Monday, 22 September 2014

Workshops and Coffee Breaks

Had a great workshop at Denmark Farm Conservation Centre teaching painting realistic autumn produce. The students were lovely and enthusiastic and it made for a really enjoyable day.

 I have another workshop at Elan valley coming up next month;it still has a couple of spaces left on it.

Talking of autumn produce, I've finished my blackberries now.

I've been experimenting with aging paper for that old vintage and antique look . It looks great especially with pen drawings on top. Its not the first time I've tried this technique, I keep coming back to it and then leaving it again, a bit like I do with my pastels and landscapes. 
Here's an old picture I did a couple of years ago which I've dug out again!

I stained some old Saunders Waterford paper I had that I don't use for watercolours. First I brewed some teabags and then soaked a couple of sheets in the tea on a large tray, pouring off the excess liquid when well soaked. Then I sprinkled coffee grounds onto the damp paper. Its fascinating watching the sepia and umber colours running out and bleeding into the wash. I then let it dry naturally.The paper now has the lovely aroma of coffee which I love so it's all good! If you hate the smell of coffee then you can just use tea or use burnt and raw umber watercolour mixes to make a wash and paint the background in, splattering and flicking some stronger paint afterwards to bleed into the damp paper. The painting above was done this way using Fabriano paper and then pen drawn on top.

Here's a couple I've done today of Nigella seedpods in pen using coffee and salt crystals aswell as watercolours to create patterns. I was thinking of adding them to my friend's sketchbooks in the exchange that I'm on, maybe they would like them.
 It's fun to experiment with different techniques and have a break from the white backgrounds of botanicals.


  1. Your blackberries are amazing, love the full range of colours on one branch. Fantastic year for blackberries. I picked up conkers the other day, hundreds here, and all mine as the village children do not seem interested! Thought of you as you did the buds and studies, shout out if you need some.

  2. Thanks Milly, it's an exceptional harvest this year,fantastic and so much for us to paint. I have plenty of conkers but no time to paint them! Always the way!! :)

  3. Thanks Claire, would love to know about the ink. Did you just squash them and filter, and do you have to add something? My friend has brought me some walnuts, going to try and make some with them. Welsh walnuts!

  4. I don't know how I missed these, but they are beautiful, Claire. xx