Saturday, September 25, 2010

Call for sketching pals...

The 29th WW SketchCrawl is on 16 October 2010

I'm now in Doha, Qatar and I'm looking for artists, young or old, experienced or not, to join me on October's worldwide SketchCrawl.  I was thinking of a crawl around dhow/marina end of the Corniche either early morning or early evening. Views of boats, city across bay, Islamic Art museum building (inside if too hot) etc. Please email me if you are interested.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heathrow T5

Passenger ramp for my flight from gate.
Motivated by a text from Sandra, which I received whilst I was milling around T5 waiting for my flight to Doha, I did a few sketches.
Sleeping, texting & calling. Modern airport life!
These were done in my A6 sketchbook.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life drawing class - Doreen

Tonal study during long pose.
The life drawing class on Monday was a challenge as the model, in real life, has short stocky legs and so to get the drawing to "look" right, would have meant not drawing accurately. On top of that, I didn't have a very successful morning as I was too tense due to starting to stress about the future - on Friday I fly to a new country to start a new job, my 3rd country and 3rd contract this year. (more info here).

5 minute warm-up poses.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sketching Cressing Temple Barns

African chair.
When I went to see the Tempest at the end of August, I was very happy to run into a friend I'd lost contact with. We went to school and then art college together. Over the years, despite us both moving around, we had infrequently ran into each other until around 15 years ago, when our paths stopped crossing . However, since the performance, we've been out for a drink and yesterday spent the afternoon sketching around the Cressing Temple Barns site. Her husband is the park ranger there (no sign of Yogi or Boo Boo though), so they live on site. Walking in to meet her there were so many things I wanted to try and capture I'd have to visit every day for a month to even scratch the surface. An inspiration place to be. I did 7 sketches, not all very successfully as I think I was having to much fun to concentrate, so I am only posting a few.

Kitchen beam & bells.
It is taking a while to get use to the Windsor & Newton sketchbook, as the paper takes washes in a different way to the previous Daler one. The paper is less porous, so I'm finding that to get intense colours I must use less water or wait ages for the first washes to dry, not easy on a showery autumnal day like yesterday. Also, having perforated pages there is a strong temptation to remove bad sketches.
View through Wheat Barn doors.
Site cat on the kitchen windowsill.
Paula & I sketching in the walled garden.

1st sketch in new A6 non-moleskin

Holy Trinity church, Colchester
To replace the hated moly, I bought a W&N A6 sketchbook, same as the new A5. In the lunch break, during Ken Kempley's workshop, I went in the artcafé, a local venture with amazing food, decor and service, and drew the view out of the window whilst I munched my sandwich and ate the delicious brocoli with cheddar soup.

Despite being tired, I was so inspired by Ken's workshop that I added the colour whilst getting ready to go to bed.
Holy Trinity church tower was built around the turn of the last millennium, around the year 1000 AD. Its arrow head doorway and window apertures are typical of the Saxon period. The remainder of the church is of different periods up to Victorian and, until recently, was the town's social history museum. Holy Trinity church tower would once have stood as the focal feature in the town, for a few decades before the Normans came and built the castle. A stark contrast between Saxon and Norman architecture - unique in this country! Source: Virtual Tour Colchester.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ken Kempley watercolour workshop

Rain storm.
Yesterday I attended a one-day watercolour workshop led by the inspiring artist Ken Kempley. The workshop's aim was to cover watercolour basics. Whilst I use a lot of watercolour, especially as pen & wash, I wanted to do a course to fill gaps in my knowledge, identify technical errors (e.g. I didn't realise I broke my continuous wash line even when concentrating on achieving a single stroke), and to get some guidance on watercolour painting. For me, I hit all my objectives for the day as I learnt a lot, got some good results, and as a bonus had some fun doing so.
Ken instructing on laying washes

There were only 5 of us on the course, which meant we all got a lot of Ken's attention. He has a very friendly approach to tutoring and demonstrating, explaining and showing things clearly and concisely, whilst he is not at all patronising (as a few of my college tutors were).

We used Saunders Waterford Watercolour Paper 640gsm (300lb) rough surface throughout the day. It doesn't need stretching, can be used for acrylics too, and if practising can be used on both sides. We started off with learning about laying washes and building up tones. Using only indigo we all came up with good results.

Indigo tones.
Next we chose our own subjects and all got lots of 1-to-1 attention from Ken. I produced the pretty morning mist picture. The others liked it, but whilst I'm pleased with the techniques I learnt and applied to produce it, it seems to me to be just a pretty picture.
How to hold a brush for clouds.
Note to self: must remember to pay attention to the fact my brushstrokes tail down at left if I am not careful.

One of the other gentlemen had produced a very dramatic sky, so that's what I tried to do next. I think it is my most successful picture, which is why it is at the top of this post. With the last hour, I laid the washes for another landscape, which I hope to manage my time to finish before I leave the UK next week.
Morning mist over marshes.
I made lots of notes throughout the day as Ken is full of tips and advice such as using hair conditioner once or twice a year on your brushes, which also came with a self-effacing quip as he is totally bald, but a great way to remember it. Favourite quote "Artists are like children, they have problems with their greens", said as Ken advocates mixing from blues & yellows rather than having pre-mixed colours. (Anita- I evicted the Viridian from box replacing it with a half pan of Terre Verte last week). Favourite quote: "Paint like you".

My day's work.
As I said at the top of this post, I found the workshop fulfilled all my objectives for the day. Ken is a fabulous tutor and I would recommend attending one of his workshops to anyone in the East England area. All in all a great and successful day.

Please check out Ken Kempley's website, I think his abstract landscapes are amazing:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I've been given an award on flickr

I'm very flattered to have been given an award for this picture

"Congratulations! Your photo has received the Amber Award from FotoVotr. It has been selected from the Flickr community because of its interest and popularity. For more information, please visit the FotoVotr Amber Group. We would be honored to have you join us!"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I hate my moleskin 2...

... but it is now full and I will never have to use it again!!!!
Camden Lock from Caffeé Crema.
Yesterday, when I went to London for Dr Sketchy, I completed the hated moleskin. I am very pleased as I started it in Khartoum 25th March 2010 and finished it less than 6 months later, 4th September. The previous A6 sketchbook was started in Madrid 19th Sept 2007, but I didn't complete it until 16th March this year in UK, and even then there are a few blank pages left. (Only the moly was taken to Khartoum as my weight allowance was so small I couldn't take it too).
At Dr Sketchy's: a participant(l) and (r) Khandie at bar.
The first pages were completed at Camden Lock prior to going to Islington. The next two at Dr Sketchy's. Then the last pages were completed whilst waiting for some dinner at a café afterwards.
In a café for dinner afterwards.

Dr Sketchy's : Life drawing & burlesque!

Khandie Kissea in first session. 10 mins.
Over on Inklings, I read Catriona's post on Dr Sketchy and saw her fab drawings (check them out here). Two days later, feeling very nervous as I hate going to pubs alone, I signed up for an event at The Old Queen's Head, Islington. Yesterday, several weeks later, I was so nervous as I travelled up to London to attend. As Lisa advised in a post on Wanderlust Women's Travel Dreams, I had on my lipstick, dressed for success, and also carted up my A3 block of cartridge paper, various pens and pencils.

My table at breaktime, with 2nd G&T.
First stop, the bar for Dutch courage (why do we call it that?) then I chose a small table near a couple of friendly looking lads. Honestly, I don't know why I was nervous, as really it wasn't like going into a pub solo, but was joining a group of like-minded people for some drawing and fun, which the afternoon was.
Kiki drawn with eyes shut.
Peggy (Margaret Sterner Cox) would have liked the warm up as we had to do a blind-contour of the hostess Kiki Kaboom, who was a real character and directed us throughout the session. After the break we had to do a blind drawing of Kiki! After the warm up we then did some very short poses, and after each we had to hold up our results. The longest poses all afternoon were only 10 minutes and there where lots of challenges to add to our drawings, should we wish. I just drew what I saw - very unimaginatively.  

Displaying sketches - the brown paper is mine.
After the break, we had a burlesque-style performance by our model, which I did a few scribbles of. Then after drawing Kiki with our eyes-shut, Lieutenant Luke posed for us. At the end of the afternoon, after a joint pose between the two models, there were prizes for the best drawings. The prizes went mainly for originality. I felt all my drawings had been tight and too small for the paper - my most successful was my drawing done with my eyes shut.
Lieutenant Luke
Julie, Kiki, Khandie, & Luke.
Edit: I forgot the link for Dr Sketchy here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

1st Blogoversary - reflections on a year

Image from:
Infinite, Illustration Friday, Sept '09
I started this blog a year ago today. Some things have changed since then and some have stayed the same. I no longer post "proper" photos here, other than to illustrate an event, they are now only on the pownallchronicles or uploaded to flickr. The notable exception is my Khartoum photos in my post Escorted by the police. However, there remains a mix of  finished pieces, such as those produced for Illustration Friday and the challenge Every Day in May (EDiM), and sketchbook work.

When I started this blog a year ago I wrote:
"Some people join a gym in order to get fitter, so I've joined a couple of websites to both draw more, and hopefully improve my drawing. Unlike joining a gym, I intend to stick to my minimum twice monthly resolution to draw. Famous last words they may be, but time will tell."
1st EDM 5th Feb 2010
Twice a month???? What was I thinking? This is my 165th post containing far more than that number of pictures.!

The reason for the blog was to motivate myself to draw more having neglected my art for years, except for the odd sketch or two on holiday, the number of posts shows it has done that, but it has done far more. Most importantly, through this blog I have become part of wonderful supportive art communities like Everyday Matters with their yahoo group and flickr, the amazing Urban Sketchers ( blog & flickr), and the sketchcrawlers (site). I have found the wonderful people in these group, and others who follow my blog, have provided support, inspiration, and ideas through their comments, blogs, and discussions. THANK YOU ALL.  
My 2nd sketchcrawl, Nov '09
Oman, Nov 2009

Furthermore, I have had a couple of opportunities to meet up with fellow artist-bloggers, plus had a reunion with some friends I went to college with. What a fabulous unexpected consequence of blogging. 
Me, Australia May 1990!
Finally, due to the wonderful comments I have received throughout the year, I am seriously relooking at my art, re-evaluating what I want to do, and how I want to do it. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sketchday in Colchester.

I had a fabulous day today! Sandra of Sandraws came up to Colchester for the day and we spent the time drinking tea, chatting, and doing a lot of sketching. Sandra did fabulously working way out of her comfort zone as she rarely draws in public or uses pen & ink, but did both with great results.

As it was sunny we started in Colchester Castle Park, where our first stop was at the ornamental pond. Above and photo at end of the post.  Then it was on to the park's café. There were too many things to draw: the bandstand, an old red telephone box, the café...etc., so I drew some of the beautiful flowers, in black & white.
Then, I attempted to draw the wall with it's ornamental roses, and steps with topiary bushes. I am very unhappy with this one, but as I try to be honest and post 99% of what I do, here it is.

After a lunch break, and feeling a little chilled we went into Hollytrees Museum, which is a social history museum. We were not over inspired, but we still drew: I drew a box camera in a case, whilst Sandra drew an old iron in one of the interactive displays. 
Back outside we stopped at the George Hotel and sat outside to sketch the huge lamp.
Then finally, I think both of us were a bit sketched out by this point, we headed back into the park and I drew a section of castle from the rear.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I had a fabulous day and I hope to go out sketching with Sandra again. Thank you Sandra for driving up and for lunch.
Drawing Sandra
btw Throughout the day I used a Winsor & Newton A5 heavyweight sketchbook. The paper is a dream taking both pen & watercolour well, and it is a very white white. It also opens up lovely and flat. My one criticism is that the pages are perforated making single spreads across the pages difficult to do. I have just sent feedback to W&N saying exactly this.

btw2 I think my scanner is not working properly as it does not scan the true colours any more.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dog sitting studies #6

My dog-sitting duties ceased on Monday, so here are the final sketches and some photos. Nelson often lies on his back, legs akimbo, for hours on end, like this...
Nelson asleep in the lounge.
That is until someone gets a camera or a sketchbook out and then he moves after 2 seconds. I wanted to capture that pose, but as you can see he didn't stay still - it's the top one. I actually did better in #3 here.
 He is a strange dog as he doesn't like to swim, but will paddle in any water. I published some pics of him earlier in a pond. Here he is in the same pond later in the week.
Another walk, in a different part of the same pond.
In a pond up the woods.
Two-tone Nelson.
Finally, I was taking some reference photos for a possible drawing and Nelson decided he wanted to be included: