21 October 2013

A Brush with Nature - workshop

Thought I'd share a bit about a great workshop I attended at the weekend, at the education centre at my local nature reserve, Paxton Pits. The workshop 'A Brush with Nature' was hosted by the local wildlife trust and led by Sarah Morrish, and the focus was drawing and watercolour painting of natural objects from life.

The day started with a quick introduction and discussion of materials etc. Sarah had brought along a load of yummy natural history art/illustration books too, lovely to browse! We had a tableful of things to choose from, some of which had been gathered on the reserve that morning, and others which Sarah had brought with her. We could choose from items such as autumn leaves, seed pods, feathers, seashells, stones etc.

The first couple of hours before lunch were dedicated to tonal drawing using graphite pencils. I chose a dried pitcher, from a pitcher plant.

I did this using a range of pencils from H through to 2B. It took probably an hour and a half, and an awful lot of concentration! Was pleased with how it turned out. I don't do pencil drawings like this very often (I think I lack the patience) but I really enjoyed this.

After lunch Sarah demonstrated her watercolour technique, using a limited palette of winsor lemon and quin gold, permanent rose and perylene maroon, and indanthrene blue and French ultramarine (a cool and warm of each primary colour). Again, patience required. I chose to try some feathers - two barn owl feathers, and one from a jay (couldn't resist it, it was like a gleaming

A highly enjoyable day. Sarah shared a lot of insight and tips (she also teaches botanical art at her local college). She's based in Hampshire so most of her workshops are run down there, but has connections in with the Wildlife Trust in Cambridgeshire, hence the workshop here, the first of many I hope!

A few photos of the day here

We finished at 4pm, but for me the day wasn't over. It was a lovely warm late afternoon, so I decided to dump the art stuff in my car and head out to one of the bird hides on the lake - and I SAW AN OTTER!! Every time I visit the reserve I sit in that hide and hope to glimpse one, and that was the very first wild otter I've ever seen!

So a fab day all round for me!

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