Friday 31 December 2010

Finished drawing

I finished the drawing late last night using a touch of gouache and acrylic ink to bring back the lights. I need to remember next time just how intense the inktense pencils are and to hold back a little to keep the lighter tones.

Taking a tiny object, in this case approximately 4cm high and drawing it much larger isn't new to me. I painted huge panels of parts of tiny shells during my degree, getting lost in the structure, pattern, texture and colours but I had forgotten how enjoyable it was.

Just for fun after photographing the drawing I cropped and manipulated the colour and contrasts on the computer. I like the way the scratchy marks pixalate.

Wishing you all a happy new year.

Thursday 30 December 2010

Back to work


What a lovely Christmas break! (made even better by clear roads for travelling - no more snow) One of my best moments was having a cuddle with my nephew whilst watching a film - he's eight, so I'm not sure how much longer he'll want to be cuddling his aunty.

So now back to work.... I'm still playing with the inktense pencils. I drew this pine cone that I picked up on one of my walks in an A3 sketchbook. I thought I'd show a shot from before the water was added so that you can see how much more vibrant the colour becomes. I'll work back into it to claim back some highlights as some areas got a little bit too dark and some of the form was lost.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Durdle Door Snow

Wishing you a very merry Christmas
and a prosperous and happy 2011

with all my love
Lisa x

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Softly Swaying I
15x15cm acrylic on canvas
©2010 Lisa Le Quelenec

Softly Swaying II
15x15cm acrylic on canvas
©2010 Lisa Le Quelenec

I have enjoyed painting these sooooo much! My aim was to get a sense of the flower heads gently swaying in a breeze by using gentle diagonals in the stems and seed heads. Can you sense the movement?

I'm glad I did lots of sketching of the poppies in my garden during the summer. I did them for drawing practise when I was taking a break from painting, I had no intention of using them for paintings back then but I'm realising now just how well spent the time was.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Polystyrene printing part 2

Once yesterdays prints had dried, a few watercolour washes later it became this.....

I had printed a couple more which became this...

and this.....

A tiny edition of three all very different while at the same time being the same. Not bad I thought for first attempts at a new technique. Have you tried it? Are there any tips you could give me?

Monday 13 December 2010

Printing with polystyrene

I've been trying out a whole new (to me) method of printing. My dear friend Morag who is a printmaker gave me some polystyrene ceiling tiles and explained how to use them as a plate for printing. I'd heard of this before but had never gotten around to having a go myself. Today I had a go. First of all I did a test using watercolour just to get a handle of how the texture would print. The bottom six panels of the sheet are from one inking and the textures brought to mind the white water patterns made by waves.

I drew into the polystyrene with a pencil, indenting the surface and made some linear wave shapes. Using acrylic indigo paint mixed with a little screen print medium to give a longer working time and thin out the pigment whilst keeping a sticky consistency I inked up for another trial print. This is on the top left.

Hmmmmmm.... I thought this is looking interesting so I cut another piece of tile and rather than drawing across the surface I just pushed the pencil into it. It was good fun in a bubblewrap kind of popping way until I got a little impatient and started getting heavier handed and kind of carved into the tile. If you try this at home BE WARNED have the hoover on hand to catch all the little bits of polystyrene that will fly everywhere, don't wear clothes that may have a tendency to have static and it would be good to have someone else in the house in case the door needs answering. (I speak from experience - I had followed none of the above and I got a very strange look from the postman answering the door with polystyrene flakes stuck all over my clothes and in my hair looking like Frosty the snowman with a very sheepish grin - I saw his shoulders shaking as he walked down the road laughing. I can't say I blame him I was a bit of a mess.)

And here is the result after the embarrassing encounter with the postman.....

It might not look much now but I am planning on working back into it once it's dried.

Friday 10 December 2010

More poppy experiments...

Another poppy experiment using acrylic ink, watercolour and coloured pencils. The original petal shapes were made by printing acrylic ink onto watercolour paper, the result was beautiful texture in the pull of the ink. Once it was dry I added a wash of watercolour and drew in the seed heads with a brush. The dark marks on the under side of the petals were made with acrylic ink once everything had dried.

20x28cm mixed media on paper
©2010 Lisa Le Quelenec

To bring out more red in the petals I used coloured pencil slowly building it up with varied shades to get a richness of tone. I don't think you can see in the photo but in the dark blotches in the petals there is purple, royal blue and turquoise which zing against the orange and red.

I've promised myself another couple of weeks for experimenting whilst the year draws to a close on exhibition work but I think I can foresee a series of poppy paintings in the not too distant future. ;) I'm really enjoying mixing up media and the looseness and freedom that it involves.

Thursday 9 December 2010

More reflecting on the river....

Reeds and reflections from my sketchbook in both watercolour (top) and acrylic (below). The acrylic is quite richly textured which was difficult to capture in a photo.The more I experiment the more I think I could possibly be leaning to a more mixed media approach. (of course this might just be because I'm enjoying playing with different materials so much - does it count as work when it's so much fun?)
The blue flashes were a tribute to the beautiful kingfisher that I saw last month but haven't seen since. He/she brought to mind the title of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins 'As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame'. Not because of the meaning of the poem, just the mental images that it gives me. (although I do enjoy the rhythms of his work) Turquoise, copper, rusty browns are one of my favourite colour combinations.
The sun has been shining today and the temp is above freezing - yay!

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Another print experiment...

Another of my watersoluble mono prints that I've worked into, it's a bit curly here as I took the picture whilst it was drying. After spraying with fixative I gave it a coat of acrylic glaze medium to act as a barrier before painting on top. There was some re-melting of the brown pigment into the glaze but as it is an image of muddy river reflections I didn't worry too much ;) this would be a problem for other subjects and is something I will have to keep in mind. Once the barrier layer was dry I felt more confident in painting back into the print and so I added more acrylic paint, some of which was quite wet.

I think by painting into it I've made the reflections look more a part of the water rather than shapes and lines sitting on top.... I hope when you look at it you can feel the wet and cold of the water. 

 Just for fun after photographing the image I thought I'd have a tinker around with it on the computer.... I quite like these magenta/orange/violety combinations. Oh and I do like a good crop too.

It's been so much fun playing with these experiments and it's given me a lot of food for thought. I know that to anyone else they must look like strange scribblings but I think taking this time out to play has been very valuable. I must remember to do it more often.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Working into mono print experiments

On the right is the original mono print with a colour photocopy on the left that I've worked on top of with coloured pencil. I thought I would try working with the suggestion of a waterline in the print and and play with some reflected ripple patterns with the hard edged pencil building up the layers of colour.

I wanted to work back into the original mono print with watercolour and watercoloured pencil but was worried the original image would move if it was re-wetted. I wasn't sure if it would work but I sprayed the paper with a pastel fixative first and hoped for the best. It does seem to have worked as there was no visible movement as I dampened the paper. (I wonder if this would work with acrylic? Something to try next methinks...) I was having trouble getting the pencil on dark enough so out came the acrylic paint to do the lower part of the reeds. In the original mono print there were some dark spots where pigment had balled and blotted on the plate, I decided to add to this by running a sharp blade along the point of a watercolour pencil to make shavings that sprinkled and melted into the damp paper.

It will be interesting to use what I have learnt and translate the marks into acrylic when I start to work on canvas again. However that will have to be for another day as I'm due back at the Hayloft Gallery this morning.

I hope everyone in staying warm, it feels like another cold one to me.

Monday 6 December 2010

Mono printing river experiments

Whilst it's been cold and grey I've been working on my river project and I just thought you might be interested in seeing some experiments I've been doing with mono printing. Something I feel has been lacking in my work of late is the element of mark making and textures. It is the 'thing' that has attracted me most to the river. Juxtapositions of organic reflection shapes with the lines of reeds and all the very different textures of foliage are so different to the sea/beach/cloudscapes that I've done. - A change of scene can be very exciting...

I used a plate of perspex and drew onto it with watersoluble crayons, I used Neocolor II made by caran d'ache as well Derwent Aquatone. They are softer than some of the other brands and sit well on the plastic. Some colours will go on easier that others depending on the pigment but most will be fine with a little pressure. For the first experiment I wanted to concentrate on the vertical reeds and and the horizontals made by the ripples on the water.

The next step was to dampen the paper, it needs to be damp enough to activate the pigments but not so damp that the water pools and runs turning the print into a blended slush of colour. Once the paper was damp it could be laid out on top of the drawing. I added a hinge of masking tape at the top at this stage fixing the paper onto the perspex in case I wanted to work back into the plate. I applied quite a bit of pressure to the back of the paper.

Now for the exciting bit, I carefully peeled away the paper from the plate. The water looked a little too pale for my liking and there were a couple of bands in the reeds that didn't print so well. Because of my trusty masking tape hinge this was easily rectified by working back into the plate with more crayon and very gently laying some extra water with a brush onto the plate to dampen the areas of reed that didn't take.

This is the final result. There are blots of pigment where it has balled up on the perspex plate and printed in clumps. Whilst this can be a bit of a pain with some subjects I quite like it in this one. Also the reeds were supposed to be looking like they start from the bottom of the paper and the way it has printed almost makes it look like they start from about a third of the way up and underneath is a poorly drawn reflection. However I think this is a good starting point for working back into with different media. It was also quite a fun technique to use as it's element of unpredictability means you can never be sure exactly what results you will get.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Snow day in Dorset


The view from my windows this morning along with some of my feathered friends who are all looking a little bewildered. It's unusual to get snow like this down here although we did have some earlier in the year. I cleared the snow and topped up the bird feeders and water as soon as I got up this morning and they've been busy getting extra calories to keep out the cold.

Back to work now for me, I'm not sure I can use the excuse of a 'snow day' when I work from home ;o)

Friday 26 November 2010

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Summer garden sketchbook

It seems we are in for a cold snap this week so I thought I'd share a reminder of summer. They are small scale, about 10x25cm done in watercolour.

I love poppies and we have grown a few different varieties,  I dry out the seedpods to draw every year and then in spring scatter the seeds back out in the garden borders. I particularly like the Californian poppies with their vibrating orange petals that always catch my eye.

Listening to the bees as they dive into the flowers always makes me laugh, the sound seems to amplify and they sound so excited. Sometimes their legs seem so coated in pollen that they can't fly straight and they look like their drunk. The yellow/orange splodge on the page of the yellow poppy sketch was a bee landing on the book. (He left behind a sketch of pollen.) I hope everyone is keeping warm this week.

Monday 22 November 2010

CADarts Christmas Fair

It was such a lovely day yesterday at Hoburne, lots of people came for the Christmas fair. (I think people were queueing up outside before the doors opened as there seemed to be a big surge of people at the start) There was such a great atmosphere and it was really nice to see such a good turn out. A huge thank you to all those who worked so hard to organise and advertise the event and make it such a great success you really do deserve a big cheer!

At the CADarts stand there was a display of the calendar organised by Linda to raise money for the new Druitt Hall these were selling like hot cakes. There are still some copies available and if you click here it will take you to the website for more details. The artwork is of a really high standard and the quality of the calendar is so good, I think they make a lovely Christmas gift.

Friday 19 November 2010

Soft light at the priory

Soft Light, The Priory
©2010 Lisa Le Quelenec
10x10cm acrylic on block canvas

I love these small formats. This one was an experiment in breaking the rule of never having the horizon dead centre of the picture plane.   I'm hoping the diagonals and all the detail in the lower half detract enough from the horizon line and that it's not immediately apparent. Do you think it works?

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Sky sketchbook pages

Three little cloud sketches of the skies from the studio window over the last week. The weather has been changeable and so there have been lots of visual treats. The last one believe it or not was from around 2.30 yesterday. I was busying priming canvas and starting the under painting for a new piece when it suddenly got very dark. I only realised when my nose was virtually resting on the canvas, I was so absorbed in what I was doing, just how dark it had got. Glancing out of the window I saw these beautiful colours and had to grab my pastels to get it down on paper. They only lasted for about twenty minutes and then the sunshine returned.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

The mist rolls in

The Mist Rolls In
©2010 Lisa Le Quelenec
29x19cmAcrylic on paper

We woke up this morning to another cold and heavy mist. It reminded me of the above painting I had done in Perranporth, Cornwall. It had been a lovely hot summers day and we'd grabbed our books and sketching things and headed to the beach. After about five minutes we stopped and watched as huge banks of mist crept their way up the beach - just like a spooky horror film. It was amazing to watch as it was so thick the rocks you'd been looking at a few seconds before vanished into the thick, damp blanket. It lasted for probably about half an hour and as it started to lift it disappeared in horizontal bands so that at one point we could see a pair of legs striding towards us that were unattached to a person. Soon a ball landed in my lap, closely followed by a friendly dog who in turn was followed by his owner, who I'm glad to say now had a body attached to her legs.

This painting is now in the Frost Fair exhibition at the Hayloft Gallery, Christchurch, which runs until 21st December.

Monday 15 November 2010

Puddles of paint

I've been experimenting with colour and tone in watercolour today. These are two of the small studies they are 10x20cm. The one on the left is on cartridge paper and blue one in my watercolour sketchbook - I like the granulations of the blues and enjoy the cartridge paper for the puddles it makes as the paper ruckles, lots of happy accidents. It has made me think that perhaps I should get my watercolours out more often. Sometimes it's lovely to play with puddles of paint.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Just for fun

Yes Dear....
pencil sketch

The weather has been foul so far today and it doesn't look like it will get any better. There's not enough light to paint so I have been doing a bit of drawing. I thought I'd share a little sketch (from photos - they're too quick for me to draw from life) of two little characters that have been visiting the garden lately. Apparently there's been a huge drop in the numbers of sparrows over the last few years, I think it might be because they're all visiting our garden as we seem to have a lot.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Peaceful evening

Peaceful Evening
28x18cm acrylic on paper
©2010 Lisa Le Quelenec

This is one of the paintings that I'm taking tomorrow to the Hayloft exhibition which opens on Saturday. Much softer and paler colours than I've been using lately and it's painted on rough Arches paper, I enjoyed the change of texture. The references for this one came from an evening in the summer spent out sketching when the tourists had all gone for tea and the beach was empty.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Messing about with the river

I've spent an hour today just drawing, mixing media and attempting to capture the mesh of tree reflections from the surface of the river. At first glance I felt a little overwhelmed as to how I was going to get all those complicated shapes tones and colours. (The autumnal colours there are so vibrant and beautiful.) I feel like I'm in the getting to know you stage with this stretch of water and so I'll take baby steps focusing on one bit at a time.

The swatch above was made by laying a watercolour wash and drawing into the wet paint first with watercolour pencils and watching the pigment melt into the surface. Next came acrylic ink, china graph pencil and felt tip pen. Once it had all dried I scratched back into it with a stanley knife taking the surface off the painting to reveal some bright whites. Whilst it was a whole heap of fun to do I'm not sure if it reads as a reflective and moving surface. Maybe if I'd added the line of trees and river bank to show a static contrast the movement of the water would have read better.

The next two swatches are just acrylic. To begin with I put thick paint at the top and using a piece of mount board as a squeegee dragged the paint down. The branches were suggested using a rigger  and then it was back to the mount board to 'print' the highlights on the water. I know most people would have probably used a palette knife but I've never really got on with them. I like the colouring  although I don't think either of them are very successful. As I knew I was just playing today I used some colours that I've had in the drawer for ages and don't normally use, you know the ones that tempt you at the shop and seem a good idea at the time. The cadmiums are those colours for me I've got a tube of cadmium red that I'm sure I got in 1995 and have only opened once. Cadmium yellow light and cadmium orange are what I used here.

Monday 1 November 2010

Down at the river

It has been a very busy few days.... so much to do. I've been catching up on framing, mount cutting and card making. This week I've got a hand-in and hang for an exhibition, a meeting about a possible pop up gallery (more on this later, it's very exciting), a submission for an exhibition, and also an art fair at the weekend. Funny how deadlines all come at once and it is nice to be busy. Although the art work is done it's all the little bits that still need to be sorted and this is taking soooo much time which has left no time for painting.

I did take a couple of hours off for a lovely walk down at the river and guess what I saw.....a kingfisher!

I was so excited, I'd never seen one before. I thought at first it was a dragonfly that I'd seen out of the corner of my eye, it's colouring was amazingly vibrant. He was darting about so fast and only stopped for a minute or two where I tried to photograph him but being that he was so small and I was quite far away this was the best photo I got. I watched him/her for about twenty minutes and on the way home I had the biggest dopiest grin on my face. Magic!

I've started to try and learn the vocabulary of the river, it's a whole new terrain for me with very distinctive characteristics. The reflections and the way the light catches the river surface seems very different from the sea. So far only a few small sketches but I'm very excited about learning this new language. I think this will be a new series, same subject - the effects of light - but on new (for me) surfaces of river and foliage.