Friday, February 26, 2010

Sketches in offices II

Recently, I seem to have spent a lot of time waiting in/or near offices, and so am unintentionally making a series of office drawings. These two were done, on that very productive Wednesday this week, whilst Stefano completed a test and I was sat doing nothing,

Tomorrow is SketchCrawl #26, so I won't be sketching in offices, but down in Calabria where I am spending the weekend. Check out the website to see where you can join in, and to see the results published in the subsequent days.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A better result... Laziness 0 - Drawing 2

On Sunday, after I had published the post  Laziness 2 - drawing  0 I received a challenge from Stephen Gardner, an Urban Sketcher correspondent, and who has the great blog  Sketch of the day. He said:
Oh boy do I know all about this. ...
I'll get past the laziness if you will, next time I check back I'll expect to see a drawing of an orange.
For Stephen, here it is. The oranges were bashed, dented, and ill-shaped, anything but round, which is great as I can't draw circles, but taste Delicious!  

The orange drawing was done when I was home between students this morning. Afterwards, I headed back to work and I arrived 20 mins. early for the next appointment. The sun was shining, it was almost warm, I had time to kill, so I sat in the bus stop and started to draw the factory. Unfortunately, the time sped passed and this was all got done.
However, that is 2 drawings during a weekday, plus the Rick Tulka quickie sketch last night. Roll on Saturday's SketchCrawl #26. (I'll be in Calabria if anyone wants to join me sketching).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A sketching virus???

Urban sketchers are having some fun copying Rick Tulka's pic, so I joined in with this ink, conte & white pencil on brown fruit bag.

To view the original photo and see other interpretations click on this flickr link.

I've just discovered who RickTulka is... a famous illustrator and caricaturist contributing to many American & European magazines & books, specifically Mad magazine. Check out his website here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Laziness 2 - drawing 0

What a deadly combination... drawing because you feel you should, after all you promised yourself, and trying out a new pen, which you find to be scratchy and you don't like. That was me earlier.

I did find something I wanted to draw, just not then. In January I painted carrots, after looking in the market for some with their tops still on, so it was a nice surprise to take an orange out of the fridge and discover it had its beautiful glossy leaves attached. A perfect subject, shame I just didn't want to do it.

Attempt one "blah!". It looks like I have tried so hard to draw well, so it is overdrawn, but it was not taken far enough to rectify as I fought the compulsion to be lazy, and laziness won.

Photo: Inspiring subject, horrible new pen and attempt 1.

Update: After ignoring the earlier attempt for several hours, I thought I would try adding a colour wash to attempt 1  ha ha I forgot that I'd draw on proper ink paper... as it says on the cover "Very resistant. Extra smooth surface". The wash just sat looking murky and pathetic. It is now in the paper recycling bin.

7 DAYS LEFT!!!!!!!

Click HERE to find details on how to bid.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sketching inside and out

Yesterday, it rained and rained and rained. I had a couple of hours to kill so went to the mall at Lingotto. Whilst there I was fascinated to watch the people sitting around. It was not the most successful sketching session: I couldn't sketch very much as I was eating a huge piece of carrot cake, which was too delicious to stop and draw; the 1st man, in the cap, moved his chair to a new position; the 2nd took off his hat; the lady reading a menu decided; and finally the young lady decided to get "friendly" with her boyfriend - too much to watch.
In contrast, today it was a lovely day here in Turin. It was even warm enough for me to sit and do a quick sketch of a band playing in the Piazza Vittorio Veneto as part of a demonstration against something. After 5 minutes, I stopped as my fingers had started to freeze and coincidentally the band stopped playing. The word of Urban Sketchers must be spreading because an Italian student asked me if I was a journalist, and checked out the very rough sketch posted above.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RAI Nuovamusica 2

 I went to another concert on Monday, and whilst the music did not excite me, as the previous week had, I still enjoyed sketching. My seat was only 4 rows from the front, so a great view, but on the same side as the previous week. This meant I drew some of the same instruments, and a new one like the trombone above.

Whilst waiting for the concert to start, I drew some of the percussion instruments set up on the right of the stage (and was very tempted to add a figure during the second half, when the percussionist played them.)

The first piece of the evening was very slow, and to my uneducated ears, sounded like the instruments were tuning up for the whole 8 minutes the piece lasted. A positive aspect was that the conductor, who was different from last week, moved very slowly and I think I got quite a good study of him.

Also different, was the double bass player. This guy was about 5 foot tall (1.5m) tall and held his instrument more upright than the previous musician. I wonder if that was for a technical or practical reason?

Finally, I think this was the same cellist as last week. However, either he has lost weight or one of the drawings is wrong. If you want to compare he is here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two more sketches

I was drawing this whilst watching a tv series. Drawing directly in ink, it was only after I'd committed myself did I realise the coat hooks were too wide apart and the angles are wrongs. I really must concentrate on the initial drawing more.

 This one is from Friday, when I was waiting outside Stefano's office. I added colour this evening.

I seem to be having a spell of  doing colour work at the moment. I have worked on the flowers from my Valentine post some more, but I stll can't get the tonal balance right so have abandoned it.

Comfort food on a cold snowy Valentine's / EDM 232 Last thing you bought

Here in Turin it's a cold grey day, alternating between sleet & rain. I went out to an antiques morning for a little window/stall shopping and this is what I bought... a huge croissant, which didn't fit the plate. I'm not normally a sweet eater, give me a packet of crisps any day, but recently I've been eating lots of cakes & pastries. Better find some scales soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

IF - Adrift

This painting is an experiement with watercolour & ink. 
It was inspired by a photo I was emailed recently.

J - I am adrift without your love. This picture and poem are for you.

Si Tu Me Olvidas / If You Forget Me  
by Pablo Neruda
 I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists:
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

If you want to hear this poem on YouTube: Madonna reads Neruda


Muddy duck
 Signed original pen & ink drawing.
Unframed 21 x29 cm.
Postage free worldwide.

I am auctioning this drawing in order to raise funds for the charity 
Xmas Torch For information, see below or their website here.
100% of the money I raise through this sale will go to them. 
I am donating the drawing and the postage. 

I am not using a popular auction site, due to the ridiculous charges, so this is how the auction will be conducted...

Send your bids directly to me at 

Closing date: 28th February 2010.

Please bid in pounds sterling (£). The highest bid will be displayed in the blog sidebar, so you have an idea of how much to bid, or if you need to increase your bid
After the closing date, I will email the highest bidder with details of how to pay. When Xmas Torch receive the money, I will then mail you the drawing.

Let's see how much we can raise. 
Send your bids now, but keep watching the sidebar in case you need to increase your bid. 
Thank you.
Most less fortunate children all over the world have someone or group doing something to help them. What most of these homes or groups can provide is mostly food, shelter and those who can an education. It is often forgotten though that they are children after all, however brave or tough their situations have made them. 
Xmas Torch was conceived in 2007 specifically for these children and for this purpose. A day exclusively set for them to feel like children, a day of ultimate celebration especially during the festive seasons, Christmas in particular.
The main objective of Xmas Torch is to spend 1-2(depending on the money raised that year) unforgettable days with children who are affected or infected by incurable diseases, poverty, orphans, rape victims and others. Over these days, the children engage in various outdoor activities which are educational, motivational and above all fun! At the end of these 1-2 days stint, it is our hope that the children leave there feeling more confident and positive about life!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sketches in offices

Desk from corridor
Originally uploaded by travelingsuep
Last week I was waiting for a meeting with Luigi. Stood outside his office I started to sketch the chaos of the desk in the next office (there are glass doors).

I added the colour at home, which my scanner has made brighter) .

This week he was held up in another meeting, but this time I got to wait inside his office. Despite the snowy winter scene outside the window, I thought I would try another inanimate object... It seems to have twisted, so I must work on perspectives.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RAI Nuovamusica

I find going to a concert alone a bit daunting, but it was great for sketching, especially as the light in the auditorium wasn't too bad.
First off, in the bar with my pre-concert glass of red wine, these brothers came in and leaned casually over some coffees. I find the fashion of wearing trousers very low-slung strange as it makes the wearer appear to have very short legs. Worse, my drawing looks out of proportion.
Next, in the auditorium I drew some of the instruments whilst waiting for the concert to start. I liked the double bass lying at the front of the stage, and was fascinated as he played.
The conductor was not still throughout any of the pieces, so I recorded my impression of him.
 The second piece was played by four percussionists each with a xylophone plus drums, cymbals, whistles and other things. I started drawing the guy on the right face on, then he never stood that way again, which is why it looks like there were 5 musicians, plus the manic conductor.
 Along with my fascination with the bass player, I attempted to draw the lead cello too.
I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and I am quite pleased with my sketches too. 
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment please.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

IF - muddy

Cygnus atratus
 Illustration Friday's theme of muddy provides the perfect excuse to draw a muddy duck a.k.a. a swan.

I found this quite difficult, not because of the subject matter, but because I have been drawing larger these last few months. Last week, I bought a pad of A4 paper for line work because I am not sure how long I am staying in Turin, and do not want to pay shipping cost through accumulating lots of art equipment. False economy, as I will buy a bigger pad this week, and so have two new pads. Although, considering the amount of ink needed for this size it may have been a good thing. What's more, I did a lovely loose initial sketch, but as soon as picked up my pen I got all precious and tight. Aaaargh

My reference came from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) who are a UK conservation organisation saving wetlands for wildlife and people across the world. Check out their website. As 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity this could be one way you can help.

I will be auctioning this picture for charity... please keep an eye on this blog for details soon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Awareness of the everyday: EDM challenge 1

I have just discovered a group called Everyday Matters (EDM) whose  main focus is to draw a particular object or type of object from your "everyday" life. It started in 2004, from Danny Gregory's weblog, and his book Everyday Matters. Like USk they set a weekly challenge, which is perfect for times like this when it's to cold to draw outside, as many of the current USk themes are, at least for me. Currently they are up to challenge 259, but I thought I would start at EDM 1 - Draw a shoe. Strictly speaking these are ankle boots, but close enough as it's winter.

By coincidence, today Miguel Rosendo USk (check out his drawings here) wrote that we need to be "sensitive to people and places which are in front of us and that sometimes we just don´t appreciate enough! To me, sketching is a way of doing this". I think drawing everyday objects is a good way to start.

If you want to challenge yourself, click the link for the complete EDM challenge list. or the USk theme list

PS I was sat next to the radiator, ignoring my computer to draw this :D

Thursday, February 4, 2010


After procrastinating by reading and viewing art blogs I finally sat down to sketch this succulent in the flat. I've found it's easy to be lazy and to sit at the computer as it's set up next to a radiator. If I draw, I have to move away from it. brrr. I normally find drawing relaxing and it can normally take me away from problems with the concentration & enjoyment of creating something. However, the situation at work made it too difficult for me to concentrate on the plant, and I gave up very quickly.
Frustrated with myself, I sat down to blog the "sketch" and looked at the view from the radiator out of the window. I picked up my sketchbook again...

but as the crane was moving a lot I feel I failed to capture the foreshortening well. The sketch seems very grey and flat. The only part I really like is the stripy curtains. Ho hum. Tomorrow's another day, another opportunity to draw.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cobbled streets

...make it difficult to sketch on buses. However, today I was brave enough to take my gloves off, albeit briefly, and did a sketch on my way to work lunchtime.
Then again on the way back, concentrating on people's hats, as everyone is wrapped up tightly against the cold.
Due to the cobbles I tried to make the strongest lines when at the bus stops, but was not always successful.