When Harper's Bazaar magazine sent the great American illustrator Winslow Homer to the Florida Keys in 1903 to sketch the yachting life there, he came back with some brilliant images. I came across a few prints of them in a junk sale recently, and that inspired me to do some 'Winslow' sketches of my own. Not Key West, though - more Musselburgh!
A pen and ink sketch using upright lines in defining features. This technique was popular in continental European advertising illustration between the wars. The flat expanses of black are laid in with a brush, while the linear hatching and outlines are drawn in pen.
British film, theatre and television actress, columnist and comedian, Maureen Lipman for this week's New Statesman magazine. I was delighted to create this sketch of Maureen to accompany her piece for this week's NS. Everything she does is fresh and thought-provoking. Watercolour on Saunders Bockingford paper.
Two of the nicest things about living in the Scottish highlands are the romantic landscape and spectacular castles. This is Duntrune Castle. Watercolour on paper.
The Polish-born cubist artist and art deco fashion icon Tamara de Lempicka. For this portrait I used conté pastel with watercolour. I did the drawing first entirely in sanguine in the classical manner, then added light washes, reinforcing the shadows with carbon pencil. I got the idea to explore this technique from looking at the work of the great Italian master Tiepolo. Although Tiepolo was working a century before conté was invented and used chalk for his underdrawing, conté is similar except it includes a binder which gives it a nice handling consistency somewhere between chalk and oil pastel.
The Irish Cob was - and probably still is - the classic 'Gypsy Horse'. Good-natured, docile, willing and hardy, these little piebald horses used to be a common sight pulling gypsy caravans, or 'vardos', along country lanes throughout the UK. Sadly, most of the old travelling folk have gone now, but their traditions are kept alive at gatherings and horse fairs like the one held annually at Appleby in Cumbria. Conté with watercolour on Saunders Bockingford paper 15x11ins.
Right now, I'm working on a new project inspired by William Nicholson's famous 19th century children's ABC book. My version is for adults in need of some basic political grammar...
Stuart Maconie - TV and radio presenter, journalist, columnist and author is one of the UK’s best-selling travel writers. His book Adventures on the High Teas was the top selling travel book of 2009 and Pies and Prejudice was one of 2008’s top selling paperbacks.
My sketch of Stuart (below) was published in last week's New Statesman magazine.
A spitfire flying over oast houses in Kent. An oast house was a kind of kiln for drying hops used in brewing. They were long ago superseded by new technology and most have now been converted to dwellinghouses. I was experimenting here with a palette based on cobalt blue, light red and yellow ochre. Only these three colours were used because I wanted to capture something of the spirit of between-the-wars watercolours such as those painted by contemporary English artists like Edward Seago and Norman Wilkinson. You need a lot of self discipline to restrict yourself to a three colour palette, but it's amazing how far a simple red, blue and yellow triad can take you.