Showing posts with label streams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label streams. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Water on "earth day" - a clear brook

With today being earth day, how can we not contribute a special post to water on this day, seeing that it plays such an important role in the survival of our world.

My contribution is two paintings in watercolour of the ruisseau(brook) at our mountain house, Coin Perdu, in Correze. We are restoring it as natural as possible with natural building materials using the stone, wood, mud and clay from the area, solar heating, an ecological[partly self maintaining swimming pool(much later!) and of course a self maintaining garden with its wild herbs and insects and animals along with a bio vinyeard. So I felt it fitting to show the brook that runs down at the foot of our hill.

And today I'll plant some colour in my window boxes and revel in my frog by the fountain, the swallows who are back to nest in our cave, the owl who keeps me awake at night, the pair of red Robins who bounce around on the side of the cliff and I'll take a long stroll along the river - the sun a delightful gift in the sky!
...ruisseau en printemps.. (brook in spring)

Pen and watercolour on Fabriano artistico, 30x23cm.

...ruisseau en automne... ( autumn)

Watercolour on Fabriano artistico, 30x23cm.

**Be sure to see the Water on "earth day" - posts of the rest of the Watermarks-group today.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

collage experiments

High Tide. Vivien Blackburn. Collage/mixed media in a little moleskine

Sometimes it's nice to 'play' as Jeanette is doing with her lovely fish - trying out something different, experimenting, getting away from what you normally do and discovering new ways of working, new marks to make, new visual language that can feed into more finished work.

These are some of the collages that I've been playing with in sketchbooks - the idea for first one was triggered by some lovely marbled wrapping paper that Lindsay had sent with something - it just needed to be used :>) It wouldn't be light fast enough to use in a 'finished' work but it's great for experimenting in sketchbooks. I also used fragments of brown paper and the brown tape you seal the backs of frames with, for the rocks. Then a mix of media for the rest including cp's and oil pastel.

I cut up and pieced the marbled paper to give the swirl and perspective of the waves and then scribbled and altered, covered or enhanced areas to try to get that swirl of waves crashing on sand and rocks.

Waves on smooth rocks. Vivien Blackburn. Collage, hand marbled paper and mixed media

The second one, Waves on Smooth Rocks, has been shown on my blog but I've reworked it so that it now looks rather different and I think reads much better. The paper in this one IS lightfast because it's some I made myself - yet another thing I want to try again when I can. I'm going to have a go at the shaving foam method that I've been told about.

Lino print on tracing paper (right hand page) worked into and continued onto opposite page, Vivien Blackburn, linoprint/mixed media

In the last one, the right hand page is one of the series of linoprints I've been working on. It was printed onto tracing paper - I was experimenting with various papers. Then it was worked into with coloured pencils, mainly Polychromos and Lyra, and the image extended onto the facing page,
This one makes me think of the mood in a Samuel Palmer painting, I don't know about you?
All of these have given me ideas for larger works and make me consider incorporating collage into finished work.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Dipping in water again

Here's the thing. I'm posting these water studies, not because I think they're wonderful finished paintings---no! They are simply steps along the way, as I try to figure out what the heck I'm doing here on my watery painting journey. Though I'm rusty after mostly drawing for the past four years, I've been painting assiduously the past two weeks and am committed to doing so all this year--something's going to happen, painting-wise, eventually!
My goal was/is to reach a level of stylization and abstraction of the subject matter, but in what guise, the process itself will reveal, through time. I, personally, have no clue. And if I don't, how could you?
So I just start painting each painting and then I'm as surprised as anyone when something very 19th century, as in the first study, stares back at me. I don't hold with people who try to paint like, say, Monet (I'm not talking about learning by copying from the greats, but consciously making finished paintings to sell, in a period style.) But I digress.
Anyway, I was dismayed, briefly, to see myself channeling some 19th century hack painter, but my way is to just do it and get over it. Get on to the next thing,
The second painting is rough but I'm not going to take it any farther. It's served its purpose. I like the movement in it. That is one of water's chief attractions as subject matter to me.
Both studies are acrylic on board, 11" x 14", and both are based on sketches and photos from a trip to Iceland last August.
My husband and I are driving to the coast this weekend. Our coast is placid, very unrocky and unIcelandic. Sometimes you float where you're planted.


Sunday, 25 January 2009

Aylestone Meadows, January

Pollarded Willows, Aylestone Meadows and Ulverscroft Brook, 11in approx Vivien Blackburn

A sketch of pollarded (viciously :>( ) willows in Aylestone Meadows - the area I've chosen to revisit throughout the year.

It was after 3pm and the late sunlight was golden and dramatic against the cool winter colours of the sky, reflections in the water and bleached reeds and grasses. I love these lights, so specific to a season, time or place.

This photo was taken nearby - the willows in the sketch are just a little further along the path. The wall is the beginning of the packhorse bridge, going off to the left across streams and wetland.

When I took this second photo I've shown, back in the Spring, they hadn't been cut back - they may have been getting dangerous? but it's such a shame to see these huge trees butchered like this. My children climbed them when they were young and it will be a few years before any children can climb these and the whole area suffers from their loss. (Though I have to admit I loved drawing them),

The bridge in the first photo is a railway bridge and in the second is a Victorian bridge over the canal, which links to the 15C packhorse bridge that crosses the flood plain to the right. They are taken at about 180deg to each other from only a few yards apart. You can see the modern pedestrian footbridge across the brook, that joins the canal, in the foreground of the second and in the distance in the first.

Marshy land was the most difficult and dangerous for travellers to cross in the past and this was a very important bridge on a route for the coal from the mines in the north of the county as well as local traffic. When the canal was built it destroyed part of the packhorse bridge.

The whole area is a tangle of streams, rivers, pools and canal with a variety of bridges from the 15C to th 20C and flood meadows.

The sketch was done with Neocolor II water soluble crayons and a bit of white gouache and black conte pencil. It's about 11 inches square-ish. ( I don't do 'accurate'!)

Link to sketches of the meadows, waterways and bridges from the air here

PS another version of the willows here on my blog

Saturday, 13 December 2008


Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

Light changes a scene dramatically and is one of my key interests - the particular colours that it creates, the way the sea changes from indigo to lavender to turquoise to jade.

In the mornings the far cliff is bright, lit by the morning sun and shining. Below it the small stream that comes down the Vale of Lanherne (or Mawgan) trickles to the sea, shining and reflecting sky and cliffs.

This is the wild Atlantic coast. The tide ebbs and flows leaving deep pools scoured in the sand, in drifts across the wide beach, with intricate patterns of wriggling ripples between. As these dry out a little the wind across the surface creates a series of neat tiny steps leading down to the waters edge. The beach shelves more steeply than the Norfolk coast and so the tide doesn't go out anywhere near as far and therefore moves a bit slower in and out, giving the surf time to carve deeper. In Norfolk the pools and strands of water are very shallow and dry fast on the almost level surface, the sea is calmer and ebbs rapidly for a mile or more, here water remains until the next tide. Down at the waters edge the waves loom high, the horizon isn't straight but a mass of heaving swells and it's noisy with the waves crashing on sand and rocks.

As the day goes on the far cliff becomes a silhouette with little detail, backlit by the afternoon sun and then with evening the sun sets over the sea in a spectacular variety of colours and clouds.

The colours change constantly, the clouds change, the reflections in the pools change - the tide ebbs and flows. Rain approaches across the sea and I watch the approaching edge cross the cliffs, obscure them and a rainbow moving forward with it appears to end on the beach below, in front of the cliffs, then the rain reaches me and the rainbow is gone and there's just a silvery haze. Nothing remains the same. If only I could paint faster ......

In another post I'll show some of the paintings and sketches done there and studio works from them.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Introducing Lindsay Olson

In the Spring of 2006, Vivien posted about the launch of her Inland Waterways Project. I was instantly smitten with the idea of creating a body of work around bodies of water.I have always enjoyed the out doors and have a special affinity for water. I need to be around water as much as I need to drink it. It cleanses me, balances me, restores me and in short, feeds my soul.

Now I'm entering my third year working on the Waterways Project. Immersing myself in the project has changed my work in ways I could not have imagined. And I will be sharing this in future posts.

The slide show gives you some idea of the wet areas around my home near Chicago. Even in this area of dense population, it's possible to find tranquillity on the streams, rivers and lakes.

Last Spring, my husband and I purchased a battered old aluminum canoe we affectionately call "The Leaky Cauldron" and have been mad paddlers ever since. We entered the Des Plains River Marathon in May (and did not finish last).

As an artist, what I most search for is meaning. I'd like to use my Waterways Project to raise awareness of the degradation of the rivers, lakes and streams related to human activity.After a summer of paddling on rivers that were both class "A" (The Kishwaukee) and rivers with floating sewage (one section of the Salt Creek), I'd like to see more being done to clean up the illegal dumping that occurs. Eventually, I'll donate some of these paintings to raise money for an organization involved in supporting clean water legislation and enforcement.

I am looking forward to many more watery adventures in our canoe and in my art work. I'm thankful to Vivien for not only inviting me to join such excellent, creative company here at Watermarks but for inspiring me to begin the Waterways Project. I hope you enjoy sharing in our love of all things wet and wild.

To follow the Waterways Project and more, visit my blog, Non-Linear-Arts

Several of us are involved in a web site called Paintmaps
It's a lovely way to connect with other landscape artists and see the location where their art is created.

This is a painting from part I of the Waterways Project

Spring Peepers: Zion, IL Spring 08

oil pastel and graphite on paper

Here are two oil pastels created this fall. Both are 12" x 12" 30cm x 30cm

Lake Michigan #5

Lake Michigan # 8

Monday, 1 December 2008

Welcome to Watermarks!

Welcome to Watermarks!

Watermarks is a small community of artists who create art from water.
We like to sketch, draw and/or paint all forms of water - the sea, the coastline, beaches, rivers, streams, waterfalls, fountains - in all styles, genres and media.

Left to right: Tina, Lindsay and Laura

With this brand new group blog we aim to:
  • display works in progress as well as completed art
  • highlight other artists (past and present) whose art involves water
  • highlight exhibitions of relevant artwork and
  • discuss media matters and tips and techniques for creating art out of water

Left to right: Ronell, Sarah and Vivien

You can find the names of the members of the group and all our blogs in the sidebar. We are (in alphabetical order):
  • Vivien Blackburn - in Leicester, England
  • Laura Frankstone - in North Carolina, USA
  • Gesa Helms - in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Jeanette Jobson - in Newfoundland
  • Tina Mammoser - on the south side of the Thames, in London, England
  • Lindsay Olson - in the Chicago area USA
  • Katherine Tyrrell - on the north side of the Thames, in London, England
  • Sarah Wimperis - in Cornwall, England
  • Ronell van Wyck - in Montlouis sur Loire, France
Each of us will be introducing ourselves and our interest in water and, in some cases, projects we've done or are doing or have planned in posts over the next few days. Vivien is going to start as she had the original idea!

Left to Right: Gesa, Jeanette and Katherine

If you're interested and want to see what we're up to why not subscribe to this blog? You can find the subscription links near the top of the right hand column. Alternatively maybe you'd like to follow us on your Blogger blog?

We'd love to know what you think about the idea underpinning this new group and blog - and you are welcome to leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading about our new blog and we hope to see you again soon.