“Art for fun” session

Today I was joined by 13 members of the public and two of the library team to take part in the above activity – how many of these sessions had I run before? None, this was the first one.

What did I provide?

The entire colour range of Winsor and Newton ProMarkers minus French Navy, assorted fineliner pens, colouring pencils and some sketching pencils. We looked at some of the surface I have drawn on from IKEA rolls of paper from the children’s department to my overalls coloured in this Christmas.

The library also provided some paper.

What to draw?

I provided some of samples of my greetings cards to provide some subjects, others chose images from books from the library stock.

Did we have fun?

Yes we did and I was even asked if such sessions would be repeated. It as a great and happy relaxed at to spend this Friday afternoon.

Thank you to all those who attended and took part.

Art supplies

If you produce art you obviously need some art supplies. One of the greatest costs in my first two years as an artist has been to build a stock of tools to produce my art and materials to draw onto.

Every so often I then need to check how my stock is. If I had a system where every pen was stacked/ stored individually then I could just count them, but I don’t. So in recent weeks I have been developing a colouring in chart to display the colours I have in the marker pen range that I use. My main colour source is Winsor and Newton ProMarkers. There are 148 colours in the range and thanks to a great offer by Cowling and Wilcox in 2017 I bought myself one pen in every colour. However as I do a lot of pictures with sea and countryside in I use some colours more than others.

Before I decided to try and sell my art I had built my collection through a number of sets sold by Winsor and Newton often heavily discounted by Cass Art whose shops I frequented in London. Now I have over 200 marker pens which when looked after last well – I have had some of my markers since 2016 and they still work as long as lids are replaced after use.

So today, prior to an art session I am leading at Swanage library tomorrow I finally completed my stock take.

So for the next 24 hours roughly they are organised, the moment I or anyone else uses them however that organisation will start to unravel. I keep an eye on my other main pen supply – pigment based fineliners. I have bought a range of makes since it started keeping sketchbooks in 2015. My main target with these is to keep a range of nib widths to allow me options when drawing and especially when working on my pen and ink pieces – see previous post.

I have tools, what to draw on…. well anything really. I use the following: photocopier paper, sketchbooks (my regular choice come from Tiger stores), graphic marker paper, watercolour paper, Bristol board paper, photographic paper, IKEA paper rolls from the children’s range, canvases from miniature ones at The Works to larger ones from art stores, wooden boxes (The Works), and more recently decorating overalls / bib and braces.

Variety is good and I will continue to experiment. A friend gave me a large canvas which at some point will lead me to use a different media as it is too large a surface to use with my marker pens.

What do you use?

Pen and ink work

Recently I have produced more pen and ink pieces. This also linked to some of my sketches while on holiday in Canada. Indeed on Easter Monday I sat outside the artisan yard in Wareham, Sue Maclean was working on a pointillist piece of Wareham and I started an A3 version of my sketch from the Zephyr cafe in Squamish which I have just completed this week.

In the case of this and another sketch I have been adding detail to the dominant feature are the coniferous trees on the lower slopes. I have not counted the “trees” I have drawn but definitely mindful practice.

A geographer friend commented on how Langdale in the Lake District would look in this style, my only worry would be that the area was so well drawn for previous walking guides (name slips memory – aha Wainwright). An idea to add to possible future projects.

Reviewing sales record

It is April and for the second year I have placed my order for the run up to Purbeck Art Weeks on the 26th. I visited the Artisan Yard yesterday to update my stock records and look at what is selling and deciding on my order.

As part of the process of organising my order I decided to compile a top 10 sales list for both greetings cards and giclée prints to date. These are my findings;

Greeting cards top 10 sellers

1. Swanage Beach Huts* 184

2. Santa over Swanage 138

3. Santa over Corfe Castle 137

4. Looking East* 129

5. Santa over Wareham Quay 97

6. From Prince Albert Gardens,

North across Swanage Bay 57

7. Santa over Chapmans Pool 52

8. Prince Albert Gardens and Bay 48

8. Spa Beach Huts* 48

10. Corfe Castle from GPS surgery 39

Here we have the first card I drew and sold cards to Swanage TiC along with Looking East and Spa Beach Huts which were commissioned designs by them too. In joint 8th place is my original design for TiC which I then edited for their card version. These were amongst my first cards available to buy in 2017.

All four Christmas card designs feature. Swanage and Chapmans Pool were available for 2017 and 2018. Corfe Castle and Wareham Quay went on sale from June 2018. So the new 2019 additions Kimmeridge and Studland will be available from Purbeck Art Weeks 2019.

Giclée prints top 10 sellers

1. “Hungry Hare” photo 8 Original not applicable

2. Swanage Beach Huts 7 Original sold

3. Year 3 sketching trip 5 Original donated to Swanage Primary

4. PAW studio in the snow 4 Original sold

4. Looking up at wintery sky 4 Original sold

4. From Prince Albert Gardens

North across Swanage Bay 4

7. Looking East 2

8. Winter sunset 2 Original sold

8. Sailing from Chapmans Pool 2 Original sold

8. North from Purbeck Ridge 2 Original sold

The encouraging aspect here is that only two of the originals remain available from this list. My printer James thought that Year 3 sketching trip was possibly not the wisest name but I stuck with it and it tells a tale of its own.

It will be interesting with time to repeat this exercise annually to see which remain the favourite designs.

New posts coming soon …

So here are a short selection of images that will feature either on this blog or my personal blog mishmashlearning.wordpress.com over the coming weeks.

Testing Gellyroll white pens work, draw a piece and had it to artshop assistant for fun in downtown Vancouver.

Sketching my view while having lunch at “Edible Canada” on Granville Island, False Creek, Vancouver.

Public art around Coal Harbour (this half scale hut is cast in Aluminium) and Vancouver International Airport.

A variety of art seen in many forms. I will be blogging a lot about the variety of First Nation art seen in Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler.

So yes a strong canadian element after a fabulous two week break.

Where I shall be appearing in the run up to Purbeck Art Weeks 2019;

Good Friday and Easter Monday – Bay H on upper floor of Purbeck Artisan Yard, Church Street, Wareham. We are hosting our Easter event. I shall be there with the full colour range of Windsor and Newton Promarkers to encourage people to have a go (I am not selling the pens, this is my artist toolset).

I am working on boat duties but willing to talk art in between bookings at WarehamBoat Hire,Abbott’s Quay,Wareham on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Friday May 10 from 2.30 to 4.30 p.m. I am leading an adult – Art is Fun session at Swanage Library. A similar idea to the one I offer when on duty at theArtisan Yard. Places are limited, it is free, please book with Swanage library.

Saturday May 25 to Sunday June 9 from 10 to 5 for 16 consecutive days my art studio will be open as Open Studio 22 in Purbeck Art Weeks 2019. If unable to find a PAW brochurecontactmedordirctions on Houns Tout footpath from Kingston, Dorset.

Merchandising and my art / photography

So far in the first two years I have sold original artwork in a number of formats from small easel style canvases, to pieces of work in a mount with backboard and cellophane wrapper to framed pieces. I have also sold wooden boxes had decorated in original art. Greetings cards and giclee prints printed for me by Art2card. Also original greetings cards and hand coloured versions of my pen and ink cards.

Apart from my first Purbeck Art Weeks in 2017 when I ordered a sample pack of merchandise and sold the fridge magnet, and key ring I have looked at but avoided introducing art based merchandise as the up-front costs present potentially a large financial outlay.

This week I have been reading about companies that “Print on Demand” from single items or more, I decided that as there is no upfront cost this would be a way to see if there is a market for AndyKnillArt merchandise. I have gone with “Red Bubble” and posted some artwork and photography, I will be adding more pieces to my portfolio. The system works by each product having a cost price, as the artist I then set the % markup for the public price and this is where I earn some income.

So I will be trying this method, plus Etsy and promoting sales in Facebook, Instagram and this blog /website too for 2019 at least and seeing what sales we can generate. Advice from others who have gone down this route before me your pointers would be gratefully received.

Weymouth – a non Purbeck subject

A friend posts pictures often of his travels. He recently visited Weymouth, a Dorset coastal resort we have visited several times and taken photos to use later. I decided to try one of his photos as it would give me a chance to practise my use of perspective, a skill that I am far better at now than I was previously. Like the wall styles post I now try to keep a set of progress picture to show how my work has evolved. Feedback is welcome.

So the original photo.

Some of the colours of buildings might change slightly and although the fishing boats are a common feature along the near bank here I decided to leave it out. I prefer pictures of boats to focus on the boat as the main subject.

My first task the fineliner pen and ink drawing. This is freehand and drawn straight into pen, this stage went well.

I started the colour layers on my first sitting while on duty at the Purbeck Artisan Yard, Church Street, Wareham, Dorset where I have a sample of my work in Bay H upstairs.

This was the end of my work on Wednesday’s duty. I was covering a duty for a fellow artisan who had covered for me at the last minute when ill post beach huts event. I hoped that I would get time to continue with the piece on Friday and maybe complete it.

Once adding colour to the vegetation I shared the piece thinking had finished. However I had left a tree in front of the top row of houses. I added this and improved (in my opinion) the main bank of shrubs. The second picture below is the completed piece which has had very positive response from friends. I was pleased with the additional work on shadows and lighting, something I need to use more now.

Drystone Wall Styles

Contrasting styles

Having completed my drystone wall piece in pen and ink on kraft paper I decided  to produce a second canvas piece at 80 x 30 cm. This time my focus was the two walling  styles adjacent to the drive to The English Stamp Company from the Langton – Kingston top road between Swanage and Corfe Castle. Only recently a local waller has rebuilt the wall adjacent to the road in the diagonal style particular to Langton Matravers.

My work was based on photos taken and then zoomed into particular sections. The pictures were taken earlier this month when we had snow in Purbeck.

The work started as a pen and ink drawing and may have stayed that way, in this project however, I found my idea about presentation changing as I developed the work. Now that I am more patient in producing pieces, specially these larger ones there is more time to think.

The surface of the canvas is rougher than the kraft paper I used on the previous piece which didn’t suit the Sakura Pigma Micron fineliners as well. I found the Copic fineliners worked better on this surface.

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At first I was notable to focus on a small section, then came an evening where I was very motivated and completed the older wall section and drew the entire diagonally laid piece in one session. At this point I was very pleased with the pen and ink work but couldn’t see how pen and ink would work at this scale with the landscape features behind the wall.

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The lines needed to be thicker so I went over the work in a thicker nib next.

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At this point the details of the tree in the field were developed, the addition of the two bus stops, the telegraph pole and tree to the right of the picture. The grass was done in several layers allowing different colour grasses and the snow areas being left blank. Having being so bold with the stone borders I decided that this would need to include colour in both walls to make sense.

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These images show how I added colour which was then given a second and in some cases third layer of marker. The last picture showed my companion the ladybird who kept appearing as I worked.

I was pleased at this point but was unsure how to show the shrubby tree/ bushes behind. This section started as fineliners branches, then the addition of marker pen. Eventually I coloured over the branches for the sky then returned to redo the branch and twig patterns – I was uncertain by now if this was just going to end up as a learning exercise and found this difficult to deal with initially, but know it is a skill I will need to take on board.

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The piece has now been completed and the sky is not as smooth as I would like but I need to look at using other media possibly for skies behind strong marker pieces – admitting I need to do some art that is not just pen based, possibly.

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Into February

Today I covered a fellow artisan’s duty at Purbeck Artisan Yard. A few visitors helped by the improved weather and a few interesting chats with ideas to follow up for me. I spent my day working on some new pieces.

I have now completed my two 2019 designs for this year’s additions to the #SantaOverPurbeck series of cards. In discussion with people at events since last Purbeck Art Weeks I have decided that Santa May venture further afield for a second series of cards that I will start producing from 2019 to 2021 initially. Once the proofs of these cards are ready I will release pictures of the designs especially as it is still only February.

I also started work on a pair of bib and braces as my third piece of original artwork on an item of clothing. Today at the yard I also wore my Artisans on the Beach boiler suit which was a good conversation starter.

The photos below show me working on the initial pen work and then coloured area completed so far. I am very pleased with the the detail of work achieved.

“Hillview Drystone I” is complete

My largest pen and ink piece to date – an upcycled canvas using brown kraft paper stapled over the canvas – 80 x 30 cms.

So how did I go about it?

I have a clear view of this from our utility room at the back of the house. The long wall is part of our garden boundary. The other wall acts as a barrier to a section of the garden. The boundary wall in particular contains at last three ages of walling during the plot’s life. It is a view I have wanted to draw for a while and wanted to do it justice. My final thought has been to leave the entire picture as a pen and ink piece and not introduce any colour.

I started with the outline of the walls without any inner detail. Each wall was then drawn as a flat view showing the stone patterns. Meanwhile the grass to the left was added and shadow outlines marked. The longest single section was the chippings. Our home is surrounded by a “moat” of chippings on all sides. I chose to draw these as angular pieces individually – both the chippings and stone patterns include an element of artistic license in their recording.

Once that section was completed (over several days to allow for eye strain) I added the cross hatching to indicate the gaps between the stones and shadows cast. Th surface texture of the stones was also added. The final action was to record the shrubs and try that are seen above the boundary wall.

Sale time

So now it will go up for sale and I have decided that I am keeping a photographic record of these pieces but not having prints made making each one that I do a true one off. First refuser has been contacted – if you are interested in pieces like this please contact me.