Palladio, Gouache and a parenting magazine

October 11, 2014 | 2 Comments

When is the last time I just simply posted the sketches I did on the day? Well, I think it is about time I started doing that again. So…
Here are the two pages of sketches from last night and today…. and an article about me!

I didn’t do any sketching for myself during the last two days while teaching and I have had a HUGE week… so although I was really tired I wanted to wind down before hitting the sack. Remember the days of the Friday night Baroque? Well last night I just had the urge for a small dose of Palladio. I just started looking through a couple of my Palladio books to satisfy this particular ‘architecture moment’.

And guess what? – my sketchbook and paints somehow came out and I ended up filling a double page spread.

Whoa! What is this???

I worked in an architect’s office in Crows Nest for many years and saw this Greek Orthodox Church every morning as I pulled into the back lane to get to the office. I said to myself often “I really must sketch it one day” but the thought of sitting on the street corner making a spectacle of myself while  people I knew drove past put me off a little. Yes, these fears worry me at times too – I am not so fearless as you all think I am!

Today I had a few chores and parked my car in the perfect spot for a little comfort sketching from the driver’s seat. I was in a “out of control with my wetness” mood and even though I knew I had to be careful about preserving those whites… somehow I totally lost it! (the white that is)
Came home and totally lost it again – in another way! Once you have lost the white of the page it is gone forever… I thought about white gouache and then decided no… and then thought about it again… and decided to try it. It didn’t feel right to me to patch up with gouache so I decided to let the gouache take over totally and make this page into a pure experiment.

Gouache has been knocking on my door for years. I bought a few tubes years ago… and every now and then I come across someone who makes it seem very tempting. Been thinking about it since May when Bianca told me I had to try it (she was doing my one day workshop in Launceston.)  I have been playing with it lately in my ‘playtime’ pages (more about this soon) but hadn’t got around to trying it on a ‘real’ sketch. Today was the day.

Anyway – this was fun –  I didn’t really know what I was doing. I knew that gouache lifts but it was good to experience it myself. This feels so completely overworked to a ‘hit it hard and leave it’ watercolour girl. Hmm, it feels overworked because it IS worked over and over – layer upon layer.
But I love the bright matt colour.. it is jumping off the page – especially that ultramarine in the corner of the sky- wow! colour!!!! I don’t think I will ever give up my watercolour but this is FUN!

A little everyday sketch of a package in the mail during the week and some crazy text.

I have been wanting a flexible nib for ages (as opposed to Sailor/Hero type bent nibs) – one that feels good in my hand. I am very sensitive to thickness, balance and weight – nothing feels better than my White Lamy Joy. I have a gold nib in it which is more flexible than a normal nib – but not significantly.

This week when I was demonstrating the exercises in my two day workshop I realised that I was getting quite thick lines. I must have been very heavy handed! I have been using my gold nib for a while now (I used to be too scared to put it in my regular pen) so it has been worn in nicely and is more flexible and generally letting more ink out.

I needed to test its flex…. I am surprised…. getting fairly good variation by varying my pressure from very hard to very light. The conclusion: I  need to try reducing my standard pressure to get a lighter line as the standard pressure is too heavy than I really want and then start applying serious pressure when I want a thick line.

Now, I don’t want everyone rush out and buy a gold nib – they are very expensive and I don’t think they are worth the extra cost. A noodlers Ahab would be a better option. But as I have it I should be using it – and using it to potential!
Ah! there is so much to learn and re-learn about your tools and materials! To get maximum options when you are out on location sketching fast you need to put the time in to knowing your tools and materials as best as you can.
This is a typical example of my new more casual and playful use of my sketchbook. I am looking forward to finally getting up to date next week.

And finally… (looks like another long blog post… I am just totally addicted aren’t I?)

Never thought I would be featured in a national parenting magazine this year. A lovely article about my workshops in Tasmania for Emmanuel Heart of Art in May



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  • If you used gouache in these sketches, I definitely can't see it, Liz. Must be me though. Congratulations on the featured article. How awesome!

  • JOAN says:

    I'm out of breath reading this post! My goodness! do you ever have an idle second? Now experimenting with gouache??? I'll look forward to seeing more of this. Were you hyper-active as a child?

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