The map I began two weeks back has made some progress forward, and although not quite finished, it is fairly much there. I decided to make a legend/key to off-set the Devonport map I’d begun, shown in an earlier blog. See below, the pen and aquarelle pencil icons which I have numbered but still have to name.
This exercise has been part and parcel of working out what type of maps we might like to make before, or during our trip/s abroad. It is expected that we will use pen and watercolour as our main mediums, but I have to say, that although I can draw pretty much anything, and use most drawing tools, I’ve never taken that well to watercolour. The time has come however, for me to step down from the ‘tried and true’ and out into the wide watery paint-world yonder! Luckily for me, Tony McNeight’s class yesterday demanded that I do just that. Well, I demanded it from myself in fact. As I told him last week, “tell me there was a swing bridge that I had cross and I’d do it.” “Yes?” “Well, watercolours are my bridge. And Tony, I’m going to have to push myself to get over it.”
A further exercise was to sketch a scene from a place we intended to visit. I had a nice close-up image taken from inside a window of the Sagrada Familia cathedral last time I was in Barcelona. This would be my practice piece. I set three pens and my watercolours in front of me. ‘Don’t want to see any pencils out,’ came a directive. Right, I mumble, placing down the forbidden fruit. Black ink line it shall be from marking-out to completion.
The photo was lovely, and I wasn’t keen on making a mucky hash of the sketch. I went with a Staedtler pigment liner 0.2 to begin with, which is water repellent, and began to lightly plot dimensions. I planned to focus on the foreground using ink and watercolour and stick to a wash effect for the background.
I fiddled around with the pen for a bit, then decided to switch to a water soluble ink one; my old rotring Artpen. By sketching on top of my first pen strokes, I was able to wet my brush and pull it through the line, thus creating a softened ‘wash’ effect. I felt a lot happier with this. I continued to mix a wash with lamp-black paint in the tray, and used the wash to create hints of the buildings in the distance and the street below.
I don’t think I’ll do any more on this.
It was a good exercise. I just need to keep looking, whether at an image inside, or a subject en plein air. The more I observe, the better my judgement shall be of the scale – the ‘form’ – of what is in front of me. And the more I observe, the more I shall feel the essence of this subject and what it means to be in this place, right now, sketching.
I’ve an ink and watercolour sketch of a brick church to finish off before the next class Then I intend to do a few drawings to baptise my new art book. A map to start perhaps? And then some representation of Barcelona, Valencia and Seville, the three cities the group shall be visiting. Maybe I’ll spread the regions out in the book, or do research first…