Recently I rediscovered some work from a couple of years ago, from the pre-blog 100 Days of Winter series (all the pictures are buried on Instagram if you can be bothered to go back that far. 2019/20 I think it was). I sold some, gave some away, and still have a few left, which I’ve started reworking.
I’m in the process of writing/creating an online course showing how to make these, and spent an engaging hour or so this morning experimenting with colouring some fabric scraps.
I’ve used watercolour, acrylic ink, and Dye-na-Flow fabric paints. An additional extra was accidentally creating some collage paper by using painted paper as a drop sheet.
During a routine dental check-up some years ago, my Greek dentist once caused me some alarm by announcing that he was going to begin his autopsy. Noticing my rabbit-in-headlights expression, he calmly explained the etymology – the Greek translation of the word is something like ‘seen for myself’. I’m not the most relaxed dental patient and it was helpful to have this (slightly nervous) laugh at the time.
And of course, seeing for yourself is always the best way to learn. I drew some masking fluid on a page of my colour palettes sketchbook before adding watercolour. And – surprise – it doesn’t work.
You can see where it was, and it does act as a resist of sorts, but it doesn’t rub off in the normal way when the paint is dry. It lies underneath as a separate layer and sinks into the paper rather than sitting on the surface. I’ve added some pen marks over the top to enhance the effect here and there. I don’t know if it’s because this paper hasn’t been sized, or whether the surface is just too soft. The reason doesn’t really matter; the fact is it doesn’t work as I’d expected. But now I know, having seen for myself.
As always, I can see some of these designs working in textiles with stitch, but for now it’s just an exercise on paper. It’s been a hectic week, and paint on paper is one of my best ways to relax and recover some equilibrium.
I use a separate small square sketchbook for testing paint colours before committing to the thing in progress, and I really like the little abstract compositions that happen purely by accident:
Another long bank holiday weekend here in the UK – whatever your plans are, enjoy some time out.
Sketchbook-making, obviously. I prefer to make my own because I like to vary the paper content and size of the pages. Readymade sketchbooks are usually variations on A4 and I don’t always like the proportions.
The little book with the wraparound cover below is for experimenting with various forms of ink. I have acrylic ink, ink/stamp pads, inktense blocks, and a few distress crayons, plus the more obvious drawing pens etc.
Just somewhere to try dripping, blotting, stamping, stencilling etc with various kinds of ink. My favourite thing so far is drawing with a little twig dipped in ink.
The spread below was made by sponging yellow/purple ink onto damp paper and then using the twig to draw in the green marks. A few random splatters is always very satisfying.
I also quite like the distress crayons, which you can smudge with a bit of water. This is the wrong kind of paper really (it’s very soft cotton rag), as it won’t stand up to too much rubbing. I’ll probably try this again on more robust paper.
I made more sketchbooks than I will use, so I’ve added a handful or so to the shop.
In my new life of freedom from the nine to five treadmill, I’m trying to set aside Fridays for research and development (AKA playing).
I was given these beautiful super-granulation Schmincke watercolours for Christmas but have been really busy since January and I’ve been trying to set aside some time to try them. It turns out today was the day.
I’m no great watercolourist but what I like most about watercolour paints is that it’s quite hard to make anything look ugly. I really like the granulation effect.
Apart from splashing a bit of paint around last week while on annual leave, I’ve also made a start on setting up a shop on RedBubble. It’s a print-on-demand site where you upload your work, then people can purchase it in various forms (stickers, T shirts, phone cases, etc), and you get 10-20% of the sale price.
It’s still very much a work in progress, and I will be adding to it/tweaking it over the next few weeks and months. Just dipping a toe in the water to see how it goes. It may work and it may not, but you never know unless you try these things.
I’m also teaching myself to use Procreate, a digital drawing app. It is fun and frustrating, as well as surprisingly absorbing. I have probably had too much screen time and not enough stitching time recently, but it will balance itself out eventually. New things always take longer than you expect.
My shop banner is very simple but I quite like it.
Most of all this past week I have enjoyed the freedom of not having to go out to work, and the luxury of time to do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Time is one of the most precious things we have and last week it was all mine.