Matthew Evans at the National Library of Australia

Two quick sketches of Matthew Evans, TV presenter and author, who was speaking last night at the National Library of Australia on his latest book On Eating Meat.

Matthew in conversation with Karen Hardy from the Canberra Times

Matthew is as eloquent with his hands as he is with words.

Pencil sketches were made during the event and watercolours were added when we got home.

Travels with my paintbox

It’s been a year since my big European sketching adventure, so I decided it was time to take a look at my paintbox and see what I have and haven’t used, paint-wise, over that time.

The paintbox after one year’s use.

I bought this set in Paris about this time last year, but it no longer resembles the Sennelier set that I purchased, nor does it have many Sennelier paints in it anymore.

My biggest issue is that the Sennelier paints use honey as a binder, which is fine in moderate climates but doesn’t do the job in high temperatures. It was quite an alarming experience to be sitting, a few weeks later, in the streets of Cordoba realising that all my paints were liquid under a thin top skin. It was awful for painting and even worse when they started running together across the box.

So having started out using the kit as purchased, this paint box has been modified as I have gone along. The original set only had pans in half of the box, so I immediately started filling the empty spaces with extra half pans I bought as I travelled.

Longer term I also added full pans, all of which are filled by tube paint. It took me a while to appreciate that using full pans made it easier to get juicy colours onto my palette and paintings, without unnecessarily wearing down the hairs on my good brushes. When travelling using full pans also means less refills.

Sorting out what I have ready for re-filling.

In the middle of the box sits a row of colours that get used at a lesser rate than others. Some, such as pyrol orange and diazine purple that are almost impossible to mix from scratch and for me at least, are absolute necessities in some sketches.

I can’t resist trying new colours and no kit I have seen holds all the colours that I want to use. I am also a firm believer that art supplies make excellent souvenirs, particularly as so many brands are hard to get (other than online) in Australia. Included in my box are paints I got in Japan, France, Singapore and Portugal. Brands include Windsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, Artist’s Spectrum, Holbein, Schmincke, Sennelier, Mission Gold and PWC. My latest purchases made in Taiwan last year, haven’t found a space in the box yet, even though I am desperately attached to the Mission Gold Red Brown.

Comparing colours between what I had at home (the paints at either end) and replacements bought while travelling, when I ran out or couldn’t find the right colour.

I am looking forward to travelling again so it will be interesting to see what new paints I find! Here’s to my re-filled palette.

My shiny clean paintbox , not for long!

Boxing Day

The National Portrait Gallery of Australia, held it’s regular drawing session on Boxing Day which gave us a good excuse to get out of the house. We were pleasantly surprised to run into several other members of our Urban Sketchers Canberra group who also had the same idea.

I wasn’t overwhelmed by my sketch of the group ‘Humbug’, who were the musicians playing that day. Lots of mistakes and abandoned as the group stopped playing part way through my sketch.

I was much happier with my second lot of sketches where I ditched the pencils and leapt in with the watercolour. It was easier to sketch the onlookers who tended not to move so much.

Backgrounds with people

Here are some more sketches from my current cafe sketching booklet. I am currently putting in some more backgrounds rather than letting my people float on the blank page. Some work better than others.

The red bottle, 1 December 2018, watercolour and graphite.

Woman under an umbrella, 3 December 2018, watercolour and graphite.

Mother with her two sons, 5 December 2018, watercolour and graphite.

Two women with a pot of orchids, 11 December 2018, watercolour and graphite.

Kit bashing

Tomorrow is my first time back meeting with Urban Sketchers Canberra, after two months away. I  realised that I wanted to change my watercolour box set up so I wasn’t lugging around multiple tins (like I normally do ).

I had a tin and some spare empty half pans. All I needed to do was reorganise the two tins into one. 

The tin is 12.5 x 8 cm (roughly 5 × 3 inches). I also managed to fill the spare space with a bit of old face washer for cleaning my brushes. The pans are held in place by the simple technique of using heavy duty double sided tape stuck to one of those magnetic calendars (sent out by our local pollies). The magnetic calendar is easy to cut up then stuck on the bottom of the pans. The pans stay put for everyday use, but can be easily swapped around when I change my mind about what colours I want in the tin.

There are 24 colours in the new tin and no doubt way too many browns and greens. I will play around with the combinations over the coming months and no doubt change it again!