Sunday, July 22, 2012

Poet's Desktop Study

So this week's APR theme is "Pen, ink & parchment (paper)". I decided to do a desktop study, as though I was looking over the shoulder of a poet or old fashioned letter writer. I wanted to see if I could capture the look of old parchment, you know the kind. It's been sitting around for ages, the corners curl up, the edges are browning and discolored but it only adds to the beauty of the paper. I must admit, I have a penchant for all things pen/ink/paper related. If I had my druthers I'd own a bunch of pretty fountain pens (for left handers) and every color ink I could find in all those purrrty bottles. I'd line them all up in a curio cabinet just to look at them daily.

Pens, inks and myriad papers would be the first things I would allow myself to collect in years. I stopped collecting anything many years ago when I realized how much I loved buying things. Just after getting my degree in University I realized I had acquired huge amounts or superfluous stuff. I had a dozen Crabtree & Evelyn candles and candle holders, tons of makeup I never used, several collections of cute mugs, etc. When I realized that I really didn't have the space for all this stuff. I had purchased it all on a whim, gratified at the time but now I just felt burdened by it all. So I threw it ALL out and decided I would never "collect" stuff because I am an acquisitive person and I have to guard against my need to surround myself with pretty, sparkly, adorable and lovely things.

Maybe that's why I loved drawing all my current favorite things! I started out with a pencil line drawing, getting the scale of everything right. I decided to paint in the parchment paper first. I did a test using a couple of blank bookmark papers to see how the thinned out sepia ink moved over the paper. Using a flat brush worked great. I then started in on the actual parchment on the drawing and disaster was obvious. I guess since I had to go around other pieces in the drawing, all the pausing and switching directions made it a wholly streaky mess. But I've learned to persevere and not let an obstacle stop me from continuing. Many things are fixable, don't give up, Jenn. I finished laying down the streaky medium sepia wash and hoped I could correct it with watercolor pencils and markers.

So, out came every brown, taupe and ochre I had in my arsenal. I slaved over that parchment for two days, layer upon layer! I now think that I probably couldn't reproduce this parchment paper loveliness if I tried a thousand times! Ok, on to the other bits. I used watercolor pencils on all the other elements. Whether I wanted the texture to be "rough" or smooth depended on whether I added a colorless blender over top or not. I found that the Copic colorless blender kind of liquifies the watercolor paints and lets the color sink in to the crevesses of the paper without streaking too much. And the bonus is that the paper doesn't warp at all from the addition of water!! Cool discovery! 

(Commercial Break: I use Faber-Castell watercolor pencils, actually, all my favorite supplies are in my sidebar. If you want to purchase any art supplies, please click through to Dick Blick from my site, it keeps me in Hazelnut coffee! Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

...I found that using my french gray Copics to add shadow was really helped along with a muted sepia watercolor pencil laid down close to the object then "liquified" with either the W3 or W4 gray Copic. It really added depth. I had to be careful though, that shadow technique "lifted" the color on the parchment, probably because it was such a mish-mash of media. I found that a gray-sepia colored pencil worked great there anyway. I did my usual background with a layering of French Gray Copics (W0-W4). I was surprised when I held up a scrap of paper with "cool" gray copics on them that it just didn't work. I'd have thought all that warmth from the parchment would have needed a little cooling down from some cool grays. Nope, looked horrid, thank God I did a test bookmark to hold it up to first. (I'm ending up with a bunch of half done bookmarks with their backs painted because I use them as test pieces, lol. It will work out great in the long run though, no need to do backgrounds or the backs, just the fronts!)

Finally, I masked off all of the bits that sat over top of the parchment (including the lower paper curl) and used a new background stamp I purchased for just this kind of thing. It'll get good use as backgrounds for more modern art painting, kind of like painting over old dictionary pages but you get to use better paper, lol. So, finally, here's my finished piece. It's the longest I've ever spent working on any one painting. I have to say, I love it. I'm naming it "The Poet's Desk" because the script is actually a Biblical quote from 1Corinthians 13:4-7. It's actually one of my favorite quotes although shamefully I had forgotten it was from the bible. I try to live this quote daily, give the benefit of the doubt, lead with compassion and love thoroughly and without reservation. It's kind of my motto or my "way of being" in the world. Here's my piece...

Title: "The Poet's Desk"
So, after all that work I'm gonna go have a gluten free chocolate chip cookie and a hazelnut coffee. Yumm, anyone who wants one just put up your hand! Hehehehe.
Talk soon, K?


If you're looking for this week's APR just click here and you'll go to where you can link up your beautiful art about ink, parchment & pens!!
I'm reading: Poet's Desktop StudyTweet this Post


  1. i stick my hands up in the air sometime, singing ae-oh . . . . oh! sorry. got carried away. :)

  2. My hand's up for cookies and hazelnut coffee - every time! lol
    Your picture is incredible (but then everything you do is) The curled paper is incredible, the detail on the stamps, outstanding and the pen's colour - stunning!! :0)

  3. This awesome, Jenn!! Nice work on the parchment! I LOVE that blue pen...quite exquisite! I like the title you chose too and I'm all for leading with compassion and love. We sure need more of it in this world.

    Enjoy your week ~ xo

  4. Wow, you'd never know you ran into trouble. Love the stamps, the whole piece. Just beautiful.

  5. This painting is so amazing. It is so well done and such a wonderful subject for a painting. I have never used any of those products, as just now venturing into pencils and watercolor.Thank you for your step by step. And especially for the parts about trying things on scrap paper(bookmarks) first!

  6. Jenn this is so wonderful... the blue pen... perfect.... the stamps... wow... and the parchment was worth all the work and trials because it is beautiful... all the love and time you have put into it shows through in a gorgeous piece of work... hope you enjoyed your coffee... I am off to make an organic earl grey to take for drop off... I wonder where I got such a wonderful tea... that's right from a wonderful friend...
    was going to type a wonderful smelling friend but for all I know you have just been for a run and stink to high heaven... I would still love ya though!!!!

  7. Jenn - this is just amazing. What a perfect interpretation of your theme and it's so beautifully drawn. It's a great inspiration piece to get the rest of us thinking....Drawing like this is not my forte, so I have to give some thought to how I can represent the theme within my capabilities....
    Thanks for continuing to host and encourage us all to spread our wings!

  8. I don't know where to start Jenn...maybe by raising my hand half up just for the cookie, but not the coffee thanks! I know I'm weird but I don't really like coffee (gasp).
    I hope that won't spoil a beautiful friendship, so I'll quickly hurry on to your absolutely stunning work.
    I love every aspect of this piece...The Poet's Desk is outstanding. The work that you put into the piece has truly paid off. The details are exquisite plus you're so generous to give the tutorial of how you went about creating this wonderful work.
    You are such an inspiration...thank you. ;D
    Now I've got to get my thinking cap on and get going!

  9. This is just wonderful! The parchment turned out absolutely beautiful! Love all the different bits and pieces - I can never get enough of these, real or painted. Hope you enjoyed your coffee and gluten free biscuits! I still hope to find some lactose-free chocolate and ice cream over here.

  10. i'll take one! my hand's in the air :)

    i need to place an order with dick blick - i will definitely do it through your sidebar!

    there is so much detail in your drawing - the journals, the pen, the parchment - really wonderful!

  11. My hands up, never pass up bickies and a coffee. I can enjoy them while looking at your beautiful picture. That parchment is stunning, if you hadn't said about the stamp I would have thought you went to all the trouble of writing those words. You have really put a lot of thought and effort into this piece, I really love it.

    Glad Egbert turned up at last.


  12. This is just lovely and I am drooling away over here. I am a collector who wouldn't dream of getting rid of anything. I have some inks and dip pen nibs that I bought when I was in my 20s! I'm the same with art and craft supplies. Instead of weighing me down I feel they lift me up. ;)

    Hand is up!! :):)

  13. I wish i had gotten to this challenge, as it's something i would have loved to sketch. I love your take on it as well!

  14. Am I too late for coffee and cookie? :) That is absolutely gorgeous. I LOVE it. I think this is my favorite (for the challenges) thus far. Keep on rockin' those papers, pens & inks! Warmly, Tracy


Please leave me a comment, I've sure missed hearing from you!


Related Posts with Thumbnails
^ Scroll to Top