"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.