EDM #15: a tree (or two)

10 Comments

I wouldn’t call myself a tree hugger, but I am certainly a tree sketcher, photographer and fondler lately.

This is a London Plane tree, or platanus × hispanica (I assert with confidence, having practically devoured Collins Complete British Trees cover to cover on realising my shameful ignorance of things arboreal). It sits in Dean’s Meadow near the Cathedral, and I love walking past it every day on our strolls around Ely, because it is so twisty and full of character. Did this 30-min sketch in my small hand*book journal with a new Rapidograph pen while my daughter slept in her pushchair.

Next up is a weeping willow or salix × sepulcralis on the charmingly-named Quai d’Orsay down by the river. This was another pen sketch snatched during nap time, with black and white gouache added later. The grey Canford paper I’d pasted into my hand*book allowed me to have a bit of fun with a medium I wouldn’t usually include in there.

Advertisements

Old Year, New Year

5 Comments

I hadn’t sketched for a while, but Melody was given a xylophone for Christmas, and the areas of bright, solid colour seemed to invite a little playtime with my new set of Aquatone watercolour sticks. This is across 2 pages of my small hand*book journal. EDM Challenge #17: Draw a musical instrument.

Back in February/March 2007, I’d only just joined the EDM group, and I didn’t post the following sketches because I was trying out a Danny Gregoryesque mix of drawing and journalling, and felt uncomfortable exposing my clumsy, rambling thoughts to public view. I was also tentative with the no-pencil-first approach to drawing in ink.

My very first EDM sketch was of M’s Bumbo® seat (she couldn’t sit unaided back then); the second was a toy we knew as Adam Butterfly, sadly long since lost, who played a high-pitched version of “You Are My Sunshine” when you squeezed his bottom. The third in the montage came a little later: it’s a gum soother we used to chill in the fridge, and illustrates EDM #77: Draw something cold or cool

I’m fond of these pages now, as they conjure up a life dominated by a 6-month-old baby; and while life continues to be just as dominated by her as she toddles her way at high speed towards a year and a half, it’s odd to be reminded that the paraphernalia so familiar to one phase of a little one’s development has no place whatsoever in the next.

Blue day, in a good way

7 Comments

It’s been chilly today, here on the Isle of Eels.

As my little girl slept in her pushchair beneath several snuggly layers of clothing and blanket, and I sat shivering on a bench, I did this sketch. My hands turned almost as blue as the Khadi handmade paper I had glued into my sketchbook for inspiration.

3×4″ black Profipen on Khadi cotton rag paper in small hand*book journal.

Bricking it

19 Comments

Yesterday’s sketchcrawl got me thinking about the fact that I do not enjoy sketching buildings.

This is the Old Fire Engine House (these days, a pleasant restaurant, art gallery and tea-room with garden) in Ely. I drew it a couple of months ago, having stopped to sketch when my daughter fell asleep in her pushchair. I’m quite pleased with the drawing, even though I made the garage door too narrow, which irritated me at the time.


Pitt Artist pen, two-page spread in my 6×4″ Daler-Rowney sketchbook.

The next sketch is a 10-minute quickie done one evening in April, as I waited for the tutor and other students to arrive for our weekly College class. I was glad that I’d dared to do it in the short time I had available, even though the lines are wobbly, I miscounted the windows and didn’t manage to indicate how the structure (it’s our classroom) is connected to the rest of the college building.


Profipen in small hand*book journal.

This morning I sketched a willow on the banks of the River Great Ouse, as my daughter slept and Paul read his magazine. Tired as I was, I failed to notice until the moment I put my pen to the paper that the willow had sealed the wound of its missing limb in the obvious and delightful shape of a loveheart. What a joy it is, I thought, to draw natural structures with their organic, flowing, assymetrical forms and unstraight lines; why would anyone prefer to draw architecture? It’s probably because I’m simply not (yet) skilled enough to capture the perspective and detail that gives buildings their character. I would love to hear how others feel about them as a subject.

This is EDM Challenge #15: Draw a tree.


Profipen in small hand*book journal.

SketchCrawl #14: Ely

9 Comments

Anita Davies and Diane Mainzer joined me in Ely on Saturday 19 May for the 14th WorldWide SketchCrawl: one small city, three enthusiastic artists, five sunny (if breezy) hours, three bags full of sketchbooks – and several tons of cake!

We grabbed ourselves a coffee and a table outdoors, and I took up Anita’s challenge to sketch the corner of Starbucks coffee house. But whereas Anita has a weakness for sketching buildings, my sketches of buildings are merely weak. Bah.


Profipen across two pages of small hand*book journal.

Our second sketchstop was Palace Green, where we spread out a blanket on the grass and became quite the tourist attraction. A middle-aged woman, who had marched up to peer over my shoulder, uttered a deflated and somewhat contemptuous “Oh” on discovering that my sights were set, not on the ornate majesty of Ely cathedral, but on the whacking great brick of chocolate button marble cake in front of me. An American gentleman later ambled over and exclaimed, quite superfluously, “You’re drawing food!” I sketched until both the cake and my oil pastels started to melt. This is my #7 in the WetCanvas 100 Pastel Sketches Challenge.


Caran d’Ache oil pastel & wax pastel in 9×6″ Daler-Ingres pastel pad.

My late al fresco lunch of fried chicken wings found itself the subject of a final sketch (done rapidly, so please overlook the wonky ellipses). I’m counting this as EDM #87: Draw your lunch. Though very tasty, these were almost cold by the time I ate them. How I suffer for my art!


Pen & watercolour in small hand*book journal.

Show me the Monet!

14 Comments

I travelled down to London on Saturday for The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings at the Royal Academy of Arts. Train and tube travel has been nightmarish lately due to engineering works on the major lines, but my day out was a full and rewarding one, and the exhibition was a joy – from Monet’s early caricatures to his black crayon drawings of cattle and farmhouses, and the vibrant yet subtle pastel studies he made of sunsets and twilight.

I was struck by this comment from one of Monet’s contemporaries, quoted in the Gallery Guide: “Every scrap of paper, no matter how small, was drawn upon with country scenes, tiny seascapes and fishermen. Every sheet of paper that came into his hands was destined for a drawing.” What better inspiration could a would-be compulsive sketcher hope to find? Monet, it is clear, was passionate about sketching, and in addition to the 80 works on display, this exhibition also makes many pages of his sketchbooks available for browsing in digital form.

With me I had a very basic sketching kit of black Profipen, watercolour bijou box and credit-card-sized set of 12 coloured pencils; over the course of the day, I covered two pages of my hand*book journal, sketching anything that took my fancy – from my train ticket, to the pattern on the dress of the passenger next to me, to a couple of Monet’s pastel drawings, to the evening sky outside Stowmarket. After an hour and a half of wandering lost around Aldgate/Whitechapel towards the end of the afternoon, I also managed a browse round Atlantis Art Materials, where I picked up a couple of drawing pads and some handmade papers.

EDM #76: Draw some flowers

15 Comments

I bought a bunch of the most gorgeous white lilies for £2 at the Thursday market: seven blooms whose waxy sheen, juicy greenery and scent of fizzy lemonade said, “Take me home and have your wicked artistic way with me.” This sketch was done in Profipen and watercolour in my small hand*book journal.

I love to watch lilies as they awaken, yawning and stretching, their petals taking on those lovely flowing curves. I did this in a leisurely hour and three quarters, which makes it the closest thing to a painting-not-a-sketch that I’ve produced in over a year.

Caran d’Ache oil pastels & wax pastels in 12×9″ Daler-Rowney pastel pad.

Older Entries Newer Entries