As I’ve mentioned before, I can get stuck with what I know when it comes to sketching, but nothing beats joining an art group from time to time and just going with ‘the flow’, literally. On the last two Saturday afternoons I attended Tony McNeight’s class in the teaching block close to my home. Centre table was a large striped vase filled with silk flowers and dotted around were a bundle of twigs, and numerous pots of coloured ink. ‘Mm’ the class said.
I instantly remembered an art class at Teachers College when we’d executed portraits with sticks and black ink. That was fun; why shouldn’t this be? So, standing up, a twig in hand, I dipped it in a pot of black and went for it, turning the stick back and forth to get variation in the line. “There’s a hairdryer if you want,” Tony said, “as we’re applying water colour when that’s dry.” I turned the machine on and Oops, my ink sprinted across the page. Not a masterpiece in progress. I enjoyed the exercise, and rather liked the shoot of black across the page and the freedom of my sketch. Next week, we would be outdoors.
But first, a short tutorial in the classroom using a totally new medium to most – Poscas, felt-tip pens of many widths filled with acrylic paint. We would be working on A5 grey paper that Tony supplied. He suggested we try before heading down to Stanley Bay. OMG, several of us did not love these first attempts, and I was pleased to see another student scrunch hers up as I had done. Off to Stanley Bay we went, and secured a perch with a view to the point, the Auckland CBD beyond. As suggested by Tony, I pinned two A5 sheets together, to capture a wider view.
This time, I thought about how Tony had described the best approach for this medium, and set forth on this sketch in a more positive frame of mind. As these acrylic pens cannot be blended, dry quickly and cover well, it was essential to sketch outlines before introducing the Poscas. The concept was to use white acrylic to highlight the apartment tower and clouds, city buildings further off, and yachts etc. I used an 0.8 black ink pen for extra definition on the cliff and the pohutakawa trees. A quick working with a black pencil, and it was time to leave, with a plan to add a little watercolour once home.
I think I liked it better before I added more colour, but hey, surely it is better to try something new, than not?