Yesterday afternoon, I arranged for the Colchester Sketchers to sketchcrawl at the bottom of the High Street. Tucked down a lane is the Coffee Cube café, which is where we arranged to meet. After a week that saw sleet and rain, we were amazed to have a blue sky and sunshine, so half of us sat outside to sketch the castle.
Being the organiser, I spent more time talking than sketching at the meeting point, but did manage to spend half an hour on my sketch of the castle. Luckily, as the sun disappeared behind the clouds, it was time to move on.
Our second location was Hollytrees Museum, which is a museum of domestic life and childhood. Several of us were attracted by the Alice in Wonderland temporary exhibition.
Our final location was the new Tiptree Tearoom at the Minories Gallery. I think we were all so interested in each others sketches and having some tea, that nobody sketched there. I plan to return another day as the choice of teas and cakes demand a proper "sketch" visit.
... talking and playing.
On Friday night, I had arranged for the Essex and Suffolk sketchers to have a 3rd DrinkDraw evening. These evenings are proving to be very successful and we had a good turn out again.
We went to the Rose and Crown in Wivenhoe, which has this great quayside beer garden. The above photo shows us hard at work sketching the estuary, boats, pub and more.
I spent most of my time chatting and/or playing with my assistant, who likes the drinkdraw evenings out, than painting. oh well there's always next month.
More talking than sketching occurred last Saturday too. It was the #48th Worldwide Sketchcrawl day, so I arranged to join the Drawing London on Location group at the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. Unfortunately, my sketching mojo didn't come too. I was ready to sketch on the train but... it was packed as the Norwich train had been offloaded onto the train I caught. I found a seat, got sketchbook and glasses out and... the man next to me proceeded to tell me all about his life as a cruise ship pianist. Arriving at the museum, it was one of those days that the scale of the building was intimidating and the gardens stunning but... nothing grabbed my attention. I decided a cup of tea was the solution, which it was as I loved the organic lamps and was lucky enough to have the people I was drawing stay as long as I sketched.
After another wander around looking at the exhibits, I chatted to a few other sketchers, then decided to head off to look for my sketching mojo elsewhere. As my lack of results on Friday show, it hadn't come back by then. Fingers crossed I relocate it this week.
Yesterday was Worldwide Sketchcrawl day and I was fortunate enough to be in Barcelona and able to join their sketchcrawl. I missed the start due to having a lovely catch-up breakfast with a friend, so I took the tourist tramvia blau up to Plaça Dr. Andreu arriving shortly before the other sketchers. My first sketch of the day had to be the tram, but as it only stayed a short while, the sketch became a composite of the trams.
Whilst trying to capture the tram, I started my second drawing, this time the building for the Funicular de Tibidabo. Despite an underdrawing it fell off the page, which is a problem that keeps occuring.
Taking the funicular up to the Parc del Tibidado, we gathered for a mid-way point photo. Coincidently, the park mascots wandered past and were coerced into the photo.
Unfortunately, the "spectacular views" were hidden behind cloud, so I started drawing the plane, which was one of the original rides from the park's opening in 1928. As with the tram, I had to start a second sketch as I could only capture it as passengers got on and off, hence the sweet cart on the left page. I'm not one for doing spreads, so after sketching the people at a bus stop, I copied Elena's idea of linking them with the old, big wheel. Finally, I added the genuine American hotdog stand. I'm quite pleased with how the spread came out, what do you think?
Yesterday, I joined the Manchester, Yorkshire, and Society of Architectural Illustrators (SAI) for a sketchcrawl in Manchester. It was a surprisingly blue skied sunny day, but with an icy wind, which made outdoor sketching a challenge. As you can see from my sketches below, I alternated between outside and inside locations.
It was lovely to meet so many sketchers from all over (40+ at the interim lunch meeting) and hope to get up to Manchester and sketch again... albeit in a warmer month.
The day after the symposium, the amazing Brazilian sketching group, Croquis Urbanos Curitiba, had a arranged a last sketch meet. I finished my concertina sketchbook at the meeting point then walked around the corner to sketch the largestest of Paraty's churches, Igreja Nossa Senhora do Remédios, which had been decked out in banners for its festival. Despite my wibbly perspective I'm pleased with the result.
More goodbyes as the Croquis Urbanos Curitiba left to catch their flights, and I went to sketch more of Paraty. First up the church, Capela Nossa Senhora das Dores, which I didn't draw on Norberto's workshop.
Next, I made a study of the low tide.
Finishing the day where I started, I drew the people gathering for mass in the church of Nossa Senhora do Remédios.
Sadly, I was leaving Paraty and Brazil the next day. I took a pre-breakfast walk, savouring the sunrise.
After breakfast in the pousada, I finally got around to sketching their amazing entranceway full of plants as my last Paraty sketch.
However, I made a last, last sketch whilst waiting for the Rio bus.
That brings me to the end of my Brazilian adventure.
Any thoughts or comments, please leave them below. Thank you.
After Rio, with fellow urban sketcher Béliza, I travelled to the far end of the state to the resort area of Armação dos Búzios. (You can read Béliza's account here: Goodbye jetlag). We decided to explore with a mini-sketchcrawl starting at breakfast in a delightful café overlooking the beach. Whilst sipping freshly squeezed orange juice and munching on croistants we set to painting the scene. The boats were so colourful they cried out to be painted.
(Please click on images to see a large version)
After breakfast, we wandered along the seafront and stopped near a couple of sculptures, which conveniently were near both shade and seats. Even having someone to sketch with, I struggled all day to draw taking ages to settle and decide on subjects.Whilst my friend started her second sketch in that location, I finally made a poor attempt to capture a blue building nearby.
A bit further on, we stopped for a drink, and I quickly painted (with no under-drawing) the couple sat in front of us.
Having wandered around, my final sketch of the day was trying to capture the hews of a nearby tree and the yacht club beyond, but it failed badly.
On our second day, we took a boat trip. Even thought the water was cold (it is winter in Brazil) I swam at one of the bays we stopped at, but chose to stay warm and dry at the next one and tried to capture the turquoise sea of Ossos bay. (sorry the scan has changed the colour)
The following day, we took buses the other end of the state, massively delayed due to the Tour do Rio and I did this last sketch staring out of the bus window, not moving through Angra Dos Reis.
Part 3 is to follow. What do you think so far?
A while ago I received an email from Monologue asking if I would like to review their sketchbooks. Naturally I said yes and a little while later a courier delivered this lovely parcel.
They are designed to be used with a variety of mediums listed on the wrap: charcoal, chalk, graphite, pencil, pastel, oil pastel, wax crayon, red chalk, acrylic, collage, oil, marker, spray, tempera... Everything except ink, my prefered medium. As I am part way through the A5 Seawhite sketchbook, I decide I would test drive the soft cover A4, with holding elastic. It has a handy niche on the edge keeping it both in place and away from the pages - neat!
Pete Scully had arranged a sketchcrawl of Wren's buildings, so I thought that was a good time to testdrive the sketchbook. Aren't new ones scary? At the meeting point lots of peeps were busy sketching the buildings or craning their necks to draw the top of Monument. Eek. I drew 2 construction workers on their break at the bottom. The sketchbook liked my pen, so that was a relief.
Getting my map of locations, & sticker for my sketchbook, I drew the church clock and spire of St. Magnus the Martyr listening to the chimes of the bells. I added the watercolour, which the page handled well I am very lazy, mixing colours direct on the drawing with quite a bit of water. It crinkled a little, but not much at all.
Next it was St Marys Abchurch and I loved its poor green, damp covered, neglected side. I spent a long time on this sketch as I built up the watercolour glazes to emulate what I saw. I'm pleased with the result and the way the Monologue sketchbook took the paint.
I'm not so pleased with my last sketch of St Mary le Bow Church as the church is soooo vast, my initial marks were way off. The café shot is the best way to view it. I then had to head home to walk my lovely assistant and missed the final meet up at St Paul's.
I had a lovely day, thanks to Pete's planning, and look forward to using the sketchbook more as so far I think it's really good. They certainly should add ink to the list of mediums that it's good for. Now, I must try something other than watercolour or ink for a thorough test.
Poor neglected blog. ... Here's the beginning of my attempt to catch up.
The 12th July was WW SketchCrawl day (more info here) and being in the UK, I traveled up to London for the SketchCrawl arranged jointly by the meetup group Drawing London on Location and the Urban Sketchers from London and the Oxford Workshops.
I started my day sketching people on the train using a blue Micron in the SeaWhite sketchbook. Then, at Charlies' Café in Portobello Road, I met up with some sketchy friends, including some from Barcelona, and leant against the café to sketch from the shade. (Who would expect London to be hot in the summer?!)
After a while, James, Nathan, Evelyn and myself, braved the huge mass of tourists in Portobello Road as we searched out both a shady spot and something to draw. The crowds kept blocking our view even as we sat behind the stalls.
I left the others in search of some food and headed off the main road where I met Emily sitting outside Biscuiteers. Ordering a cuppa, I joined her in sketching the Mediterraneo restaurant opposite.
As it was almost time for the end of the sketchcrawl, I headed to meet the others at the Castle pub, Portobello Road, where we chatted about our day and shared our sketchbooks.
After the group photo of the sketchers who were still around, I headed home and did this final sketch of a man texting.
Did you participate in a sketchcrawl? You are welcome to leave a link to your blog post on it in the comments.
Saturday was my fourth annual charity event. It started with an idea from Enrico Casarosa, creator of Worldwide SketchCrawl, who suggested that the 2011 April SketchCrawl should be a benefit drawing marathon for Japan's Tsunami relief. I arranged an event in Doha and on a rainy day, a small group of us gathered to sketch. With sponsorship and donations from participants, we raised US$470.
After the success of that event, I decided to do something annually choosing a different charity each time. In 2012, I organised Sketch Muscat to raise funds for the Omani Cancer Association. I chose a cancer charity partially as a local charity (I'd moved countries) but mainly as I had a friend who was going through treatment for breast cancer and it is partially due to her awareness and quick action (& good medical treatment) that she received an all-clear. That time US$430 was raised.
Last year, I chose a small local charity, Awladna, to raise funds for their children's road safety campaign. We raised a massive US$530 with which the charity bought children's bicycle helmets. Which leads me to this year and helping more children, but this year the funds are in aid of UNICEF's #ChildrenofSyria appeal. Living in the Middle East this is something that is regional, but I feel we should help to stop children's suffering wherever we live.
As this year seems hotter than the last two, I approached the gallery manager of MuscArt to see if I could use their gallery as the venue, which the owner quickly agreed too. It is a great space with duel aspect windows on to the cityscape and we set up still-lifes inside too.
I love that my Sketch Muscat events attract children. This was by Khalid, aged 12.
As well as collecting at the event, I set up a donation site, which remains open until July. So far I've raised $276 (£164.50) there, but more donations are appreciated. Please click the link:
The donation site funds go direct to: UNICEF UK
The money raised at the event will be presented by cheque to UNICEF Middle East and North Africa 's Oman office.
Here are the event totals:
As people here are reluctant to visit different locations to sketch, I did a quick sketch at home before I nervously went to see if anyone would turn up for the event. On my return, I got out my sketchbook but Degas demanded attention after being left all day, so I ended up with a 2 point SketchCrawl. I used Van Gogh watercolours (from #uskbcn2013) as my W&N were already packed in my bag. The actual painting is a lot brighter than it seems in this photo.
I was really disappointed in January when I couldn't join the London Urban Sketchers due to snow. Luckily, 2 days after leaving Barcelona I got another opportunity as Pete Scully had arranged a sketchcrawl around Jack the Ripper's London. I caught a train up after visiting mum in hospital on a surprisingly hot summer's day.
We met at Whitechapel tube and it was lovely to see Pete and Alissa again, having just seen them in Barcelona. Pete supplied us all with route maps and mini-sketchbooks he'd made and then we divided to capture the Ripper's World. I went with Alissa, Lola, and Simon to The Blind Beggar pub. The pub is infamous for its connection to the Krays and may have been used by the Ripper. Unfortunately, due to the heat (a miracle for a summer in London) it was too hot standing on the pavement, so moved on to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Chasing shade, I was attracted to the hoist at the side of the building. A lovely foundry worker offered me a chair then told me that the hoist was the only one in the country where the operator couldn't see the hook. Apparently, he had to rely on someone to lean out of a window and shout directions back at him. It was last used in the 1980s when a delivery of bells were brought from an old church. This lovely man told fascinating stories and I stayed talking so long I lost the others.
Wandering around I loved the mix of old and new buildings in this area and next drew an old bell (foundry influence?) I saw on the renovated warehouses in Devonshire Square. I wasn't too pleased with my drawing so wandered on. I love this area of London and used to walk around it after work sometimes, usually when trains were delayed or cancelled out of Liverpool Street. (I worked in London as a graphic designer). I found a pub in a building that was from the Ripper's era and some estate agents were kind enough to let me sit on their doorstep to draw. For all my sketchcrawl pictures, I continued to experiment with non-waterproof ink, and I am especially pleased with it on this one as it suggests the grime of old London.A gruesome end? ©Sue Pownall
Needing to find the others, I headed to the finishing point at Christchurch in Spitalfields. The group had increased since our 3pm start, so after having a look at some sketchbooks and chatting a little, I drew some of the gravestones. I linked the bell rope and the edge of the stone in order to get continuity of the area, but I'm not sure it was very successful. Then, I filled the mini-sketchbook with portraits, reverting to my normal Staedtlar pens, before a final sketch of the Ten Bells pub. The pub is one of the key haunts and "Ripper literature shows that two victims visited the Ten Bells before they were murdered" (Source: www.casebook.org/victorian_london/tenbells) With this drawing I used James Richards' technique for drawing people, which I learnt on his Barcelona workshop.
I am a nomadic artist travelling the world for inspiration. Here, I publish my sketchbook work alongside my new finished pieces.