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Looking closely

Looking Closely

Working from the enlarged prints of the purse clasps I have made a couple of drawings in a little A5 sketchbook. Pencil is fine but the drawings were a bit delicate and didn’t have much visual impact on the page. I do like to use pencils because they’re so portable and because they’re not messy it’s something I can easily do curled up on the sofa when I’m too lazy to go into my workroom or when there’s something unmissable on TV. I soon recognised though that I’d have more drama if I went with my favourite watercolour paints. Taking one of my printed images I chopped it in half and glued one half onto the left hand page of my sketchbook. Then the challenge was to complete the image in paint. I chose to work with Paynes Grey watercolour as it has a slight bluish tendency that I think suggests the metallic sheen of my subject quite well.

My first attempt at painting the clasp shows how I left parts of the paper unpainted to suggest the reflections and highlights of the shiny but slightly tarnished surface. I wanted to be a lot looser with the paint though so for my next effort (using the other half of the print), I used an oil pastel in silvery white to record all the pale areas before washing over the marks with watery colour. An oil pastel is a blunt instrument so I couldn’t be too precise with the marks but they were effective at shrugging off the subsequent layers of watercolour and that meant I could flood colour over the page without needing to paint carefully up to a line. The pierced metal is one of my favourite bits of the purse so I’ve tried to suggest the holes by drawing dots of black Inktense pencil into the still wet paint. I’ve used the same pencil to add more depth of tone into the shadows of the clasp but this is being worked onto dry paint and is not yet complete. I’ve also started to add a white highlight to one side of the dark holes to match the light falling across from one side but the paper is too damp right now so that’s something I’ll need to go back to. It’s suddenly becoming quite a mix of mediums!

You may wonder why I do all of these studies on paper if my intention is to create a piece in fabric and thread. What I want at the beginning of a project is to get to know my subject really well and I think there’s no better way to achieve that than to draw it. From these close observations hopefully I’ll get design ideas for textile work that isn’t simply a copy of the inspiration but does express its essence in some as yet unknown way. I’ve got those delicious fabrics ready and I really can’t wait to get stitching!!

Thanks for visiting my website today – I love to hear from you if you have questions or comments – Linda x

2 thoughts on “Looking closely

  1. Just wanted to say what a brilliant artist you are, I’m definitely going to try this out, ‘ve got oil pastels so no excuse!!,Jenny x

    1. Hi Jenny – thank you for those kind words. I’ll be happy if the post spurs you on to get those pastels and paints out. Enjoy them!

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