Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sketching at the exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015

My book has a section on sketching in Art Galleries and Museums (pages 102-103 of my book Sketching 365) - and that's because this is an activity I love to do!

6 Tips about sketching in Art Galleries and Museums
from Sketching 365
This is a photograph of the sketch I did on Monday of the people visiting the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition on its first day open to the public at the Mall Galleries.

Sketch of visitors to exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
at the Mall Galleries 14-19 September 2015
I did it very fast - while I drank my cup of tea! It was done in my usual Moleskine sketchbook using a Pilot G-Tec-C 0.25 Hyper Fine Gel Rollerball Pen which delivers a 0.13mm line - which you can also see in the photograph.  

This one had brown ink which gives a much less 'in your face" line when compared to black ink. Turner liked brown ink as well! (see Review of Ruskin's Turners at the Fitzwilliam Museum).

I'm not using watercolour because the ordinary Moleskine sketchbook absolutely detests watercolour!

You can read my review of the exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015 in Review: Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015 on Making A Mark 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Have you ever tried this with a sketch?

Superimposing sketch on scene - on the terrace at Chartwellwith Crypotomeria Japonica (Japanese Cedar) in the background
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
Have you ever tried superimposing your sketch on the scene that you are drawing? Below I've written my explanation of how I did this. It's not difficult but you can make it easier to do....

I normally sketch across a double page spread of my Moleskine to provide an 8" x 10" image. However yesterday, after dropping off my drawings for hanging at the Florum exhibition in Sevenoaks (opens on Saturday 12th September), we went to Chartwell.

Sat on the terrace I pondered as to what to draw while "he who must not be bored while I sketch" read the City pages. That's when I realised that I had brought out the sketchbook I finished last Saturday! (Have you ever done that?)

I was reduced to searching through it for half pages which I'd not used.

Given that Chartwell is a "big view" place I was somewhat perplexed as to what to draw - and then decided to draw HWMNBB against the house and the very large Japanese Cedar (Crypotomeria Japonica) in the background.

Then decided to have a go at the trick where you superimpose your sketch over what you are drawing.  The trick is twofold:
  • when you start the sketch make sure you have a horizontal and/or vertical lines in the sketch which you can line up against the scene - in my case the horizontal line was the top line of the tree shadow and the vertical line was the outside edge of the arm
  • then use one hand to position the sketch over the scene and line up your lines in the sketch with the lines in the scene.
  • finally use another hand to take the photo. This is when you realise a third hand might be useful! It means you must use a camera or phone which you can get level and click with one hand.

I nearly got it right. If the sketchbook had been level I would have got it almost spot on!

HWMNBB says he doesn't look like that at all - and I have to confess something went very wrong with the mouth and jawline! Top half is not bad!

Monday, September 07, 2015

The Paragon at Blackheath

On Saturday I went on a long walk to join up with London Urban Sketchers who were sketching at Blackheath (see map at end!)

I got there in time for lunch and then spent the afternoon sketching The Paragon which started life as seven pairs of houses linked by colonnaded sections built as part of the Cator Estate. They've now been split into flats. My friend Jean and her husband live in the one on the left

Western end of The Paragon at Blackheath
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchboook
We sat for most of the sketching in the afternoon under leaden grey skies - wondering if we'd need to whip out umbrellas very fast. It was certainly cold. Then just as I was getting to the end of the drawing the sun came out and produced one of those very pale turquoise skies.

Then the clouds came over and it went back to being grey!

I finished the drawing while sat in the cold but added the colour when I got home. I also need to add more grass cutting lines!

More sketches - from lunch and tea - to follow.

These are the people who came to Blackheath on Saturday - I'm taking the photo.

London Urban Sketchers at Blackheath - the end of the day lay down of sketches and group photo
This is the map of my walk. The walk from Cutty Sark Station on the Docklands Light Railway is very pleasant as it takes you through the park (uphill for most of the way) and then across the heath - so only a tiny bit of traffic for the whole walk.

From the station to the Princess of Wales pub (where we had lunch) in Montpelier Row in Blackheath is 1.4 miles and is uphill for half the distance. It's supposed to take 28 minutes and burn 114 calories - which (according to my invaluable Citymapper app) apparently equate to 0.6 packets of crisps or O.6 pints of beer. Just so you know....

The walk from Greenwich Cutty Sark Station to Blackheath.
(click to see a larger image)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A slimming Tuna and salad sketch at the V&A and a long walk

The thing about making a big effort to become healthier and slimmer by losing weight is that -apart from showing the continuing downward trend on the  Weight Chart on my iPhone Health app to my GP - I need to be seen to be sketching healthy meals!

So this is my Seared Tuna and Green Bean and Mixed Leaf Salad from lunch at the Cafe at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London last Thursday!  This was drawn over lunch using pen and ink and then coloured at home afterwards as I didn't have my pencils with me because I was on a "reviews day".

Seared Tuna and Green Beans and Mixed Leaf Salad
pen and ink and coloured pencils
and this is me drawing my lunch!

I managed to be good and avoid an awful lot of temptation! (the link is to a sample menu!).

I then walked around the V&A and straight through the shop - without buying anything(!) - and then walked from the V&A to the Mall Galleries. Below is the map. Note the calorific values!

V&A to the Mall Galleries is just over 2 miles and takes 43 minutes
expending according to my Citymapper app
174 calories or (just to get a real perspective on this) 1.7 BANANAS!
Walking down Constitution Hill - Green Park on the left and Buckingham Palace on the right
Here's my blog post about the exhibition I saw when I got to the Mall Galleries - Rosa Sepple sells 50+ paintings in 4 days!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Sketching Cambridge: Magdalene College and Magdalene Bridge

Magdalene Bridge - sketching the sketchers and the Scudamore Punters
pen and ink and coloured pencils, 9" x 12"
on Arches HP Block
On Sunday 23rd August I drove up the M11 to Cambridge to join the Urban Sketching Cambridge Group ( also at which is based there.

They had got permission to sketch inside Magdalene College.  For some reason I spent all my student years in Cambridge without ever knowing anybody in the east part of the college so this was a novel experience for me.

They were planning on a couple of hours sketching before lunch - and I wanted to see the Watercolour exhibition at the Fitzwilliam in the afternoon so I needed to be speedy!

I decided to focus on just doing pen and ink sketches and then adding colour when I got back home.

I started by sitting in the corners of one of the courtyards of Magdalene College and sketched the sketchers.

Magdalene College: Pen and ink sketches of Cambridge Urban Sketchers #1
11" x 8" in a Moleskine Sketchbook
Next are the two sketches above completed with colour - using coloured pencils - when I got home. I'm not sure who I've sketched in #2 below!

Magdalene College: Pen and ink sketches of Cambridge Urban Sketchers #2
pen and ink and colour pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
Magdalene College: Pen and ink sketches of Cambridge Urban Sketchers #3
Sketching Sue Smith under the Pepys Library Portico (or is it a Loggia?)
- the words at the top say Bibliotheca Pepysiana 1724
pen and ink and colour pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
I then moved around the river side of the college and drew from the wall which separates it from the River Cam and the extremely busy Scudamore Punt station. I listened to lots of different punter guides explaining the college and the bridge and Cambridge generally to those on guided tours while sat in a large punt.  I also watched a few novice punters receiving their instruction on what to do when taking out a punt for the first time.

If I'd had more time I'd have loved to have drawn the comings and goings of the punters beneath me - especially the bit where those who knew the rules came up against those who didn't!

It's not too far to Cambridge - so I shall be back sketching with the group again - although maybe not every outing.  I saw some amazing sketches at lunchtime - not least the panoramic sketches done by Peter Wenman

Panoramic sketchbook by Peter Wenman held by
Peter Wenman on the left and Yasemin Gyford on the right
It was also great being back in a place which holds lots of memories from being a student 40 YEARS ago!  I walked with a friend down Trinity Street and Kings Parade to the Fitzwilliam Museum with a constant chorus from me of
  • "That's just the same!" (e.g. Heffers and all the colleges and Fitzbillies - even if I did forget precisely where the latter was!) and 
  • "Oooh, that's changed!" (e.g. The Copper Kettle looks completely different and whatever happened to Eaden Lilley who did my graduation photo?).