Thursday, 8 October 2015

Scottish Reflections

Today, more photos of a recent trip to Scotland - this time taken on and around a favourite foot bridge at Cambus O'May over the River Dee near Ballater in Aberdeenshire - and exploring the idea of reflections.

First of all, my husband leaning on the bridge and looking up river, reflecting, perhaps, on the thought that he has been coming to this beautiful valley for almost 60 years.

The bridge and its reflections looking down river towards Aboyne ...

...and looking from the other direction through birch branches covered in lichen ...

... and looking directly down from the bridge at the river bank, darkly reflected in the peat coloured water ...

To finish, two photos of dippers perched on rocks. We saw four of these delightful birds at the same time going about their business and watched them for almost half an hour, but they weren't very willing photographic subjects. Even with a zoom lens that perfect shot was elusive ...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Salt crystals and Quink ink

I have long been wondering whether the coarse salt crystals that I've often used to produce a variety of effects with watercolours would work with black Quink ink. A couple of days ago, I decided to try.

The answer is that I think they do, up to a point. The effects seem to show up more clearly when the ink is less concentrated. Coarse crystals definitely worked better than fine ones. My results using the latter weren't worth showing.

Sometime soon, I'll try this technique with blue and blue-black Quink. I'm expecting similar effects, though in my experience, these two colours don't split into their different colours in such an interesting way. 

For those interested, the ink effects were produced in a similar way to my post of last week here. This time, I made sure that the surface was very wet, added extra ink with a dropper and then added the salt crystals, leaving everything to dry on a flat surface. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Beach perspectives, Aberdeen

In common with many British seaside towns and cities, Aberdeen in north east Scotland has a wonderful length of sandy beach along which runs a splendidly straight promenade. This is a real pleasure to walk along and we have enjoyed its views in a variety of weathers over many years.

Last month on our most recent trip north, we spent a sunny afternoon walking along its length for two miles or more. As we walked, we were struck anew by the lines of perspective formed both by the structure of the promenade and by the break waters as they entered the sea. I took many photos (no surprise) and offer some of my favourites here.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Random marks on a regular pattern

 On Monday, while making marks, I played with producing regular patterns with Quink ink and a bamboo pen that I'd disrupted in some way.

In the first example, I made a regular pattern with the pen dipped intermittently into ink and dragged it across as it dried.  I splattered the still-wet pattern with the water used to clean my brushes in earlier experiments, dropping this onto the paper surface from a mop brush. I then intensified the ink in one or two places.

In the second case, I reversed the process. I wetted the paper thoroughly with the dilute ink / water. painted across with a sponge brush soaked in less dilute water and then scored across the wet surface with the bamboo pen creating roughly parallel lines.

In both these, the water / dilute ink picked up and diffused the Quink and caused it to split into those satisfying patterns and colours I showed a couple of days ago. However, I have to admit, the process of photographing the images intensifies the colour (especially the blues) rather.

My next thoughts are centred around resists (perhaps stitch) and investigating the use of rock salt granules.

... The possibilities of all this are endless ...!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Blood Red Moon


I woke up last night around 2.30 am as I often do. Remembering last night's television news, I looked outside for signs of the Supermoon lunar eclipse ... and there it was ... about a quarter of the moon nibbled away by the shadow cast across the moon's surface as sun, earth and moon gradually came into line.

This had us hooked. Cameras were grabbed, warm clothes put on and then we were outside in the cold and increasing dark waiting as the spectacle slowly unfolded. Slowly was the word ... the BBC broadcast hadn't prepared us for that ... but it was undeniably a spectacle.

I think we were the only people in our village awake and all was extraordinarily, unforgettably quiet. With lights off, uncountable stars were increasingly visible as the light from the full moon was blotted out by the earth's shadow. 

As the eclipse advanced the red glow increased - although in reality, it was not as vivid as is shown in these photographs. They are undoctored but the camera lens has intensified the colour. To the naked eye, it was a gentle dark brick red. I think, looking at these photos, that the cold overcame us before the most intense colour formed.






This particular sight will not be visible again until 2033 ... I know I'm glad we stood for over an hour watching it unfold. Next time, I might not be able or so willing!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Mark making with a bamboo pen

We seem to have been away so often this year and it has all been such fun. However, we're now home for a while. Although I relish all the travel and know how lucky we are to be able to do it, to be in my workroom with time for things artistic and textile is a different sort of pleasure - and one I miss greatly when it's not a significant part of my life. I crave the peace and tranquility it brings me - and the life-giving sense of well-being. 

After so long without the opportunity to be single minded though, I'm needing to break myself in gently in a way that feels very much like limbering up before taking physical activity. I've begun some focused exercises to wake up the brain and reawaken the eyes and hands.

I have returned to the making-a-mark-a-day that I found so beneficial earlier in the year. I have a new sketch book - about 8 inches square as before - and I'm posting here some of the first two days' small experiments with a wide bamboo dip-pen, water and some black Quink ink.


Onto several strips of cartridge paper, I dropped water from a large brush or painted it on with a wide sponge. I then drew the charged bamboo pen over the paper and through the pools and stripes of water. The ink spread and the colours bled. Black Quink ink always separates interestingly and this time was no exception. It is a favourite of mine.

I then cropped and rotated some small sections. In the first three shown here, I drew the pen through pools of water ...



... and in the last two, through sponge-painted water stripes taken right across the page.

I'm feeling more 'tuned in' already, but I'll continue with this mark-making. It is very calming and seems to bring many new thoughts to mind.