Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sketching bluebells at Emmetts Garden, Kent

Bluebells sketch
coloured pencils on Canson Mi Teintes paper in Charmian Edgerton sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Yesterday we made our annual trip to visit the bluebell slopes at Emmetts Garden in Kent. They weren't as far advanced as I had hoped - but they were on their way. "He who must not get bored while I sketch" brought his book (Roy Hattersley's "The Edwardians") and even took some photos of me sketching!

We sat, looking out at the slopes of bluebells, on a log seat that they've made out of the trunk of one of the trees which came down in the Great Storm of 1987 which caused a lot of very mature trees to be felled. You can see a picture of the devastating damage to the garden on this website - photos were taken from Bob Ogley's book "In the wake of the Hurricane". I've included a couple of photos of me sketching. One of me with short stubby coloured pencils gripped tightly in left hand and one of the view I was looking at.

The sketch had some little tweaks when I got home as I stopped when the "plein air" started to get very chilly plus I also forgot to pack my sharpener and couldn't find a couple of important colours! It was a cloudy day with sunny intervals - not the easiest light to work in as it means you have to plump for sunlight or shade from the outset and then carry the image of what's it like in your head as the weather delivers the other one. I went for sunlight but was increasingly working with cloud. This one is likely to be converted into a pastel so I was mainly focused on achieving a sense of the colours and how they might be pushed.

I produced my sketch using a variety of coloured pencils in my very old pastel Charmian Edgerton hardback sketchbook from L. Cornelissen and Son. It's filled with neutral shades of Canson Mi Teintes interleaved with glassine. I also forgot my bulldog clips and had a fine time trying to stop the glassine flapping around in the breeze! As my pencils become short and stubby they always get sent to the sketching pencil cases as it means I can then carry more colours around with me.

I have a funny feeling that having written the name Cornelissen I'm now going to have to go and pay them a visit - they must surely have one of the nicest art shops in the world! However, I do try to stay away as visits can get quite expensive! But please note they do worldwide mail order if you want to browse!

But before I do any more art shop visiting I'm off to repack my sketching kit to make sure I don't have things missing next time I'm out sketching.

[Originally posted in 'Making a Mark' on 30th April 2006. New links added with this post. The work developed from this trip is displayed below and in the gallery devoted to drawings of trees on my website. It's also discussed in Making a Mark - Bluebell beginnings.]

Bluebell Beginnings £195
coloured pencil on Arches Hot Press paper
image 8" x 12"; frame 17" x 19"

copyright Katherine Tyrrell
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  1. This is a lovely sketch. I love visiting bluebell woods but my attempts at sketching them are nowhere near as good as this. Better try again!

  2. Your coloured pencil work is beautiful. I grew up in Kent but had never heard of Emmett's Garden 'til viewing your blog.
    At primary school, I was a member of "Penshurst" House (red, for some reason); the others were Chartwell (blue), Knole (green) and Ightham (yellow). I now associate each of these houses with its colour ... I have never visited any of them!


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