Author Archives: Janet Mary Robinson

Ink flower paintings

My Art in the Park class yesterday were painting flowers in ink. We used Brusho inks, which are great fun although extremely unpredictable. The colour is in the form of tiny intense crystals, which you can use either dry and scattered onto damp paper, or by adding water and using them like ink.

Detail of 'Rhododendron in mayonnaise jar'

Detail of ‘Rhododendron in mayonnaise jar’- Brusho Ink

 

 

 

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Completed illustration of Marojejy National Park

Here’s my completed illustration and poster showing the rainforest and wildlife of Marojejy National Park. I’m hoping to go and visit it in reality next December, can’t wait! In the meantime I’ll stick this on my wall along with my other Madagascar paintings.

Poster illustrating the wildlife of Marojejy National Park, Madagascar

Poster illustrating the wildlife of Marojejy National Park, Madagascar

 

 

Madagascan rainforest illustration in progress

I’ve now painted in most of the species, at least roughly. So far we have:

A group of silky sifaka lemurs.  Two are nosing, which they do when they greet one another. One of the lemurs is Pink Face, a famous male from the reserve

A fossa – a carnivorous madagascan endemic which looks like a panther but is totally unrelated to felines, and more closely related to mongooses

A helmet vanga bird

A paradise fly-catcher bird

Two Madagascar Buzzards

A small green/white Mantella frog

A bamboo lemur on the bamboo

A Marojejy Palm which the park is named after

A giant tree fern which Marojejy is known for

A large pandanus plant. In Marojejy, these can be 8 feet tall.

Marojejy National Park illustration

Marojejy National Park illustration

Marojejy illustration in progress

Marojejy illustration in progress

Marojejy illustration in progress

Marojejy illustration in progress

Marojejy illustration in progress

Marojejy illustration in progress

Tulips and apples still life, and a faceless cat…

I painted the highlights first in masking fluid, and also splattered it randomly onto the paper using a toothbrush. I like the random effect it gives, but it smells pretty awful! Added challenge was a tabby cat who joined my art class this morning, and proceeded to walk all over our work. I should have added her in really – but here’s a sketch of her, minus her face, she moved too fast…

 

Tabby cat at Art in the Park class

Tabby cat at Art in the Park class

Tulips and apples still life. Watercolour. 2014

Tulips and apples still life. Watercolour. 2014

 

 

 

Marojejy National Park illustration in progress

I’m really enjoying working on this commission from Duke University Lemur Center. It is an illustration which will form part of a poster to support their conservation work in Marojejy National Park, in NE Madagascar. You can read more about it here. Marojejy is really spectacular – 2000 m + rocky mountains, rainforest, tumbling waterfalls, and of course full of stunning, albeit extremely endangered, wildlife. The stars have surely got to be the beautiful Silky Sifaka lemurs. I was asked to paint two of them ‘nosing’ – they rub noses to greet.

So far I’ve painted the background mountain massif and montane rainforest, started on the sifakas, and am now working on a waterfall, from above. This is proving an interesting challenge! I’ll post my work in progress.

Layout drawing for the illustration

Layout drawing for the illustration

Starting to paint the background

Starting to paint the background

Putting in some animals and a waterfall

Putting in some animals and a waterfall

 

Atlantic sunset from Mull, December 2011. Acrylic

December 2011 brought some fairly blowy weather to our fair shores. Hurricane Friedhelm smashed into the west coast of Scotland on the 8th of December and within hours was renamed Hurricane Bawbag. This song is worth a watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0wm3JD9MEk&noredirect=1

I was on Mull for a couple of days before Bawbag arrived, and while the wind wasn’t quite yet up to speed, it was nonetheless fairly impressive; a constant series of squalls racing in off the Atlantic. So windy that my dog and I walked right up to an otter busily eating a sea urchin before it even noticed. Its difficult painting dramatic skies and seascapes without them looking either artifiicial, contrived or downright cheesy. I just wanted to convey the sky and sea as it was, nothing more. It did actually look like this.

The painting is in acrylic. (Oils would have been a lot easier, as they blend so beautifully, but unfortunately they also make me feel sick). Its quite big, measuring 91 x 61 cm. I painted it as a gift, so its not for sale.

Atlantic sunset from Mull, December. Acrylic on canvas.

Atlantic sunset from Mull, December. Acrylic on canvas.

Emma reading Middlemarch. Watercolour

She was a very good model. Its fascinating how difficult portrait painting is. I find it more difficult than any other subject, including life drawing. Its something to do with trying to capture somebody’s personality, which I think is more than a simple likeness (in itself hard enough). Sometimes you can sketch someone really simply, just a few lines, and it is unmistakably them, other times you can labour over a painting for hours and it evades you. I like watercolour for portraits, because you are forced to simplify and minimise fussy detail.

Emma reading. Watercolour.

Emma reading. Watercolour.

Spring is sprung..

…at Art in the Park, Williamson Park in Lancaster. Our classroom this morning was full of both humans and various other species, the cutest of which were numerous baby Bearded Dragons. So we spent the morning painting acrylic flowers and watching cute tiny lizards. We also met the Daddy Bearded Dragon, who is really amiable. Hopefully the babies inherit his friendly nature.

One of my students, Kathryn Dix, has just finished her beautiful large scale painting of plants and butterflies from the Butterfly House. The plants are drawn and painted using watercolour pencils, but she has cut out and embossed the butterflies, so they look amazingly realistic.

Kathryn-Dix--Butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bearded dragon daddy

Bearded dragon daddy

 

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