Thursday 31 May 2012

A Week in Staithes (4)

Yellow Houses at Staithes 
(Disposable fountain pen with watercolour pencils in 21 x 26 cm sketchbook)

No wind abatement, so by now I was looking for places where I might get a bit of shelter. Half way up a path that climbed the south side of the valley, I found I could look across the roofs to the other side.

I really liked the yellow houses over there, so I was disappointed when the lines from the disposable pen ran into the yellow pencil and spoiled its purity

Wednesday 30 May 2012

A Week in Staithes (3)

Houses above Staithes Beck (4B pencil in 21 x 26 cm sketchbook)

Some of the best subjects in Staithes are concentrated on and round the Beck which runs through the bottom of the valley. This drawing was done at the upper end of the town where a set of concrete stepping stones allow you to cross the Beck.

What attracted me was the diagonal arrangement and I'm keen to see how it works out as a painting.. At the time I planned to make more of this area but I soon came to realise that standing still in the bottom of the valley with the freezing wind blowing in my face was bearable for only a short while. A visit to the warming atmosphere of the Royal George was soon called for.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

A Week in Staithes (2)

From Westgate, Staithes (Watercolour and crayon in A4 sketchbook)

Later in the day, after I'd been on the valley top, the weather turned wet. It wasn't the torrential rain we'd been told was coming, but wet enough to make us stay indoors for the rest of the afternoon. While the others worked on things they'd done earlier, I stared out of the window from my chair by the dining room table. Eventually, I figured I might as well have a go at drawing what I could see.

I have to say I didn't much care for this drawing when I'd finished it, but I'm coming round to it now. It started with a 2B mechanical pencil, then had watercolour washes added. Finally, I tried out some crayons I'd bought years ago and not used and which I discovered this time I don't really like at all.

The box says they're "Special Guitar Artist's Crayons - especially made for tropical use". I guess the reason they're suitable for tropical use is that for wax crayons they're horribly short of wax which makes them go on in an unpleasant dry manner. I think I might get rid of them and accept that the "24p" price still visible on the box is something I can afford to lose.

Monday 28 May 2012

A Week in Staithes

Staithes Roofs (0.8 fine line marker in 21 x 26 cm sketchbook)

As I do every year, I went off at the beginning of the month for a week's "painting" with some of my mates from the Art Club. I put that in inverted commas, because it's rare for me to get anywhere near some paint. Mostly, it's a couple of sketchbooks and some favourite pencils and pens and maybe a slosh of watercolour and a smudge of coloured Conte.

I honestly thought this year might be different.  For one, in Staithes  I'd be amongst buildings, which should mean I'd not be hunting for the odd twisted tree to provide some structure. Buildings, after all, are my thing. So it did seem as if I might at least get out the tubes of gouache I take along every year.

But I'd reckoned without the wonderful British weather. The north easterlies blew straight in off the North Sea and up the Staithes Beck valley. Although the torrential rain we'd been promised in the forecast didn't materialise, and the sun shone quite a bit, it was bitterly cold - one night saw temperatures drop to -6C!

But I set off with a good heart the day after we arrived, climbing up the side of the valley to look down on the town. From there I could see Westgate, the house we were staying in  That's it in the centre of the drawing, just across from the former chapel now housing the Captian Cook and Staithes Museum.

Surprisingly, the wind wasn't too bad at the top of the valley, so I was able to spend a couple of hours working on this drawing. I thought about adding colour, but I was coming to the view that I might do without colour or tone in the sketchbook on this trip, so I left it as it is.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Hard Drivin' Man

Had I opted for a new hard drive to be fitted in me, as I joked last time, I might now find myself with several fingers (or worse) missing. My backup drive has let me down and I've had to painstakingly restore much of my data from a CD of my paintings up to October 2011, the photographs I still have in my camera (luckily I haven't wiped most of those in the last two years) and from elsewhere on the web.

What I'm unable to replace are the bits and pieces of work I'd done with photograph modification, collaging etc, but I'm taking the optimistic view that sometimes a good clear out  and a fresh start can be invigorating.

Hang on while the invigoration takes hold.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Hard Drive Blues

Please bear with me for a while. I've had to have a new hard drive fitted - in the PC, of course, not in me, although I sometimes wonder if I could do with a new one too. It's going to take a while to get everything loaded up again and back to something resembling normality.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Very First Sketch Book ( #2 )

Monastery above Naxos 26/9/85
(Fineline marker and grey felt-tip in A5 sketch book)

After Athens I moved on to Naxos and made this quick sketch of a monastery above the town. The felt-tip was a  rather clumsy tool, I found.