On my second recent sketching trip to Thornham Saltmarsh, I wanted to try out my new Posca paint pens with gouache and ink, as a change from the watercolours I normally use outdoors.
I encountered Posca pens for the first time back in January on the Emily Ball workshop I attended in Cambridge, but this was the first time I’ve used them out sketching. They come in a range of colours and types of nib/width etc and at first look like felt markers. However, what I particularly like about them is their ability to be used over other colours without losing their clarity (see the fine blue lines and the white thicker ones in the sketch above). They seem to combine well with gouache, but I’ve seen them used effectively on acrylics, collage and so on.
Although the yellow rape had gone over, you could still detect its balmy, honeyed, slightly medicinal aroma along the raised paths around the marsh. Many other wildflowers were out – purple mallow, yellow rattle, white clover, ox-eye daisies, cow parsley and the stunning blue chicory, with sea lavender blushing the marsh with mauve.
Butterflies flickered along the margins of the paths (one landed on my sketch), and many plants were studded with tiny button-like snails. The wind rustling through the reedbeds and the grasses emphasised the peace and quiet.
I didn’t walk as far as the beach this time, but spent an hour observing and sketching the weather over the marsh. From distant Thornham village, acrid woodsmoke drifted in, giving rise to the brownish smudge on the abstract sketch above. A jet zipped through the sky ripping it open, but the skylarks continued spiralling upwards casting their songs into the air.