Watercolours & Fly Agaric

Monday, January 28, 2013

I got out my watercolours this weekend. I've been doing a lot of sketching and pencil doodling on napkins and notebooks (and my business diary - which looks oh so professional with doodled mushrooms and leaves) lately, and it was time to start doing something with that creative impulse.

So, we headed off to Atlantis Art Materials in Shoreditch. It's a warehouse filled from top to bottom with art stuff. It's like an Aladdin's Cave of papers, paintbrushes, pastels and paints. It's a mecca of notebooks, sketchbooks and paper pads. I was looking for watercolour paper, and I chose a little book of recycled Khadi Papers. 

I was very controlled in Aladdin's Cave. I left with two pads of paper, a set of new watercolour brushes, some textured acrylic medium, and a lino cutter.

The texture on this paper is amazing. Each piece is a roughly the same shape and has a lovely uncut-edge to each side. The paper itself is thick but flexible, and is full of deep texture that reminds me more of linen or canvas - likely because the paper is made from recycled rags.

I've had an idea in mind for a while: I want to do lots of lovely little doodle watercolours as botanical or natural history illustrations mixed with text and an exploration of colour and texture. Then, I want to put them together and print these onto tags and fabric and all things tactile.

But where to start? So, I penciled and coloured a Fly Agaric mushroom, the eponymous mushroom which lends itself to all literature and illustrations. I was very tempted to ink on giant white spots on top of the mushroom, but they're not spots at all: they're warts. Warts!

This is as far as I got last night. This photo really doesn't do the pigment colours any justice: they're incredibly vivid, and they paint beautifully on this Khadi Papers pad. (Thank you, Winsor & Newton watercolours.)

Next step: try to loosen up a bit. Add some text. Highlight the warts (!). Paint more.

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