Thanks to a very talented product photographer, Becky Palmer, here are my illustrations as used by National Trust Stowe this year.
It has been a busy time: two of the art courses that I have been tutoring concluded; I've run a workshop as part of the Harwich Festival of the Arts; I have had drawings being exhibited at Old Bank Studios (the exhibition closes today); and the garden project continues.
Finally, I have managed to do some sketching. This is the latest and the model was fantastic sitting very still.
What have you been doing?
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?
Yesterday, I arranged a sketchmeet for the Colchester Sketchers at a local garden centre. It was an inspiring afternoon albeit very chilly.
Have you signed up for my quarterly newsletter?
The spring edition is almost ready to be sent.
The Essex Book Festival is on throughout March in various locations across the county. Due to other commitments, so far I have only attended a lecture at the University of Essex last Monday. It was called "From Print to Pixels: The Many Futures of Reading Kodachrome Travels: How colour changed the way we see the world." I went as I am interested in both colour and film, but have to confess I didn't get the connection to books. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture given by Professor Jeffery Geiger and realise I miss learning. Time to return to study?
Top image: In the sketch, I wanted to capture Prof. Geiger, but ended up getting so engrossed in what he was saying the page got covered in lecture notes. I did get the colour added at the same time. I'd forgotten, but when I studied at Essex my lecture notes often looked like this, as I strove to capture keywords and points.
Below: I started on the right-hand page where the three people were stood on the stage chatting prior to the lecture. It seems as if they were friends of the professor and sat behind me when it started. Top left is the woman who introduced the lecture. Then the final sketch on the bottom-left was made during the Q&A session and I loved her twisted body image.
Where have you sketched this week?
It's been a busy few weeks! What have you been doing?
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.
I am a nomadic artist travelling the world for inspiration. Here, I publish my sketchbook work alongside my new finished pieces.