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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jerusalem Sketchbook

Sunil Shinde, a member the Seattle chapter of Urban Sketchers, shares highlights of his exploration of the Old City of Jerusalem with his 13-year-old daughter. Sunil has many other wonderful sketches on his blog, “Sunil Shinde Sketches”  http://www.sunilshindesketches.com/ The blog has a tag line which other sketchbook artists must covet: “Everybody has a story to tell. I have a story to show.”

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

via Urban Sketchers

Old City of Jerusalem

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Water Lilies

Artist: Michael Broshar, United States
Artist Statement: My subjects are usually based on the places I visit, or interesting subjects that I find in photographs. My architectural background leads me towards painting architectural subjects, but I find interesting subjects in the world around me. I travel the countryside of Iowa and find the rural landscapes, monumental small town structures, and the industrial areas of the rivers to be compelling.

I do a small value sketch with pencil to determine composition and values. When traveling, I like to paint a sketch, and have been using a Stilman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook. I also use the sketchbook for studies in the studio to work on technique and composition. The paper will take washes very well, and I often lift pigment off to create highlights in the finished sketch.

Water Lilies sketch is a different subject for me, but the compositional concepts are the consistent with my other work. I created it in the studio working from a photograph.

I laid down a series of washes using mixtures of yellow ochre, French ultramarine, pthalo blue GS and burnt sienna. I used negative painting with a darker blue wash to define the leaves and to create depth in the water. Once satisfied with the values, I used a pale blue wash around the outer parts of the painting to soften and blend the outer areas of the painting and create focus in the center. I added detail with a rigger brush and created highlights with white gouache. Flicking small light and dark drops at the bottom created texture for the rocks.

To view some of my work, please visit www.michaelbroshar.com

MEDIA: Watercolor and gouache
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Water Lilies 6x9 (1024x638)

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Imperator Furiosa

Artist: Allison Sohn, United States
In a typically masculine-oriented summer blockbuster,” Mad Max: Fury Road” stands out for its unapologetic feminist streak. The film has compelling female characters, especially Imperator (“Commander”) Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron. Imperator Furiosa is the focus of this illustration along with other female characters in the film. This is is the fourth installment in the action movie Mad Max franchise.

MEDIA: Pencil and marker
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish

Imperator Furiosa

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Collaboration of Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí

In 1937, Salvador Dalí wrote to a friend, “I have come to America and I am in contact with three great American surrealists – the Marx Brothers, Cecil B. DeMille, and Walt Disney.” Dalí and Disney had met at a dinner party given by Jack Warner and became friends. Then in 1945 the two began collaborating on a short film, “Destino”, based on a mythological love story. The film was storyboarded by Dalí and Disney studio artists for eight months in late 1945 and 1946. Destino was to be awash with Dalí’s iconic melting clocks, marching ants and floating eyeballs. However, production ceased in 1946 because the studio was plagued with financial problems following World War II.

But in 1999, Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and the Disney team’s cryptic storyboards (with help from the Dalí’s sketchbooks), and finished Destino’s production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, but it also contains some computer animation. The Disney short, “Destino” was released by the studio in 2003 to much acclaim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GFkN4deuZU

Sources: Huffington Post, Wikipedia, Disney Fine Art: “The Art of Destino”

dali460

Dalí and Disney c. 1942

 

 

 

 

Dalí storyboard for Destino

Dalí storyboard for Destino.
If anyone ever questioned Dalí’s skill as a draftsman, look no further then here.

 

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Watercolor vs. Gouache

WATERCOLOR VS. GOUACHE
This is an excellent short video explaining the different properties of watercolor and gouache and which wet media techniques are suitable for each.

via Plaza Artist Materials

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Testing Winsor & Newton Watercolor Markers

Thank you Wes Douglas for this comprehensive report on your test of the new Winsor & Newton watercolor markers on Stillman & Birn sketchbooks.

MEDIA: Watercolor Markers
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Finish

Winsor and Newton watercolor markers

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Beyond the Sea

Artist: Faustine Vaughn, United States
Artist’s Statement: For this piece, I was inspired by artwork I saw that featured this idea of hiding fish in the curves of ocean waves, and thought it was so creative! I knew I had to do a similar theme in my sketchbook. But I had no idea what to do for the sky! So I just started making big random swirly clouds to fill up the space, adding color until it just seemed to complement the bottom half of the piece. I sketched a basic outline with my Lamy Safari fountain pen inked with Platinum Carbon Black ink, colored the areas in with layers upon layers of Tombow markers, and then outlined them with a black Micron brush pen. I’ve had the song “Beyond The Sea” stuck in my head ever since.

I’ve been drawn to the Tombow marker medium over and over again in my 7×7 Zeta Series sketchbook. I love the bright white paper that gives my brightly colored markers that visual “pop” I’m looking for. I also like the smooth Zeta finish, as it works great with the markers and fountain pens I use, but is still sturdy enough to handle watercolor washes too. It’s really developing into the ideal combo for me.

MEDIA: Ink and Markers
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Beyond The Sea

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cynical Derision or Insightful Criticism?

Last night Picasso’s “Women of Algiers” (1955) sold at a record-breaking $179 million (£ 102.6). Picasso’s painting is an homage to the earlier painting of the same name by 19-century painter Eugène Delacroix (shown side-by-side).

Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones argues that this record-breaking price was paid for a “late, ungreat work shows the foolishness of collectors”….”Picasso’s “Women of Algiers” series lacks the fire of genius that makes his work from the 1900s to the 1940s so inexhaustible. It is a coda to his career, a footnote to his achievement. Someone has so much money they can fork out colossally for a late, ungreat Picasso just because they read about him in an inflight magazine or saw a doumentary.”

Source: Guardian http://bit.ly/1dZkFQf

picasso-delacroix

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Frida Kahlo: Fashion Icon

“Frida Kahlo used clothing as an integral part of her artwork and in turn created an iconic image that champions creativity, bravery and the colorful spirit of Mexico. She also used clothing to hide her physical imperfections. Sixty-one years after her death, she has become a fashion genre within her own right. Kahlo’s distinctive look – dark hair piled on top of her head, chunky earrings, a cluster of flowers, an unapologetic unibrow and a visible moustache – became part of her story. Added to that was a flair for style: she dressed in tweaked versions of traditional Mexican clothing. A kind of corset-style bodice and long flowing skirt, both in vibrant colors and covered with rich embroidery, was a signature silhouette. What she wore contrasted with the sleek [Ed: Paris] aesthetic of the dominant fashion of the 1930s and 40s and she stood out on purpose. As such, she has consistently inspired fashion designers – Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, Rei Kawakubo and Dolce & Gabbana included.

Kahlo’s deep connection to clothes was acknowledged by those closest to her. When she died in 1954, aged 47, her husband, Diego Rivera, locked up the room in which her clothes were stored, where they remained for 50 years. Now, a photographic record of more than 300 items can be seen at the Michael Hoppen gallery in London, from May 14th. Photographer Ishiuchi Miyako has documented these items in closeup shots.. [Ed: The photos are featured in Miyako’s new book, “Frida” published by Donlon Books]. Originally worn by women from the Tehuantepec area of Mexico, a matriarchal society, these traditional dresses were adopted by Kahlo as a symbol of strong women. She also wore intricately embroidered Huipil blouses, part of the Mayan tradition, where each pattern on a blouse, typically worn for 30 years, tells the story of the wearer.

Kahlo’s Fashion Codes

1. The Rebozo
This traditional Mexican scarf was made famous by Kahlo. She wore the long, rectangular scarf wrapped around her body or tied in her hair for the majority of her paintings. Traditionally, the scarf is said to make a woman appear more graceful, which is perhaps why Kahlo adopted the style.

2. Unibrow
It is an indisputable fact that Frida Kahlo immortalised the unibrow. Her daring black stripe represents her refusal to conform to the conventional norms of Hollywood beauty and has since inspired others. The unibrow took on various forms in her paintings, from the wing of a hummingbird to thick, exaggerated brush strokes.

3. Tehuana dress
The Tehuana style of dress emerged from the Tehuantepac region of South Mexico. Kahlo adopted this style, dressing in huipil tops and floor-length sweeping skirts, with bright floral prints, thick lace hems and ribbon trims. She mixed the authentic silhouette with fabrics imported from China and Europe, creating her own eclectic style. According to legend, Tehuana women were figures of authority within their society; perhaps, by taking on their traditional dress, Kahlo was displaying her own strength and will.

4. Jewellery
Kahlo completed her look with quantities of elaborate jewellery, from lariat necklaces and mismatched earrings to skull pendants and strung shells. She favoured pre-Christopher Columbus handcrafted pieces by native American Indians, the majority of which are now kept at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan, Mexico, located inside Frida’s family home, La Casa Azul.

5. Hair braids
Kahlo often wore her black hair in thick braids piled over the top of her head. She teamed this with floral headpieces: finely wrought crowns of wild flowers and ribbon. For a series of 1940’s self-portraits, she wears an elaborate wreath, with tears dripping from her eyes. The hairstyle, which has been repeatedly revived over the years, has been used on the models contemporary designers.”

Sources:
The Guardian: http://bit.ly/1dTHJjc
AnOther: http: bit.ly/1CLHnV6

 

fridaportrait

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

U.O.P. Landscape 1

Artist: Salvador Castío, United States
Artist’s statement: I drew this landscape at the beginning of 2014. It was the first thing that I drew in my new Stillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook. After 25 years of using the same brand of sketchbook, I discovered Stillman & Birn and changed. Their quality is superb and I now use their sketchbooks exclusively. I live near the University of the Pacific (U.O.P.) and regularly take walks through the campus. The landscaping on campus is very lush and invites one to want to draw. This drawing started as a pencil sketch that was worked on for almost a week. My initial sketches are quick and loose; only general shapes and an indication of shading are noted at first. Once I feel as if I’ve put down all the information that I will need, I proceed to the next phase: inking.

My inking technique is methodical and labor intensive. As I said, I start by establishing shadow shapes. Once those are in place I start building up the values. I go for the darkest values first, this allows me to accurately determine and compare lesser values in the picture. I build up my values line by line using a Rapidograph technical pen. I favor the .35 point since it allows me to add as much fine detail as needed. I’ve used a Rapidograph for 30 years because I like working with real ink. Many of the modern sketch pens offer little in the way of permanence. A drawing such as this normally takes me a few days to finish – as you can imagine, I don’t burn through sketchbooks. In fact, it normally takes me a year to complete a sketchbook.

I’ve been keeping a sketchbook on and off since 1987 and have continuously kept one since 1995. I keep a sketchbook for two reasons. First, I love to draw. Second, I like keeping a journal. I’ve never been interested in keeping a sketchbook to practice my skills as is traditionally done. Instead, I prefer to use it as a place where I can put down my thoughts, ideas, and whatever is going on in my life at the moment. The two people that have had the biggest influence on my sketchbook work are Barron Storey, whom I studied with at The Academy of Art in San Francisco, and underground comics pioneer, Robert Crumb. Although their work is distinctly different, it is very similar in the aspect of the intimate, no holds barred approach that they both take. In my opinion, their sketchbooks are the finest example of the art of graphic journaling.

As an artist, carrying a sketchbook is one of the best things that you can do; I’ve noticed that keeping a sketchbook has become quite a popular thing to do over the past decade and I think that’s great. I believe that a sketchbook should represent who you are as a person. It should contain your thoughts, ideas, and emotions. If you’re not doing that, then what’s the point? If you’d like to see more of my work, you can at: salvadorcastio.com/blog, www.facebook.com/salvadorcastio, twitter.com/SalvadorCastio and instagram.com/salvadorcastio/

MEDIA: Pencil, pen and ink
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Surface

U.O.P. Landscape I

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

View of Manhattan Bridge from Dumbo

Artist: Adrian Rosario [ @lioninc_ ]
Artist Statement: I feel like drawing is a simple task: just put a pencil on a paper and try to make sense of an image. I start by sketching and trying to fit everything and make the proportions I want to accomplish. Then I add detail, still sketching with the pencil but getting more into the little details that the bridge has. After the pencil sketch is done I move on to the ink pens. I use Pigma Microns because they happen to be waterproof; I feel that these are more “forgiving” because if I have an accident with water I can adjust. Once the pencil sketch is done, the pen drawing is simple — you just have to follow the sketch and if you think you need to correct anything you do it with the pen. And finally for the shadows I use a Tombow Brush pen, I think that this pen also puts depth into the drawings.

MEDIA: Pencil and ink and ink wash
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

[Ed. Note: DUMBO is a Brooklyn neighborhood. “Dumbo” is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The area has emerged as one of New York City’s premier arts districts, with a cluster of art galleries and restaurants, including the legendary River Café. Dumbo has New York City’s highest concentration of technology firms by neighborhood and is home to 25% of the city’s tech firms. Source: Wikipedia ]

Manhattan bridge (692x1024) (692x1024)

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mandala Aqua

Artist: Maria Mercedes Trujillo A, New Zealand
Artist Statement: I’m Maria Mercedes Trujillo A. from MagaMerlina, I’m a late bloomer, self-taught illustrator-crafter from Bogotá-Colombia, who now calls New Zealand home. I attended medical school became a psychiatrist and six years ago decided to make art my life project. I sketch, draw, paint and embroider.

I’ve been keeping artist’s journals since 2001. In my journals I can be and do what ever I want. There I can paint realistically from the outer world or let my imagination swim in my inner world, I can make mistakes or be almost perfect, I can be black and white or the whole rainbow, I can write, I can draw, I can paint and do paper collage. My journals are always with me.

WHY DO I LOVE WORKING WITH MANDALAS?
Mandalas have long been a theme in my work. They keep popping out in my art. Working with mandalas gives me endless possibilities, yet it gives a frame: the circle. Mandalas teach me about my Self, they also make me happy and they are beautiful. You can follow what I do at www.magamerlina.com

MEDIA: Watercolor and ink
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

[Ed. Note: What is a mandala? The meaning of mandala comes from Sanskrit meaning “circle.” Even though it may be dominated by squares or triangles, a mandala has a concentric structure. Mandalas offer balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony. The meanings of individual mandalas is usually different and unique to each mandala. The goal of the mandala is to serve as a tool on our spiritual journey as it symbolizes cosmic and psychic order. Source: Meaning of Mandala

MandalaOroAqua

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Foggy Morning

Artist: Suzie Mattos Irby, United States
Artist Statement: The first thing I drew in life was a little bouquet of flowers when I was about 3 years old for my grandmother to take to my grandfather in the hospital. She saved that for many years. The latest painting was from a photo taken by Irini Adler (with permission), which is featured here.

I penned this in my Stillman & Birn, Alpha journal, which took the light wash fabulously. In between 3 years old and presently, I drew pictures off and on over the years, going by illustrations I liked in various art instruction books, but then I would stop and not pick up a pencil for years. Each time I went back to drawing, there seemed to be a magical improvement. When I retired from work in September, 2013, I decided to get serious about it and I’ve jumped in with both feet and have drawn or painted something everyday! I’m even trying Zentangle now…just whatever I can do to keep pen-to-paper. I might add, I haven’t had any formal art education, but I have learned so much from YouTube videos…I consider myself a YouTube alumni :).

MEDIA: Ink and ink wash
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Foggy Morning

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Drawing Through Tears

Washington Post graphics editor and sketch journalist Richard Johnson has published a compelling narrative about documenting the penalty phase of the Tsarnaev trial. The professional discipline required to report on such a story comes at a great emotional cost. Sitting in the back of the courtroom, Johnson complains about being forced to use binoculars at times for this assignment. He writes, “There was a succession of witnesses each of which I had to draw and listen to while getting the odd quote from and each one with an important, harrowing and sad story. Grown men cried and it turns out that drawing through binoculars is easy but drawing through tears not so much”. Read Richard Johnson’s full report here: http://wapo.st/1EtM88c

temp

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Frida Kahlo Love Letters

“A newly discovered set of love letters written by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was recently displayed at the Doyle Gallery in New York. Kahlo had written the letters to Jose Bartoli, a Catalán émigré artist whom she met in New York while they were both recuperating from surgery in New York. These unpublished letters, dating from 1946 through 1949 and comprising more than 100 pages in Spanish, were secreted away and cherished by Bartoli until his death in 1995. They remained in the possession of Bartoli’s family until recently.

Kahlo’s letters are steamy with unbridled sensuality and they are, like Kahlo’s paintings, extraordinarily direct and personal. The letters provide new and unique insights into the life and career one of the 20th century’s most important artists. Poetically composed with a touch of Kahlo’s characteristic surrealism, the letters offer illuminating information about some of her best-known paintings, including her 1946 ‘Tree of Hope’. “ http://bit.ly/1CYa0yc

Picture1

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Watercolor Study and Final Painting

Artist: Dorrie Rifkin, United States
Artist Statement: How many of you artists out there were taught to do a study prior to painting? And how many of you just want to skip this step and dive into the painting? Well, I would like to say, for the record, to all those teachers: You were right! (Hope my students are reading this). Doing the study is the most important step for me.

A few years back, I decided to start doing studies, and dedicated a sketchbook for that purpose. I use the left-hand page to work out the colors, and the right for my study. A study takes me an hour or two; this time is well spent. The study helps me figure out what works and doesn’t work. It gives me the freedom to paint.

MEDIA: Pencil and watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Rifikn 2

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Peterskirche (St. Peter’s Church)

Artist: Wolfgang Krisai, Austria
Artist Statement: This is a drawing of Vienna’s Peterskirsche, a church built in the Baroque style in the 18th century. It is situated in The Graben, one of the most famous streets in Vienna’s First District, the city center. The church was built in a very compact form, revealing a much larger interior space then would appear possible from its facade. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Vienna.

Urban sketching is the most important branch of my art. I draw sketches of buildings, landscapes or people in Austria, where I live, as well as abroad on my travels. For me it is a way of more intensely absorbing the beauties of a town or a country than I could by taking photographs. When I walk through a town I always see compositions for drawings, and whenever I have time I make it become real.

Currently I use a Sillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook. Sometimes I draw the outlines with pencil to fix the proportions, then I draw the linear part with Faber Castell PITT Artist pen F black, erase the pencil an do the coloring with Caran d’Ache Pablo colored pencils. A colored drawing of 1 page takes me about half an hour, depending on the complexity of the subject.

I use color pencils to save time, as there is no messing about with brushes, watercolors and water. As I only take with me about 20 different colors (my own, not the standard choice) it is a nice challenge to mix the colors to get the shade I need.

MEDIA: Pencil, Ink, Colored Pencil
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Peterskirche

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

24-Color “Full Spectrum” Paint Box

Canadian watercolorist and Urban Sketcher Marc Taro Holmes shares his “full spectrum” watercolor palette and explains why he upgraded to a larger size paint box. [This is ] “…a quick shot of my ‘large’ paint box. Not really that large – only 5×8″ when open. But twice as many colors as my previous 3×5″ bijoux box. And much more mixing area with that flip out panel below. I like to pack small, but upsizing was worth it for the mixing area alone. The smaller bijoux carries 14 colors, so that’s not the problem – it’s having only the small lid in which to mix that is limiting.” http://bit.ly/1GXN03C

Full Spectrum Palette

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Jail Bird

Artist: Carol Lowne, United States
Artist Statement: I sketched and painted the “Jail Bird” chicken from a reference photo; it seemed fitting as I was snowbound and confined at the time to a hotel room in Pennsylvania. I love the simplicity of certain animal shapes (like the chicken here) and the brilliant color of this rooster’s comb and wattle. It seemed most appropriate for this image to draw the head with a few light pen and ink lines with a Faber-Castell Pitt pen (S) and actually draw the negative space around the bird. I kept details to a minimum, only hinting at feathers for example. The expression on this bird’s face was perfect to leave him ‘behind the bars’ of chicken wire. Also, I often write short notes to myself on the sketchbook pages to remind myself of the circumstance that prompted the drawing.

Vignette formats are a favorite of mine and I enjoy fading the edges of my sketches out, leaving them unframed — which is what I did here because the bird’s expression was my focal point and the viewer’s imagination can fill in the rest of the scene. My travel watercolor palette currently has QoR watercolors in it and I limit myself to just 12 colors plus a white gouache for occasional tinting (not used in this sketch).

As a recent student enrollee in SketchBook Skool, I have returned to sketching after a hiatus of 8 years. SketchBook Skool gave me the permission I needed to not be my own self-destructive critic, and the encouragement I needed to draw something every day….which is exactly what I have done since last July. The circulation of my sketches is quite limited at the moment but I regularly post to the SketchBook Skool Community and to my friends on social media.

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Jail Bird

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Artist: Patrick Ng, Singapore
Artist Statement: I sketched this drawing on location on the corner of Swanston & Flinders St. in the gorgeous city of Melbourne when we visited in December. I usually sketch direct with my Hero fountain pen (with fude nib), loaded with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink. So I stood there under the sun for an hour doing just the line work and details.

I usually tackle the skies first, before adding color to the main subject (the station) and the surroundings (like the trees and wires).I didn’t have time to finish adding colors on location; it was done a couple days later from memory (mostly of the lighting), although I did take a photo of the location for reference. I used Daniel Smith watercolors. I had wanted to do a drawing of this Australian landmark for a long time and I was glad that I finally got the chance. The next time I visit I’d love to do a full size painting of the station.

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight –150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish

Flinder St Station

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