Winter solstice sunshine

Ink wash, chalk pastel with graphite and coloured pencil on paper – 57 x 76cm

This was a quick drawing exercise to test out a new surface with ink washes – Arches Aquarelle’s hot pressed 300gms water colour paper. However, I tried using chalk pastels as a base colour along with the washes, something I’d not tried before to help capture the warmth of the winter light.

The washes on the paper worked okay but were best applied in repeating thin layers because if too dark and wet they would easily pool and become uneven. On the main panelled wall you can see where this has happened. Another test would be to pre-wet the areas for the washes to see if they would spread the ink more evenly across the surface of the paper. The chalk pastel was difficult to give an even edge to so experiments with masking will need to follow.

Self portrait

Chalk pastel, graphite and coloured pencil on paper – 75 x 75cm

I think these are getting better. The technique using the chalk pastel for tonal background instead of ink washes makes a softer and richer coloured image. There’s also more detail.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Ink wash and coloured pencil on paper – 150 x 78cm

This is another big drawing where the ink washes have not worked as smoothly as I’d hoped. They are impossible to get even on this kind of paper. I’d hoped that with the additional pencil work layered on top they’d disappear or become less visible. In reality they do not look as strong as in the photograph but are still too dominant against the coloured pencil.

I am going to experiment further with some different watercolour papers – Arches Aquarelle, Saunders Waterford and Fabriano Artistico – all hot pressed and at 300gsm weights. Hopefully one of these will work better. So far the best paper I’ve found for this technique is wall lining paper from Wickes but the rolls are not wide enough and I worry about their long term stability.