Sunday, 19 August 2018

Sketch Crawl : The Ouseburn again


The Toffee Factory
(markers in A5 sketchbook)

Bus problems on Saturday meant I arrived at the Cycle Hub just as the other Urban Sketchers were leaving to search out subjects. I should perhaps have followed them to the mouth of the Ouseburn to draw the boats berthed there because I do like a nice boat when I find one. Instead, however, I walked up the hill, past the Free Trade Inn and tried a view from up there. No joy, mainly because the buddleia has grown wild there and obscures the enticing view of the Toffee Factory.

Walking down a dodgy flight of stairs, I found myself back on the footpath by the Ouseburn where Michael was hard at work on a drawing of the Barrage. I've drawn the Barrage before, but the bench Michael was on gave a decent view of the Toffee Factory, so I settled on both the bench and the view. 

I realised there were too many trees for comfort and vowed to make an effort in future to work up a few different marks for sketching trees to avoid the somewhat generic trees I always end up with in my drawings. To lend a bit of difference to the shrubbery, I used a purple marker to colour the long flower spikes (they're called pannicles) on the buddleia.


Part of the Barrage
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

After making arrangements to meet up with the others for coffee at Kiln, I decided to do something about a subject I'd looked at last time we were there but had to leave because of rain. It's a bit of the Barrage that serves some useful function I've yet to determine; I guess it rises with the tide, so maybe it's just a buffer to prevent boats from running into the Barrage. 

I like the odd shapes of this thing and happily drew it, then found myself quite involved in the stones partly submerged in river mud. I'm always in my element with odd objects, stones and mud.

The coffee was good in Kiln and we were eventually able to all gather round a long table for a show-and-tell, although the numbers did mean conversation was a bit limited to those immediately to hand. Sadly, Kim wasn't able to be there, so no group photo this time.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Six Cakes


Six Cakes
(mixed media, 22 x 22.5 cm)

Also finished today. I like how this has turned out and it fits quite well into the "Collection Series" (which has just come into being) along with the recent caps, bags etc.

Good enough to eat? It's been said already, but not by me because I'm not much into eating fancy cakes.

Streetfighting Men


Streetfighting Men
(mixed media on board, 10x10 in)

Today I decided it was time to get some of these outstanding paintings finished. Why they've proven so awkward at the closing stages, I really can't decide. I know the man in the white tee shirt has had several faces, none of which convinced me, but I'm relatively comfortable with this one. Anyway, it's all done now.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Studio 4, Tweed Street


Studio 4, Tweed Street, Berwick
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

After a week of great weather, it was disappointing see the forecast for Friday's trip to Berwick-Upon-Tweed showing "showers". Seven members of Gateshead Art Society had signed up for the ride in a people carrier, hired and driven by Allan, to see what we might find to do in Berwick. My plan, of course, was to do more urban sketching.

We parked the car on the south side of the Tweed and walked across the Old Bridge, then split up. I know Berwick slightly, but had no real idea what I wanted to draw, so wandered off up the hill, past the Town Hall and eventually stopped across the street from this curio shop in Tweed Street.The sky was already threatening and a handy doorway nearby added attraction to the view.

The woman in the shop (not the one in the drawing!) was still arranging her treasures outside on the pavement and every now and then I'd look up to find that the suitcase had moved from one side of the door to the other and the rugs in the basket had changed pattern. Luckily, the puffin (?) balanced on the table balanced on another table stayed put.

The rain started before I'd finished and I had to shelter in the doorway until it stopped and I could make my final additions. By then, I have to admit I was feeling the cold and the thought of something to eat was comforting, despite it being quite early, so I headed back down the hill towards the river.

The skies opened before I reached the Granary Gallery and by the time I was in and looking at a very nice collection of work by women artists, including Dame Laura Knight, Dod Procter and Mary Fedden, I was very glad of my umbrella.

With no sign of the rain letting up, I went downstairs to the YHA Granary Bistro and over a falafel and mozzarella panini, fiddled with the Studio 4 drawing. I probably overworked it, but it kept me amused.

On the way back to the car, with the rain having moved off, I suddenly realised the Dockside Gallery was just along the road from the car park and had a few minutes to chat there before my mobile rang calling me back.

It rained quite a lot on the way home, but Gateshead had been spared.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Grainger Market Sketch Crawl

No.82, Grainger Market
(0.5 marker over two pages of A5 sketchbook)

Last Wednesday, as part of Bardon Mike's Grainger Market Arts Residency project, 28 artists were in the Market frantically drawing things, and I was one of them.

I had to wait for a very large man with a can of pop to vacate the seat outside The Weighhouse that I'd used the week before, but I was keen to complete the drawing of  the clothes shop at No.82. For a while I thought he was there for the day, but eventually I was able to sit down and finish drawing the left hand page of the sketchbook. I tried to show the nice lady in the shop what I'd done, but she was on the phone again and just waved.



Hunters Deli, Grainger Market
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

After lunch, I found myself sitting next to another sketcher whose name I failed to learn (sorry!) on a bench opposite Hunters Deli. I'd looked at this subject earlier while waiting for the man with the can of pop to move and had discounted it as being a bit boring, but moving to the other end of the bench gave me a different perspective - I was taken with the sausages and bearing in mind my Mam used to do some part time work for Hunters (a Gateshead branch) when I was little, I decided to immortalise the sausages, jars of jam and Maysan curry packets.

I hadn't intended to attempt the assistants behind the counter but for a moment one of them hovered in front of me and I shoved her in. later the other woman stood at the phone for a little while, so she got caught up in it too. When they asked to see the drawings, one of them said "You haven't got all my chins in!"

Friday, 3 August 2018

The Queue Grows Bigger


South Shields Boatyard WIP
(mixed media on board, 12 x 12 in.)

I suppose one of the reasons so many pictures are lining up waiting to be finished, is that, with acrylic, it doesn't just sit on the palette allowing me to stick a brush in and work with it whenever I like. It dries up and I have to put out more paint from the tubes.

To avoid the need to put out a little paint to finish off a painting, I'm inclined to put out enough paint to start a new one, then use some of that paint to finish off a waiting picture. At least that's the plan; what tends to happen is that I push on with the new picture until I run out of time to do anything else.

Oh well, who said the life of a painter would be easy?

This new painting is not making me happy, at least not yet. I started it the way some painters do, by applying pieces of collage papers to a ground, then working into them to get at the image I'd decided on. I'm not sure that's a method that works for me. I'd rather have started with paint, then applied collage as appropriate. As it is, I have some areas I'm uncomfortable with: the thinner papers have buckled ( a brayer may fix that) and there are edges showing that I find distracting (whether other viewers would do so, I'm unsure).

I think what I need to do is proceed on the assumption that it has a long way to go and more layers need to be added to give a more complex surface. If, in the end, I really don't like it, I'll at least have learned something from the process.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Sketcher in Residence


"Where the Best costs Less"
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

To my surprise, Bardon Mike recently announced funding for a project in Newcastle's Grainger Market that would allow him to appoint a Sketcher in Residence each week from late in July through August. I was lucky enough to be the second such Sketcher in Residence.

I was given three hours to draw whatever took my fancy in the Market and after getting over the feeling that there was just too much to choose from, I settled down on a bench opposite what used to be called The Weighhouse and started to draw. For those interested, I began with the top part of the scales and worked out from there, although the nice lady who was serving moved around quite a bit so her head had to be quickly put in and her body added a bit later.

Once you get into the flow of this sort of drawing, it becomes simply a matter of deciding on a shape of a bottle or a packet of crisps, then repeating as necessary.

When I was done, I took the drawing into the shop and spoke to the man who'd replaced the woman at the till by then. I didn't want him to think I was doing something suspicious by staring at the shop for so long, but it turned out he'd been given a leaflet by someone and knew what I was about. He did seem to think it was odd that I "just wandered about all day drawing whatever took [my] fancy," but what could I say? That is what  do.

No.82, Grainger Market
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

My second drawing of the afternoon was a greater challenge. Before beginning I decided to speak to the Asian woman in the shop in case she became worried by my stares, but all she said was "As long as you don't put me in!" Not a promise I could really make, so I said she's be in it, but only incidentally.

I sat on a bench outside The Weighhouse - the place where people get weighed, not where they get their cereal weighed! - and began the drawing with the £5.00 sign, then left to the till and the woman, now busy on her mobile phone.

While I was sitting drawing a man came and sat down and ate his rather strong-smelling lunch (I don't know what it was, but I wasn't tempted). After she'd gone, I was joined by a heavily pregnant young woman and two young men, all drinking from cans. One of the problems of having no sight in my left eye is that I couldn't glance leftwards to see if it was alcohol they were drinking. Is alcohol even allowed in the Market? I don't know, but I needn't have worried. They chatted to one another about the supply of blueys, who might get sorted out when they were in prison, what had happened to one of their PIP payments and which children of one of the blokes were actually his; and then the woman apologised for brushing crumbs off her front and knocking my arm. 

Throughout, I kept on drawing and the lady of the shop came and checked on my progress. When it was done, she took a photo of it with her phone and showed it to one of the Market staff who said "You'll be in trouble if your boss sees it and you're on the phone!"

I promised to take her a print of the drawing.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Sketch Crawl - Tall Ships Festival, Sunderland


"Headwind", River Wear
(markers and coloured pencils over two pages of A5 sketchbook)

The heatwave continued on Saturday, so when I arrived at the National Glass Centre to meet up with the other Urban Sketchers I was faced with the now usual problem of finding no shade. No shade, and nowhere that wasn't full of people. There are seats along the quay near the Glass Centre, of course, but they were understandably occupied and even were they to become vacant, I realised that sitting on them would provide no view of the Tall Ships because the railing in front of the seats were fully taken up with sightseers leaning on them.

I do find that when I go to an event like this that I go with a certain mindset, such that if I can't find somewhere to draw what I've gone there to draw, I can't simply decide to draw something entirely different. For a while, I sat on the only sofa in the Glass Centre and worked up enthusiasm for drawing a display case containing two oddly shaped pieces of glassware, beyond which I could also see some diners in the cafe. As soon as I got out my sketchbook and pen, someone came through the door and stood in front of the display case and took root. 

I did a lot of walking around that day, trying to find a space among the crowds that would afford a decent view of one of the Tall Ships, but one by one the ships upped anchor and sailed out to sea. Their departure seemed like an echo of having to say a sad goodbye to Jenny that day, as she gets ready to return to China.

After a coffee in the cafe, we decided we might as well call it a day. Michael, of course, had drawn several sketches, but even his Tall Ship was rather perfunctory. The surprise of the day was Kim's nicely coloured sketch of one of the ships.

I really, really don't like going home from a sketch crawl without getting anything done, so just as I reached the path that takes me away from the quayside, I saw this little boat at rest and a completely empty stretch of railing. Taking the opportunity, I was able to go home relatively content.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Streetfighting Men WIP


(Photo taken in Dubrovnik)


(Sketch worked up in Photoshop from traced photo)



(WIP, with some paint and collage added)

This is a painting long in the gestation. I took the photo on holiday in Dubrovnik in 2012; the men were quite a long way off and the photo definition was really poor. So poor that when I tried to enlarge it in Photoshop it became hopelessly pixellated and I gave up on using it for a few years.

More recently, I bought a lightbox and tried tracing the printed photograph, scanned the tracing into Photoshop and then added some colour.

The next stage was to square it up on a 10 x 10 in. board, then add some collage. For that I dug out an old piece of an etching I'd saved from the Print Room bin at University (30 years ago!) - hence the curious round shapes at the right produced by someone's finger print on the etching plate's soft ground.

At the left I stuck down a torn fragment of a sheet that had contained a Gestetner stencil (science fiction fans will know all about those!) I'd use to produce a fanzine even longer ago. Who said stuff doesn't come in useful?

The stairs in the foreground have been started with some pieces of paper torn from a Sunday magazine supplement. 

The collage additions have produced a few challenges for the development of the painting. Hurrah! I like a challenge.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The London Bookbarge


The London Bookbarge
(acrylic on board, 12 x 12 in)

On a recent trip to London, we went for a walk along the Regent's Canal towpath and came across the wonderful Word on the Water - The London Bookbarge. Taking a few photographs, I knew there was a special painting there, and so it proved to be.

This is possibly the most abstract painting I've done, yet, of course, it isn't abstract at all. It's just that all the shapes and marks suggest an abstract. I like it a lot and am pleased to find the owners of the Bookbarge like it too.

Just a note about the materials: although it is an acrylic painting, I used quite a few Posca Pens and resorted again to some old Letraset for the signage.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Sketch Crawl - The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor


Closed Teapot Ride
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

With the return of the annual Hoppings to Newcastle's Town Moor last month, I thought it was an opportunity to invite a few Tyne and Wear Urban Sketchers to a mid-week sketch crawl. Unusually for Hoppings week, we had glorious sunshine and although drawing in the middle of the day before the funfair opened at 2 o'clock meant few people were about, it also meant a serious absence of shade. 

To be honest, I'd forgotten what a visual overload the Hoppings presents, with complicated rides and stalls, all garishly decorated. The challenge was to find the basic shapes and include only sufficient decoration to make the drawing work.

After a short walk around, I stood in the shade of a closed stall and drew a teapot ride, also closed. I saw it later after it had opened up for business and realised how difficult it would have been to draw then.


Prizes
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

A little later, I decided it might be fun to capture some of the prizes hanging up on the stalls. Standing again in the shade of a closed stall, I drew these stuffed animals on offer as prizes on a "lucky number" stall. After a while, the man who'd been hanging up these soft toys, walked past me and I could sense he was standing behind. I ignored him and a few minutes later he went back to his job, shaking his head.


Helter Skelter
(0.5 marker, brushpen and coloured pencils in A5 sketchbook)

After a break for regrouping, a sit down with chips and fizzy drinks (by which time our original seven or eight had reduced to three), I set off with Luigi to take a look at the top end of the funfair before setting off for home. I'd just about decided that the long hot afternoon had worn me out but decided at the last minute to give the helter skelter a go. Standing in the shade of the back of a burger van, I did this last drawing. I got so involved with it that I found I was prepared to take the time to add colour with a red brushpen and some coloured pencils.

Then back home, reflecting on the fact that unlike my boyhood visits to the Hoppings when coconuts and goldfish were the prizes on most stalls, the goldfish were thankfully gone and there was a stall advertising that it was the only place to get a coconut, which you had to pay for.

No boxing booth, naked ladies or freak shows either, but we live in different times.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Sketch Crawl - Saltwell Park return.


Pets Corner, Saltwell Park
(0.8 marker across two pages of A5 sketchbook)

For a change, we had a beautifully sunny day for our sketch crawl return to Saltwell Park. Sun, of course, poses its own problems for sketchers, in that you either have to be prepared to stand out in it and slowly melt, or hunt for a place in shade and hope that affords a subject worth drawing.

I wandered around for a while, then found myself in an area of shade overlooking Pets Corner. People came and went, so I included a couple of them, but mostly I was concentrating on reducing some of the complex brick decoration to what you see here. I seem to have abandoned the A4 sketchbook completely now, but may have to think about using a finer point marker in the smaller A5 book.

After the drawing session, and after my foot had ceased being numb (standing in one spot on a slope does that, I find), it was back to Bewicks Cafe in Saltwell Towers for coffee and a splendid photograph of the usual suspects (and some new ones).



(Photo: Kim Willis)

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Stadakis


Stadakis
(acrylic/mixed media on board, 8x8 in)

The second of the two balcony paintings, using acrylic and collage. There are bits of a magazine page, an advertising brochure, the inside of an envelope, a paper bag from a shop in Greece, as well as a little sand. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Yellow Umbrella


Yellow Umbrella
(acrylic/mixed media on board, 8x8 in)

Someone called this "jewel-like" recently and I can appreciate that. Working at such a small scale means getting quite close tot he panel and that, in turn, leads to a certain kind of preciousness.

Nevertheless, I found the whole process of adding collage (and a little sand) and having to adapt the picture to those changes, quite fascinating. I know this method will become part of my working practice.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Tulips


Tulips
(acrylic on board, 10 x 10 in)

At one of Gateshead Art Society's meetings last month, we were challenged to paint a flower painting alla prima in the two hours of the meeting. Below is the painting as it stood by the end of the session.

It didn't win the prize on offer (as I expected) but I liked it sufficiently to work on it at home and with the help of a pattern stencil I found recently, bring it to the state shown above.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Young Fisherman


The Young Fisherman
(acrylic on board, 9x9 in.)

It sometimes amazes me how a painting takes on a life of its own. Anyone following the history of this picture will be very aware that the figure in it had no personality when I started it. I spent a lot of time looking at paintings of portrait heads and thought I knew how the man would look, but once I started to paint, the face grew into what you see here.

It's a pleasure to make his acquaintance.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Fisherman WIP


Fisherman WIP
(acrylic on board, 9 x 9 in.)

I'd intended to push on and finish the two balcony paintings, but Friday morning dawned and I knew I'd need to find something to do at Gateshead Art Society. Finishing small details on the balconies didn't feel like an option, so I looked at the suggested project for the day - "Maritime Subject" - and turned to a recently abandoned figure painting. My regular reader may recognise it as the man in a garden:



The man in the garden was never going to earn his keep, so he's become a fisherman on a beach, probably somewhere in Madeira (but not necessarily). 

I'm liking this version much more and will finish it soon. Yes, along with all the others!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Collage Work in Progress




Acrylic on boards, each 8 x 8 in.

I thought I'd keep you up to date on some trial paintings I've started, using collage. Inspired in part by the very enjoyable workshop led by Karen Stamper, I began laying out these two panels last week at Gateshead Art Society, then pasted down some selected bits of collage paper.

Over the week since then I've worked on them both, with a mixture of confidence, trepidation, frustration, and pleasure. There's no doubt that the panel with the most collage elements (the balcony with the washing) has proven to be the most difficult to move along. 

The collage elements changed the original subject in such a way that I had to adapt and change the composition to get it to work. As it is, I'm still struggling with parts of it (not helped by finding acrylic colours behaving slightly differently from my accustomed oil colours). I've no doubt that if I were to allow a greater degree of abstraction the problems would be lessened, but I'm still not much of an abstractionist.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sketch Crawl - Bowes Railway Museum


Bowes Railway Museum
(0.8 marker over two pages of A5 sketchbook)

Allan picked me up at 12.30 yesterday and we drove in unaccountable sunshine (can this be Summer at last?) to the car park of Bowes Railway Museum, just at the edge of Gateshead. I'd been wondering if we might be a small party of sketchers this time, as response from our regulars had been lukewarm or absent when the venue was proposed. ("Oh, railways!" said the ladies.) But my fears were groundless - in the end we numbered eleven, with many a new face.

Pessimism is always rewarded, of course, and we found that the Museum site closed an hour earlier than we'd thought and even worse, the cafe closed an hour sooner than that. Recognising that there'd be no time for a coffee break or a bit of the usual show & tell at the end, we decided to just get on with it, after an initial tour of the buildings.

Straight away I could see there was a huge amount of things to draw,  especially inside the workshops, so after a short walk I picked on the first view that caught my eye that also benefitted from being out of the light wind. I toyed with using my A4 sketchbook but decided that I'm really no longer comfortable with standing holding that size and weight for any considerable time, so took out the A5. And that proved to work well for me, especially utilising a two page spread to take in a couple of coal wagons and one of the long sheds. OK, the railway lines are wobbly, but that's an effect of standing holding the book and doesn't honestly bother me to any extent.

I realised there was only about an hour left of the session, so after checking out the inside of one of the sheds where Bob was drawing a forge of some sort, I decided to stay out in the sunshine and see if it was worth drawing wagon No.939 (see the drawing above) again, but from further inside the yard.

What clinched it for me was finding that Mark was now painting the same wagon and presented me with an opportunity to capture a relatively stationary figure. 


Bowes Railway Museum
- Mark paints his wagon.
(0.8 marker in A5 sketchbook)

Mark deserves an apology for the sagginess of his arse and the shortness of his legs in this sketch, but as I say, we were running out of time. I'm happy to confirm that in fact he's a reasonably well-proportioned human being; corrections might have been made if only he hadn't finished his sketch and moved away.

With no time for a proper winding up of proceedings, we had a bit of a natter and Allan took this group photo. After that, well ... we dispersed.


Urban Sketchers Tyne and Wear
26th May 2018
(Photo: Allan White)

Next time: Provisional date 23rd June. Venue to be decided.




Thursday, 24 May 2018

Attic Vessels Rearranged.


Attic Vessels Rearranged
(acrylic on mountboard, 9 x 7 in)

I'm still suffering something of a creative block: there are things I could paint but the motivation to do so isn't there. I know the advice is "When you can't paint, paint something else" but that's not helping, so the search for a subject with a raison d'être continues.

Though I'm mostly idle (if just thinking a lot counts as "idle"), I did spend a little time a few days ago making some corrections to this small painting so that it's now finished.

My Regular Reader may remember that the composition came about after I'd printed off a copy of another small painting, cut out the pots and rearranged them. This is the original:


Five Attic Vessels
(acrylic on canvas 8 x 8 in.)

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Winter at Staithes


Winter at Staithes
(acrylic on board, 12 x 12 in.)

After the excitement of the workshop in York I found myself unsettled during the week, unable to really get into any work of consequence. Finally, at the Friday meeting of Gateshead Art Society (where the suggested theme was "Urban Painting"), I was able to finish this winter picture. Brrr.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Karen Stamper and the Concertina Sketchbook



It takes a lot to get me out of bed, dressed and breakfasted and onto a train by 8.43 am these days, but that's what happened last Saturday. I was on my way to York with fellow Sketch Crawler Richard to take part in a workshop led by Karen Stamper.

I've been looking at Karen's work for quite a while and wondering how she achieved the effects in her concertina sketchbooks, so when the opportunity to find out came up, I jumped at the chance.

And it was well worth the effort! I won't give away Karen's secrets - she has lots more workshops to give, I'm sure - but will say that she started us off slowly to get us over the natural trepidation most of us felt. Dribbling ink and squirting it with water while it runs down five or six pages of  the concertina must be a proven ice-breaker. After that it was just one bit of fun after another, involving PVA, gesso, frottage, markers, collage and some hard thinking.

I ended up with six pages of an abstracted townscape full of references to Crete. One of the fascinations of the concertina sketchbook is that as it's folded, new compositions come into view.




It was clear everyone enjoyed themselves and seeing the sketchbooks laid out together showed how individual the end results were. 


Pat and I have a long holiday in Chania planned for later this year and I can certainly see me using some of these techniques while I'm there. And I'll be watching out for the chance to take another of Karen's workshops!

#KarenStamperArt


Monday, 30 April 2018

Belated Blogiversary


Fourteen years ago, on the 15th April, I wrote my first blog post on Boogie Street. In fact, I wrote my first four blog posts. I soon realised I couldn't keep that up, but am surprised to find that I've kept going, with only one minor lapse, for fourteen years.

Commenters have come and gone and the world of blogging has closed down or moved over to Facebook, but I still find it helpful to write stuff about my work. With luck, my Regular Reader also finds it interesting.

Cheers! Here's to the next fourteen.

Meanwhile ...


The Fishmonger WIP
(acrylic on board, 25 x 25 cm.)


Fresh Fruit WIP
(acrylic on board, 25 x 25 cm)


Staithes in Winter WIP
(acrylic on board, 12 x 12 in.)


The Gardener WIP
(acrylic on board, 25 x 25 cm.)

Meanwhile, in the secret realm of the studio, work progresses on several paintings. The first two are very near completion, but as I've said here before, I hate finishing pictures when I know what they'll look like. I enjoy starting paintings and I enjoy struggling with the elements that aren't working, but once I recognise how they'll end up, I lose interest. Only when I need them for a show do I feel the need to really press on to the end. 

In the case of The Fishmonger, I'd like to give him a face; the man selling Fresh Fruit could do with a better nose.

It may seem odd to be working on a painting of Staithes in Winter, but I'm assured that greetings card manufacturers buy images for Xmas in June and it helps to maintain at least a facade of business-mindedness.

The Gardener is so named because he started out as a man in front of a topiary garden. I decided the picture wasn't working well and intended to simply paint over it and start afresh. But the man protested that he had a right to justify himself, so I've given his garden a coating of pasted down tissue paper and we'll see what emerges from the milky mist. Might be another garden; might not.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Sketch Crawl - Durham again.


Durham Market Square
(marker, brushpen and Inktense pans in A4 sketchbook)

Back to Durham yesterday for our latest Sketch Crawl. Last week's sun was still about, but sadly not last week's heat. There was a freezing wind blowing through the Market Square, but I found a handy wall to lean against and had a go at the Market Hall opposite.

Because we'd only allowed an hour for this first sketch, I rushed at the subject with only a minimum of measuring and as a result found I'd run out of room at the bottom of the page. My intention had been to include some of the people in the foreground, so I can't deny an element of disappointment with the eventual line drawing.


Image may contain: 1 person, tree, sky and outdoor

In an attempt to get warm, we moved on from the Market Square to inside the Cathedral. For me, the Cathedral interior is overwhelming. I could draw it with charcoal as a tonal study, but thinking about trying to capture it with simple line work meant I didn't even make a start. My compliments to Michael for not only sketching some very complicated elements and structures, but doing it with only line work and a little watercolour.

After a while I sat down in a quiet side chapel and, in the absence of anything I wanted to draw, I made some efforts to salvage my earlier drawing. A grey brushpen (Note to self: this is running dry) and a few notes of colour using my new box of Inktense pans moved the drawing to somewhere more acceptable in my arena of self-criticism.

On the way to the Cathedral, Kim had told me she was determined to get more work done but was concerned that she was easily side tracked by the attraction of sitting in a cafe with friends. When it was time for coffee (Cathedral coffee is terrible), I found her at a table in the cafe with Bethan, drinking coffee and bemoaning her weakness. Tsk. Must Try Harder.

It was great to have four people new to our Crawls join in at Durham. I hope to see you all again.

Next time: Bowes Railway on 26 May. A decision I think I have to make about that is whether to continue with the A4 sketchbook. It's quite heavy to hold while standing up, as I usually do, and my left hand is starting to cramp after an hour or so of holding it. (The perils of being so old that one of the drawings in the current sketchbook was done before Bethan was born.)