Tag Archives: Drawing

Cold Skies Warm Chimneys

Bulls Close, Lanark

A short, sketchy post to wish you all a happy and creative New Year 2023 from here in Lanark!

Back of Miss D’s, South Vennel, Lanark

As we say goodbye to 2020, I’d like to close with a few more sketches of Lanark and as always a big thank you for your company here.

Saddlers Mews, South Vennel, Lanark
Back of McPhees Snack Bar, Wellgate, seen from South Vennel.
Tower and Rose Window of St Mary’s Church, Lanark

Wishing you all a peaceful and happy evening wherever you are. Slàinte!

Thanks as always for reading,

Ronnie 🙂

The Heat is On

#Inktober is an Instagram challenge to draw daily in ink throughout the month of October. Last year, I took part and drew a series of some 25 vignettes focussed on Lanark. Some of these were framed and went off to be sold at the Tolbooth Christmas pop-up shop.   I really enjoyed drawing these on watercolour paper prepared with a thin wash of warm yellow ochre.

From Castlegate towards Broomgate

With the recent cold weather/strikes etc, a lot of my plans for the busiest time of year have gone adrift so I’ve begun to sort through a pile of past work including these wee Inktober sketches of Lanark.

Part of Castlegate, Lanark

Not only have we just been through a sharp cold snap, but we’re in the darkest time of year here in the Northern Hemisphere. I was thinking how the recent fiery skies were such an uplifting shot of colour.

View towards Lanark from Hazelbank, late Autumn skies.

I decided to see how the Inktober sketches would look if I added the hottest cadmium red to the sky as a flat block of colour and then simply to respond with other colours working over the ink studies as underpaintings.

Here are the first of the results.

‘Smug Dug’ – formerly known as the Girnin Dug of Castlegate

More will follow as I play and experiment with these lovely gouache paints. It feels good to try something different.

Red Skies over Greyfriars Church, Lanark

Having embarked on a year of Professional Development with Paintbox School of Art, it’s becoming second nature to look at past work with fresh eyes, whether it was done a few weeks ago or a few years.

Castlegate, Lanark

Sometimes, I’m still happy with the work and sometimes I think ‘What if I changed one thing?’ Or, ‘This all seems a bit flat, how can I perk it up?’

Old St Kentigern’s Lanark under Indigo Skies

These drawings were all made on thick, 300gsm Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper and the ink lines are waterproof. If I don’t like the results, this paper will stand up to a tap washing the gouache off. I can press the drawings flat and work over them again. Or use them for studies for paintings. Or cut them up for collage. It really frees me up to experiment and discover new ways of working.

Most of these are now framed and available to buy from the Tolbooth Lanark; (Castlegate will be framed and at the Tolbooth next week). The rest will be available to buy from my Etsy shop as fresh stock for the New Year or if you see something you like, just get in touch – they are all originals and priced between £60-£95.

Thank you all for spending the time with me over here and I wish you and yours a happy, peaceful and loving Christmas/Season of Light and all the very best for a creative and fulfilling New Year.

Love Ronnie x

There’s always time for a brew

Flask on board the 8.01 Carluke to Glasgow Central train

I like to think that I always have time for a brew – a tea, coffee, whatever’s going. Either taking some time for a chat with a friend, family, stranger or just chatting to myself.

I made a few sketches whilst on a recent field trip to the Burrell Collection, in Glasgow (part of my Professional Development year with Paintbox School of Art) and smiled when I reflected on some of the subjects that had caught my eye, especially since the building is a work of art and there are hundreds of outstanding artifacts.

Kyathos cup c530-510BCBurrell Collection

This hand-sized Kyathos cup with its elongated handle reaches back 2,500 years. I love the imagery of the winged horse and the all-seeing eye that decorate the outside. This beautiful, useful object has survived millenia to connect me with someone in ancient Greece who also enjoyed a beverage.

What caught my sketching eye next was this soft leather gauntlet, showing the creases and folds of the hand that once worked with falcons.

The upper part of the glove was meticulously hand-embroidered with brambles and mistletoe – symbolising healing and life.

Here we are back on the beverage theme again and this Worcester porcelain teapot, tea bowl and saucer from c1750-8.

A well-placed bench helped me to decide on my next subject. Numerous historic architectural features are built into the fabric of the gallery walls or placed as part of the overall display. This limestone French window built between 1440-1550 is one of a pair facing opposite each other.

I’m going to have to return to the Burrell as this contains a feast of art that should be savoured.

I paused for a moment in front of this one….

Edmond Duranty, deep in thought, painted by Edgar Degas – you can see the painting here. A brief extract from this link descibes:

Edmond Duranty (1833-80) was a close friend of Degas. The two men probably met in 1865 at the Café Guerbois, where Manet was another regular. ….. He (Duranty) also wrote reviews of the Salon and articles on a wide variety of art matters. Manet so strongly objected to one of Duranty’s reviews that he challenged the writer to a duel – fortunately both men survived.

At least it looks like Duranty gave considerable thought to whatever it was that he wrote!

As always, thanks for reading and for any Stokies reading, some beatiful ancient pottery just for you!

Ronnie 🙂

Posting a card

I love to receive a card in the post. I think that a beautiful card sent through the post still represents great value and I have a couple of drawers full of my favourites that I’ve kept over the years.

Set of six cards of Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre

With this in mind, I decided to make a set of high resolution cards of six of my Newcastle-under-Lyme drawings. You can see them all below.

Market Cross, Newcastle-under-Lyme

There is just the one set available in my Etsy shop. Please do have a look!

They are a standard 5 x 7 inch size and would look great popped into a frame!

The Barracks, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Timothy Guttridge on the High Street
The Brampton Museum and Art Gallery
Newcastle High Street looking towards Red Lion Square and St Giles’ church
The Guildhall and Market Cross
Set of six cards of Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre

Thanks for reading

Ronnie 🙂

Acomb: Cats and Connections

93-105 Front Street, Acomb York

I thought it was time to share a look behind the scenes at my drawings of Front Street, Acomb, York – the village where I grew up. Let’s dive into my studio to take a closer look at this first drawing of Front Street, from Nos 93-105.

I start by roughing out the street in pencil then transcribing the outline onto a long sheet of heavy watercolour paper. I’ve always used Fabriano 300gsm acid free 100% archival cotton paper. It has a lovely rough texture. I use a flexible mapping pen nib which gives a variety of line thickness and the paper is sturdy enough to take the paint. It’s also strudy enough to handle a reclining cat!

Clean paws and dry brush…

Josh often lies out beside me as I work – he has done this ever since we first collected him from the North Staffs RSCPA in 2016.

We were told by the RSPCA to be patient as he was terrified of people and it might take him months to come round. That was fine by us, so we brought him home and left him to settle a few metres from my work table.

It was only a matter of days before Josh had to find out what was taking all my attention. I was engrossed in drawing the first of my Eccleshall streets and he couldn’t resist climbing up to see what was going on. Pencils, pens, erasors – all targets for paws. It was our first point of connection and six years on he still jumps up here to greet me.

Mapping the outline of the buildings in ink

I’ve always covered most of the drawing apart from where I’m working; newsprint paper protects it from most splashes and spills and I only move it out of the way to photograph. It’s been a handy working practice!

Mini lions as gate posts.

I’ve used a light fast permanent ink here in Sepia (rather than black or Payne’s Grey) as a warmer base colour to complement the rich red ochres of the brickwork. Front Street is full of soft red brick buildings and red terracotta roof tiles; I use earth pigments for these.

Building up depth of colour in thin layers

Front Street is in Acomb’s conservation area. Acomb has a stong sense of place and history and you can read ten curious facts about it in a clever blog by the cat crime fiction writer James Barrie. Yes, I did say ‘cat’ crime…

Brause dip pen used with a mapping pen nib
The sky added last of all.

As soon as the street is complete, I wrap it in glassine paper and store in a 30cm diameter carboard tube out of harms way until I can scan it and arrange for prints.

Completed original drawing of 93-105 Front Street, Acomb

I released the first set of limited edition giclee prints a few weeks ago and they sold very quickly! The next set are listed in my Etsy Shop and already one of these has sold. I’m only releasing a small print run of the Acomb drawings: 30 prints at 60cm long and 10 prints at 90cm. If you would like to order one – please get in touch.

The four drawings of Front Street, Acomb, as numbered signed giclee prints.

Acomb Library is also stocking some of my greetings cards – a few examples below.

Cards of Front Street, Acomb

As always, thanks for reading.

Ronnie 🙂

The Brampton – Where Broom Grows

Drawing of the Brampton Museum, detail of the red brick elevation, by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Three storeys of beautiful red brickwork

Broom grows outside my kitchen window here in Scotland – I love the intense yellow after the greys of winter.  Broom links me to my next drawing in my red ochre series: the Brampton Museum in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The name Brampton means ‘place where broom grew’ – I wonder if any still grows in the park?

Broom outside my window in Hazelbank

The Museum is located just outside Newcastle-under-Lyme’s town centre in Brampton Park, surrounded by mature trees and shrubs.

Drawing of the Brampton Museum, detail of the eaves and windows, by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Deep overhanging eaves of the Brampton Museum

Long before this became a park, this was common land grazed and cultivated by the town burgesses. Eventually, the field was sold and Victorian villas were built – including ‘The Firs’ in 1855 and ‘Pitfield House’. The gardens of these Villas now make up the present park. You can read more about the history of the park here.

Drawing of the Brampton Museum, Newcastle Under Lyme, detail of the windows, by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Detail of a former doorway
Look out for curious details

Twenty one years after ‘The Firs’ was built, Newcastle’s first museum was born just off the Ironmarket in Lad Lane. This consisted of a public library, a reading room and museum.

It was during the early years of WW2 that the Borough Museum was founded in the Lancaster Buildings. Eventually it moved to its current location in Brampton Park. You can read more about the history here – written by Neville Malkin, 9th June 1976.

The Russian Canon outside the museum
The Market Cross and the Russian Canon

Here’s the drawing in full. You can see the rest of my red ochre series of Newcastle-under-Lyme on my website Drawing the Street or browse my Etsy shop where the originals are for sale (available to buy at the time of writing).

The complete drawing of the side elevation of the Brampton

The second drawing of the Brampton shows the side towards Pitfield House, with some of the garden and more of the wonderful roofscape.

View from the play area side

I’ll sign off with a picture from the 2019 exhibition at the Brampton ‘Capturing the Past’. I was delighted that my collection of street drawings were included in the exhibition – they’ve been part of the Museum archive since 2018.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie 🙂

To Market To Market

pen and ink drawing of Newcastle under Lyme markets and the guildhall
Market Cross with the market stalls behind

Newcastle town centre is alive with markets! Back in the 13th century, there was only the one market day but now markets are held 6 days a week with an additional one held monthly on a Sunday.

This is the second of six new red ochre sketches of Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre – the full set can be seen on my website Drawing the Street.

Chatting outside the Guildhall

The history of the markets is ancient. There’s an in-depth write up on the town’s history on the British History website: there is evidence that a market was held in Newcastle-under-Lyme as far back as 1203 when the market day was changed from Sunday to Saturday, for which the burgesses had to pay a fine to the king. I bet the good folk of ‘Castle didn’t go much on that.

pen and ink drawing of the Guildhall in Newcastle under Lyme by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Southern view of the Guildhall on the High Street

It’s possible that the market day remained unchanged until 1590 when under Elizabeth I’s charter, market day was declared to be Monday and it remained so until the beginning of the 19th century when an additional Saturday was added to meet a larger population.

Here’s the drawing in full.

Market Cross and the Guildhall, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Let’s take a few steps to the left and look at the market cross from a different angle. The market cross was located further up the street in medieval times, opposite the Ironmarket.

Lamps at the top of the Market Cross
Detail at the street

It required some restoration work in the mid-1500s when it’s thought that the five steps were built. Later, in the early 1800s it was moved to the present location when the lamps were added.

Market Cross with the High Street behind

The finished original drawings are set in standard 10 x 12 inch mounts ready to frame and now listed with full description in my Etsy shop.

If you’re looking for a print instead – please get in touch.

Market Cross and the Guildhall

Thanks for reading 🙂

Ronnie

The Old Barracks

Waiting for the X164 bus from Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre back to Whitmore was a sketch moment. My car must have been getting fixed at Ryan’s garage – sketched here the year before.

I keep places/buildings that I find interesting in mind to draw later – in this case several years later! Recently I’ve concentrated on some new sketches in and around the town centre and I thought I would start sharing the first of them ‘The Barracks’, here.

Roofline of the Barracks Workshops

Barracks Road was once named Friar’s Road; the name changed in recognition of the Barracks. It was built in 1855, in red brick ‘Italian style’. This was the headquarters of the 3rd King’s Own Staffordshire Rifle Regiment, which assembled annually at Newcastle for training, until 1880.

You can discover more about the history of this building here on the Potteries website. I’m delighted to hear that it received a grant a few years ago towards window repairs.

Entrance to courtyard

The Barracks workshops is now home to a number of small businesses and has been popping up on various social media posts.

There is also a heritage project running which is looking for people who have memories of the history and uses of this building – more about that on the Sentinel’s website here.

You can see the full set of new drawings on my Drawing the Street website.

The original drawing of the Barracks is available to buy mounted and ready to frame in my etsy shop here .

Thanks for reading

Ronnie 🙂

Step Upstairs!

This is the third year of sketching at the Christmas pop-up shop in the Tolbooth, Lanark. Over 40 artists living in and around the Clyde Valley submit some of their hand-made created/painted/knitted/woven/sewn art work to sell and contribute toward the upkeep of this vital community building. Plus they offer a wide range of gorgeous gifts for friends and family.

First floor of the Tolbooth Christmas 2019

This year, there is a focus to raise funds to improve access to the first floor of the Tolbooth.

Back in Dec 2019, the focus was to redecorate the first floor, improve the lighting and flooring to make it a more attractive room for community use. This has been done and with some style!

Gentlemen of the Tolbooth 2019…and Millie

I’m delighted to have some of my framed limited edition prints of Lanark’s historic streets on display upstairs. You can see these in more detail on my website here.

West Port Lanark and the Broomgate Lanark, framed by Caledonia Framers and ready to buy off the easel.
Framed limited edition prints of Lanark streets

There are a couple more of my framed prints available – here’s Bloomgate and the High Street pictured top right.

I love the circular work by Patricia West above – I think it’s called ‘Connections’ made with fragments of different sari fabric. Pat McKenzie’s work always catches my eye – she has some gorgeous art in the Tolbooth – my photos/sketches do her no favours!

That’s plenty for now. I will continue with a few more sketches in the next day or so. Meanwhile, keep well and warm.

Tolbooth tree 2021 with glimpses of paintings by Kirsten Harris

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Warm Glow in Audlem

There’s always been a warm glow from this much loved shop on Shropshire Street in Audlem, a village which can trace its ancestry back to the Domesday book when it was known as Aldelime. It’s located next to the Shropshire Union Canal where you can find a run of 15 locks designed by Thomas Telford to lift the canal by 28m from the Cheshire Plain to the Shropshire Plain.

Arched doorway into Manchester House

Williams of Audlem was established 159 years ago – a record to be proud of! Whilst I was living in nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, I drew most of the street frontages of this fascinating place and recorded them on my website Drawing the Street.

Williams of Audlem stock some of my signed limited edition giclee prints and there are currently two unframed prints of ‘The Square’ in stock, featuring the family run pub and restaurant ‘The Lord Combomere’.

The Lord Combomere, The Square, Audlem
1 and 2 The Square, Audlem, formerly ‘The Crown’

You can see the rest of this drawing here.

Head north west from The Square and you reach Cheshire Street where you’ll see this lovely red brick Georgian town house set against the backdrop of the 13thC church of St James, listed grade one.

Boots the Chemist, Cheshire Street, Audlem

There is one framed giclee print available in Williams as I write (8th Dec 2021). Here’s a close up of the some of the buildings that make up this side of the street.

The Fold, Cheshire Street, Audlem

A few more cropped images from the street drawing below:

Smithy House, Cheshire Street, Audlem
Primrose Grange, Audlem

You can see this side of the street in full on my website here.

I’d like to close with a wee thank you to Judy Evans of Williams of Audlem who has been a loyal supporter of my work for many years and to pay a tribute to her beloved Dad Derek, seen here putting out the morning papers for the good readers of Audlem.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie 🙂