Finrod from the Silmarillion is one of my favorite Tolkien characters, and I like the idea that his home in the cave-city of Nargothrond was filled with complex patterns and beautiful things. This is an A4 painting, and I based it loosely on a photo of the young David Bowie.
Maglor from the Silmarillion meets Ilbereth, Father Christmas’s secretary from Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters. Created for the Tolkien Reverse Summer Bang 2019 event, this work inspired this fabulous story by Narya-flame. This one is acrylic
I made a brief video of the last painting by photographing it as I went along!
I spent some time experimenting with dry Brusho watercolour pigment powder, ink pencils, and spray inks. The picture above was I think the most successful, but I thought I’d upload some of the other works to record how I approached them.
The painting with the deer, above, I started with light. I used a spray bottle of yellow ink to make a spot of yellow in the middle of my picture that faded to white all around, and then a very small spray of red ink around it to create a slight darkening/reddening around the edges. Once that was completely dry (vital so the ink would not run! Ink stays put once it’s dry (mostly) whereas watercolour can be re-wetted and will run and move more.)
I painted the top of the image with plain water, and added Leaf Green brusho pigment to the top of the wet area. Then I sprinked Moss Green and Sandstone pigment at the bottom of the wet area, stood the picture up vertically, and dripped water here and there so that the wet pigment ran in mingled streaks down across the dry yellow ink sunburst.
I love the way the Brusho pigment makes random patterns and speckles of light when applied to wet watercolour paper. (You do need a thick good quality watercolour paper for this kind of thing, so the paper doesn’t crinkle.)
I brushed the pigment across the bottom with a wet brush, just to create a foreground, and added a little more moss green foliage at the bottom.
Then, once the trees and grass were dry, the last step was to draw a deer. I used a purple Inktense pencil for that, and then carefully washed over it with water. This allowed some of the yellow ink to show through the purple layer, and re-wetting the Brusho trunks underneath the deer gave the purple a good varied colour so it sat well with the rest of the picture rather than looking stuck on.
I tried the same idea here, but without the yellow ink undercoat and with a figure instead of the deer, but it didn’t work quite so well.
Before I started playing with the idea of drips forming trees, I first tried them creating the under-water stems of water-lilies. I think this would have worked a little better if I had given the lilies a bit more space and drawn them out more carefully. This was my first attempt at putting the Brusho colours onto wet watercolour paper, and then tilting the paper to make the pigments combine. It’s 100% abstract, but I rather like it. That’s how I ended up with the idea for the lilies.
And finally (this post is all the wrong way around) this is the first picture I made in this session. I drew the dog first, using Inktense pencils, then I masked over her with a liquid rubber mask. Then once the mask was dry, I water-painted the whole thing and started applying a mix of dry brusho powder to see what would happen. What happened was quite colourful!
I made this little sketch sitting outside in the sun today, at Cafe Liaison in Tavistock, looking out across the churchyard to the remains of the old Abbey building. This huge beech with its wide shady branches usually has children playing or people sitting around it, so I tried to record a few of them, though it’s hard work painting figures direct from life when they are all moving about and have no idea someone is scribbling away trying to catch their movement.