Whilst in Manchester last weekend, I did a couple of other sketches away from the sketchcrawl. The first was sat in The Peveril of the Peak with Simone Ridyard and members of the SAI. The stained glass had caught my eye and as a man was staring at me, I started to draw him... well actually for once, I sketched the background around him, I just got to him and his group left.
On Sunday morning, I sketched the view from the window, with a total disregard to composition. This is my second greenhouse sketch this month. (The first is here.) Then, I sketched a doll on a bookcase, unfinished, both before breakfast.
How successful do you think these are? Please leave a comment telling me.
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 questions and my answers:
I've been invited by Béliza Mendes to participate in the Monday Around the World Blog Hop.
Béliza and I first met and the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona and then again at last year's symposium in Paraty. I was very fortunate to spend a few days with her prior to the symposium exploring and sketching another Brazilian town, which was a great way to warm up for the intensive sketching that occurs at the symposiums.
How does Around the World Blog Hop work?
Every week someone is nominated to answer a few questions about their creative process, post those answers on the following Monday and nominate someone else to do the same.
What am I working on?
This year is turning out to be a time of experimentation for me. I have been employed as an art tutor for the charity WEA and my first course this year is back at the homeless café Sanctus teaching Mixed Media. As this is not my area of expertise I have been experimenting with texture, collage etc.
Recently, I took a workshop in etching, which I haven't done since art college, and I can't wait to get back in the print workshop as my head is full of ideas. You can read about the workshop here.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I am a pen and ink artist specialising in drawings of buildings, landscapes, boats, portraits and more. Very few people work primarily in black and white like I do nor with the detail and interpretation that I bring to a subject.
This is an example, Al Minsefah Doorway, which is part of my popular Decay series drawings. More here: Decay Series.
Why do I create what I do?
I have always drawn and from an early age I was aware of a pen drawing of my grandmother's farm hung in my parents' house and I wanted to be able to copy it. It was at art college that I really focused on drawing with all types of ink pens. I mainly had to teach myself the techniques through reading art books and emulating artists I liked as the majority of my lecturers were painters. A college printing course, where I first learnt to etch and yearned to be the next Albrecht Dürer, was a great influence too, but at the time I found the process too slow and liked the relative immediacy of drawing with pen & ink better.
I choose subjects that appeal to me and themes have repeated throughout my career such as decaying buildings, wood and rocks, which all lend themselves well to the medium. Travel and culture is a big part of my life, and these are also reflected in my drawing subjects.
However, my world is not only black and white. As an urban sketcher, I often add watercolours to my on-location sketches.
How does my creative process work?
I always have a sketchbook near me, although I do not sketch daily, I use it and my phone to record things that catch my eye, from the shadows on trees on a dogwalk to the interaction between people in a coffee shop. From those on-location sketches and/or photos I them compose a drawing, chosing the focal point, what's needed to give context, what to leave in, move position, or take out. Each drawing is not a copy of a single image but an amalgamation. For example,
That brings me to the end of this meme's questions. If you have any comments, or further questions, please leave them below.
Finally, I would like to nominate Kris Wiltse, www.drawingsfromlife.blogspot.com to post next Monday. Kris does amazing watercolour sketches and inspired me to sketch directly in paint as seen in my skaters here. Don't forget to pop over to see Béliza's post and others in this blog hop.
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.
Friday had a different format this year, which I liked. A workshop in the morning then lots of activities or talks to choose from in the afternoon. I had chosen Matthew Brehm's workshop as I admire his watercolours and it was on Sketching Fundamentals. It started well, but I got off with the wrong attitude on the first exercise when we where sent to do something and I spied 2 boys up a tree... I quickly sketched them then tried to add in what I as supposed to do. (sorry can't get decent scan or photo but if you click on it, it opens in lightbox and is clearer)
We did a couple more exercises and then Matt gave a long demo. It was interesting, but I was itching to do more sketches and clock watched until the end of the workshop. I am pleased with my portrait of João drawn as he was listening.
After a quick lunch break with the lovely Orling (drawingbythepound), I went to capture my own version of the King tide in the streets. (top) Next, it was back to the Casa do Cultura for talks by Simone Ridyard and then Gaby Campanario. I wish Gaby's talk had been longer as it was so informative - sketch reportage is something I want to get into - and he has a great story telling technique. Night fell quickly in Paraty, so then it was on to a demo by the brilliant Brazilian artist Ivonesyo Ramos. He is very charismatic and despite some drops of rain did an impressive nightime painting, which I bought in the silent auction.
Finally, I went to a talk/demo by the sponsors PEN.UP where I did my first ever digital sketch on a tablet. it wasn't great, but I can see future experiments with this medium (when I buy a tablet).
All in all it wasn't the my most productive day on my part, but I got lots from it.
Next post is the final day of the symposium...
Having attended last year's symposium, I was not as nervous before my first workshop, but still at little bit. It was with Paul Heaston, whose work I really admire. Paul had almost finished his demo when the heavens opened. We took over a nearby café/restaurant and got out our new sketchbooks given by the Brazilian sponsor: casa do artista
The workshop was on drawing wide-angle perspectives, and whilst I understood Paul's great handouts and explanations, unlike normal perspective I couldn't "see" it. Hence, among many errors my pad and and feet are too small in this first attempt.
With a break in the rain, I went outside for my 2nd drawing, and whilst I had to take cover twice from more showers, I am pleased with the result. (Top). I really enjoyed this workshop and (with cheat sheets in hand) shall try this method again.
After a too short lunch break, it was on to Liz Steel's workshop "Feeling the edges – a tactile approach to sketching architecture". Despite the freezing cold, the wind was icy cold, and being cut off by an amazing full-moon tide (I believe they are called King tides), which flood the streets of Paraty. It was very interesting and fun. We did lots of mark making and an exercise which involved careful measurement of proportions, before we could then take a more tactile approach.
In the brief Liz said "Trusting your own personal response to a building is far more important when sketching architecture than achieving absolutely accurate proportions or perfect perspective", but I seem to have lost the point when working on my final drawing. I'll blame the cold.
Looking at the sketch later in the Pousada, I added the sky, then colour in an attempt to get something nearer the aim of the workshop - should have left it alone, I think. Oh well, it's all about learning.
Heading back for more clothes prior to dinner, I heard drumming and went to investigate. There was a drum class in a building and I stood in the doorway and sketched - my own personal response :) I am starting to doubt using the urban sketcher title, as I do tend to draw people and objects without their setting. I guess that's something to think about as I always struggle with the situational part of people sketching.
By the time the drumming stopped, it was time to meet the others for dinner, but couldn't find them. Luckily I ran into Omar and joined him and Norberto at Quintal Verde. I started the sketch below, but a group of people came and sat blocking my view. Later, we were joined by Rita, which is one benefit of a smaller location in that you could normally find someone to eat or drink with.
So that was all from the Thursday. Friday was another full day, which I will leave to my next post.
Please leave your comments below, as I love to hear your thoughts.
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.
To continue my blog catch up...
The other week I ran away to Barcelona, just for a night, leaving Degas with a dog sitter. It's my favourite city, and I really want to move there. Unfortunately, circumstances are conspiring against me, for now.
I stayed in a hotel with a fantastic view of the Arc de Triomf, but chose to relax in the shade rather than sketch the view. My batteries are in desperate need of recharging.
That evening, I had arranged to meet friends and fellow sketchers Cesar and Miguel at a performance by Parking Shakespeare who were performing Much Ado About Nothing in Catalan (Molt Sorroll Per Res). I can only understand a few words, but love Parking Shakespeare's outdoor performance, and first saw them in 2012. You can see the previous sketches here.
Having wandered around the area and arrived at the park early, I sat down to paint the amazing mosaic mountain as I love the intense blue.I think the painting is tonally flat, but I enjoyed painting it. Then it was time for the Shakespeare and a similar drawing to last time. Again, I got caught up with the action (even with very limited understanding) and stopped drawing to watch. If you are ever in Barcelona in the summer, I would thoroughly recommend going to one of the shows: lovely setting, great acting, and it's free.
The next day, I started the day with a sketch over breakfast (top). I'd spotted the building whilst heading for dinner the night before. It took me 2 cups of tea and almost an hour, which is looonnngg for me as I have the focus of a gnat. The rest of the day was spent wandering around and going to MACBA before heading back to the airport.
Unfortunately, my quick trip took rather longer than anticipated, as my car broke down on the way home from Heathrow airport. I tried sketching under the streetlights as I sat perched on a bank overlooking the M25 and my sick car, but the motorway was uninspiring. Here's the proof.
Where is your favourite destination to run away to?
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.
Armed with a new Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook, the 1st of June saw me in Muscat International departures. My assistant was also flying with me, but down in the hold, for a 3 month long trip in the UK. Killing time I sketched some of the people in the lounge and recorded this thought about the sketchbook: "I've not tried one before, but so far I'm impressed by how the ink goes on."
I've been very busy with family stuff, so it was a week later I tried out watercolour in the Seawhite. On Facebook I wrote "I'm loving the Seawhite sketchbook so far. Lots of water and glazes on this, but the page has barely wrinkled. Shame the sketch is overworked."
The following day, Wilkin & Sons Ltd. (THE jam makers) had an open farm day. With so many changes, Degas didn't like being left so I popped there quickly and sketched the people tasting jams. I sat under a tree and added the colour before I dashed home
Next, was a sketch of me NOT watching the opening match of the World Cup football.
The following day, I went to London to attend the artists' evening at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Having just missed a train, I started to draw the footbridge between platforms. The next train arrived too soon, so on board I added the colour to the unfinished sketch.
At the RA later that day, I sketched the people enjoying the sunshine and drinks in the courtyard.
The next evening England were playing their match and a neighbour had a pre-match barbeque. Feeling like a peeking Tom, I quickly sketched them from an upstairs window.
The football theme continued with my next sketch - a slice of an England football cake.
and the next...
In between have been a few attempts to draw Degas, but she is loving the green fields and freedom and barely sits still. Here's a photo instead.
What and where have you sketched this month? Why not tell me in a comment?
I am a nomadic artist travelling the world for inspiration. Here, I publish my sketchbook work alongside my new finished pieces.