Thursday, September 13, 2007

Autumn at Sissinghurst

Autumn at Sissinghurst
9" x 12" coloured pencil on Saunders Waterford HP
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This post was first published in Marking A Mark on 20th October 2006. It's included in the summary of travels with a sketchbook in Kent.

Sissinghurst Castle in Kent closes its house and gardens to the public a week on Sunday and does not reopen until March. I visited the garden late on Monday afternoon when it was very quiet and sketched the sixteenth century tower, in which Vita Sackville West had her writing room, and the grounds from the bank beyond the moat at the back of the gardens.

My earlier post in August (ie the last post in this blog) details the background to the gardens and in this post you can see a small photo at the end which is the view I was drawing. I still can't decide what is the best crop for this view as one either has a picture with two halves or a picture with very heavy foliage on both side - neither of which is ideal. So this drawing really represents compromise #1 with just a smidgen of a hint of the long Moat Walk on the extreme left and rather more of the orchard in the right half.

Having done a 'not very good' sketch I decided to exercise some artistic license and pushed the autumn colours a bit when I got back. However, I think I've probably introduced rather too many different colours as this was a total nightmare to scan and then colour adjust so that it reads right. I've also got a bit of feeling that my old problem with verticals has come back to haunt this one. There seems to be a distinct lurch to the right going on - which is possibly partly due to having 'eyeballed' the drawing of the tower while sat on the grass on a slope with my Saunders Waterford HP block on my knees. Sissinghurst can be very limiting as to set-ups because they won't allow a lot of things (easels/tripods/chairs) into the gardens because of health and safety concerns as the gardens are so popular. Overall though, it comes pretty close to what I saw around 5.00pm on Monday afternoon.

I then had a pot of tea in the barn restaurant and did another quick sketch of the fields at the back of the barns area. It had three distinct zones - lush green grass (and nettles) in the foreground, bare harvested fields in the middle ground and dusky green blue woods in the distance. As is often the way when you do something really quickly this one came together very quickly and looks like it might deserve being revisited in order to develop a more finished work.

Sissinghurst fields
8" x 10" pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in a Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell


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