Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sketch Crawl #2: Durham

Market Square, Durham
(Pitt Medium marker with black Pentel Brush Pen, 
grey and blue brushpens in A4 sketchbook)

Despite all my good intentions, I did no more drawing following last month's Sketch Crawl, so it was with some relief that I headed off yesterday to Durham for my second Crawl. I had two possible buses to catch: the 21 and the X12. It seemed sensible to take the X12, it being an express to Durham, although I was puzzled to see from the timetable that it arrived in Durham Bus Station only five minutes sooner than the normal service 21.

Once I was on the bus, of course, I realised why the time difference was so small. We crawled along behind and only very slowly passed three 21s travelling in convoy, there being no opportunity to overtake them until more than half way to Durham.

We'd had a week of indifferent to poor weather before Sketch Crawl Day, so it was a real pleasure, if a mixed one, to find the sun out and shining on the milling throngs of people in Market Square. Michael and one or two others were already there, Michael beavering away at his first sketch; once we were all collected together and an itinerary agreed, we split up to look for subject matter.

The milling throngs proved difficult for me to deal with. Every time I saw something I wanted to draw, crowds would gather in front of it. So I was well into my allotted time before I'd found a convenient doorway from which to draw this food stall. Even then, I had people walking past me and thoughtlessly buying food from the stall (see the man with the transparent trousers in the drawing), so that with every line I was having to pause and say to myself "Where does that line go?"

By the time I'd finished all the other Crawlers had moved on to the Cathedral, outside of which 146 Harley Davidson motorbikes were parked. The bikers' long and thunderous drive through the Market Square hadn't helped in my search for subject matter, but now at least they were quiet.

Some of the Harleys outside the Cathedral.

Drawing cathedrals isn't really my thing and standing in the middle of the road drawing a Harley didn't much appeal (although both Michael and Gary had a go), so I turned to a house on the corner of Owengate, with part of the castle behind it.

Nr the Cathedral
(Pitt Medium marker with green and red brushpens in A4 sketchbook)

I confess I wasn't terribly happy with this drawing at the time (maybe it's my antipathy to red/green), but now it's on the blog, I'm warming to it.

With a little time in hand, I took a short walk inside the Cathedral looking for the Magna Carta display, but found instead a lovely painting of St Margaret by Paula Rego which I didn't know existed.

Margaret and David by Paula Rego (2003)

St Margaret by Paula Rego

Our final sketching area was down by the River Wear, which winds through Durham. Standing on Prebends Bridge we looked down the river and each of us saw something different to draw. I decided to go down to the riverside and draw what turned out to be a piece of sculpture by an uncredited artist. On the back was this collection of gurning faces ...

... but I chose to sit in the sun on a nearby bench and draw the other side. After a while, the inevitable happened and three people sat down on the carved wooden benches. I quite liked the idea of having them in the drawing so, expecting they'd soon be up and gone, I put them in quickly, sacrificing the correct scale for speed. They, of course, were still sitting there when I packed up and left.

Riverside, Durham
(Pitt Medium marker with black Pentel Brush Pen, 
grey brushpen in A4 sketchbook)

I mentioned last time that one hazard of drawing in public can be the curious passer-by. Luckily, I was untroubled this time, although it's possible some of the people on this cruise boat were looking at me.

It had been a thoroughly enjoyable and productive day as we all agreed over coffee and cakes in the Cafe on the Green. There was a bit of "show-and-tell" with sketchbooks passed around and helpful comments made.

Sketch Crawlers 
(L-R:Liz, Gary, Laura, Andrew and Allan. Barbara had to forego the delights of spiced apple cake; and I'm the photographer)

So, all in all, a Very Good Day Out and a decision made for another very soon - probably in Tynemouth.


Graham Charnock said...

I like the house and castle.

harry bell said...

Thank you, Graham.

Anonymous said...

These crawls look like fun. I like your, "nr the cathedral". For me the red and green make it!

harry bell said...

They are fun, Kev, and with more people involved, the fun is increased. As for the red and green, bear in mind my red-green deficient eyesight!

Pat Charnock said...

I'm rather partial to the house and castle too. There's something about that downpipe......

But I also like the sculpture with the sitters on the bench.

harry bell said...

Thanks, Pat, and good catch - it was the down pipe that attracted me in the first place.

Rob Jackson said...

As Kev says, good fun. The three figures certainly make the one with the benches and stone throne come alive. I've started to wonder what they are doing there. Perhaps waiting for their king or queen to arrive.

Rich Coad said...

I'll join in with the house and castle but I really like the three people on the log, despite any supposed issues with scale.

St. Margaret looks rather scary. Did you find the Magna Carta copy?

harry bell said...

Thanks, Rob. They might indeed be waiting for a king or queen, or they could be doing what I was doing - eating my second ham and pease pudding sandwich.

john.p said...

I like your description of the crawl. I've been doing them a couple years here in the middle part of America. They sound very much the same in process with the eat & chat at the conclusion. I differ from you and most of the group I sketch with in that I actually like to talk to the public when they want to talk. Especially with kids. To each their own. Great post!

harry bell said...

Thanks for the comment, Rich. I never did see the Magna Carta. I think it must have been in another part of the Cathedral.