Hi, I’m Hannah Ridout and I live in the historic market town of Devizes, set in the heart of the beautiful rolling hills of Wiltshire, UK (follow me on Instagram and Facebook!). I am a mother of three and a part-time piano teacher and part-time artist. Life is busy!
I sketch anything and everything. I went to pick my kids up from school half an hour early, so that I could sketch their school! I try to capture my life in my sketchbooks. I recently had to get my car tyre changed so I had fifteen minutes to sketch the building where they do that car stuff…exhausts, and alignment…etc! I relish moments where I have to wait as I can pull out my sketchbook and get painting!!
Even when I had flu, I managed to paint and draw. In fact, because I didn’t have much energy I painted different things to normal… patterns…circles and even illustrated a story my children made up round the dinner table. When the children take so long to eat their dinner I might end up sketching mine before I eat it, and still finish my dinner before they do!
When I was in my teens, my parents sent us to a friend for weekly art lessons. She taught us how to draw and use watercolour. I used to really enjoy these times and am so grateful for the time this friend gave up to teach us. She had a great love of painting flowers and has passed this on to me.
I sketched with various friends after that and slowly as time passed and children were born, I sketched less and less. Over a year ago I started sketching on a daily basis after coming across Australian artist, Liz Steel. She inspired me to get a sketchbook and get painting and sketching again. Since then I have sketched most days. I find it liberating, it has given me a sense of living in the moment, enjoying the little things of life. Danny Gregory has also been a huge source of inspiration.
I recently took an online course with SketchBook Skool, called Expressing. The course has opened my eyes to different techniques and a range of artists, but also a community on Instagram! I post my work daily and find it exciting and inspiring to see other artist’s daily work. I always carry a little sketchbook with me and a tiny tin of watercolours which I made from a sweetie tin. I glued velcro onto the back so it can be strapped to my wrist. This was an idea that I acquired from SketchBook Skool.
When I’m out and about I also use a Pentel water brush, it has a hollow handle which holds water, if you squeeze it gently the water flows onto the brush, meaning no jars of water needed. If you squeeze the handle and place the brush onto a rag or paper towel, it washes the brush! The water brush took a while to get the hang of, but I realised I was squeezing too much water out and not using enough paint, which meant the paintings were very pale and washed out.
I have used Moleskine sketchbooks, which I really enjoy. The watercolour ones are great, the paper is good quality, taking some hefty washes, I love the elastic band which keeps the book together. Even the sketching Molskines take light washes. At the moment I am trying out Leuchtturm1917 and Seawhite of Brighton. I like the Leuchtturm for pen and very light washes, and the books come in awesome colours.
I am struggling with Seawhite of Brighton at the moment, the paint seems to do different things and takes me by surprise, which means my sketches are very loose in these books, this is not such a bad thing! I often use Staedtler pigment liner pens as they are waterproof and work nicely on Moleskine. I have started using Kolinsky Rosemary brushes of late, which are pretty amazing! They hold so much paint and are an absolute dream to use! I highly recommend them!
This daily sketching has taken me on an unexpected journey, as I am being asked to do portrait commissions of late which is a real joy!