As I mentioned in my monthly newsletter yesterday, one of the big takeaways from my recent road trip has been a return to my ‘geography roots’. This was sparked by my love of the Hay Plain and two stops on the way to Mungo National Park.
As a result, I’m really wanting to learn more about different habitats in Australia and I’m in the process of expanding my Australian book collection. Two recent purchases are books on the native plants of Sydney which I’ve been using to help identify plants. Note: You might have seen some notes on my pages during a recent visit to Echo Point.
I’m not interested in gardening but I love the bush (forest) and when my sister lived in Australia, we would often go on bushwalks (hikes). As she worked in bush regeneration she always had lots of stuff to tell me. So reviving this old interest is connecting me in a special way to my dear sister whom I miss so much. (If you don’t know, she now lives on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland)
On the weekend, while I was exercising and taking outdoor recreation with my family I decided to identify this tree.
With my dad’s help, we easily worked out it was a brush box using one of the books I had brought with me. The identification process was a lot of fun and I’ve come to realise that the most important ingredient to look for is the fruit! I took a few samples home to sketch and do further research.
As for the waterbrush reference in the title of this article…
I did the tree sketch using a waterbrush and my new Folio palette by Art Toolkit. See here for more about that palette.
Compare the washes of the tree in the overall sketch done with a waterbrush (left) with the small tree shape sketch on the detail page done with my usual 1/2 inch sable blend dagger (right) at the same scale. You can see some lovely ‘pigment party’ in the latter which is missing from the former even though both used the same pigments. Achieving this kind of watercolour magic is a big deal for me, but of course, for many sketchers achieving these types of washes is not a focus and the convenience of the water brush makes it the perfect tool for them.
But this being said, on this occasion, I was pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of the washes! So much so, that I’ve decided to use my waterbrush a little more in the coming weeks.
Currently, my waterbrush (Pentel Aquash large) is an important part of my kit. I use it for two uses:
- prewetting my page (a great source of clean water when I’m getting towards the end of my sketch and my paint water is dirty)
- watercolour pencil work (such as my recent sketches during a tour of the Wellington Caves)
For the last few years, if I only have time to do a quick sketch I’m generally just doing a simple line drawing. So I’m interested to see if using my waterbrush with the folio palette will make it easy to create colour sketches in similar situations.
So are you a waterbrush user? I would love to find out which brand size do you use. Please let me know in the comment section below.