Tag Archives: Pen and ink

Spires, Chimneys and Finials: Lanark’s Townscape

August is the month when I like to complete unfinished work or perk up drawings or paintings that I think are just missing something.

I’ve had four framed drawings of Lanark townscape packed away but during a recent sort I brought them back into my studio.

‘The Wheel Turns’ – New Lanark

I really enjoyed putting these compositions together. I had only planned on doing the one at first, but there are so many interesting details in Lanark’s townscape that I ended up with four different layouts including New Lanark.

The thing that bothered me about these drawings was that they were locked into lockdown time when windows were decorated with rainbows in support of key workers. The images captured an expression of hope at that time but right now I want to look forwards.

All four images have been scanned at a high resolution and I have these on the record so I decided to take the paintings out of their own lockdown. I removed them from their frames and decided to free the rainbow colours from the windows and move the colour elsewhere on the drawings.

Inking up to pull out the forms

I’ve been looking at ways to take my street drawings in a new direction and I’ve really enjoyed searching out architectural elements and details and forming these compositions.

I wrote a post about this change in work here when I responded to the call for entries to enter a local art competition here in Lanark.

Drawing removed from the frame ready to start work

Back to the task in hand. Having taken the artwork out of the frames I began by lifting off the rainbows (gouache paint so water soluble) and reinstate the dark blue and build up contrasts.

Finials, Spires and Chimneys

Looking at each painting in turn, I gradually introduced a range of blues. The colour pops of reds, oranges and yellows brought the warm spectrum colours out into the streetscape.

Revitalised drawings together before being reframed

I worked on these during our recent hot spell so I went for that sun-drenched, blue-skies and flaming chimneys look!

Here they are, back in their frames, refreshed and revitalised!

‘The Wheel Turns’ New Lanark
Crowsteps and Weathervanes
Finials, Spires and Chimneys
Provost’s Lamp
Set of four signed cards, 5x7inches.

The artwork and cards are all available to buy and shown together here on my main website.

Thanks for reading,
Ronnie πŸ™‚

Fenton and Families

The other day I received an email via my archive blog ‘Drawing the Detail’ from a lady who mentioned that her grandparents, the Rowbothams, lived in one of these Fenton houses. I love to hear of personal connections with the buildings and streets that I draw. It brings them to life. This is a name that I can add along with the Hammersley family – more about that on the blog link above.

Two brick built terraces in Fenton, Stoke on Trent

I’m often asked why I choose to draw a particular street – this one threw a hook out as I was driving past when we were living in Staffordshire. I had to pull over to take a second look as I couldn’t get over how beautifully thought out it was with all the brick detailing and decorative terracotta tiles.

It also reminded me of the building where I used to work at Horsley Huber Architects – 134 Newport Road Stafford. Here’s the old work family! The photo info states that it was taken 19 years ago, 1 Jan 2003 – it must have been a mild day. There I am in the lilac top front left – still with brown hair!

Staff at Horsley Huber Architects, sometime around 2003 I think

We’re all a good bit older now and we’ve since had to say goodbye to a dear friend Ken (back, 4th from right) RIP.

Inking up the front of the buildings.

Returning to my drawing – these buildings are on Victoria Road and Hitchman Street, in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.

You can imagine that it was a real pleasure to draw a street like this – it’s an uncommon find. If you want to discover more about Stoke’s creative tiles, have a look at Ceramic City Stories.

I use a mapping nib in a Brause dip pen. This gives me a flexible line.

Last of all, here’s the final limited edition print with both streets set together within a double mount. Barewall Gallery in Burslem have a framed print in stock which you can buy online here.

As always, thanks for reading,

Ronnie πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Jura: a surprise trip

It’s been a while since I’ve been on a camping trip with Iain. Long enough to have almost forgotten about the many small biting things that are about at this time of year but very excited by the thought of soaking up Jura’s dramatic landscape (dram-tastic all round!) .

Cake stop along the side of Loch Awe

We set off on Friday to catch the ferry from Kennacraig to Port Askraig on Islay. It’s then a short ferry crossing to Jura.

I took a load of art kit with me but in the end it was the pocket sketchbook, watercolours and the fine liner pen that were the most portable as we did a bit more walking than anticipated. All well worth it!

Midges are bearable when you have a camping spot beside the Jura Distillery and a few steps to the bar of the Jura Hotel. Plus the midge coils work – thanks Iain!

All this plus the view below.

View from the campsite in Craighouse, Jura
A wee dram

At 7am next morning there was only the sound of Iain firing up the stove, oyster catchers and the passenger ferry….

Saturday morning – view east towards the Cowall Peninsula

…but this didn’t last! Craighouse was soon all go with nearby grass being strimmed and these lads up working on the distillery first thing.

View west towards Jura distillery

We packed up and went north of Tarbert and south of Inverlussa and set out on foot to Cruib Lodge Bothy. It was a wee bit more of a stride than aniticpated with wet feet and my best bog language for some parts but it was all worth the effort.

Just a few of the many wild flowers out on Jura including orchids, tormentil, bog asphodel and sundew. Lots of this year’s frogs too and otters swimming in the bay opposite the bothy.

Sunday morning and time to depart
View towards Caol Ila Distillery on Islay

Final view of the Paps of Jura from Port Askaig.

A brilliant trip and it feels like I’ve been away months.

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 πŸ™‚

Acomb in a few Sketches

My sister celebrates her birthday in June – a great reason to head south to Acomb to celebrate together and to sketch some of the familiar sights of the village where I grew up.

Dad used to grow peonies in the old place in Hobgate

Acomb has a strong sense of place and features in the Domesday Book (1086) when it consisted of some 14 houses. Its name most likely derives from the old English Acum – meaning ‘at the oaks’.

Acomb Green is in the middle edged by mature trees. There’s a slight slope on the land on one side where there’s a childrens’ formal play area. Some 50+ years ago it was a great destination when it snowed – perfect for kids on a toboggan including our family!

Sketching the Sun Inn and St Stephen’s Church on Acomb Greenphoto credit Megs!

Long before this, The Green used to be a sand quarry and there are some great photographs in an article in the Yorkshire Evening Press. Stephen Lewis writes: “The Green was originally known as β€˜Yarcomb Sand’oil’, apparently, or the ‘Acomb sandhole’. It is said that this was where sand was extracted for sale in the streets in York – and reputedly for making the glass that went into the great medieval windows of York Minster.”

The Sun Inn with St Stephen’s Church Tower behind

The Green is triangular, defined by three roads. This side here shows York Road (B1224) where you can see the profile of St Stephen’s Church tower – the building itself is set well back from the road.

Lychgate leading to St Stephen’s Church, Acomb

This is a great vantage point to see further afield. As the notice says, the church has a trig point marking it 33.5m above sea level and you can see for miles on a clear day.

This was a morning for quick sketches so we moved along to Front Street to sketch what used to be the Wesleyan Chapel; it’s now private flats.

The Old Chapel, Front Street, Acomb

Whilst looking up some history of Acomb, I came across a blog ‘Acomb – York Stories’ which although written in 2006 has received comments and Acomb anecdotes for over a decade after. It includes a photo of the Chapel in a former life as Ebor Carpets with white-washed brickwork.

29 Front Street, Home to WRDunn Architects and Building Surveyors

Just time to sign off with the exciting news that a set of 60cm size limited edition prints of all four of my Front Street Acomb drawings are hot-off-the-press ready to buy from my Esty shop which can be reached via my website here. Only nine prints available of the 90cm size – please get in touch if you would like to place an order.

Front Street – Love the long views between the buildings

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie πŸ™‚

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.Β 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

West Port – Gateway to Lanark

Many years ago Lanark had four town gates: West Port, East Port, Wellgate and Castlegate. There’s no sign of the gate that once stood at West Port – it’s long gone, demolished sometime in the late 1700’s, but the name remains.

West Port, Lanark is the sixth in my series of street drawings of this Royal Burgh. Here’s a clip from the part of the street where it meets Friar’s Lane.

West Port, Lanark

My street drawings are flat-faced elevations – it keeps things simple and allows me to relate cleanly from one building to another in a way that can be read with ease in future. It shows the relationships of eaves and rooflines, heights and widths of properties and the general fall of the ground. It also gives clues as to what might lie beyond – take for example the chimney stacks. Here you can see the lines of stacks but no idea of the extent of their scale….

West Port Lanark

Let’s take a closer look at the stacks that sit on this early 19th century part of the street. I’ve recently drawn a series of sketches of the town for #inktober – looking at some of the less familiar views. Here though, this is a view you will see as you head out south from the town.

Roofline over West Port, Lanark

Look at these rows of chimney pots! Each one will service a fireplace somewhere inside these buildings.

Below is a close up of the West Port B&B which is one of the Instagram #inktober series (you can look these up on my Instagram page @drawingthestreet). The original is now framed and on sale in the Tolbooth, Lanark.

The West Port B&B

Moving along the street, let’s look at these two fine early 19th C buildings. The one on the left listed grade C, the one on the right grade B.

West Port, Lanark

Moving along West Port, we move poetically from Mucky Paws to the Police Station…

Mucky Paws (left) to the Police Station (right)

The last part of this section of the street drawing is shown below.

Eu Kirk and neighbours

Here’s the whole street drawing – from Friar’s Lane to number 43 West Port. You can see the drawing in more detail on my website drawing the street along with the other Lanark streets in this series including the High Street, Bloomgate, Broomgate and Wellgate.

As I write (9th Dec 2021), there’s one limited edition print, 104cm x 36cm, signed, framed and ready to hang on your wall, available from the Tolbooth Lanark. There are over 40 artists displaying their work there at the moment, so if you can’t see it on the wall, it may be awaiting its turn! Please ask at the Tolbooth reception or just email me: ronniecruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk

West Port original from the 2021 Instagram #inktober series

I’ll sign off with the final framed original of West Port from the #inktober series which is also available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie πŸ™‚

Framed West Port – part of the #inktober series 2021

Framed original artwork of West port now available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.

Wee Mans and Wee Dug of Castlegate, Lanark

There’s a node of activity surrounding St Nicholas Church and the Tolbooth, Lanark. The ancient Castlegate converges with the High Street nearby and it’s easy to miss the history when you are concentrating on the traffic. Castlegate is one of the town’s oldest streets as it once led to the castle, the heart and origin of what was to become the Royal Burgh of Lanark.

St Nicholas Church from North Vennel

If you glance down Castlegate from the High Street you should catch sight of the wee Girnin’ Dug – looking down from his parapet above Castlegate.

Girnin Dug of Castlegate

If the Wee Dug was alive today, I’ve no doubt he’d make his way to the Wee Mans below for conviviality and snacks!

Castlegate was originally a very wide street when it was once the location of the early medieval markets. However, it reduced in size when the Broomgate was constructed in the 18th century.

Wee Mans pub on Castlegate

This October, I joined the Instagram #inktober2021 challenge to draw daily in ink throughout the month. There were various given themes but I chose to draw some of the less familiar views of Lanark.

Looking up Castlegate towards High Street, Lanark
Castlegate, St Nicholas Church and the High Street, Lanark

There are a few of older cottages on the Castlegate which remain from the 18th century – I don’t know for sure but these below look similar to the old weavers cottages dotted around the town.

All the original drawings and some prints are now available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark where every purchase made contributes to the upkeep and future growth of this town treasure!

At present the Tolbooth is hosting the creative works of some 40 artists in South Lanarkshire, from fine art original paintings to hand-made, palm sized gifts, perfect to post abroad or to put on your tree – a feast to behold and a fantastic destination for Christmas gifts!

As always, thanks for reading.

Ronnie πŸ™‚