abandoned colour …

a selection of sketches from a week in Cornwall in September, spent exploring the moors, coast, ancient Bronze Age remains and the other-worldliness of the abandoned tin and copper mines in the Penwith area.

Towards Rosewall Hill, Cornwall

Towards Rosewall Hill, Cornwall.

These sketches were made on the spot, (in varied weather) in my current favourite sketchbook – a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. The paper weight is robust enough to stand up to the deluge of water I usually flood each page with and I prefer the landscape format over the A5/A6 sizes sketchpads and books tend to come in.

Apart from my usual use of wet-in-wet watercolours and pencil, I was trying out the Derwent Inktense blocks which I’ve recently discovered; I love their immediacy of colour, their smudgy intensity, especially in the darker colours, like the plummy colour shown in the sketch above.

Mine stack at Levant, Cornwall.

Mine stack at Levant, Cornwall.


Verdigris leaching from cliff, Levant Mine.

Verdigris leaching from cliff, Levant Mine.   

The colours of the earth around these mines where the ores carpet the surface, and the copper verdigris leaches from the sea cliffs below the mines, have to be seen to be believed! It looks just like a giant has flung pots of paint around with abandon.

Mine stack, Levant Mine.

Mine stack, Levant Mine.

 

Rubble & ore, Levant Mine.

Rubble & ore, Levant Mine.

There is enough visual inspiration in this industrial landscape to warrant returning and spending much longer gathering material for a whole series of work. I’d love to do just that.

Rock formation, Levant.

Rock formation, Levant.

 

Men an Tol, near Morvah

Men an Tol, near Morvah

  

Rainclouds over Porthmeor bay, St Ives, Cornwall.

Rainclouds over Porthmeor bay, St Ives, Cornwall.

 

sunflowers in winter…

detail from recent sketch of dead sunflowers, Harpley, Norfolk, Nov 2011© Mari French

detail from sketch of dead sunflowers © Mari French 2011

okay… I realise many images can be intriguing when cropped and magnified, but I love this detail from a late afternoon sketch I did in November, in a field of dead sunflowers (in Harpley, Norfolk). I like the dark beauty of the granulations of colour as they have bled and flowed together. This is why I enjoy playing with wet-in-wet watercolour often combined, as here, with watercolour pastels. (Just wish I could reproduce this effect on a large scale!)

Below is the original sketch, and a further detail. For me the dead plants are more satisfying to paint than the living summer ones, glorious though they are to look at.

Winter sunflowers (watercolour sketch) © Mari French Nov 2011

Winter sunflowers (watercolour sketch) © Mari French Nov 2011

dead sunflowers © Mari French 2011

dead sunflowers, detail from sketch © Mari French 2011