Sea, Sand and Beach – Sketchbooks

At the point of starting this post this sketchbook is a collection of fun sketches that were primarily done for a Facebook sketchbook challenge but also show simplistic ideas that could easily translate into printed images (perhaps using the collagraph method) or either stitched or applique techniques too. I have left the opposing pages purposely blank for notes and fabrics at this stage.

The first image is a somewhat child-like pastel drawing of Smeaton’s Tower on Plymouth Hoe but with childhood imagination playing a part for the moors in the background – this image is a combination of memories of my home town and county. The pastels are budget oil pastels and the paper is smooth hot-pressed (cream coloured).  The top of the lighthouse is deliberately ‘off kilter’ and out of proportion because I wanted to recreate my childhood mind. This is the one I have a collagraph print most in mind for when I learn the technique but can also see it working as a print and stitch project and it will be interesting to see how either turn out in time.


A second version was done in watercolour and this time the light was unintentionally wonky but I left it because it keeps the childlike charm for me.  This was a very initial trial of wet-on-wet techniques for the sea, the moors and the hillside on which the lighthouse is built – not entirely sure how it works here but early days in learning (I had also just purchased a watercolour technique book).


The next image was a simple watercolour painting on rough watercolour paper of my 3 favourite ice-creams and lollies – a Fab, 99′ and Rocket …. the theme for the Facebook challenge was summer and this sums up summer for me!  Regarding my sketchbook work what was very useful about this and other paintings and sketches done for the challenge was the opportunity to work on my watercolour painting and other media too – in this one I learnt more about wet-on-wet techniques as well as wet on dry and proved one of the most useful experiments of all for me.  Again I can see this working in various print and stitch methods and as a small stand alone picture would work wonderfully without much alterations – the collagraph printing method particularly appeals and this may be a useful image for when I start learning it due to its simplicity.


Keeping with the summer theme another simple image that I did half with the theme in mind and half with the thoughts of printing methods or stitching – my perfect beach hut!  After leaving the army my father’s new job meant a move to Sutton-on-Sea on the east coast of Lincolnshire and beach huts are all along the sea front – in winter many of the wooden ones were destroyed by high tides and storms and I always had an thought in my mind of if I ever owned one how would it be? this is my perfect beach hut!  Of course my beach hut would not be on a concrete promenade but on a sandy dune and being able to play pirates whilst at the same time having little pink cottage-like curtains … even though this is a textiles course for me I wanted to capture fun and liveliness and somehow this is another image I want to translate into stitch but am happy to wait to learn techniques that will give this the best result and perhaps this is another for a printing technique too. This is watercolour and gouache paint on rough watercolour paper having been lightly sketched first – principally wet on dry technique. I was not too concerned about texture but rather about trying to catch the atmosphere and emotions in this piece.


The last two images are were done with comedy in mind!  The first again working with pastels which I have always hated previously but understand how useful they can be in sketchbook work and I am trying to learn how to use (another recently purchased book proving to be very useful).  This is probably the only image at present I do not have ideas on how or even if I will use it – admittedly this is me and doing what I loved doing … jumping on a sandcastle I had just built! Technique why it was great to do as practising the use of pastels but not the most successful in terms of overall effect although I tried to use the roughness of the watercolour paper to denote the textures of the sand and water (as say not overly successful but feel could use a wider range of marks with the pastels in future to get a better result).


The last sketch at the point of writing was done again to practise watercolour painting techniques and was based on the old saucy seaside postcards that my young friends and I used to try not to get caught reading!  This one I found on the internet (just ‘google images’ and is titled ‘Oh Ronald do bury me in the sand’ – I tried to capture both the textures of the sand and the shadows along with the various skin tones of the figures without having to worry about being accurate which in itself was helpful.  What looked like a simple image proved very useful for observation  – there are  surprising number of tones in the original image along with some small details that bring life.  With regard to what I do with  this …. I am without question wanting to try this is as a stitched sample without much alteration at this stage but suspect it is also one that I could learn further techniques from or further experiment with even if it is just small sections of it.


At the point of writing on 2 August 2015 I also have several other photographic images tucked inside the sketchbook that are more serious and have more of a concentration on texture and marks that I am aiming to work on – coming from Plymouth and then growing up in Sutton-on-Sea anything related to the sea or the beach appeals as this is where my mind is truly at home.




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