by a Dutchman who has settled in France, and sold to us by his son.

“Is it French cheese?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, in the manner of someone embarking on a long explanation, “the milk is from French cows, and it was made in France….”. But, evidently, it was made by his father, a Dutch man, using a Dutch process. So is the cheese French? Is that even a useful question?

Here’s a view of the abbey from the restaurant where we had lunch:

IMG_0289

I sketched in Périgord last year. See this link:  Montcigoux

One of my pictures is now on the wall of the house it depicts.

IMG_0261
Original Watercolour framed

Sketches in Crete – Sept 2018

I was experimental. I had a large sketchbook with rough pages, given to me for my birthday. I turned over the pages and tried things.

As we drove back from Aptera one evening, the sun was setting and fired up the mist between the hills. Back at the kitchen table, I had a go:

IMG_0226

It was stormy. We had some amazing sunsets.

IMG_0228

I did a lot of quick sketches with some special Koh-i-noor sketching pencils that friends brought me from the Czech Republic:

We walked up the Diktamos gorge. It is deep and leafy. Here is an impression drawn that evening, trying to show you the dark depths of the gorge, the high rocky walls, and the leaves. John is shown, sitting on a stone, bottom centre left.

IMG_0229

On the way to the airport we stopped in Agia Triada. I had 45 minutes to do a sketch. This is pen and ink.

IMG_0231

It’s a three hour flight.  One has to do something. I revisited the Diktamos gorge in pen and ink. The game was to use as few lines as possible, by not taking the pen off the paper. This is 3 lines.

IMG_0233

Suffolk Sketchbook, June 2018

I drew a picture from a bird hide, looking over the estuary of the River Blyth.

IMG_4322

Bird Hides make good places for watercoloring. Here is the view from a Bird Hide at Minsmere.

IMG_4317

I had a go at drawing birds too.

 

In the evening, kayakers made their way upriver against the tide.

IMG_4321

I watched the crabbers on the quay.

IMG_4314

All pictures in a Katazome Sketchbook with vintage paper, from the Vintage Paper Company, experimenting with loose watercolour technique.

IMG_4323
Katazome Watercolour sketchbook, from the Vintage Paper Company.