Thanks to a very talented product photographer, Becky Palmer, here are my illustrations as used by National Trust Stowe this year.
The New Town Gardeners were very lucky on Sunday as the sun actually came out for the event. It was lovely wandering around the area and I saw and sketched many beautiful gardens. Most, I sketched on-location in pencil, but one garden I watercoloured, and it made the local newspaper.
As you can see from the top photo, I took the almost finished sketchbook to Friday's monthly gardeners meeting, where it stretched across 2 tables.
Last Sunday, I didn't manage to visit all the gardens, but am hoping to visit more when the sun comes back.
Where have you been sketching?
Back in February, I was invited to sketch the New Town Open Garden event. The event is this afternoon, but I made a head start yesterday by sketching the Community Garden and both of the organisers gardens too.
I shall do all the initial drawing on site using a Seawhite concertina sketchbook, but finish inking and colour in the studio.
Eighteen to go this afternoon! Wish me luck.
I have just spent the last few days in Barcelona. On Wednesday, I flew over having left my assistant to stay with her dogsitter. After checking into my hotel, I headed straight to MACBA and spent and hour on the above sketch.
After the rain stopped, I spent Thursday at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell – Trofeo Conde de Godo. I saw Rafa win amongst other matches, but didn't sketch anything.
Friday morning, I headed out for breakfast and had to paint the girl at a nearby table. (below) I went straight in with paint as I didn't know how long she would be there. I had just snapped her surreptitiously, should have moved the menu, when she left.
From there, I visited the Fundació Antoni Tàpies and saw some interesting artwork and prints before heading to Passeig de Gracia. Being the day before Sant Jordi (Saint Georges), who is the patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudi's Casa Batlló had been covered in roses. It looked beautiful and still being early there were not too many people, so I sat on the street corner to sketch it.
In the afternoon, I went to see some more art at the CaixaForum, which had an exhibition Impressionists and Moderns: Masterworks from The Phillips Collection.
Then went for a walk up to Barcelona's botanical garden. I sat and did a small watercolour, which I really enjoyed painting, surrounded by vegetation, bird song (including green parrots), and little else.
Afterwards, I had a wander around took lots of photos of the beautiful plants and flowers.
Yesterday was my last day and I spent it catching up with some friends. I still managed an incomplete sketch whilst waiting to meet a close friend for brunch. I wanted to capture some of the San Jordi celebrations, as I did last year (Sant Jordi 2015) but tables and more were still being set up, so started above them... and ran out of time.
*Jo dibuixo i tu? is Catalán for I draw, do you?
On Wednesday, I headed to town with the first stop at the Royal Academy to see the Painting the Garden: Monet to Matisse exhibition. It was the most inspiring exhibition I have seen in a long time and I just want to draw and paint gardens.
Next stop was at my favourite London gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, where I went from inspiring paintings to amazing photography in the Vogue 100: A hundred years of style.
Arriving early to meet friends and fellow artists, Jean Edwards & Minnie, I took inspiration from the Monet exhibition and sketched the pub focusing on the garden. (above).
After dinner, it was off to the Tower of London. Arriving early I used the 15 minute wait to sketch the Shard. (below)
We were at the Tower of London for a fabulous evening at #DrawnattheTower with Art Macabre: Ravens and Morbid Corvids. I started off drawing the RavenMaster, who was a fount of knowledge on everything corvid down to the naming of the birds: he was holding Gripp. After a couple of sketches of Gripp, I moved on to the pairs of ravens in their cages. They are only caged at night and roam freely around the Tower during the day. The ravens were very challenging to sketch and moved a lot, my results were not helped by my butterfly brain wating to take photos and chat to the Raven Master: love interesting people. I think my last sketch, drawn on black paper, is the most successful and I have hung it up in the studio. Judge for yourself as here they all are:
After all that artistic input, I've been very busy drawing and planning prints since coming home. I especially want to get on with my Bourne Mill gardening project. What have you been working on?
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Yesterday, I arranged a sketchmeet for the Colchester Sketchers at a local garden centre. It was an inspiring afternoon albeit very chilly.
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The spring edition is almost ready to be sent.
I was invited to sketch the Egg Hunt at Bourne Mill, a National Trust property, over the Easter weekend.
Good Friday was a glorious spring day, clear skies and sunshine, and the Mill proved to be a very popular venue for an egg hunt as there were over 300 entries, so more Cadbury's bunnies were needed for the rest of the weekend. On Saturday, the forecasted rain held off and saw many more families completing the hunt. Unfortunately, due to Storm Katie and the 50pmh plus winds, the mill was closed on Easter Monday.
Sitting at a picnic table alongside the pond, I sketched the children trying to solve the clues. It was funny watching many of the dads work it out, spot the eggs, almost point, then clamp their mouths shut until their son or daughter could do it.
Eggs were hidden throughout the property and I had to find places to sketch without giving the location away and refrain from looking at the eggs when children were near. Here are a couple of them:
Finally, the egg hunters returned to the desk and claimed their Cadbury's bunnies. (Top image)
Left is a photo of me sketching in the wheel room. Behind me is the wheel, which was incredibly noisy, but it was an atmospheric place to sketch.
I have to confess, I am disappointed the weekend is now over as it was a great event to attend in a lovely location.
Instead of posting yesterday, I sketched of my neighbours' apple tree from the conservatory. I'm trying out a Canson A5 sketchbook, whilst the paper initially struggled with the amount of water, and took ages to dry due to the cold weather, the paper hasn't degraded and there's little cockling.
This weekend is Heritage Weekend in UK with many interesting places open for free. Yesterday, taking advantage of the lack of entrance fee, I went to the Museum of Power, Langford.
The sound and sight of The 'Simpson' Belt Driven Workshop attracted my attention, so I decided to sketch there. With so many machines, belts, and interesting things I chose a small section to focus on and the above sketch is the result. Here is the in-situ photo. This sketch was done with a sepia Derwent pencil in A4 Monologue sketchbook. Whilst the afternoon sketch was Winsor & newton watercolours, Staedtlar Pigment liner in Daler A5 sketchbook.
After lunch, Degas and I went to Goldhanger for their Gala Weekend. With a karate demo going on in the churchyard, I took Degas down the road and walked her around the sea wall before heading into the village. As musicians were setting up in the Salty Dogs Tea Room, we headed there. It was the perfect afternoon: What's better than drinking tea (and eating carrot cake), in a beautiful garden, listening to live music, with your dog lying at your feet as you sketch?
It was a lovely day. What would make your perfect day?
Whilst my sketching mojo has made a small comeback this week, I seem to have lost my words, hence the non-title of this post.
On Monday, I had 20 minutes to have a cuppa before a meeting in Somerset House. I sat on the terrace and had to sketch my view of the London Eye.
On Wednesday, I had to go to Maldon and with a spare half hour started to sketch an amazing garden-covered barge.
I didn't have time to add colour, so I did it at home later.
Thursday I was stuck in the hairdresser's for ages, so grabbed my A6 Laloran sketchbook.
I'm a bit concerned as I don't recognise that old lady in the mirror.
I sketched myself in the same position in 2010. I remember that I didn't wear my glasses and had to squint at the book.
Then yesterday, I joined the Essex & Suffolk Sketchers at Henny fete, where I visited a local garden, which happened to be serving cream teas. Using a Daler A5 sketchbook, I sketched it to justify eating it despite my ever expanding waistline.
Finally, I did a very quick sketch trying to capture a feeling of the quintessential English fete, whilst my assistant dug herself a hole.
As it was so colourful, I used a rainbow pencil by Lyra in my A5 Daler sketchbook.
So that was my sketching week. Now if I could only think of a title...
I am a nomadic artist travelling the world for inspiration. Here, I publish my sketchbook work alongside my new finished pieces.