I still have 2 days left to capture some bulbs. Not that it means we are in spring. On the contrary, with snow forecasts for this weekend en cold to the bone weather and the fire burning high in the fireplace, it is everything but spring. Inside my barn though, I have forced bulbs everywhere and tulips in vases. Nothing can stop me from bringing some spring inside.
I used lots of different mediums and styles, just simply playing around, messing around. I enjoy working with gouache, I don’t do that enough, so it was great to do some sketches with gouache today. the last image is one of the gouache sketches..but I ruined it of course with that enormous name I signed…tried to be too artistic…
..contour lines with black Lamy safari pen on Fabraino watercolor block HP, 18×25.5cm
..watercolor and J. Herbin ink, café des iles in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Epsilon series, 14×21.6cm
..watercolor and in Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Alpha series, 22.9x15cm
..gouache and black Lamy safari pen on Fabriano watercolor block, HP, 18X25cm
The potted bulbs all have some flowers and today the little Iris reticulata had its turn. Some quick line work in inks and blotches of watercolor was all that I was in the mood for.
..Iris reticulata 1..
..watercolor and J. Herbin ink(bleu myosotis and lie de the) on Fabriano HPwatercolor block..
The top sketch was done on Fabriano hot press watercolor paper, my favorite and the inks just work beautifully with the nibs and inks. The bottom sketch on cold press was a different story. The nibs get stuck on the paper with its rough texture and I just don’t like any other paper than hot pressed. you can just look at my signed name to see how I struggled to get a fluid line down.
..Iris reticulata 2..
..watercolor and Sennelier ink(sanguine 270) on Fabriano CP watercolor block..
I’ve mentioned how slow I am in January. I fiddle everywhere without getting anything done. With aw eek of January left, I decided to give myself a project for this week. I always work better towards a deadline with objectives and projects. I have some forced bulbs and for these few days I will render them in more ways than one. My technique is busy changing, which is of course a good thing, but in the process of that change it is without definition and all over the place. Experimenting with brush and line may just open up a new door for a February project.
So the first bulbs are the hyacinths. Lovely to look at, but they really cornered me. I did several of which I show only these two.
hyacinth bulb 1
done in watercolor an prera pilot pen on Fabriano HP extra white watercolor block, 23×30.5cm
done in watercolor and Lamy safari pen on Fabriano HP extra white watercolor block, 23×30.5cm
I adore the colours of hydrangeas in the fall. They lose that bright summer blues and pinks and become faded. Even the whites turn a faded green. Some dried brown petals turn the blooms into pieces of art in shades of all colours.
I did the the first sketch too stiff and controlled into a round ball, even though I am not too unhappy with the colours.
So I decided to do another sketch, this time much looser, maybe not immediately recognizable as an hydrangea, but I have never cared about likeness. Loose, fluid painting with personal interpretation is much more important to me.
Is there any gift bigger for a birthday than a sunny day in august and a large bunch of bright yellow sunflowers? so was my birthday yesterday.
And as sketches…my sunflowers captured lazily today as I think I had too much birthday yesterday…
birthday sunflowers 1
watercolor and pen in Daler and rowney sketchbook
birthday sunflowers 2
watercolor and pen in Daler and rowney sketchbook
I have a tendency to become tight the more I work. It is just one of those inevitable things. So I often have to change mediums and styles and experiment in other ways to loosen up again. I have notice with my sketching that I have become tight again. Normally I would change to oils and go do some plein air which helps, but with the bad weather, I had to divert to other options. As I was watching the horses walking all over our well the other day, I saw a contrast of grey sky and a line of white lace flowers and the green fields and it stirred the desire to put that onto paper by using the opaque gouache, a medium I quite like, exactly for its “experimental” qualities. It opens up possibilities to take it further into oils.
The following gouache experiments were all done in sketchbooks
After sitting outside, I moved in, bringing in some of the woildflowers now in seaspon and trying to create the broad bands of colour..the greens, the blues and of course the shapes, not worrying too much about authenticity. It was all just about colour and application with a loose wrist and finally some line squiggles, which I always love. For the dark lines I initially used inks, but it didn’t work too well on top of the gouche, so I used a dark mixture(which I alwyas use in oils for black) of Burnt unber, alizarin crimson and french ultramarine which always gives a rich dark black.
with this experiment, I used the gouache much more diluted to get more “wispy” horizons as a back drop for the lace flowers. Well, I don’t know what those funny linework at the bottom is all about, but at the time I felt in the mood for it.
This was a lot of fun and really something I will explore deeper, maybe on much lager scale with oils..and added animals…Many options in fact.
We were in Tolouse, visiting out children and I had unfortunately only time for one quick catch of a fleuriste when we sat down for a coffee. A figure was standing just in front of us and the fleuriste was across the street…don’t now if that depth and perspective come across on the sketch… and of course the beautiful red brick of Toulouse…la ville rose.
..fleuriste à toulouse, in Stillman & birn Alpha sketchbook, vellum, 22.9×15.2cm