Thursday, 31 January 2013

Colour from the Season - Pheasant blues

It was a bit of a shock to be given a dead Pheasant. I've been wanting to draw one, in fact the timing couldn't have been better, but still a shock!

All along the main roads here on the edge of Exmoor are warnings about the deer and you do see the odd deer - but not a single sign to prepare you for the daily hazard - the scores of Pheasants who strut (nonchalantly) into the path of traffic.

This one was still warm but very dead. A beautiful bird, its neck feathers gradated colour from deep blue through to green and shades of turquoise in between - a white ruff, followed by the richest browns, ochres, creams, far too many in fact to show them all here...

Ink sketch - Unlike other birds I've drawn, I felt uneasy drawing this Pheasant, partly the sheer scale. Decided that I'd have just one attempt at it. In the end this sketch took about 8 hours.

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Colour from the season - Pansy yellow

This little Pansy has been smiling at me every time I pass it outside my front door for weeks now. In spite of the snow it's managed to keep it's head up and though I'm not the biggest fan, I have to admit I'm coming round to liking these for their clashing colours, their ability to flower even in this chilly weather, and because they remind me of Victorian postcards...

from the French Pensée meaning thought...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Colour from the season - Oak leaf brown

Snow! Nearly everything was white in the woodland this morning except last seasons Oak leaves, still frozen to the trees. Every way I walked I noticed Oak leaves - splatters of warm brown on this icy January morning.

By the time Chip and I got back to the studio, it's hardly surprising that I'd decided these curling dead leaves might work brilliantly as a woodland/William Morris inspired repeat, to work as a backdrop for some new designs I've been creating, as well as (potentially!) to demonstrate the next Pattern Design post (Block Repeats). So a simple notebook page while I get on with the design - thank you snow..!

to be continued...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Colour from the season - Ash grey

It can be a bit bleak in January here on the edge of Exmoor and though there are primroses and more brightly coloured subjects about, I noticed that Ash trees are in bud and I want to document the colours of the Common Ash (fraxinous excelsior) in all seasons while it's still possible.

Ash trees in the U.K. have developed a deadly fungal disease called Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea), which is about to wipe out Britain's entire (80 million) Ash tree population. One of our toughest hardwoods, steeped in mythology and medicinal folklore, but perhaps I'm not alone in hardly noticing the Ash until now?

So here are the colours of its budding branches - very beautiful actually when you do notice, make the most of them while you still can...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Colour of the Season - Hydrangea blue

Hydrangeas are beautiful at nearly every time of year, and even more so in places with a far higher than average rainfall (thinking positively here!!). They've become one of my favourite cut flowers, but they're also exquisite when they break down into skeletal forms - or I've always thought so, and I was determined to draw these (whenever I could find a quiet moment) over Christmas and New Year, despite the fact that I was a bit daunted by their intricacy. 

They remind me of the stone-carved arching foliated designs on the ceilings of Cathedrals, so here they are - like aged architectural relics but actually much less fragile than they look. A subtle palette, in pencil and Bombay inks...

Started with the hardest - so it was downhill all the way after that...

Drawing by lamplight..!

Welcome 2013!

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...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.