I drew the sketch above in Dulwich Park a couple of weeks ago, in early February. At this time of year, a quick sketch is all that is practical to do out of doors, but I have now used this sketch to make three different versions in watercolour. I usually paint using a primary triad – that is obviously red, yellow and blue – mixing all the other colours from these three. But they do not have to be the same three pigments, and there are many options to choose, which may be warmer or cooler colours, or creating a darker or lighter effect. In particular, these pictures use three different blues: French Ultramarine, Cerulean, or Winsor Blue. Here are the three images with their varying palettes.
I continue my aim to do a quick flower sketch every day during the January lockdown. Lately I have been trying different media combined with watercolour. Here are three simple flower pictures, drawn from life, which use watercolour with oil pastel. The strong colours and more chunky form of the pastels encourage a bolder approach. I am learning from this every day.
Above, sketching with my friend Lis at Horniman Gardens, below, a day at Kew Gardens:
A group of my small watercolours done at Kew Gardens also hang in the home of a friend:
Some quick sketches done on location in East London – three at Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, and the final one at Victoria Park.
As a consequence of the pandemic lockdown, I did not visit central London between mid March and early August. More recently, I have taken some sketching trips with friends, sometimes visiting places like the Tower of London, which are unusually quiet now. Here are some recent location sketches of Butlers Wharf, the City skyline, the gates of Lincoln’s Inn, and the Temple Church.
I have been sketching again at Kew Gardens, in the Temperate House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory, as it was a day of heavy rain. I experimented with water soluble coloured pencils, on backgrounds of random watercolour.
Yesterday, I was painting at Kew Gardens, in London, with friends. We also visited on a very hot day last week, shown above. Kew has a famous gallery of botanical art, superbly skilled work in the very precise style, originally developed as a method of scientific recording. I was trying to paint watercolour sketches in a freer, more painterly style, more about atmosphere than precision. Well, that is the idea, here are some sketches from yesterday, painted on location.
And here is a scan of the painting which is in the photograph at the top of this post.