Sunday, 24 April 2016

A Trip to London and Meeting the Artists at Bankside Gallery

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; 
for there is in London all that life can afford.”

~  Samuel Johnson

Yesterday’s diary entry was about yet another trip to London.  The main reason was to pop into the Bankside Gallery to “Meet The Artists”.  Bankside is home to the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.  It is situated near the Tate Modern Gallery.  I always forget how far down Southbank this Gallery is when walking from Westminster.  A Saturday is probably not a good day to choose to visit as the paths are normally swamped with people and the pace is very slow. 

I did not really know what to expect from the event at Bankside.  The artists had set up their materials and sketchbooks on tables.  I quickly dove in and started asking questions.  I find looking inside artists’ sketchbooks really interesting.  They show the building blocks of ideas and give a glimpse into the creating process.

Jewel Tower Sketch - Art Journal 

Starting the day with a walk through St James Park towards Westminster from Green Park underground station, the first stop of the day was Jewel Tower.  It is situated directly opposite the Houses of Parliament.  As members of English Heritage we were able to get in free.  I am not that sure that we would have bothered visiting if we were not members.  The small building is tucked away and gets over-shadowed by the other impressive buildings surrounding it.  The quick visit of 20 minutes was pleasant enough.  That was plenty of time to climb the circular stone staircase up to the second floor and to learn that this is where the imperial weights system was developed. 

By fluke we managed catch Big Ben chiming at twelve.  The Houses of Parliament hold special memories for me as a few years ago one of my friends had her twenty-five wedding anniversary in one of the function rooms there.  Apparently British citizens can apply to their local MP for permission to use the function rooms.  If I remember rightly it was not that expensive considering the historical pedigree of the building.

At the end of the day, whilst walking towards Liverpool Street Station, we spotted St Mary Le Bow Church.  Being born within the sound of Bow Bells means that I am a true London Cockney and I felt compelled to take a closer look inside.  Strange thing is I have never bothered to visit this famous church before.  

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Aubergines in Watercolour and a Background Paper in Mixed Media

Goodness it is April already and time is definitely flying past.  No matter as I am making sure I am having some arty fun along the way.    

Aubergines in watercolour, an art journaling spot.

Aubergines were the topic of conversation last week when I had them for lunch at a lovely pub called The Chequers.  To be precise I had mellanzane parmigiana.  An Italian recipe that is like a lasagna but the layers are created with aubergines rather than pasta.  It ends up being a very low carbohydrate meal.  I only mention this as the friend I was with was on a low carb diet and she had not heard of this recipe before.  She tried some and was impressed.  I have had many versions of this in my time, both homemade and restaurant made, this one was a particularly good one. 

I thought I would have a go at painting aubergines with my watercolours as my journaling entry.  They were not a subject I had tackled before.  From the start I knew the biggest problem was going to be the dark glossy nothingness that an aubergine has in painting terms.  I over came this by exaggerating tone and blending.  

Background paper in mixed media

How I assemble together all the different elements for this spread is perhaps a story for another day.  Today I am just going to explain how I produced the background paper design using mixed media. 

I started with the yellow paper shown in the photo.  I glued white tissue paper on top and then lightly painted a thin green acrylic wash onto the tissue paper.  The photo does not show very well the texture created and the yellow of the original paper still showing through.  I then stamped on abstract squares in orange using recycled plastic packaging.  I drew around the squares using an old multi-coloured gel pen that was my son’s years ago.  This gave structure and more depth to the design.  On top of all that I added areas of punchinella circles using white gesso.

At the same time, I was creating the white journaling spot.  This time I used the green ink pad to add the circles which I had used on the edging on the aubergine watercolour.     

There are one or two more elements that I have in mind for this spread but for now this is where I am going to leave it for today.