Tag Archives: Pen and ink

Sketching the day

There’s a wonderful art studio here in the Clyde Valley run by Susan McMillan . There’s always a variety of art classes and workshops so I’m delighted to have been invited to give a sketchbook demonstration during two of the six week drawing classes which start in March.

I’ve had a few nudges lately about the value of sketching. To me, the best sketches are those made in 5 minutes or less, sometimes only a few lines with a bit of colour to help make sense of the lines.

Like this thumbnail of the kettle, teapot, jug and mug. I recognise that mug. I still have it and won’t put it through the dishwasher anymore as it’s losing its pattern. It’s one I gave to Dad…

There are some mouthwatering sketchbooks that artists share online and I dream of being able to produce work of such calibre and creativity. That said, I no longer feel so awed by them. They are brilliant because the artists are passionate, they’ve persevered and they have practised, qualities I really admire and try to encompass too.

I’d like to share a day in my life sketched in 2014 when I signed up for a 6 week online course which turned out to be the very first days of Sketchbook Skool. I don’t think this particular class is available anymore but I will never forget it and I made many online friends that have been a great support over the last 6 years.

One of the classes was with Prashant Miranda If you are on Instagram, go and have a look at his work – it makes you smile! It’s thanks to Prashant that I sketched a full day in thumbnails, Easter Monday 2014.

We’ve still got the tortoise (he’s in hibernation) but our cats and Nina are no longer with us – we only said goodbye to Ollie a few weeks ago:-( These sketches are more meaningful to me than any photograph.

I could write a short story for all of these sketches…

…and I could fill a book to go with the image below.

Our old washing machine….

I recall that the plan was to sand down and prime our front bay window that day. Just see how easily we were distracted!

My sketchbooks are probably some of my most treasured possessions. Not so much for the sketches but for the memories that they captured.

If you are hesitating in front of a blank page, here’s what you do. Look at what is catching your eye. Pick up whatever pen/pencil/crayon is nearest. Draw for five minutes. Make a few notes. Add a colour. Don’t judge it good or bad, it’s just your sketch. Close the book and revisit a few years later. It will all make sense one day.

Sketching the washing up a few weeks ago

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie

Ker-ching! From Dayton Ohio to Audlem Cheshire

Williams of Audlem have been present in Audlem town centre for 155 years. Recently, they have brought a wonderful treasure back into pride of place on their recently fitted antique counter. It’s such a great piece of crafted woodwork that I sketched some of the details below.

pen and ink sketch of cash register from Dayton Ohio now in Audlem Cheshire
National Cash Register in William’s of Audlem

There is a guarantee tucked away in the drawer with Judy’s grandfather’s name handwritten up at the top. It appears he got it from 225 Tottenham Court Road London, in 1913, which is now home to the Nationwide Building Society. There is a possibility that this was a reconditioned cash register imported from Daton, USA.

Guarantee of old cash register from 1913
Mr George Williams of Audlem – Judy’s great grandfather’s name pencilled on the guarantee

Keyboard on old cash register
Well worn keys

old cash register
Can’t see any pounds or shillings but plenty of pence!

Wooden cash register dated 1913 from Dayton Ohio
Antique wooden cash register now on display in Williams of Audlem

section of limited edition print audlem drawing the street
Williams of Audlem at the heart of the Square, Audlem

You can see the rest of the Audlem street scenes here on my website Drawing the Street   and Judy stocks signed limited edition prints of all the Audlem street scenes which I have drawn so far.

Pop in and say hello – there is always a warm welcome from Judy or Olive!

Judy Evans amd ronnie Cruwys at Williams of Audlem
Happy 155th anniversary Williams of Audlem! Thanks for the photo Olive 🙂

 

And the Sixth town is Fenton

Fenton is one of the six towns of the Potteries, Stoke-on Trent. It’s the one that wasn’t included in the writing by Arnold Bennett. Many of you will know that Stoke is currently in the run up towards the bid for the City of Culture 2021 so I thought I could play a small part and share some of the architecture of the Sixth Town that may fall under the radar.

pencil sketch of architecture in fenton Stoke on trent
Sketching out brick and tiled gables on Victoria Road, Fenton

Driving along Victoria Road, Fenton last year, a row of dark red brick houses caught my eye and I pulled over to take a better look. It turns out that there’s quite a surprising tale of connections for me behind the history of these buildings but more on that next time.

So, fresh from the drawing board, some work in progress pictures of Victoria Road in the Hitchman Street Conservation area, Fenton.

This is a row of terraced houses built on a philanthropic model for pottery workers towards the end of the 19th century. There is a comprehensive write up about the history of the conservation area here.

Look closely at the gables and there are some wonderful terracotta tile patterns.

The thought that has gone into the design of the fronts is consistent, balanced and although intricate, it all adds up to a really attractive terrace.

pen and ink drawing of Fenton Stoke on Trent
                            Ink on paper underway on 36 and 38 Victoria Road.                                           

Back to the drawing now and more about this next time.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Pegging out Holloway Road

pen and ink urban sketch of Holloway Road
Pegging out the Holloway Road

Thought I would share a few pics of the couple of days spent sketching another stretch of the Holloway Road. This time I brought along a length of cartridge paper which I had prepared at home with a wash of gum arabic and French and English Ochre pigments, to give the paper a bit of warmth.

Note the colourful tote bag by the French American artist  Gwenn Seemel – I admire her outlook on copyright as well as her colourful artwork.

preparing per fro sketching
Adding a wash of ochres and gum arabic to cartridge paper

pen and ink and water colour on holloway road
Sketching out the buildings opposite Cowling and Wilcox

I’d packed half a dozen clothes pegs to clip the paper to a folder which seemed to work quite well. Even though it’s non-stop busy along this road, several people stopped to pass the time of day with me and thanks to Sean for taking this photo and sending it to me.

Ronnie Cruwys Urban Sketching Holloway road
Photo thanks to @seanazzillustration

5-holloway-road-ronnie-cruwys
Pegs and toes keeping the paper curl held down

Holloway road
Have to be quick to sketch between the traffic.

new drawing of Hollway road on water colour paper
Back home and on to the formal drawing.

holloway-road-wip
preparing for the lettering

lettering-on-holloway-road
Adding the lettering

81-to-129-holloway-rd-crop-b
Section of the final drawing – Denmark Place build 1863, the same year that work on the London underground began.

The drawing is now complete, scanned and can be seen in full on my website. Limited edition prints are now available to buy.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie

 

Happy Birth Year Mr Renshaw!

pen ink and natural pigment wash on cartridge paper
Cottages on Stone Road Eccleshall, Staffordshire

Not long ago I received an email from Mr Tom Renshaw who used to live at no 9 Stone Road Eccleshall. Tom had received a birthday card from his daughter which showed the cottages closer to the town centre which I drew a couple of years ago.

2crop Stone Rd Eccleshall Ronnie Cruwys

Tom gave some insights into the earlier life of some of the buildings – the wooden fronted building used to be a corn merchant, ‘F.Gardner’ and the building next to it a bakery, ‘where we would buy bread fresh from the oven and eat it without butter or anything else’.

Stone Rd Eccleshall Ronnie Cruwys.jpg

When you reach 82, why not celebrate the whole year? It allows me time to wish you a very happy belated birthday Tom and to sign off with a close up of your former home.

Stone Rd 7 to 13.jpg

 

 

Gifts

Gift from John

A few years ago John, our son, gave me a hefty 10 metre roll of lovely thick cartridge paper as well as a concertina sketch book with another 10 metres of drawing paper.

The roll of cartridge paper made me commit to that first long street drawing (you can look back on that here) but the sketch book has remained unopened until last week when I received another gift out of the blue from Laura – some Uniball pens. Now these are the pens I turn to first for my on-the-hoof street sketches as they are waterproof and lightfast and have a range of fine points giving pin-sharp lines.

Last Saturday was forecast fair so I took off to the historic market town of Leek, in the heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands, with my new pens and sketchbook. 1 Leek Church St

 

Leek has to be the friendliest town centre I’ve drawn in so far. It was a busy Saturday with a lot of people in town and although I was on Church Street, tucked out of sight of the main square, people still came over to see what I’d drawn and to pass the time of day with me. The sketches are pretty rough and ready but should help me get set up for the more formal drawing to follow.

2 Leek Church St Parker House
Parker House (16th Century), one of a number of medieval buildings in the town.

I’m planning on drawing a series of streets in Leek which I hope I will have ready in time to go up in a shared exhibition in November at the Foxlowe Art Centre when Staffordshire Artists Cooperative will be putting on a joint display of their work.

3 Leek Stockwell st Foxlowe
Foxlowe Arts Centre

4 Leek WHite HArt tea room Stockwell
White Hart Tea Room

I travelled light with my kit: a few Uniball unipin pens, a single ultramarine blue watercolour pan, a Pentel black ink brush and a waterbrush pen.  I go easy with the brush pens on this paper but it helps to add a bit of shading to the buildings by dabbing some of the ink into a jam jar lid (travel palette) to dilute it first.

5 leek Stockwell.jpg

 

urban sketch leek
Sketching on the go          

sky guys Leek
Not forgotten these two Sky gentlemen from my visit to Leek in 2014 – I will get round to including you on a drawing!

Thanks for reading

Ronnie

Porridge at Bill’s

Bills for breakfast
Starting the day with tea and porridge at Bill’s, Longacre

Last weekend we joined up with Crohns & Colitis UK fo their annual walk around London. It’s a great way to see our capital and better still, it gets the word out about the support that’s available for anyone who has Crohn’s or Colitis.

CkFv_QCWYAASh4S.jpg largeWe set off from Stoke Station in our purple tee-shirts. Once on the train, it wasn’t long before a lady offered us a donation; her sister was diagnosed 50 years ago, but back then it was something that wasn’t talked about at all. I found this a very moving gesture as I think that it is only in recent years that it is finally being brought to light and all credit to those who have worked so hard to raise its profile.

It was a day out for us and yes, I brought my sketch book!  I’ve had my head down recently gettting on with my icon diploma work as it’s only four months till our end of diploma exhibition in Shoreditch.

I enjoy sketching on-the-hoof and my favourite sketching has to be the half minute bus/train stop sketches….they’re  just thumbnail views of life on the go. Enough words – time for a few pictures!

train sketch 1
Train stop sketches

train sketches 2.jpg
Train stop sketches

 

london bus sketch 3a.jpg
Bus stop thumbnails

 

Whitehall
Skyline above Whitehall, London

whitehall old shades
Whitehall, The Old Shades, gable dated 1898

Lincolns Inn fields
Liquid lunch

no prizes
Opposite Condor bikes on Grays Inn Road

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

&Buttons and Flowers

So here we have the finished drawing of 32 to 56 High Street, Eccleshall, complete with guest appearances by local residents. This has been great fun to include you all and I hope you can still recognise yourselves…

buildings on high Street Eccleshall
Next along Eccleshall High Street

Drawing of Sean Hirst Flowers Eccleshall Staffordshire
“Sean Hirst Flowers” and  “&Buttons”, Eccleshall High St.

man walking dog in drawing of Eccleshall
Walking the dog

Caroline on the High Street
Calling the shots

pen and ink drawing with gallery at 12 member
Staffordshire Artist picking up texts after a Gallery meeting

Eccleshall high Street artwork
Valentines, Eccleshall

Greetings cards are now in stock  at Gallery at 12 in Eccleshall of this latest drawing. Prints also available to order and you can see the drawing in full over on my website:Drawing the Street.

 

Dave Hall
Father and son

Thanks for joining me!

Ronnie

 

Old Maxims Disco Diva

Maxims ghost view small
The former Maxims night club, a ghost of its former self, with St Giles’s church tower behind

Hello! A warm welcome and thank you to recently subscribed drawing enthusiasts.

I’ve been working on this drawing in my local class taught by David Brammeld. It was only when I began this drawing that I discovered that one of my classmates was a regular Maxims  disco diva at this legendary night spot! It used to be known as the ‘Place Mate’ when it was owned by the same proprietors as ‘The Place‘ in nearby Hanley where disco was born and David Bowie and Led Zeppelin once played as pop youngsters.

However, when the dual carriageway was constructed around Newcastle-under-Lyme, Maxims was severed from the life blood of the town centre and now all that is left are these empty shells.

Maxims Buildings 2014.JPG

I wouldn’t have given these buildings much thought if it hadn’t been for the comments given by Moya when I displayed some of my drawings in Newcastle Library a few years ago:

Stand with your back to St Giles. Look across the dual carriageway to what used to be Maxim’s Night Club. This used to be the old Catholic Club and overspill rooms for St Marys School.  Also, it was the Old Pomona pub. When they took Evans sweet factory down behind it, they discovered that there was a courtyard and it had been a coaching Inn….Sammy Bell’s pottery was excavated in the car park/ courtyard area. The base of the Kiln is in the grounds of Newcastle Museum...’

The gloomy front masks a surprising gable window behind with a mosaic of pottery fragments.

Maxims round the back 1 Cruwys sm
The building is considered to date back to the mid-1600’s

From local records, it was bought by Samuel Bell in 1724 for £156 who set up a potworks there and then in 1729, took  out a patent for ‘Agate Ware’.

back of Maxims Night club NUL

Not knowing these buildings, I walked around the back and peered through the hoardings which now surround the site. I was so surprised by what I saw that I thought they were definitely worth recording as part of my street records. However, a flat elevation wasn’t going to give any idea of the complexity of the roofs and layout so I opted for a sketch perspective instead.

I used Dr Martin’s Payne’s Grey ink on a sheet of  Khadi cotton rag paper, a heavy, textured and grainy paper – lovely to draw on.

Maxims black and white small
Back of the former Maxim’s buildings

There are plans underway for a new use for these buildings but it’s unlikely that they will remain in this organic sprawl for much longer. I would be interested to hear of any other insights into the history of these buildings.

maxims colour added 2.jpg
Drawing almost finished.

Thanks for the comments Moya and thank you for reading.

Ronnie

 

Eccleshall people bringing life to the street

1People of Eccleshall
A few quick pencil sketches of Eccleshall people before inking on to paper

Whenever I draw a street scene, I like to include the people who are around at the time. This has become just as important as recording the buildings as it’s the people who bring the street to life.

1a Eccleshall from Buttons to Valentinos.jpg
Work in progress on the next stage of Eccleshall High Street

Although I already had a few photos of people, I put a call out on social media to invite volunteers from Eccleshall to step on to my latest drawing of the High Street by sending me a photo of themselves or friends along this part of the street.

I was delighted when the photographer Caroline Burley sent me a selection of photos of figures striding out between ‘Valentins’ and ‘& Buttons’. Thanks Caroline! I will leave you to figure out who’s who, but here are the line drawings – almost ready for the colour wash.

2 56 High St Eccleshall Valentino sq

3 Angela Pearly Smith Eccleshall
 Angela ‘Pearly’ Smith…from Gallery at 12 

4 Caroline Burley
Photographer Caroline – classically framed!

5 Man and dog eccleshall
Walking the spaniel

6 Sean Hirst Flowers
Armed with Sean Hirst Flowers

7 Leaning man and man on bike eccleshall

Josh crop march 2016 a
My new assistant Josh, fresh from the North Staffs RSPCA shelter on Monday.

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie