14 January 2014

Sea blues, winter greys

The first week in January. 

A tricky place, sometimes, with self initiated work. Opening the watercolour box, filling up the water jars, facing a blank page again after the long break. 

This year, I began with binding my own sketchbook. Slicing, stitching and gluing paper and card felt do-able and very, very satisfying. I get to determine the format - square and smallish felt good. 

This is a great DVD on simple bookbinding from Shepherds, paper and bookbinding specialists in London.

I knew I wanted to start off with colour studies, since I had been inspired by a visit to see Turner and the Sea at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Many of Turner's late, very elemental and rough, more experimental pieces were on show. To my eye, those were some of the most interesting and wow pieces in the exhibition. Pieces which were not originally intended for exhibition, actually, they were private explorations and notes.

I looked and looked at the greys he is so famous for, and at the huge tonal range. 

Back in my studio I'm loving finding the varied greys, hunting for the full range of tonal values using just a few colours and coming back again and again to the same thing in a meditative way. 

The blank page has become an invitation, and I can't wait to finish one spread and start the next each day.


  1. What a beautiful sketchbook you're creating. If I had spent all of that time making it myself, I'd be hesitant to actually use it, isn't that silly?

  2. Thanks Denise and Sarah. I totally get that thing of not wanting to use a lovely blank book - good thing I decided to get straight to work!