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.