Tuesday 24 March 2015


I am planning to write a book on sketching. It will be illustrated with my sketches from all over the world, in a number of styles and different media. I'll be heading off for four weeks this Friday and exploring Hong Kong, Paris, London, Cambridge and some of the north of England. I'll add some of my sketches along the way here and on my Facebook page Jane Blundell Artist.

In July I am looking forward to attending and presenting at the 6th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore. I'll be there for nine days and am planning to run some workshops prior, and some demonstrations during the Symposium. Here is the link to the site. Register early if you want to get involved.

If you are not familiar with the Urban Sketchers, it is a world-wide organisation with chapters in many countries and many cities. The motto is 'see the world one drawing at a time'. Drawings are done on location in urban settings and shared on various Facebook pages and blog sites. Getting involved is a great way to meet fellow sketchers while travelling :-)

Friday 13 March 2015

The Ultimate Mixing Palette: a World of Colours - updated

My next book, 'The Ultimate Mixing Palette: as World of colours', is now available on Blurb.com

This is a very different book to my first one 'Watercolour Mixing Charts'. That contains 98 charts and shows a vast range of colours but also uses a huge number of different paints. It's a fascinating study of colour mixing!

This book uses a more limited palette so it is possible to purchase the same colours and re-create the mixes. I really think it will be a most valuable reference for anyone working with watercolour. It has taken almost a year to create and is based on almost 35 years of watercolour exploration. It has over 7500 individual colour swatches - that's a lot of hues with just these fourteen pigments :-). The charts were carefully painted, then professionally photographed with a large format camera and carefully colour-matched. They look fabulous on a computer screen and the printed physical book is also very true-to-life.

You can see my previous book, Watercolour Mixing Charts, as well as the various versions of the Ultimate Palette book here. Click on any to see a preview.

It is available as an eBook or as a physical book in hardback or softcover formats in Premium Lustre paper, which is slightly thicker so my recommended paper. The softcover version is also available in standard paper.

The link to the eBook is here. This shows the first 30 pages. The eBook will work in iBooks on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers.

The Ultimate Mixing Set.

My website has more information and a tab with a list of alternate paints to the Daniel Smith ones I have used.

Monday 9 March 2015

30 years of Trees

Morton Bay Fig, pen sketch 1984
I love drawing trees. I have used the original sketches drawn on location for etchings, large paintings and book illustrations. A few weeks ago I went to the Blue Mountains and chose to sketch trees. Here are some from over the years.

Morton Bay Fig etching 1984.

Above is one of my first tree studies, drawn on location on a cold day about 30 years ago. I used a sketch nib in a fountain pen. The tree is still in the Botanical gardens but does not look as healthy these days.

I used the tree sketch to create a series of etchings. This is one of them. I also printed them in a sepia ink which looked great :-)

(Later, in about 1990,  I did a large painting in bright coloured inks drawn with a dip pen. It sold when first exhibited and I don't even have a photo of it but I'd be interested in doing something similar again with the Da Atramantis inks I have been enjoying so much.)

One of the etchings was on display in our home in Singapore and our friend Steve Stine asked if I'd like to illustrate a book - about a tree.

An imaginary forest - illustration from Kayla & the Magical Tree.

That was in May 2003 and in December 'Kayla & the Magical Tree' was published by Times editions, Singapore. There were a lot of tree-inspired images in it!

I did a series of imaginary landscapes in the early 2000s based on a painting from years earlier. These combined the idea of gum trees with the leaves the I loved to walk through in the Fall when we lived in the US and were created using a mixture of Indian Ink, watercolour and Chinese pigments. Sadly, the yellow, which was pure gamboge, has faded. It's one of the reasons I am so determined to only use light-fast pigments. 

I spent many hours sitting on an old stone wall at Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia in 2003, sketching this wonderful tree. It is difficult to tell whether the tree is pulling the building apart or holding it together after so many hundreds of years. 
I did a full-sheet painting of the temple, for my brother, later that year, though in many ways I prefer the sketch. It has more memories attached of conversations with the locals in the temple, and the heat and the atmosphere. Nothing beats sketching from life.

I spent a day in July sitting by this tree between Thredbo and Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains a few years ago. It's such a lovely shaped snow gum. The sketch is in an A4 Moleskine sketchbook. 

Later I repainted it on a much larger watercolour paper. This is the finished painting, and also a limited edition print.

During the same ski holiday I sketched this tree in Thredbo
village. It's remarkable that even in winter, with snow on the ground, we can sketch en plein air in Australia.

I really enjoyed this Morton Bay Fig. Sketched in Hyde Park, Sydney, in an A5 Moleskine on a lovely day out with the Urban Sketchers in 2013.
These studies were painted on National Tree Day. Both A5 Moleskine sketchbook studies.

I went away for the weekend in the Blue Mountains in February this year and painted these trees. The first is an ink and watercolour A4 sketch in a lovely mossy spot called Mermaid's Cave. This gnarled tree was perfect for some ink line-work.

Then we sat in a cafe and painted the trees we could see from the Magalong Valley Tea Rooms.

Trees in ink. I don't think I'll ever tire of them :-)