Assignment 5 no.4


In working towards achieving some of Pipers depth, I inadvertently cooked my sketchbook in the oven. Layers take time to dry and I am an impatient sod, the a3 sketchbook fits into the oven well and on defrost setting stuff drys up a treat. I lost track of the reason I was putting the oven on and so the book has had 20 mins of 160c. Its bowing a bit and the sweet wrappers I stuck on some pages had to be pulled apart quickly before they set, the metal spiral was smoking a bit too.

Lesson learnt.

I am now working on a series of pictures, informed by detailed pen and ink sketches (see previous post)

I am really happy with these, they start as a newspaper layer over watercolour paper, then adding strips of tissue to build areas of colour. I then use black and white gesso to form the lightest lights and darkest darks.

The first large scale picture then had sweet wrappers (tin foil, unlike the sketchbook where I used plastic wrappers) and block scrap gouache over in informed chunks.

the final layer is pen and ink, indian for black, and as I’ve run out, currently my white is watered down acrylic (payday tomorrow, I’ll stock up on matt medium and white ink then).

The window in the cloister is the least successful of the three images to me, the white coming out the window into the dark is (looking back) a mistake. The colours stood out more without that over them.

The third picture is the one I am really happy with. as a cropped image I like the way you only get to see building, it takes up the whole picture. Trying to portray the immensity of the cathedral has been a challenge, it sits in an open space so looming isn’t an appropriate word, however its presence dominates the whole city. I also like the symmetry of this picture, the changes left to right being about light rather than differences in the structure.

The sketch starter for this next one, works as a piece on its own, from the perspective of commercial art, this has to be a good thing. I am building a body of mixed small and large pieces.

I tried to go a bit more Monet with the colour for this one as a result the final picture is less crisp than the previous 3. I like the feel of the pastel over the gesso, the texture is there for the brickwork, I just feel like its not dark enough to match the previous style. I want to go over the edges and create the strong ink lines that state the edges in the other pieces, however, I don’t know how to get a black line over that is going to have the strength I want without lifting the pastel and rubbing the visible bit next to the line.


I’ve spent 2 afternoons in the chapter house this week to come up with this sketch, as you can see, its based on 2 a3 sheets with an overlap, its an odd shape, but I’m really liking the way it gives a sense of height to the building. the stone arched roof and tiled floor form the building and help with perspective, even though I haven’t got it 100% accurate. I’m going to go bigger than a1 for this piece, I’ve got a roll of Fabriano cartridge that I got to do a display board backing on and at 1.5m wide, I think I’ve got the length I want without having the join I will undoubtedly have if I use watercolour paper.

Watch this space…

Assignment 5 no.3

Its the holidays and I have to entertain my children (in between waiting out the arrival of a new debit card lost Good Friday and replaced through the Easter post the following week still don’t have a clue where the cancelled old one went)

I took the kids to Oxford for a day, expecting to go to the Ashmolean and look at the pop art exhibition. They don’t open on Mondays (even John Lewis opens on Monday these days) we went on a Monday.

So, we looked in the museum at the town hall (and the picture walk after a trip to Oxfords cathedral) there was some lovely current art on view including some detailed miniature fineline pictures resting on a mantelpiece. I didn’t catch the artists name and I wasn’t allowed to take photos but I was struck by the information achieved in something so small, down to the cross hatching showing the night time.


This is my response bigger, I’m using a dip pen and ink, the shade down was lightly mixed as a loose brown, which I don’t think works however, the picture leads the the pub at the end and you get a sense of closeness in the street and the lack of light in the space. (this isn’t in my sketchbook, its Oxford, on a day trip so I took a different book)

I liked the idea of creating a darker image, more suspense so I stuck with small, the dip pen and ink, lost the lighter shade.DSC01841

This is an image I like, an OCA student on the Facebook page suggested it was contre jour I’ve looked this up, its a photographic technique of photoing something against the light so the detail is masked and the form is almost only viewable in silhouette, and its a good description, even if it doesn’t translate into a sketch. This image I want to work on larger, I think that the darkness takes away from it being part of an 800 year old structure and it can be rendered in a more contemporary way so its understandable as a modern picture.

I tried againIMG_9478

This is only 6X4″ and I think that there is too much detail for the size. the picture can’t get away from the many thousand of sketches that have come before it since the gate to the cathedral close was built.


Thursday My sister-in-law suggested we get together at Southampton gallery, a wonderful free to enter space that regularly rotates its art, from its amazing stock owned by the city (and thankfully out of reach of the council to sell)

The current exhibition was a revelation, 4 Pipers, two of which had rich colour, Ca’ d’oro and Sandown Isle of Wight. I haven’t really pushed into Pipers work and I see that in this I have been remiss, his backgrounds explain a place before we get onto the marks that make up the central interest of his pictures, his use of perspective can seem to be his only method of showing depth until you get in close and actually see how many layers have made up his work, where the light falls and drags your eye. This is where I can see a response to the gate at the close and is where my sketchbook is currently at. I’ve scrubbed the oven (turns out that the shelf bars stain the pages of the book if I leave it too long between cleans) ready to dry multiple layers and I’ve currently got 2 pages drying with book pages and sweet wrappers laid down. the next layer will be gesso, which I now have in black as well as white, I want to try layering these over and working the shapes of the building into ┬áthis ┬áto help create the light in my finished pictures, scraping back through to the page and wrappers.

I have played with gesso before, I still like the surface I end up with for the use of inks and charcoals over using acrylic mediums which have too much shine for purpose.

Work continues…

Assignment 5 no.2

I’ve been sketching close too again as well as using a carpark roof and the A36 into the city, they all represent different views with light at a different point, at different times of the day in different weather situations.

The ink wet-on-wet pictures started as an experiment and I liked part of the effect. the sweet wrappers (aptly consumed in celebration of 2 major Christian events) perform the function of creating the lit building as dusk falls. the sky was a cloudless blue ombre at this point and I wanted to get the chroma correct, even if I wanted to let the natural flow of the ink create a more electric view. I’m going to do this again, I used cream cartridge paper, it has a warmth from the start, however is way to thin to prevent the cockling evident in the image. So I’ll start the larger version again on watercolour paper and see if I can even up the blues.

I also want to do a larger version of the silhouette sketchbook picture, the sky only has any impact because of the cathedral in relief, the lampposts grounding it into now as a timeframe as well as leading up to it in the centre.