Friday, September 10, 2010

"Banbury Cross"

"Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse..."

New on the Etsy shop are prints of one of my favorite pieces, the pen and ink rendition of Banbury Cross. It is one of a series of black and white illustrations of nursery rhymes, all on a large scale and all of them luxuriant in detail.

In my first year of art studies our required course materials included a set of Staedtler or Ko-Hi-Noor Rapidograph pens. There were four in the box, the nibs ranging in size from 1.0mm to 0.13mm, along with little ink cartridges and a spare bottle of india ink for refills. I remember the transformative delight of trying them out for the first time - the glossy, silky flow of ink as I styled fine leaves, flowers, feathers, curlicues and twisting vines, smaller and smaller with the increasingly finer nibs. It seemed one could approach infinity with fine enough tools. The white of the paper behind the ink sparked like silver filigree and I fell in love with black and white work for quite some time. I still begin paintings by visualizing them in black and white values, and in every series of watercolour classes that I teach there is a lesson in grisaille painting.

The fall term for art classes (two courses at least, possibly four) begins next week so it is well and truly autumn at last. From my one pear tree I have picked bags and basketfuls of fruit to give away. I took one large and overflowing basket to church this week and left it on the narthex table - all gone in minutes at the end of service. The last batch, below, represents one more afternoon of baking and jam making before classes and other painterly obligations resume.