Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Autumn Ramblings

Autumn has well and truly arrived in Wales, with the remains of  hurricane Gonzalo stripping the leaves from the trees.Hopefully some of the beautiful autumn colours will remain after the gales have gone, I'm not quite ready for winter yet! 
I've been busy lately working on a commission of a poppy, Papaver rhoeas which has taken me ages to paint. At last I have finished. I used Fabriano artistico hot pressed paper at 300lb weight for this painting as I used lots of watercolour washes and didn't want the paper to cockle. The 300lb (600 gms) paper is very thick and stiff and can take many, many washes without the need for stretching. It can take a fair bit of abuse this paper, very recommended; it is more expensive but very good quality. I usually use a 140lb weighted paper but only when not using large watercolour washes. The colours I used for the poppy were Indian yellow by Winsor newton, Translucent orange by Schminke and Vermillion (PR255) by Daler rowney, with a dash of winsor red for darker areas and Quinacridone red in some high lighted areas.


Below is a Poppy collage that I created in Picasa, interesting to play around with, I like the black background.



I had a go at making some inks too. I made blackberry ink, hawthorn and tea ink. The blackberry ink was a lovely carmine colour at first but changed to a colour similar to paynes grey over night. I did samples in 2 books. The old sketchbook with cheap non acid free paper kept the dark paynes grey colour but my book with more expensive, acid free paper in, the ink has now become a greener colour. The tea ink has remained a nice brown colour still. The hawthorn ink was a green colour and not so successful! It was fun experimenting and trying something new though.


 I've also had another workshop at Elan valley which went very well with lovely students. Unfortunately I forgot to take some photos of the day.
 I also went on a fungal foray there recently too, with botanist Ray Woods, who is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about fungi and lichens, it was so great to meet him. I shall post a bit of my fungi journal too.





I had a trip to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales too on national fungi day, which was 12th October. They were having a fungi festival with forays and mushroom orientated stalls and events going on around the gardens. It was a great day with beautiful weather aswell. 
There are also some amazing tree sculptures; huge old trees with beautifully sculpted roots on show. Here are a few photos of them.




Lastly ,I have organised with Denmark farm near Lampeter to tutor some more workshops for next year. There will be 4 to run through the seasons, starting with one on January the 18th. We will look into depicting lichens, moss, bark and glossy evergreen leaves; winter subjects and we will use some different media.
Happy painting.

12 comments:

  1. Really lovely post. So interested in how you can make your own inks. I had never thought of doing that before.

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    1. Thanks Jess, it's fun to experiment but I guess the inks will fade quite quickly! I'll be making some paper too soon!

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  2. what an idea to make ink by yourself!!. that a marvellous way to be on personal art. Clever!

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  3. I love your fungi journal... it's so cool!! Lovely blogpost, Claire xx

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    1. Cheers Shevaun, I thought it may be a bit square? ;) xx

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  4. National Fungi Day--what fun! Your poppy painting turned out wonderfully, and the fungi sketches are great too. Well done!

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    1. Thank you Janene, definitely had my fill of painting poppies now for a while! But I've just dropped it off with the client and he's very happy, so me too! :) xx

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    2. What an interesting post .Claire. First of all a beautiful poppy. I was hoping you would post some of your blackberry ink, mine has various shades depending on the paper. Some of it started bubbling went thick so I gave it a second go at sieving to thin it. Great fun to draw with!
      I really like your fungi project, it is so interesting studying lots of the same species. A wonderful journal in the making, made with real enthusiasm for the subject, it shows. X

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    3. Thanks so much, Milly, I hope your walnut ink turns out great to work with. There's also oak gall ink to make but that's more involved, short on time now!! :)xxx

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  5. Dear Claire - this poppy is so beautiful. It really pops off the page. The National Fungi day sounds like a great day. Enjoyed seeing your sketches of all the different species. Enjoyed reading about your inks. Had visited Milly who was using blackberry ink as well. Hope to remember next year to make some for myself...my blackberries sadly are just a faded memory. Have a super week-end and thanks for sharing.

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  6. Thank you so much Debbie, I have only just received your comment, have not been on blogger for a while! Time is whizzing by so quick. It was fun making the inks but the blackberry ink has now faded, a shame. I think the best way to use these veg inks is as a fabric dye, I bet beetroot or turmeric are amazing. xx

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