Sketchbook Scans: Mesembryanthemum Studies

Carrying on from Part 5 of the Course, I thought I would draw some more flowers…

Some representative drawings in felt pen, and a couple of stylised versions, and a small sample cut from felt and dip-dyed in ink.

Many years ago I simplified a painting I’d made of mesembryanthemums, to become three overlapping circles of colour, which I went on to use in a lot of small textile pictures and a couple of rag rugs, so they are definitely a favourite subject of mine.

I can imagine these appearing on printed fabrics, mugs, wrapping paper, etc, or stylised versions being made into brooches or joined together as scarves or shawls.

Sketchbooks Scans: ‘Blind Touch’ Drawings and Working on Dark Backgrounds

Following on from my Tutor’s feedback from Part One of the Coursework, I decided to try some blind touch drawings. First I selected five objects with different textures to draw:-


  • a vintage toy mouse (nubbly, lumpy, soft eared)
  • a beaded owl purse (fine, even texture, with zip)
  • a fork (shiny, hard, smooth, sharp, heavy)
  • a chunk of house brick, polished to a pebble by the sea (fine, but rough texture)
  • a finely crocheted cotton doily (lacy, floppy, soft)

Another of Cari’s recommendations was to try out more varied backgrounds, so I picked two A1 sheets of grey and navy blue Canford paper for this exercise. I gathered lots of white media to work with according to the perceived properties of the objects:- ink, paint, pencil, chalk, conté and gel pen.

First the blind touch drawing, feeling the object and not looking at the drawing surface either:-

An interesting collection of marks! I doubt that many of these objects would be recognisable, but it is a strange experience to draw from touch alone. For some objects it was more the texture under the fingers that dominated, for others, such as the fork, the contours were the main feature. Some things, such as the whiskers on the toy could not be felt at all.

A second attempt, this time still just feeling the object, but looking at the drawing paper:-

Again using a variety of media, selecting the one that I felt matched the properties of the object. The fork and brick pebble were considered from different sides and ends. I seem to have made most things longer and thinner. The faint pencil marks for the crocheted doily ended up like a deep sea creature, which I liked.

A good exercise in using more than sight to make a drawing. I also liked the darker ground for working on. I can see that this conveys textures that might be translatable into textile and stitch.

Another sketchbook version of the mouse, completed back in May when I first started the course. I wrote all over this one before Cari advised me not to do that!



Sketchbook Scans: Watercolour Landscape

I decided to do a bit of watercolour sketching outside yesterday, since I am interested in abstract representations of landscapes. No sooner had I set up an easel and paints outside, when the rain came down! I repaired to the kitchen and painted the view from the window instead.

Watercolour - veiw from kitchen window

I thought that the brush strokes on the wall in the foreground and in the near field were what I was aiming for. The second furthest row of trees and shrubs was too pale and muted, however. The nearest greenery should have been brighter and more defined.

I will try more attempts at landscapes. I particularly enjoy the layers and lines that are formed, and will try to make some abstract versions for interpretation in textiles and stitch.

Sketchbook: Buttercups Studies June 2016

I decided to make a few sketches of the gorgeous display of buttercups that I pass regularly at this time of year (before they are cut down by the council!). I must admit to rarely sketching ‘in public’ as I am embarrassed in case someone comes to take a look. But I got a small folding table to sit on, some pencils and felt pens, my sketchbook and camera and set off.

Buttercup Studies June 2016

I tried to make some close up studies looking at the shape of the petals; the way the stems divide, what the buds and seed heads look like (top left and right); also the distribution of the flowers (middle left); a ‘realistic’ study at bottom left and a more abstract version at bottom right. In the centre are an actual petal; and some little, simplified shapes that are my impression of the buttercup heads.

I took some photos as colour/distribution of colour references. The red signs in the back of one shot are a point of interest and contrast for the eye. The combination of grey and yellow appealed most to me. Here is a sample:-Four Reference PhotosI played about with one of the images in Paint Shop Pro, trying out some different effects, and grayscale, which I though would be useful for highlighting light, medium and dark areas. The pattern one was interesting – like wall paper or fabric – maybe a way to come up with all-over designs? I like the simplification of the mosaic images – reminds me of Bridget Riley, whose work I have been studying over the last few days. Simplifying the real world, but providing clues for the eye to make sense of it. (Not quite the optical effects of some of her paintings, though!). The 16 colour version might be useful for narrowing down the colours in a composition, although it seems to have decided that the road was more pink than grey.

Buttercup Studies June 2016Paintshop Pro Effects June 2016