Crabs Remind Me Of Summer

crab sketches

These are not local crabs they’re search engine crabs but they still remind me of the sea-side.

Hi there, how are you?

It’s the end of the summer and we haven’t been to the beach this year. I couldn’t drive for much of the summer so we’ve had little days out closer to home.

Trying to hold onto the summer just a little longer I decided to draw some crabs. They remind me of sunny days walking on the sand, inspecting rock pools.

They were sketched out loosely with a pencil then drawn with a brush pen. I’m getting much more used to drawing with this pen these days and am really enjoying using it.

Happy Autumn everybody.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

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Learning To Draw Birds

Hi there, how are you?

I wanted to draw something a little different this week. I remembered John Muir Laws records a class every month or so and very generously puts it up on YouTube. He also has a blog full of information on nature journaling.

my class notes from video

As I watched the class I took notes ( just like I would if I had been taking the class in person ) they’re a little scrappy but they ‘re only to remind me of some of the points I thought important to remember. I drew the four little yellow birds immediately after watching the class.

He has a video on drawing birds and I thought it would be fun to follow the class and see if I could really draw these little birds.

NB: when I hit the share button to share his video it put the actual video in my blog. Not sure that I shared it properly but this is his video, it’s about 1 1/2 hours long and well worth watching if you want to learn how to draw birds.

robin sketches

The robins were drawn with the method in the video, from photos I have taken over the year in the garden. The drawing wasn’t bad but I’m afraid the colouring could have been better, still they look like robins so a win there me thinks.

kingfisher sketches

Next I drew some kingfishers from an image search. I love these little guys but I’ve never seen one in real life. Who knows one day I’ll be lucky.

John Muir Laws is a nature journaler, author and teacher, he does a great job of teaching in a no-nonsense way that even someone as inexperienced at drawing as me can produce some very bird like drawings.

I haven’t sketched any birds outside yet but if any come close enough next time I have my sketch book out I will definitely have a go.

If you watch the video give it a try. It’s a lot of fun.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

Sketching Poppy Seed Heads In The Garden

poppy plant sketch

This was the last poppies; it was drawn with a fountain pen.

Hi there, how are you?

I’ve been out in the garden again drawing. The poppies are coming to an end so the seed pods have caught my attention. There are poppy seed heads in various stages of decay dotted around the garden, so I take my tiny fold up stool outside and sketch a little whenever there’s time (weather permitting of course)

poppy seedhead sketch

A quick sketch drawn with a brush pen.

I made a real find this week, Usually the seed heads age, dry out, drop their seeds and then blow away in the wind, this year however two of them dropped down amongst the leaves and carried on decaying, leaving me with some poppy seed head skeletons!

skeleton poppy seed head photo

I’ve only seen pictures of these before so to actually hold them in my hand is amazing.

I pulled out my brush pen and drew them from a few different angles. Then I just washed some watercolour over the whole page and picked the lines out with some yellow ochre.

skeleton seedheads sketch & watercolour

I’m not sure whether it’s the colour or the scrappy line work but this one makes me happy.

In other news, we had the great day of cast removal (ooofff) the bones had set beautifully, unfortunately so had all of the stringy bits inside my arm (technical term) due to lack of movement. I spent the last few days bending my wrist back and forth like a rusty hinge trying to get some movement back.

Of course the best form of exercise is just to use it so I did some more drawing hehe.

Ageing poppy seed heads, micron pen and watercolour.

Ageing poppy seed heads, micron pen and watercolour. Getting a better grasp of the brush with my fingers.

skeleton poppy seed head sketch 2

Skeleton poppy seed head drawn from different angles.

These two were pencilled in first and drawn over with a micron pen. I did a better job of colouring these last two in, probably due to the fact I could actually move my fingers to hold a brush properly.

All in all another interesting week.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

Using Dip Pens And Masking Fluid To Paint Honesty

watercolour honesty with dip pens

Using Dip Pens And Masking Fluid To Paint Honesty

Hi there, how are you?

Last week I picked a small twig of honesty and sketched it. I thought it would be fun to try to paint it with watercolour. I used three colours cerulean blue, raw sienna and burnt sienna, to try and keep it simple.

 honesty watercolour indian ink

Drawn with a dip pen and Indian ink. Once the ink had dried I used a dip pen to draw some masking fluid around some of the pods, I also splashed some masking fluid across the surface.

Masking fluid is tricky stuff. If you use a brush it’s best to use an old or inexpensive one because it will eventually ruin the brush. Dip it in soap and wipe off the excess before using in the masking. This helps prevent the masking from sticking to the bristles. It always ruins the brush in the end so keep a dedicated brush for masking fluid.

I wanted fine lines on these paintings and as hard as I try I can’t get a fine enough line with a brush so I decided to use dip pen to apply the masking. I’ve read books where the artists say it works so I gave it a go. I pour a small amount of masking fluid into a tiny ceramic dish then put the lid back so whole pot doesn’t dry out.

watercolour honesty drawn with dip pen

I drew the honesty with masking fluid and dip pen (the masking dries blue so it’s easy to see where I’ve been) .

Let them both dry thoroughly. If the masking doesn’t dry thoroughly it sticks to your best watercolour brush, and it won’t come off! (You can guess how I learned this lesson) I use a silicone colour shaper for large areas, the masking peels off the tip when it’s dry but there were no large areas here.

It’s a bit fiddly but I did manage to load the nib, I just tip the dish to the side and load the nib against the side of the dish. I don’t throw away any left over masking fluid; let it dry in the dish, it will be used later.

After I had painted them I decided the pods weren’t going to stand out very well so I loaded the dip pen with watercolour (to do this pass a loaded paint brush over the nib) and drew in the details.

Once everything had completely dried (if the paper isn’t dry it may tear) I roll up the masking fluid that had dried in the dish into a ball and use it to remove the dried masking from the painting. This prevents me from smearing my painting with the oils in my fingers, and rubbing it lightly, not peeling it away stops the paper tearing as it comes off.

There is a masking pick up tool you can buy from the shops to do this but I don’t have one so for now this works for me.

dip pen nibs

Experimenting with the dip pen was interesting, there are two pens in the picture, the red one has a narrower rounder nib and I couldn’t find a way to load it properly with masking fluid. The blue one worked much better. I’ll try it again on something else to see what results I can get.

The Indian ink looked very bold against the background as you would expect, the other one is a lot softer, I think the extra line around the edge makes it stand out better.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

Wild Flower Studies

wild poppy in a pot

Poppies and wild flowers hanging over the edge of a pot

Hi there, how are you?

I planted loads of wild flowers in the garden this year, they didn’t grow, except for one small pot. It’s doing quite well though. There are poppies and some yellow ones that didn’t last very long but were very pretty, also something with lots of little clusters of white lowers. (My extensive knowledge of flower names hehe.)

They were hanging on the side of the pot and I liked the straggly shapes of the stalks with the bottom flower hanging down over the side so I sat in the garden in-between rail showers and drew a little sketch.

Both of these sketches were drawn with a fountain pen and I was worried the ink would smudge all over the place so I kept the watercolour away from the edges as much as possible.

honesty sketch

A sketch of some honesty seed pods

In the car park near the supermarket I spotted some honesty. I love the papery seed pods of honesty; I took a small stalk and brought it home. Don’t worry it has many seeds to reproduce itself and make new plants next year and I’m thinking since growing flowers is not my thing maybe I’ll plant some weeds. Hopefully the slugs won’t find them so tasty!

 

honesty seedpod instagram

Click on the picture and it will take you to my instagram page. Swipe for the other images.

I took a few pictures and realised they are so colourful, not just brown but yellows, reds, greys and greens.

My little sketch doesn’t really do it justice but I have it in a jar on the windowsill so I’ll have another go and maybe see if I can do a little watercolour.

There’s always beauty to be found when you least expect it.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

Drawing Flowers

fallen poppy

This little poppy had fallen in the wind but it was hanging on as best as it could.

Hi there, how are you?

We still have some poppies in the garden at the moment. I actually planted whole swathes of wild flowers this year hoping for a lovely garden full of colour. The slugs thanked me for the feast by eating them as they came through!

I still have a few poppy plants left so I decided to draw some of the flowers to celebrate their dedication and perseverance he he.

I’ve drawn the first one with a pentel brush pen with my right hand (things are improving) it’s loosely coloured in with watercolour.

tall thin poppies

This one is me just flicking paint onto the page with a brush. The one on the left was a bit wind-blown and did really look like that.

daisy line drawing

We saw some tall wild daisies on a walk down a country lane.

I love the simplicity of daisies but can be difficult to work out all the petals sometimes. I didn’t colour them in because they were drawn with a fountain pen and the ink runs with water.

I like to draw with pens because it stops me getting too fussy. If I start outlining things in pencil first I seem to spent most of my time rubbing out and trying to perfect things, with a pen the line is down and I just have to move on.

I’ve been using the brush pen quite a bit lately. The lines seem to flow beautifully and can produce a lovely variety of lines.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

 

An Anniversary Shaker Card

happy anniversary card

Hi there, how are you?

This week I needed an anniversary card, I had planned to paint something small with watercolour but life got in the way, as it does.

I decided die cutting a simple design would be a lot easier as I could do that relatively easily with one hand (I could use the other one as a paper-weight)

It’s a shaker card. My daughter was throwing away some beads and sequins she no longer wanted, I jumped up and said “don’t throw those away; I’ll use them in a card!” no point in wasting them is there?

We’re back from our holl’s, a week in London to see relatives.

hope blue whale diving

Dippy has now been removed from the Natural History Museum to be replaced with hope the huge blue whale skeleton.

There was a visit to Kew Gardens (it rained persistently) the psalm house, water-lilies, cactus and orchids, (trying to keep out of the weather).
Kew also has a small gallery built to house the work of Marianne North. She sounded like an amazing woman, travelling around the world on her own in Victorian times painting everything that she found interesting.
There is also a lot of botanical art by many other artists housed there too. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

We went to the natural gallery because the other half wanted to see the Van-gogh paintings. (We couldn’t see them last year because they were refurbishing the room)
I wasn’t fussed on the sunflowers but I did like his “two crabs” I also liked the Monet “The Water-Lily Pondbut you really have to stand at the far end of the room to see them in their full glory.

I’ve taken loads of pictures and hopefully soon I’ll be able to draw from them. How’s the drawing coming on you ask?

left hand drawing of a rose

Little rose drawings. The left hand drawing is on the right hand side of the page, broken on the left.

Erm.. there’s more work needed me thinks. Hehe there doesn’t seem to be much difference between hands at the moment. I don’t want to fall out of the habit so I just need to keep going, it will get better with practice.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

Keep Calm And Carry On 

Hi there, how are you?

A little watercolour of a daisy. Not beautifully formed but the best I can do at the moment.

We’re on holiday this week so this is a short one on my iPod, with borrowed wi-fi.

Thanks for stopping by. Till next time, have fun x

Daisy watercolour

Trying to carry on