My daily park through local bush lands provides interesting leaves and pods.
Since re-discovering fountain pens for sketching and buying a Lamy Safari in 2011 (I have always had at least one pen for writing)I now have a rather large collection.
When you’ve been painting as long as I have, you collect art materials - a lot of art materials. Visiting an art supply store is the best therapy. The lure of shiny new paints, brushes, sketchbooks, pens and pencils is very hard to resist. If you have seen my studio you would have seen evidence of this - many, many brushes, boxes of drawing tools, paints and sketchbooks.
Many years ago, I attended a workshop which stipulated an extensive supply list which included a number of acrylic inks. After the workshop was over, I realised that the inks had been just a whim of the tutor - none had been used during the workshop! Now and again I’ve enjoyed using the inks, but since the workshop I had not done a deep dive into their possibilities.
A couple of years ago, I came across the work of Missy Dunaway. Here’s a link to her website http://www.missydunaway.com/ . She uses acrylic inks almost exclusively in a Moleskine sketchbook as a wonderful visual diary of her travels.
Take a look at her Instagram page - it’s so inspirational. Now here was an opportunity to explore the inks more thoroughly. I took part in a couple of online courses that she offered through through Creative Bug and more recently a course offered in conjunction with Moleskine called The Travelling Artist.
Now here was an opportunity to explore the inks more thoroughly.I took part in a couple of online courses that she offered through through Creative Bug and more recently a course offered in conjunction with Moleskine called The Travelling Artist. This type of work aligned with my current preoccupation with working smaller, and, more importantly the course was scheduled at a civilised hour for Australia. (Most online offerings take place as 2 or 3am AEDT!)
I woke up on the morning of 9th September to the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II the previous afternoon.
She came to the throne when I was barely 2 years old. While watching programmes about her life and long reign I am also watching the events which took place during my life, new technologies, the fashions, music and historical events.
Such a lot has happened over the years.
I’ve been drawing digitally for a number of years now. Starting off with the iPad Air and a convention stylus - difficult and clumsy. An upgrade in 2018 meant that I could use an Apple Pencil which is a game-changer. Then two years ago I treated myself to an iPad Pro. The large screen size is luxurious to say the least. One of the major advantages is that one can work with drawing and image side by side.
My skills have improved considerably due to making use of the numerous tutorials offered by Sktchy - or Museum as its now known. Taking part in a #30Faces30Days challenge is like a drawing boot camp.
I’ve done couple now and it’s great fun to keep up with other artists drawing a portrait every day for a month. When a new challenge was offered in June I signed up.
Each day a different artist presents a tutorial covering their favourite techniques. This year all the drawings would be done using Procreate. Ten artists each did three portraits, each video is roughly an hour long- some even longer, then one has to draw the portrait so the time commitment is considerable. The major of using a digital medium is that it’s portable, one can draw literally anywhere and there’s no clean up!
SIDE NOTE - What is Procreate?
Procreate is a raster graphics editor app for digital painting developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS. Designed in response to the artistic possibilities of the iPad, it was launched on the App Store in 2011.
Well, I don’t know about you but that doesn’t tell me much…
Procreate says the something similar in a more creative way:
At the risk of stating the obvious I’m going to try and explain. Essentially Procreate a way of drawing digitally using an iPad and stylus - namely the Apple Pencil. The many brushes create marks that mimic analogue tools - pencils, pens, crayons, different paint strokes in fact an almost endless number since each brush can be modified to suit your own style.
By adding layers, one can add a textured paper or colour, insert images or photos. On my Instagram page I have added a portrait and time lapse so you can see how the image develops. The time lapse shrinks the drawing time of 4 hours 12 minutes to 30 seconds!
Here are a few favourites from the June challenge. Other portraits done for the challenge can be seen on my Instagram profile.
A few weeks ago I was house sitting for my daughter. (Actually I was cat-sitting). I took a walk down a track that I had first explored in 2011 soon after arriving in Brisbane. The track is very different now. It’s much more established with wider paths. Some sections now have concrete stabilising the track where water runoff has caused damage. The trees, once small saplings, now tower over the path. The stream is almost hidden.
It seemed like a strange, new, place. Nothing was recognisable.Then I caught a glimpse of water and remembered the image that inspired a number of paintings.
I caught sight of the bridge, reflected in the stream.
The stream as it is today
The stream in 2011
Often you take a photograph because something in the scene speaks to you but it can be a while before that initial inspiration takes shape. It’s almost as though the idea and image need time to incubate, waiting for the right moment to be given life. So it was with the images which inspired the painting, Windarra Reflections.
This is what I wrote in 2013 -
I took the photograph of the creek on Windarra Estate some time ago. It's been there, waiting to become a painting. Excited by the light on the water and the patterns of the reflected reeds, I wanted the painting to convey the light, colour and a little mystery.
This one was selected for the Lethbridge Small Scale Exhibition in 2015 and later exhibited it along with others at a group exhibition at the then Percolater Gallery in Paddington. (The gallery is now Lethbridge Gallery)
Windarra Reflections - oil on canvas 600 mm x 500 mm
I returned to the same image for Reeds Rise from Water. The title comes from From the poem by Samuel Menashe
I selected a small crop of the original photograph and began the painting with loose bright colour and drips of paint. Most of these remained in the completed painting.
Reeds Rise From Water 760 mm x 760 mm oil on canvas
Recently I pulled out some Daler Rowney FW Acrylic inks some of which I had purchased for a workshop many years ago. I also purchased a basic set of Liquitex inks - primary colours, black, white and burnt umber.
For inspiration I returned to my Windarra stream image and used the inks for this painting. Acrylic ink is extremely forgiving. The layers add vibrancy, cover mistakes and are really fun to use.
Windarra Reflections II - acrylic ink on watercolour paper 320 mm x 400mm