Ever since I started doing House Portraits for people, more often then not the majority of the very nice people I get to work with request black and white. I'm happy with that. We know where we stand, black and white. Yes we do. But there is the odd little request which includes a suggestion of a hint of colour, or a 'pop' of colour as you Americans like to call it (I think). I'm not adverse to a bit of colour, as you can see from a few little bits on my Etsy, but so far I don't feel like I've found a way to marry it succesfully enough with my House Portraits.
I've been thinking recently about all of the beautiful pattern repetition which inevitably comes with architectural drawings ranging from intense brickwork to a smattering of leaves outside a window, or the criss cross of one or two beams and the floor tiles which lead from the pavement to your front door. Already, I was thinking about adding some of these patterns in digitally in very soft shades. Then I came across some beautiful books while I was in the children's area of the Forum (the Main Library in Norwich). I've always been quite obsessed with Children's books and having a wee one of my own has only given me an excuse to go out and buy lots (and lots!) of them, and happily rifle through the Library's offerings with Toby. (He favours anything with lift up flaps, rhyming books and very oddly anything with the word 'Pants' in the title!).
'Norris the Bear who Shared' by Catherine Rayner is a beautiful example of what can be done with a bit of colour and line. Beautiful. I hired it out on Toby's behalf and felt so inspired that I bought myself a little set of watercolours just before we left the City.
The line work is very simple, fluid and sparse - leaving the colour to describe everything else. The drawings are just very lovely and the two elements work wonderfully together without over doing it.
So, I found an hour to sit down in the evening and experiment with my new paints. I've concentrated on picking out pattern and keeping the colour minimal. I can envisage having to take this to a digital stage, but we will see. The pencil lines should all end up as black (or maybe a softer shade) lines and none of the patterns will be outlined themselves (leaves, bricks etc). I don't usually use pencil, and draw straight away with pen as I like the imperfect results of committing to ink from the get go.
I'd love to have this process cracked by the time of the Norwich Lanes Street Fayre (Sunday 7th July), so I can offer these style of Portraits alongside the Black and White ones. So the next time someone asks me for a hint or pop of colour...I'll be ready! As always, lovely to hear what you think!
(And a Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there! I've yet to see mine for a scrummy lunch but Toby and I made a lovely handprint plate and gave his Daddy a special card. Breakfast was a Full English...mmm! Enjoy the day y'all!)