|2/4/14 Platinum Carbon ink, India ink grisaille, Van Gogh watercolors,|
Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook
In Steve Reddy’s workshop over the weekend, we applied varying dilutions of India ink to our drawings as a grisaille underpainting before glazing with watercolor. We put the diluted India ink in small jars, which I knew wouldn’t work for me in the field because I often sketch standing up. I decided I’d try putting diluted ink in a waterbrush to see if it could be applied that way, since that’s the only way I could see myself using it on location.
I didn’t have time to go out for a sketch today, but I had 20 minutes for a still life (that’s my kind of still life – unlike the ones I spent hours on over the weekend). As we did in class, I applied a light dilution of India ink with a waterbrush, allowing it to dry between applications (it dried quickly in my well-heated studio). The synthetic waterbrush fibers weren’t quite as easy to control as the sable brush I was using in the workshop, but I use that mediocre waterbrush 98 percent of the time in the field, so I’m used to it. I was actually pleased with the results from that mediocre but hardworking waterbrush!
The only thing I’m not sure about with this technique is that the watercolor hues change when applied over the India ink grisaille. I know I have difficulty getting the values right with watercolors alone, so if the values of a sketch “read” more accurately with grisaille, then maybe that’s a good thing. But maybe if I just got better at painting watercolor values more accurately, I wouldn’t need the grisaille.
Of course, “just get better at” is easier said than done!