October 7th, 2014

Vibrant Greens Along the River Fowey

British artist Hannah Ivory Baker uses a unique abstract style in her sketchbooks which she creates with gouache and a bold impasto technique. The result is more of a finished work then a sketchbook study. Zoom in to see how loaded the page is with pigment.

“I am an artist living in Crouch End, North London. I began painting when I was quite young, nothing formal but I was always encouraged to draw and paint. My grandad was an artist and I used to sit and watch him for hours in his studio. I loved watching him work. There were bits of dried paint, used brushes and half whited-out paintings everywhere. If I close my eyes I can remember the smell of cut wood, turpentine and chalky paint lingering in the air of his studio. It pleases me that my studio now smells similar!

All my sketchbook work really aims to capture the essence of place, time of day, weather conditions. So with this in mind the key is to remain as loose and free as possible when painting without being too intricate or detailed.

In the sketch titled ‘Vibrant Greens Along the River Fowey’ I was specifically trying to record lots of greens, vivid and luscious, and combine this with a sense of life and movement; the movement of water, sparkling light reflecting off the river and foliage.

I started by wetting the paper and spreading varying shades and intensities of blue and yellow gouache directly on to the wet paper leaving an abstract wash and creating a rough guide of the general composition. From there I built up the darker areas of trees, shadow and reflection. Using a palette knife loaded with paint I flicked thicker blobs on to the paper and scratching away certain areas of the thicker paint I was able to create a little texture. This enabled me to define the reeds coming out of the water, areas of leaves and branches as well as certain areas of the foreground.

The techniques I employ in my sketchbook work are very harsh. The paper must be robust enough to support wetting, scratching and the application of thicker paint without creasing, wrinkling or tearing. I have been incredibly pleased that the Stillman & Birn mixed media sketchbooks.”

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

vibrant greens on the river fowey, Bodmin, cornwall (Delta)



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