A Textile Vocabulary – Nature’s Larder. Observing and Recording.

I had a day off yesterday, except for tiding up my workroom and setting out my pens, paints and papers ready for drawing. Over the years I’ve built up a hoard of art materials and its nice to see them going to good use at last!



There is some organisation in there I promise!! I’ve got lots of black and whites to play with, so with trusty fizzy drink by my side and a story on Audible I got started. 

I started by concentrating on the close up photographs that I had taken and made a tracing of the solid white cabbages layers.

Lots of lines and shapes, there are curves and twists. Thin shapes and bigger shapes. In general the small shapes were dark in tone and the larger ones light.

Placing the tracing under a sheet of abaca tissue, which is thin but very tough I started to work on filling in the areas with a mixture of black and white ink. Adding pro-marker to capture the mid tones. It was all very haphazard and at times it was indanger of becoming a big mush, so I placed it aside for a while. Let it dry then added more detail later.  

The abaca tissue is tough but some of the ink went through onto the tracing paper, making interesting blobs and dabs of colour.  I decided to take advantage of this paint and added some pro-marker to the mix and moving the tracing paper often and randomly I transfered the paint, using the cabbage lines onto another piece of abaca tissue paper. Over the top I painted flow enhancer, just to see if it had an effect, it blurred some of the lines but the results were minimal.

What the extended did do though was to push some of the paint and the ink through to the piece of cartridge paper below, leaving a ghostly image behind.

The tracing paper ended up covered in ink, paint and marker but I still felt I liked the effect. I’d done one more acccurate drawing (with the help of tracing paper), a delicate transfer to express the delicate veins and lines between and bigger tough stems and I now liked the way that the boldness of the tracing paper made me think of the dense nature of the white cabbage. After taking the photographs I scrunched up the tracing paper, to experiment and see if any of the paint would shift, but no it all stayed there but the texture is quite pleasing.


Whilst I’d been playing with the tracing paper I had laid the abaca tissue with the cabbage painting on a sheet of cartridge paper and it had left this stamp. I resisted the temptation to alter it in any way and tucked it away to put with the others.

Satisfied with the white cabbage drawing I concentrated on another close up photograph of a leaf of the green cabbage and some of the seeds, with the oyster shell by its side. The shell has tinges of colour on it from when I had dunked it in procion dye. Only very faint but still there.

The leaves of the cabbage were very crinkly and textured with bold stems and a very dark V shape, using neocolour pastels I drew the shapes of the leaves, using black pastels to create the dark area. Using opaque marker pens I added little specks and dots to highlight the light branches of the stems in white and the darker grey a few of the shades, linking back to the black focal point. All of this is on a sheet of old handmade japanese paper, a little creased and textured.


My drawing of the shell was my happy accident of the afternoon, I was drawing the shell, as best I could with opaque markers on black paper and adding white and black ink. It all went horribly wrong and ended up just being a black and grey sluggy mess. So I wiped off the paint with a wet sponge, still frustrated I grabbed a piece of tissue and slapped  in on top of the drawing. The opaque markers showed through and using watered down gel medium I stuck the tissue down flat, leaving in the creases for interest. 

After the tissue had dried I drew the detail back in with the markers and added shade and tone with some soft pastels. Finishing it all off with some fixative. I have to say I was pleased, my drawing skills have been picked up along the way and I’m not confident at realism at all, I’m more an abstract girl but here for once was a drawing almost being the real thing. I had procrasinated for a whole day and a morning because I couldnt face picking up my pencil. Now I was very pleased that I had ….. but then!


I produced this monstrosity, there are elements that are okay, but overall I hate it.  The gel medium gave it a nice texture and there is plenty of tone. I like the little motif in the centre of the apple but the rest just doesn’t make me happy. Which is fine, overall it was a very successful. 

And, to finish off the day I went back to the white cabbage and painted a very simple record of the layers of the leaves, tightly packaged with the dark gaps between the pieces.


2 thoughts on “A Textile Vocabulary – Nature’s Larder. Observing and Recording.

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