Sketchbook studies…ink and gesso

There is definitely a freedom to working in a sketchbook, even if that sketchbook was an investment. Good paper is a must in producing a descent result especially when I have a tendency to use generous amounts of water in the majority of my work.

Only the initial working drawing but you can see my starting point for this study. I used an acrylic ink as opposed to an Indian ink, with initial sketch in charcoal.

The Importance of Experimentation

I have come to realise the importance of experimentation, not just in the studio, but with life. I’m not talking about anything life threatening or physically painful, but just enough to push yourself out of the comfort zone. Why? Because stretching yourself in one area releases courage in another.

Experimentation in my arts practice shakes up my routine and forces me to reconsider my process as well as introducing me to new ways of discovering texture and mark making. Is it uncomfortable? – yes, does it always yield good results? – no, is it worthwhile? – absolutely!

The images below are those I considered worked, I used a mix of media; acrylic, pencil, pastel, ink, and watercolour with various bushes.

The image below did not work as a stand alone image, however, there is something in the washes of greens and the high horizon line, sitting next to the hard bristle strokes of the purple marks that I will be further exploring…nothing is lost.

Last year I attended an online workshop with Louise Fletcher an artist and tutor from Yorkshire in England. I am repeating this workshop this year. The six acrylic squares at the start of this post is part of the first exercise from her course, it is a great way of loosening up and having fun with acrylic.

What inspires me…

When I look at my local ranges – the Tararua Ranges – I am lifted up with a sense of freedom. I am in awe of their rolling contours, their strength, their unmovable presence and grace.

My painting and drawing reflect this freedom, with lines and marks; steady and determined, light and delicate. I walk, I fly across my paper – I am the brush, the pencil, the pastels, the eraser, the piece of black velvet charcoal. With water I merge each mark and rework and re-walk each line, building layer upon layer. This process places my feet firmly in the land, my mark firmly on the paper, with this familiarity my relationship with the subject deepens, my appreciation grows, I am awake….my work is a melding of my spirit and the land, we are at that moment one.

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