Brant Visual Arts Guild – Pen and Watercolour

I was in St. George on Saturday. It’s a charming, small town near Brantford. The Brant Visual Arts Guild have a space there and I always enjoying visiting this group. Pam Kong, above with me, has been the Program Coordinator as far back as I can recall but she’s giving it up to take over as President soon.

Our theme was a fishing village in pen and watercolour. The first surprise for many was the lack of photo reference. We worked from a template I’d created. I wanted to include several elements commonly found in this type of scene.


The second surprise was the use of yellow and blue as light and shadow. Quite a bit of paper white was left untouched, as well. This created an overall pattern and relationships between the many different elements in the composition. This demonstration is on smooth Arches Hot Press paper. I elected to use strong brushstrokes with crisp edges throughout the development of the image.


The next step was local colour. I chose to stick with primary and secondary colours, ignoring neutrals such as grey and brown.

Finally, the pen. I used a #5 drawing pen, pigment ink, from Pilot. I work quite quickly with these demonstrations in an effort to communicate ideas about the handling of the pen. Illustrating the process and discussing the pros and cons of various approaches is the goal. As such, I rarely work on the piece after the workshop is concluded. It’s job is done. Here are a few details of the pen work.


It was a busy day with a lot of new ideas to assimilate. The BVAG was up to the challenge. Several of the group commented on how much fun (and addictive)  the pen is and intend to do more of it on their own. Have a look at some of the work.



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