Hornby Exhibition Patchwork

As I mentioned in a previous post, in May this year it will be 150 years since the birth of Frank Hornby, the inventor of Hornby Trains and Meccano.

To celebrate, there will be a weekend extravaganza in Maghull (near Liverpool) where he used to live, and as part of the exhibition there will be a big patchwork painting made up of art from different local artists.

Foolishly I volunteered to do a section before I’d seen the subject matter and the reference photo. Ooops!

It’s a train (well of course it would be) printed onto A4 paper and then chopped into 16 pieces. The result is a not-very-clear rather small reference photo. I have to create an A4 painting of my section in any medium. Argh!

I started out doing a needle felted version but quickly realised that it wasn’t working for me, so after a lot of thought last night I decided to do a pen and wash instead.

This morning that idea changed to charcoal and wash to reflect the dirty aspects of steam travel - and I'm rather please with the result:

I think it will look really good when it has been put together with all the other artists work.

Here is how I did it...

I began by cutting out an A4 sized piece of smooth hot pressed watercolour paper. I used Langton 300lb paper.

My reference photo was very vague, so I outlined the important features in black ink to allow me to work freely without needing to squint at it.

Then I folded the reference photo in half twice lengthways and once widthways to create a grid. Because it has to match up with other paintings on every side it is important that my scale is correct.

Then, using an "Ocean Deep" Derwent charcoal pencil, I sketched the outline.

Next, I added colour. I used Winsor and Newton Artist watercolours. My palette for this project consisted of  Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine (green shade), French Ultramarine, Cerulean, Winsor Green (Yellow shade), Permanent Sap Green, Olive Green and Burnt Umber. The greys and blacks were achieved by mixing various reds and greens.

You can see how messy my water gets! I always use three pots of water and wash my brush in each pot from left to right. The first pot takes off the most of the paint, the second pot gets it almost clean and the last pot is completely clean. This means that my paints are always clean in the palette - it is so frustrating when you think you have selected a nice clean colour to find that it is actually mud coloured because your brush was dirty.

I used salt on the cerulean blue pebbly area to give texture, and when this was dry I splattered a mix of blues around to give added depth.

Next I added more charcoal, both outlines and hatching. This time I used a "Dark" Derwent charcoal pencil.

A bit more charcoal and I'm done.

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