Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Colour Gradients (and an upcoming vacation)

A little over a year ago I treated myself to a full box of the Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils by Faber Castell. They are absolutely stunning and wonderful to use. For some reason this whole range of pencils inspires me to do colour gradients in my watercolour sketchbook.

The principle of it is very simple. I set up a grid in pencil and then colour it in with a selection of the watercolour pencils straight from the box in the order they are stored. This automatically gives an interesting colour gradient. I try to vary the pattern inside the grid to keep it interesting and often just to see what happens. After colouring everything in I wash the colours and they really come to life.

Here are four gradients that I recently finished:

I think the last one is my favorite, but that could just be because it is the last one I did and I'm always most in love with a painting/drawing I just finished because it's fresh and new, haha.

Now before I wash them these look really quite interesting too, and sometimes I am almost in doubt if I want to wash them at all. Here's an example of what two of the above looked like before washing:

I find the way you can see the structure of the paper through the colours absolutely fascinating, but the colours definitely 'pop' more after washing. This does however make me think about doing some patterns in regular coloured pencil on a slightly smoother paper, just to see what that will look like. I'll keep you posted if I get around to that.

It's also very important to note that I could not have done these without the help of my furry assistant Spooky who usually lies on the left side of my workspace (an IKEA laptop stand!) while I work with my right hand.

From time to time he will look up at me like this to make sure I still know how adorable he is and then he continues to sleep. I melt every time he does this. The IKEA stand is a great tip by the way for those of you with helpful pets. Spooky does not like lying on top of it, so he no longer lies on the work itself while I'm drawing or painting, but can still keep me company.

And now it's time for a little blog break again, because I'll be going on another vacation. I know, I just had my wonderful staycation around the holidays, but this will be my almost traditional trip to one of the neighbouring islands, which is a thing I have done every winter for quite a few years already.

This time I will be visiting the biggest Dutch Wadden Sea island, which is Texel. I went there last three years ago, so I am looking forward to visiting again. I'll bring my feet and my camera as always and will no doubt have some slideshows for you when I get back, which will be at the end of January.

Until then I wish you all a wonderful and artsy time!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The new Moleskine XL

Not too long ago I finished my Moleskine XL Squared notebook/sketchbook (you can see the last pages and a little video in this previous post). I worked in it for over two years and I enjoyed it enough to want another one. This time I decided to go with the cahier style notebooks and bought a set of three in the XL size, because I like the big pages.

Just like the previous book I intend to fill them with patterns, mosaics and grid drawings in felt tip pen. The only difference will be that I work on both sides of a spread instead of just on the right side. To keep the pages from bleeding into each other I skip every other spread. The paper of Moleskines regular notebooks isn't all that great, but it's wonderfully smooth to work on with my markers, so I make do.

Here are the first four spreads I did in this new Moleskine XL:

I enjoy using the same colour combination on both sides of a spread, but doing different things with them. It makes the pages both separate and yet fit together.

These spreads represent hours of work. In fact the last one pretty much covers an entire audio book worth of time. That's almost eight hours in this case! These patterns are always a good way to train the patience muscle and also a good way to catch up on podcasts, and now also to listen to audio books (which is a new thing for me).

Patterns, grids and mosaics keep being the most satisfying thing for me to do art wise. When I started them I never thought I would still love them as much years later, but I just keep loving them more and more.

Hope you are finding something you love so much you cannot get enough of it and wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Decorating the journal

During my at home vacation I had a lot of time with the journal and I used some of it to just make  pretty winter layouts for writing on.

Here's a sample of what I did:

I especially love the wintery cat pictures that came from a collage sheet that I got at Kreadoe (the arts and crafts supplies fair I go to every year). The rest of the imagery is a mixture of wrapping paper, washi tape, calendar images, photographs and magazine clippings. I love to mix and match things.

All of these spreads have now been written on and don't look half as pristine and pretty anymore, but that's not what a journal is for in my opinion anyway. The writing makes it come to life. I'm sure in time some of these spreads will be shown in full when I do one of my journal posts.

I do wish I always had the time to do pretty layouts before writing, but since I write so much I can never keep up with my writing when it comes to decorating. I spent many hours doing these spreads, but only a fraction of that time to fill them up with writing. Oh well, I'll take what I can get. ;-)

I hope you are enjoying decorating something you love from time to time and wish you all a wonderful and artsy day.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A nice staycation

Well hello my blogsy people!

First of all let me wish you a:

I had a twelve day staycation which was lovely and now I am back to work and back on the blog.

I hope you had a good holiday season and that you are ready to get into 2019. May it bring you everything you wanted and just a little extra as a pleasant surprise. ;-)

For me it was good to just be home for a while. I hadn't been just at home (without plans, trips or engagements) for this long in about a year and it seems I really needed it. I didn't do anything very exciting, I didn't go anywhere (except on the weekend before Christmas) and I didn't have any big parties (or whatever it is really socially inclined people do during the holidays). It was mostly just me and my cat.

I did however have a wonderfully quiet week and a half where I got enough sleep, enough books, enough drawing time, enough cat on my lap and enough fresh air. All the good stuff.

Here's a little impression of my staycation:

Wadden Sea at low tide. 

Our main street in christmas decorations.

Sail boats in the town of Harlingen on the main land.

Visited an urban sketchers event in Groningen at the invitation of a friend. 

Another view of our main street. 

The exit/entrance of our marina on a beautiful day.

Took many walks of course.

Around sunset on the day before Christmas.

A long beach walk on christmas day. In the distance you can see our ferry.

Lots of drawing was done.

Another beach walk.

Leaving our only town to explore the great outdoors. 

Had lots of time to do some journal decoration.

Happy New Journal Year! 

Seals on the beach. (I took more picatures which will hopefully be a seperate post.)

So now we are faced with a whole new empty year. I look forward to seeing what it will bring and hope we all will have a wonderful and artsy time!