Drawing & Sketching · Sketchbooks · Watercolour

Coastal Explorations

I have just recently returned from a 2 day workshop hosted by artist Debbie Lyddon at her Whelk Shed studio in Wells-Next-The-Sea. The theme of the workshop was Coastal Explorations. But before I tell you more about this exciting, creative workshop I must tell you a little about Debbie’s art and where you can find her work on the internet. Debbie has a website – debbielyddon.co.uk, she also blogs at debbielyddon.wordpress.com and you can find her on Instagram – debbie.lyddon. Please, please DO have a long look at her stunning, original and inspiring art work – she creates beautiful textile art, she also draws, sketches, paints with watercolours and creates with a whole host of other mediums too. You wont regret losing an hour or two exploring her work…

The workshop theme was Coastal Explorations. It was a 2 day workshop on the 11th & 12th of May (Saturday and Sunday). There were only 5 spaces on this workshop which were occupied by myself, my sister Carolyn and three other lovely ladies. The workshop sold out super quickly, so I was really pleased that Carolyn wasted no time in getting us booked up.

Debbie's Studio - NB
Debbie’s Studio

This is Debbie’s studio. It’s a lovely large, bright work space along the quay at the water’s edge in Wells-Next-The-Sea. We arrived just after 9 am for a 9.30 am start. The workshop ran till 4.30 pm each day. This is actually my first ever proper art workshop.

Once everyone had arrived we began by having to introduce ourselves to everyone, saying a little about ourselves. Then it was straight down to creative endeavors. Saturday morning was to begin with a SIGHT WALK but as it was raining we improvised and began by painting a large sheet of paper (about quarter imperial size) with watercolour paint – just totally random splashes of paint and mark making. This only took about 20 minutes or so and we left them to dry.

It had now stopped raining so we began our SIGHT WALK. Debbie had made us all a small sketchbook from drawing paper – neatly hand stitched. Armed with the sketchbook, along with a pencil and graphite stick, out we went for a walk along the marshes. We had to observe our surroundings, near and far,  and then make quick drawings and notes about what we saw. We were encouraged to FILL our sketchbooks! We also collected interesting things we found along the way – shells, rusty objects, pebbles etc.

Wells Quay 4
A SIGHT WALK along the marshes

This is where we walked, picked up interesting things from the shores of the quay and farther along we ventured up onto the dyke (the grass bank on the right of the photo).

Back in the studio we got down to creating things inspired by our sight walk. The painted sheet of paper we did at the outset we turned into a concertina book. We had to write notes from our sight walk into the book.

Concertina Book 1 - NBConcertina Book 2 - NBConcertina Book 3 - NB

How to cut and fold the paper to make the concertina book can be found in this book…Making Books - NB

Debbie highly recommended this book. I bought mine from Ebay for the princely sum of £1.50 and it’s as new. It is a brilliant book full of creative book ideas.

We also made plaster prints inspired by our sight walk. I’m not going into all the ins and outs of how to make plaster prints but if you ever get the opportunity to do it I highly recommend it. Here are my plaster prints…

Plaster Prints - NB
Plaster Prints

We used objects we found on our sight walk to make impressions in clay first then the plaster is used to make a print from the clay. I really like how my plaster prints turned out and this is something I would love to do again sometime.

Work In Progress - NB
Plaster prints in progress in Debbie’s Studio

Above is a view of our working space in Debbie’s studio. On the tables you can see our plaster prints in progress, paint trays, drawing materials etc.

As well as the plaster prints we also started to make a pocket for our concertina book (pictured earlier) to go in. We started by painting a piece of our chosen fabric with acrylic paint. If you look at Debbie’s work you will see that she creates lots of lovely rusty eyelets in her work. She showed us how she does this and we incorporated an eyelet in our fabric, which was left overnight in the studio to dry and hopefully go rusty…

Painted Fabrics Drying - NB
Our painted fabrics with eyelets, hanging to dry and rust in the studio…

I think this brings us to an end of the first day of the workshop. It was a full day but very productive and fun.

Day two of the workshop (Sunday) began at 9.30 am again. We began by making our own hand made sketchbook to take outside for a SOUND WALK. I absolutely loved making my own sketchbook. Debbie gave us all a standard bookbinding needle, which we took home with us. We used the correct linen thread for book binding too. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never really knew how to go about it.

Debbie showed us a Powerpoint presentation about seeing sound and translating sounds into art – very interesting. Then we went outside, like the previous day, with the sketchbooks we made ourselves for a SOUND WALK. For the sound walk it was all about what we can hear and not what we can see. We had to just listen to everything around us, near and far and document it in words and drawing/mark making in our sketchbooks.

Sight & Sound Sketchbooks - NB
My Sight and Sound Sketchbooks from the workshop
Sound Walk Sketchbook 1 - NB
My hand made sketchbook made for the SOUND WALK

Above and below are images of my sound sketchbooks – just writing and drawing what I hear…

Sound Walk Sketchbook 2 - NB

Have you ever tried to draw sounds?  You don’t draw what’s making the sound – you have to draw the sound itself. Try it – you may find it quite tricky… !

Back in the studio we had to create a piece of art inspired by what we’d heard on our sound walk. We were given a really wide but short piece of watercolour paper to paint on and then fold into a concertina book. Here’s my sound inspired concertina book…

Concertina Book 4 - NB
An abstract watercolour in book form inspired by sound

Concertina Book 5 - NB

Above and below are two closer views of my sound inspired concertina book…

Concertina Book 6 - NB

Abstract swooshes of watercolour paint and and marks from a graphite stick…

Remember the painted fabrics we left to dry in the studio from the previous day? Today we waxed the fabric and then stitched them up by hand to create a pocket for the concertina book we made the previous day…

Bag For Concertina Book - NB
My hand stitched pocket with a watercolour concertina book inside

Stitch is really not my thing. But I embraced it and did it. I was just about as far out of my comfort zone as I could be doing this and my hand stitching is not great. I like the eyelet and it has a little rust on it. I quite like how the pocket turned out.

Sunday afternoon we also made a little box for one of our plaster prints to go in…

Plaster Print In Box - NB

It was made from felt dipped in wax and then tied up with wire. This was lovely to do and something I will definitely do again. This now sits on the windowsill in my home studio.

I think that pretty much brings us to an end of the two day workshop. It was a full two days – Debbie packed a lot into each day. We all had a lot of fun and learnt new things.

In between all the creativity each day, we had a tea break in the mornings with lovely cookies, lovely lunches each day of home made quiche, salads, cheese and fresh bread and tea break with home made cake in the afternoons! What more could you want? Also, I may not have documented everything we did in the exact order that we did it, but I think you’ve got a very good idea of how the workshop progressed.

What have I taken away from this workshop? Several things…

  • I love making my own sketchbooks/books and will continue to make lots more
  • I will try to increase my awareness of my surroundings via all of my senses
  • I will do more drawing, sketching, painting outside in inspiring locations using my own hand made sketchbooks
  • I will try to create new and unique art from the drawings, sketches and notes in my  handmade sketchbooks

The workshop has given me a valuable glimpse into Debbie’s thought process and work practice as an artist. She was very generous with her knowledge and resources. She also very kindly let us photograph the numerous pieces of art on display in her studio. But those photos I will not post – it’s up to you to make the effort to visit her website, blog or Instagram account. It’s a very inspiring way to spend an hour or two…

Collage

Collages: Splashes Of Colour

I’m sharing three collages today as part of an ongoing collage project following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. Here is my collage for prompt no. 18 – tissue paper…

Indian Summer - NB
Indian Summer

This is a brightly coloured collage aptly named “Indian Summer”. Numerous scraps of tissue paper have been worked into this collage, of different colours, along with some dried flowers and a scrap of crocheted cotton…

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Avocado Dreams

Above we have promt no 19 – cardboard. I used a strip of cardboard from a box that something was delivered in. I painted it with Titanium White acrylic paint, left it to dry and then went over it with some acrylic craft paint called “Avocado”. I stuck it down the left side of my collage and it complements the other collage elements nicely…

Escape - NB
Escape

Here we have prompt no. 20 – maps. I tore up sections of three different maps and used them for the base of my collage. Then I used tea bag papers and fabrics scraps to collage over the top of the maps.

All three collages measure 20 cm x 20 cm. I have now also glued all my collages into a new A4 sketchbook and I have to say it’s nice to flip through the pages and see all the different collages I’ve created so far. Collages are a fun, no pressure way to create art…

Collage

The Return Of The Collage Project

Today, after a 3 month break,  I am resuming the collage project I was doing with my sister Carolyn. The project had been temporarily shelved for an assortment of reasons but I can now see my way clear to resume where I left off. Carolyn probably wont be posting any for a while yet but do click the link and enjoy browsing through her art work anyway.

For our collage project we were following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. It’s a great book with wonderful creative collage ideas. Today I begin with prompt no. 16 which is “upside down”. Here’s what I did…

Drifting Into Autumn - NB
Drifting Into Autumn

I have chosen soft autumn colours for this collage and I have deliberately placed several elements of the collage upside down. In my corner of the UK autumn is setting in early – trees are changing colour in the park and leaves are dropping like mad. It’s more than likely due to our unusually hot summer and lack of rain.

I have also done prompt no. 17 which is “finger paint”. I had to place some paint onto my collage using only my fingers – a little bit messy but quite fun to do…

Summer Breeze - NB
Summer Breeze

Soft blue shades dominate this collage. White and turquoise acrylic paint was fingered down the left hand side of the collage but I have covered over some of it with collage elements. There is also some white paint across the top too. Erosion Bundle paper was used for this collage along with some used teabags, some scrim and a couple of bits of flaky paint I found in the harbour which probably came off a boat or two…

I love collage – it’s so much fun. I love how it’s a form of art that anyone can do, whether you have no art experience at all or are a seasoned professional artist. Collage can be as simple or as complex as you wish. It’s a fun way to let your imagination run wild.

More collages are in progress as I speak and I will post them soon. Why not try a little collage work this week… ?

Collage

Old Books

Chemistry - NB

A collage made entirely from old book covers. It was created for prompt no.15 in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman, a collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn. Unfortunately Carolyn is unwell at the moment and wont be posting her collages for a while, but do visit her blog anyway and be inspired by her beautiful, creative mixed media artwork and textile art…

I used three different vintage book covers for this collage. I love the vintage blue colours and textures of the the different covers. Old books are great for collages!

Collage

Words

Today it’s time for a little collage catch up for the collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn. We’re following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. I have three collages to share today and they are all word related.

First, the prompt for week 12 was typography. Here’s what I did:

Typography - NB
Seaside Typography

A collage consisting entirely from words cut out from old magazines. The words have been cut in half or overlapped for added interest. I used type in shades of blue and turquoise, but added that little touch of yellow off centre for a focal point.

The prompt for week 13 was Secret Message – you pick a name, word or phrase or similar and create a collage incorporating the letters. Here’s my collage:

Secret Message - NB
Secret Message

I jumbled the letters of my “secret word” up and glued them round the edge of my collage…

The prompt for week 14 was stamps – use stamps (any sort of stamps) to create an additional layer to a collage. Here’s my offering:

Vintage Pink - NB
Vintage Pink

I created my collage in shades of vintage pink with complementary neutral shades and stamped the word “vintage” on my collage in black ink.

I enjoyed creating these collages. A couple of the prompts have taken me a little out of my comfort zone and forced me to create something I wouldn’t have otherwise have created. So that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to pressing on with the rest of the prompts in the book and I’m sure I’m going to be forced even further out of my comfort zone with some of them… !

Collage

Spring Collages

It’s collage time! Welcome to weeks 10 and 11 of the collage project I’m doing with my sister, Carolyn, following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman.

The week 10 prompt is Decollage. We had to glue down lots of layers of paper and then when the glue is nearly dry rip the top layers of papers away to reveal what’s underneath. Here’s what I did:

Spring Style Decollage - NB

I used soft pastel coloured papers and also added some dried pressed flowers – a little hint of spring….

The week 11 prompt is numbers – create a collage with numbers as the focus. Here’s my offering:

Numbers - NB

A vintage blue collage with a spring twist with the added dried pressed flowers. And of course the numbers were included and I used vintage ephemera for that. Some erosion bundle papers went into this collage as well….

I had fun creating these collages. Next weeks theme is typography – something a little different for me. Looking forward to it…. !

Instagram

Collage

Squaring Up

Welcome to weeks 8 and 9 of the collage project I’m doing with Carolyn, following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. The prompt for week 8 was reassemble – cut an image into approximately equal squares and rearrange them to create a new image. Here’s what I did:

Books Reassembled - NB
Books Reassembled

This is a print of one of my own photos cut up into squares and reassembled. This is the original image:

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A Little Light Reading

This was quick and easy and fun to do. Next is week 9 and the prompt was squares and rectangles. We had to choose 2 or more images and cut them into squares and rectangles and  then create a collage using the pieces. Here’s what I did:

A Winter Seascape - NB
A Winter Seascape

This collage measures 8″ x 8″ and is created entirely from my own art work and photography except for one small square which happens to be a piece of scrapbook paper. Each square of this collage is a work of art in it’s own right! Please click on the image to view it larger to see more of the details. At the bottom section of the collage you have the yellow ochre sand with rocks, seaweed and rock pools. In the middle section you have the sea ~ a mixture of turquoise, greens, rich inky indigo and prussian blue tones. Towards the top of the collage I see a distant shoreline topped with moody grey and blue sky.

There will be more collage fun next week – thank you for visiting!

 

Collage

Colour Plunge

This is week 5 of a collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn, we’re following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. This week’s prompt is colour plunge – create a collage using only different shades of one (or almost one) colour. I did three collages in total…

Vintage Pale Blue - NB
Vintage Pale Blue

The first collage is made up from vintage pale blue papers and some fabric from an erosion bundle….

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Prussian Blue

This collage is again blue but totally different blues – rich dark Prussian blue tones to this one. The fabrics in this came from my erosion bundles….

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Roman Baths

The last collage is made using vintage pale green papers, with tiny hints of turquoise here and there. I used some erosion bundle papers in this one. There’s a tiny piece of scrim on the left and some vintage cellotape on the right to add extra vintage touches.

All three collages measure 8″ x 8″. They all turned out completely different to how I originally intended them to be but I like them. Next week’s prompt is image pairings – I need to think about this one….

Collage

Colour Charge

Welcome to week 4 of a collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn, following the prompts from Randel Plowmans book The Collage Workbook. This weeks prompt is colour charge – add colour to a collage that’s primarily black and white. Here’s what I did:

Vintage Orange - NB
Vintage Orange

This is a vintage black and white collage coloured with a fairly bright orange. I’ve used orange printed material and orange oil pastel. This collage measures approx. 6″ x 6″.

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A Touch Of Rust

For this collage I printed out some of my own black and white photographs and cut them up for the collage base. Then I added rusty colours in the form of watercolour paint, rusty paper scraps and some fabric – both from my erosion bundle material. This collage measures 8″ x 8″.

Next weeks collages are going to be colourful….

Collage

Black & White

This is the third week of the collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn, following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. Also it’s lovely to now have a number of other people joining in with our project. This week’s prompt is black and white. I did two black and white collages….

Dimensions Of Space - NB

The first collage is more traditional black and white tones and the second is vintage style….

Vintage Black & White - NB

Both collages measure 8″ x 8″ and I have used some erosion bundle papers in both collages. Both are more complex in design than previous week’s collages.

I’m really enjoying this collage project and already my mind is working on next week’s theme….