Morning at the Museum

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Ely’s Stained Glass Museum is reached via a winding stone staircase which leads to the south triforium (elevated gallery) of the Cathedral. On a brilliantly sunny Saturday morning in mid December, it proved the perfect location for a sketcher on a mission to fill a couple of pages: out of the chill, far from the madding Christmas shoppers, with sunshine filtering through the coloured glass and enough space and solitude for unselfconscious drawing.

Halfway into my 75-minute visit, a carol service kicked off below; fittingly, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” was my accompaniment as I stood and sketched one of Edward Burne-Jones’s angel musicians.

The museum is essentially a one-room exhibition, but just the handful of subjects I chose to draw spanned the centuries, from 15th to 20th. I feel my visit was hugely enriched by having a sketchbook in tow: my eye lingered where it might not otherwise have done, enjoying the details of a few exhibits rather than pointlessly skimming them all. And even though, for me, God was not in those details, something pretty wonderful was.

It has been a long time since I last sketched in a museum, and I have Roz Stendahl to thank for the suggestion – and for so much else that’s influencing my sketchjournal lately.

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26 February 2009

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More of an image dump than a blog post today: a few sketchbook pages from my Canson watercolour book and my February Moleskine.

Happy Blogday to Me

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Two years ago today, I started this blog. I’ve felt a shade pessimistic lately about its ongoing purpose, and about my own erratic attempts to make it a place on the web that’s worth visiting. Re-reading some of your past comments, however, has heartened me, and reminded me why I am here: the EDM community which led me to create this online presence in the first place has been responsible for so much supportive, appreciative and thoughtful interaction with fellow painters and sketchers over these two years that I would be foolish indeed to abandon the one virtual corner where I know I can open not only my sketchbook, but – if I need to – my heart.

Yesterday’s sketch for “(Almost) Every Day in February” was done between finishing work and collecting my daughter from daycare. I’m getting used to the idea, now, of sketching more freely and rapidly; of letting my pen take all the detours it needs in order to reach an approximation of what’s in front of me, without fear of mistakes. The previous day’s scribbles can be seen on my Flickr.

Joyeux blogiversaire!