On July 25th, officially the hottest day ever recorded in Britain, I went on a Saltmarsh Safari with Vinny Stapley at East Mersea. We tried to get out to the saltmarsh early to avoid the intense heat, but in fact there was a wonderful breeze and we had a lovely time as Vinny showed us all the plants that thrive there. I was particularly taken with the sea lavender as I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before and certainly not in such profusion.
Vinny had asked us to select some simple art materials from her studio to take with us to use while we were out on the saltmarsh. She had also prepared us a folded paper book to work on, with gentle colouration on the pages. I choose a bamboo dip pen and some black ink, which I used to sketch several of the plants, using my own Faber Castell gelatos for a spot of colour. Below is the sea lavender sketch that I did balanced on my knee!
When we returned to the studio we made a larger, folded book – made of good quality lining paper. We prepared a variety of mixed media backgrounds, using gesso, tea, ink sprays and collage, ready to work on the pages at home, using our sketches as inspiration. I immediately ordered some of the dip pens as I loved the loose way it encouraged me to draw. I also loved the gelatos once the water was added, all wishy-washy with the bonus of the black ink slightly running.
I suffered the frustration of waiting for the pens to arrive, but yesterday I spent all day finishing the book. The bamboo pens encourage you to draw quickly and freely and the gelatos are great if you don’t want to be too precise. Unsurprisingly, as I thought the flower so pretty, I like my sea lavender page the best. I cannot wait to translate this into textile.