Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Preparing for China series / work

I spent yesterday afternoon doing a range of background washes etc. in my sketchbook. I hope that they will prompt an exciting dynamic with what goes on top! This stage is always fun!

The colours in these first three remind me of the grey hutong buildings in Beijing with lanterns and scripts / banners outside, of the temples and of the Forbidden City. The paints are metallic - watercolour and acrylic.

These next monochrome ones are gouache washes, dabbed with scrunched tissue. Occasionally the 'dabs' look like Chinese characters - which I would love to incorporate but would have no idea what was being said.

China - sketchbooks bought in Beijing

In Beijing I think the thing we enjoyed the most was wandering around the 'hutong' areas - alleyways of traditional grey brick single storey houses with characteristic and beautiful roof shapes and tiling. There are parts of Beijing where these are being renovated and indeed some of the alleys have become tourist destinations, with an increasing number of cafes and shops that are occasionally a delight. The shop that these journals came from was full of leather and hardback notebooks in all shapes and sizes - very difficult to choose these three! 

I think the paper inside - which is a lovely warm brown - is rice or hemp paper. My 'christening' sketch is a pastel of a Shanghai backstreet night scene. I really like the small format, especially combined with an 'unfiddly' medium like pastels.