ATV - Ex 1.7 - Sources & Media · ATV - Pt1 - PJ3 - Picking & Portraying · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Flowers – Getting Started

To make my bright and bold drawings of flowers I’ve decided to use Procion MX Dye and brusho as the colour wash. I’ve used this in the past to paint paper and sketchbook pages, it soaks well into the fibres and leaves a nice smooth surface to draw on.

Here’s my colour palette of dye, I’ve also mixed up some purple, green and black brusho.

To make the actual pictures I’ve planned on using the dye, brusho with pastels; oil, soft and watercolour for more detailed and controlled marks.

I have made up plenty of dye and after I had mixed it today I couldn’t resist making a couple of paintings. I was immediately drawn to the sun flowers. The shapes are easier to replicate and colours make me smile. 


Over on the other side of the table are some richly coloured gladiolas, so I forced my shoulders down, relaxed my grip on the brush and made some splashes on the paper.


Tomorrow, after the paper has dried I will roll the lining paper along the table to expose a nice fresh ‘canvas’ and  splash a load more dye around.

ATV - Ex 1.7 - Sources & Media · ATV - Pt1 - PJ3 - Picking & Portraying · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Thoughts on Drawing

This whole question of what is drawing has taken up more of my time than I expected. It’s simple isn’t it? It’s a sketch? Isn’t it?

So the answer is going to have to be split down as I investigate and follow a few trails of thought. 

First a couple of extracts, each from my 2 favourite books on drawing. 

The Natural Way to Draw was written before 1938 and still sounds contemporary and relevant today.


My second extract is from a very current and informative book: Drawing Projects.


ATV - Ex 1.7 - Sources & Media · ATV - Pt1 - PJ3 - Picking & Portraying · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Preparation – picking and portraying 

There are 3 elements in the preparation work for project 3 – Picking and Portraying:

  1. My thoughts on drawing and what the word means;
  2. Research on 9 artists who use floral or leave based forms in their work, and;
  3. A statement about which mediums I will be using to complete the 10 drawings required to go towards the portfolio for this part of A Textile Vocabulary.

I’m chugging along working on all of these elements at once. My thoughts on drawing are in note form and ready to be written up.

There’s no guarantee that I have anything new to say but it has made me think and will influence my next bout of ‘drawing’.

Good old Pinterest is where I’m off to to do my research, it’s a perfect resource for this kind of task. Once done I’ll blog links to my boards and photos of my accompanying sketchbook pages.

Finally I am having lots of fun getting ready to draw. I’ve bought my flowers, they are ready in vases. There is no rush because I would like them to be in full bloom and maybe even just on the turn. Then I can use the petals to dye the paper I am using.

Flowers always feel me with huge feelings of joy. I love flowers, I love the colours, the smells, the way they grow. The word bloom makes me smile. They come in all shapes and sizes and often look like they have been created by magic.

This makes me what to portray them in a big bountiful way. Bold and full of colour. 

I like to see flowers in arrangements, in flower beds and growing wild, they create swathes of colour and compositions that artists can only dream of.

There are many ways to draw flowers; you can focus on the texture; on the detail; singularly or together, but this time I would like to go big and bold.

I have chosen a roll of lining paper to draw on, then I can use as much paper as I like. Flowers overlay and overlap each other so the roll will allow me work without a boundary. 

The drawings can link together, fill the page, be landscape or portrait. They can be made straight onto the plain paper or onto pre-painted areas.

To complete the drawings I’m going to use pastels. They are not my favourite drawing tools, they are messy and I’ve always thought of them as complicated so this will be a good excuse to try them again. Maybe I can find a way that works for me.

Before I begin I’m going to use liquid procion dye and brusho to colour some of the paper. I’ve also invested in some Solarfast which I’m going to paint onto the paper and over lay with leaves to create a natural background for the flowers. 

My only problem with all of this is, apart from the niggling doubt that my drawing skills are really not up to the task, is am I creating something suitable as a design source for textiles? 

Shouldn’t I be looking at motifs and patterns? Shouldn’t I be thinking about scale and implementation? Well, we’ll find out later but for now I’m just going to throw myself into this task. 

Autumn is coming and I would like to keep the sunshine for a few more weeks.