Friday, 31 January 2014

Working Title

The new sketchbooks really are shaping up nicely and with so many talented contributors, I know each one is going to be a precious gem by the time we've all finished with them. It has been so interesting to see the different styles of each artist and how we approach our subjects with our own ideas. 

So, with the title page being the first thing needing some attention, I looked to the quintessential spring blooms of snowdrops to give a fresh, new start feel. Using watercolour in just a couple of washes, I found the sketchbook paper to take quite a bit of punishment with the watery mixes I tend to start with. Adding an image from an old book as a frontispiece and painting a couple of simple bee motifs into the composition added to the informal, ephemeral feel I was after.

A found image from an old book opens proceedings,
followed by my rather whimsical watercolour of snowdrops and bees  

Around the edge of the page I decided to go back to my typography days and added the group title with some calligraphy. It has been quite a while since the art pen has made an appearance, so I was a bit daunted at the prospect. Luckily the pens cover a multitude of writing sins and with just a few wobbles here and there, I am quite pleased with the finished page.

With this page dealt with it was onto the first double page. For inspiration, or just a bit of relaxed pondering, I headed towards two of my favourite published sketchbooks. In and Out of the Garden and Sketchbook from Southern France, both by Sara Midda are little works of art, (quite literally). Exquisite vignettes depicting all of life and nature sit happily beside Sara's beautiful, hand painted lettering. A lovely starting point.  

If my veg patch produced all this, I would be a happy bunny

Why don't we have signs like this in Britain?

January is a bit of a botanical drought month in our garden, especially after a battering. So, I decided to present a showcase of 'my favourite seasonal bits' from past works. Reworking has become a bit of a theme with me just now and I really enjoyed the little wallow in nostalgia as I headed back in time, with a mix of happy memories flooding back. Taking little pieces from my 'working' sketchbook and mixing with bits from finished works, I hoped to reflect something of the Primary School nature table, which I used to love. Even today, I am still quite chuffed to have been the one to bring in a tuft of sheep's wool for Teacher. (well. we were in a suburb of London, so goodness knows how it got into our school hedge!)

Hazel, Prunus berries, rose hips and snowberry

And in true over the top whimsy, (I was on a roll) a little painted vignette, this time on a small envelope will welcome my fellow 'Nature Trailers' to my sketchbook. Although, they'll have to wait to see what's in it, (I haven't finished it yet).

A window of opportunity and a cheery welcome


  1. There's a lovely composition to your double page Jarnie. 'Really enjoyed reading your blog too. Beautiful start.

  2. Ahhh the botanical drought! Which in Wales starts in November and ends in... well it cold be april, or may or even june!

    Love what you've done with the berries :-D That little envelope is interesting, Wonder what will be inside...

  3. Of course that should be 'could' but cold is more apt LOL