Learning from Hercules Brabazon Brabazon

I like Hercules Brabazon Brabazon’s works on toned paper. I am starting to do more on toned paper (Canson Mi-Teintes) hoping that’s it’s a good way to get quick impressions of a scene. These sketches make sense in front of good vistas. Maybe not so great for close up studies.

Here’s a quick study of his sketch of Salamaca Cathedral in Spain. I got a few things wrong because I rushed, trying to think of the energy in it at the expense of the accurate placement of some shapes. Not a big deal. I learned from it. Get the shapes right then be quick. I think he used a dryer bush at times than I did. I will do more of these to refine the technique.

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Turkey feathers and travel brushes

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I made more progress on the turkey beak and chin and a lot of work on the colors of the feathers. When that dries I will put in a few strokes to indicate the feathers more, but I want them to stay pretty abstract to keep the focus on the head. I am leaving for now, but I can see the end of this one.

For those who are into this sort of thing– some notes on travel brushes:

I recently added a couple brushes to my collection to round out my travel supplies now that the weather is turning. The first was a Da Vinci Maestro #3 (the small size makes it feel like a pen which I like for a detailing brush) and the second was a Connoisseur Kolinsky Travel Round. I’ve never heard of this before. It only comes in size 7 but it’s a pretty big size 7. It’s about the same as an Escoda size 10 or a Da Vinci Maestra travel size 8 but a lot cheaper ($35 on amazon) for Kolinsky. The construction isn’t as nice as Escoda—acrylic instead of wood, and the end pops off without a little tape inside the connection point–but the brush itself is very good. A little soft maybe, but I like it. Great point, can be very expressive.

There is something appealing about fixing up a brush. My Isabey pocket round #6 had problems too (I had to re-glue the wood to the little end cap and put tape at the connection because it was loose), but those little fixes make it more personal. I’d recommend all three. I use the Isabey more than anything else for smaller works, but it’s good to have all three as a pretty versatile set. I can’t wait to get out to sketch though even at home I find I prefer the feeling of the travel brushes to conventional brushes. At least for these three.

Thanks for reading.

Sunset on Blue Paper

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I’ve been looking again at Turner and at Hercules Brabazon Brabazon. I like their work on toned paper. I’ve also been looking back at pastel artist Loriann Signori’s blog. She does a lot of 6×6 studies of light and skies. I really like the way she works with all the colors and values, so I wanted to see what I could with watercolor on toned paper. I cut a sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes light blue paper and drew out this composition. I liked the depth established by the crossing power lines and the brilliance of the sun on the horizon.

Working on pastel paper is tough because it stays wet for longer than I am used to and buckles. I thought toned paper would lead to more efficient sketching–and perhaps it does when used for more suitable paintings where much of the paper is left untouched or touched less. The other key is to not work with very wet brushes. Washes on this are not the same as on watercolor paper. All in all a fun challenge with good results.

I started by painting the light with titanium white gouache. While that was drying I started putting in the magenta clouds at the top. Then I laid in the bottom ground. I worked in the yellow light next, leaving space for more white gouache for the brightest sun. I worked in more clouds throughout. Finically I painted the utility poles and wires.

I think I will do this more, especially on location once the weather gets better. I toned a 12×16 sheet of 300lb arches paper a grey blue. When that dries I will cut if down to four 6×8 sheets for sketching. That surface will be more familiar to work on, though there is something pleasant about the pastel paper.

Thanks for reading.

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