Tuesday 5 September 2017

Thirty Days hath September - Day Five - Honeycomb

Today saw Downend Farm Studio host a workshop for one of my favourite art groups - The Ring Painters. A more happy, encouraging and supportive bunch of lovelies you'll never meet and a couple of times a year they come to the studio to see what I'm up to and allow me to share my latest techniques with them.

The last time they came, I'd just discovered a technique using sequin waste and a magic sponge, we played with it a little but I hadn't since then put it in to a painting. Including them in Thirty Days and inviting them over for a workshop seemed the perfect excuse to try out this way of working which I hadn't demonstrated before.

Well, sequin waste pattern just screams honeycomb to me so what better subject matter than a fluffy bumble bee? Here is what we did:

Paying attention to the composition, we placed a drawn bee in the top right hand corner of our watercolour paper.

After masking out the edges of the bee to keep them bright and secure, we used Moonglow Daniel Smith watercolour for the vignette background with a little Violet and Grey Brusho dropped in for movement.

Here is where the sequin waste came in! Hold the waste down on the surface and with a slightly damp Magic Sponge, pick off the colour from the surface to show the ghost of the pattern. I discovered that it worked better where the colour was darker and the paper had to be very dry before you attempted it.
At this stage I also dropped in some Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Gold and Lunar Black on to the bee itself.

After removing the masking fluid and continuing to strengthen the darks, I added a little black pen and white biro to build up the roundness of the subject, without losing the texture.

A vague white gouache wing was added which hopefully gives the illusion of flight and then a great deal of stepping away from it so that no faffing occurred!

I'm actually really pleased with this, considering that I didn't really know where I was going with it, and this is definitely a set of techniques that I will explore again in the future. If you have a go yourself, please share it with me, I love to see what you create, have a great evening.


  1. Another interesting technique, Alison. You've certainly created movement. I love your relaxed style. Thank you. Sheila

  2. Hiya Sheila, It was pretty relaxed today but then I had a lovely group to teach :-)

  3. Really lovely - the honeycomb effect is so clever. So interesting to read how this piece evolved - you never cease to amaze me!!

  4. Thanks everyone, just about to post again, give me a few minutes :-)