My field kit had become slimmed down to fountain pen and water. Over this year, walking through the local fields, and, shown here, on holiday in Italy, I have expanded it once again.

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Tuscany: view from the marsh to the hills. Layers of watercolour and conte crayon.

I now use watercolour and conte crayon in varying order, lastly using a black brush pen to accentuate shadows.

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Tuscany: view from the marsh to the hills. Watercolour background over conte crayon resist showing seed heads in foreground, with strong shadows drawn in black brushpen.

One objective is to create contrasts between opaque and transparent layers.  Another is to play with the crayon as a resist – the watercolour falls off it or collects in fractal shapes on its surface making interesting textures.  Conversely, grinding the crayon into wet colour builds deep interesting opaque patterns, sometimes lifting the paper to leave white highlights with adjacent ridges that catch subsequent strokes of deeper pigment.

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Water, reeds, hill terraces and distant wooded uplands composed in layers and drawn in layers of conte crayon and watercolour.

Sometimes this works, often not.

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View through the telescope: egret and distant flamingos with water, sand, woods and hills in horizontal stripes.

In doing this, I have noticed that my compositions are often built of flat layers; rectangles of fore, mid and background like a sponge sandwich cake seen from the side.



8 responses to “Layers

    • Hi Leonie
      I should give some detail. It works as a resist on first pass with watercolour. The more times you go over it and the harder you brush, the less effective it is. I think there is a waxy binder and also the loose dust contributes. Also, a more intense crayon layer resists more. So it changes as you work it. On first pass with watercolour it falls off and beads, but the next passes lift the crayon and mix the dust with the paint producing a variegated opaque layer. So this process can be used to create good effects and mixed opaque and transparent areas but can also turn to mud.

  1. The layers are actually good use of composition and a way to indicate the depth of a landscape. That each one is flat, in the bottom painting, doesn’t really matter, because the landscape, viewed as a whole has depth because of those layers. I have always enjoyed your experimental approach to your paintings and sketches. These do not disappoint at all. The wax resist is great!

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