Sunday 25 February 2018

Sketch Crawl - The Apple Store

iPad Drawing

An unusual Sketch Crawl, this. Bob, who has been experimenting with the Procreate software on iPad Pro and joining in workshops at the Apple Store at the Metrocentre, arranged for us all to go to one of the workshops.

I have to say that I hate the Metrocentre; in all the time it's been open, I can't have been there more than half a dozen times. It's everything that my youthful science fiction reading told me an urban dystopia would be like, long before Sir John Hall had his bright idea to make more money than he already had.

And, of course, as soon as I got there, I got lost. I'd obviously got off the shuttle bus at the Wrong Quadrant instead of the Red Quadrant and had to wind my way through one mall after another, none more recognisable than the next, following signs that seemed to peter out at the most crucial point and looking at interactive maps that didn't seem to be able to tell me where I was so I could get to where I wanted to be.

Eventually, I asked a kind lady at a rare information stand: "Can you tell me how to get to the Apple Store, please?"

"It's behind you," she said.

The long trek through the labyrinth meant I arrived a little late for the techniques briefing, but a short bit of personal tuition coupled with my experience of Photoshop, allowed me to get started with the others on some iPad sketching in The Village ("I am not a number ....!").

(Photo: Bob Laine)

Like any other drawing experience, I soon found myself drawn into the actual making of an image and, although I knew what I was producing wouldn't hold up to great scrutiny, I enjoyed the whole thing. The tutors were kind enough (or professional enough) to enthuse over my attempt, and in return I introduced one of them to the work of Ronald Searle, whose wonderful line work was brought to mind by my little bit of black line at the top of the clock in my drawing.

Back at the Apple Store, our work was projected on a TV screen and then we all held up our individual iPads for this celebratory photo:

Thursday 22 February 2018

Crab Pots and Men's Sheds

I was recently contacted (through Gateshead Art Society) by Graham Storer, asking if I might agree to the use of one of my paintings on a postcard to advertise the establishment of a Men's Shed in Staithes.

OK, you may not know what a Men's Shed is and I admit I didn't either, but researching the movement, it looks like a very worthwhile thing and I gladly gave my permission to use the image without a fee.

Here's what Graham has to say about the postcard:

Sunday 18 February 2018

Trees and Mausoleum

Trees and Mausoleum
(acrylic on board, 30 x 30 cm)

This is the painting I worked on last week to get it ready for the Newcastle Painters Group meeting on Saturday. I had to fight my natural inclination to use brighter colour, but I thought it important to maintain the mood and sombre colour seemed appropriate to do that. So it is that most of it was achieved with raw umber, Payne's grey, unbleached titanium and sap green. Only the sky was allowed a little variation to include cobalt blue, ultramarine, cerulean blue and more Payne's grey. This may not be obvious from the photograph because of reflection into the camera lens. I hope the eventual varnishing will help with that.

[I'm not very happy with the title - Trees with Mausoleum may be accurate but falls short of the more poetic title I think it probably deserves. Serious suggestions welcome.]

Saturday 17 February 2018

Spanish Pot

Spanish Pot
(acrylic on board, 7 x 7 in.)

Friday afternoon at Gateshead Art Society sometimes presents me with a decision on what I should do. There's a published programme that I'm free to ignore or follow, as the whim takes me, and this can be useful when I'm between paintings.

This week we had visitors at home so what spare time I had available was used to finish of a painting to take to the Newcastle Painters meeting on Saturday (more on that tomorrow) and little opportunity to research subject matter for a new painting to start at the Shipley on Friday. The programme suggested we do a painting without using any brushes and complete it in one session. In a rush, I chose a few tools and paints, grabbed a small prepared panel, printed off a photograph of a pot I'd seen in Seville and set off to make my little painting.

And after about an hour and a half, the painting was done. It was fascinating, frustrating and enlightening to see what could be done with my chosen tools - a pipe cleaner and a cosmetic sponge. The pattern on the pot proved most difficult but I like the rather primitive effect the folded sponge achieved.

Sunday 11 February 2018

Under the Knife

Following the death of my old friend Ian Bennett, members of the Newcastle Painters Group were invited to take whatever of his painting materials they wanted to remind them of him. I needed very little in the way of paints and canvas, but I asked for one or two small brushes and a painting knife.

On Friday, just before going to my session with Gateshead Art Society, I decided I'd take along the painting knife. Then it occurred to me that writing "IAN" on it would ensure it didn't become mixed up with my other tools and that I'd always remember him when I used it.

Imagine my surprise when I turned it over to write on the back with a Posca Pen and found somewhat worn but still legible the "H." that I've often used on my cartoons and sometimes to mark my effects. It was my painting knife! How or when Ian came by it, I have no idea, but I think he would have laughed as much as I did.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Up the garden path again.

Trees and Mausoleum WIP
(acrylic on board, 30 x 30cm)

Another day at Gateshead Art Society, another landscape. Somewhat inspired by The Tower in the Woods, I've begun another building in the woods. The woods in this case came from a sketching trip to Auchterarder and the mausoleum I found on a holiday in Majorca. They came together in my mind, a meeting place for many impossible things before breakfast.

I think it will work OK but in what way, I'm unsure. At the moment it looks a little eerie but whether my sunny disposition will win through, only time will tell.

Friday 2 February 2018

Sketch Crawl - Shipley Art Gallery

Pieces of 2 Clarinets & 1 English Flute
(0.8 marker and Japanese brushpen in A4 sketchbook)

Very much on home turf for this sketchcrawl last Saturday with the Urban Sketchers Tyne & Wear. The Shipley Art Gallery is where Gateshead Art Society meets and where I go to paint on most Fridays. On those painting days I've often thought I'd like to take a closer look at the objects in the display cases, so while one or two hardy sketchers went out in the icy wind to draw the outside of the gallery building, I concentrated on the cases that contain the contents of the former Saltwell Towers Museum (very much a Cabinet of Curiosities).

Drawing the pieces of musical instrument, I puzzled over how they might fit together. It wasn't until I located the catalogue that I found they were pieces from several different instruments!

Time then for coffee and biscuits in the Henry Rothschild Room, where Kim took this photo of us displaying our creations.

A good turn out!

After coffee, I went back to a drawing I'd started of some bowls by Lucie Rie displayed in a case with some other ceramic pieces. I decided to add a little colour with markers and coloured pencils to bring the whole together. If the perspective on the lower row looks a little suspect (and I know it does!), it's because there was a gap and for the sake of the composition I added another pot from an upper row.

Lucie Rie Bowls and assorted ceramics
(0.8 marker, brushpens and coloured pencils
in A4 sketchbook)