Going with the flow

Cloudy skies [6B, B, and HB graphite].

I was meant to be speaking about my book tomorrow at a local library, except … Auckland is not yet done with Covid 19 it seems and we are back in partial lockdown. This means libraries, events, shops etc, are closed for the week. Like all of us, we hope the lockdown doesn’t continue past that. But, it is some time since I sketched anything, and so I got cracking on a small drawing project. I love sketching clouds, and decided to do three; each in a slightly different medium. Yesterday’s was a brooding scene, done from a photograph I took a few days ago. I worked on Hahnemühle cold pressed water colour paper 300g/m. It took the graphite well, as I used the back, which has a slightly smoother feel, but still gives enough bite for the leads. I used 6B, B, and HB pencils. I shall use the same paper for each sketch.

Looking to CBD [Pen, graphite, aquarelle]

Our apartment looks out to the CBD. Buildings, water, cranes and sky fill the view. When I took this photo the clouds were puffy little bundles and the sky quite blue; nice to sketch I thought. Then, I discovered I had used the last of my watercolour paper. With the Covid restrictions I couldn’t do my usual bike ride to the art store. But, ahha! I could order online. Back to my writing while I waited for the courier. Hmm. By yesterday, the art pads hadn’t arrived, though their delay was helping build the new story I’m working on. But today – voila, the courier came, so, I got the second sketch done. I didn’t turn the page over to the smoother side this time, so the effect was grainer. I used a Staedtler 0.3 pigment liner for the city scape, and graphite with aquarelle for the sky. In retrospect, I should have used the smoother side. Mmm, now wondering what side I’ll use for the colour-only sketch planned.

View from Apartment [Watercolour and ink].

I decided to use the more textured side of the paper, as it comes in a block, and I wished to apply water. I thought it would dry flat, as the block is glued on all sides, and knowing how unprofessional my watercolour application can be, felt a loose sheet might be my ruin. I had my idea, which was to lay the colour down for the sunset, let it dry, then apply the pencil or pen for the outline of buildings. Except, I am 1) very messy when it comes to watercolour, and 2) too hasty in applying it. Even though I know ‘this is me’ I still plough ahead regardless. I managed to cover the area, and with a few adaptations, thought I had enough of a colour base to make the idea come together okay. And, because I can sketch well in a few mediums, thought I could always add some aquarelle pencil to obscure some weaker areas of paint. One day, I might learn to use watercolour better. I was happy enough with the watercolour funny enough, and didn’t use the aquarelle after all. But, I kept fiddling with the Inkscape beneath. The pen doesn’t like the deep texture!! Ha ha. So much for talking about my competency in sketching mediums.

Maybe, I should just go with the flow.

PS. I am pleased to announce that Auckland is now at level 2 (Covid speak), and I am able to travel to my old hometown and speak at the Upper Hutt library next week. And for those who don’t know, I shall be talking about my book The (Almost )True Story of a man Called Jack.

19 thoughts on “Going with the flow

  1. That watercolour sky with the buildings in silhouette is very impressive. I love the inked skyline. Well done! Unfortunately, I won’t be at your book reading next week…the pond is just too big to cross! And there is still a matter of that Covid hanging around here as well. Cheers from 🇨🇦

  2. What a glorious sky. And the city beneath so teeny, tiny. Such a sensitive picture Vivienne. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a productive Alert Level 3, despite the associated challenges with art resources! Safe travels south for your talk next week. I look forward to attending a rescheduled talk at the Takapuna Library.

    • Thanks Chris. The earthquake was felt further south. Always a reminder of the devastating ones ten years back in Christchurch. We don’t feel many quakes in Auckland, but when we have 56 volcanoes (albeit dormant), we can do without quakes.

  4. I recently took up watercolor painting, and it has been a challenge. I learned after I started the online lessons that watercoloring is more difficult to master than either acrylics or oils. But I am committed now, and will plow on.
    You probably already know this, but one thing I learned from my instructor is when you want to speed the drying time to paint dry on dry, is to use a hairdryer.

    • Thanks for your comment. Good on you for taking online lessons. Watercolour is difficult, and I am am just a bit lazy to take it through to another level. I would like to explore oils more.

      • Someday, I may try oils as well. I learned to draw through online courses a while back, then after a long break, decided to try watercolors. Thanks to Covid, if nothing else, I’ve studied a lot the last year.

  5. Lo árboles y las nubes son excelentes motivos de dibujo, permiten una total libertad. Me gustan mucho los bocetos. Ya sabes, practicar, practicar, practicar :). Saludos.

  6. These a lovely! Thanks for all the info about the paper and art media you used, so interesting. I think you washed down your watercolour beautifully for the sky in the last one. Great work. 🙂

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