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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We 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!
Only a few days after sketching my broken down car on the hardshoulder of the M6, I was sketching on the grass verge of Rosemarkie beach. Once again, I began to sketch a vehicle but this time it was Maureen’s ice cream van which caught my eye. I was lost in drawing so it took me by surprise when Maureen herself hopped out of her van to present me with an ice cream!
Following this kind gesture, my family were keen for me to sketch other eateries in Rosemarkie in the hope of free snacks for them too, but there is stiff competition from the local gulls.
This is our sixth visit to Rosemarkie, a seaside village on the Black Isle, about 30 miles east of Inverness, full of lovely traditional buildings such as the Groam House Museum.
For anyone interested in Celtic design, a collection of the work by George Bain is held here. He published the book ‘Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction’ in 1951, which did much to revive interest in the subject.
I will leave you with a sketch of the view from the Old School House.
Thanks for reading and keep on sketching – wherever you are.
A couple of weeks ago, my car broke down in the midst of a tailback after a pile-up on the M6 northbound. It’s an alarming experience to be stranded in the central lane as the rest of the traffic began to surge ahead around me. As I rang the emergency services, a chap leapt out of his car beside me, beckoned to a few others and they pushed me over to the hardshoulder. It happened so fast that they were back in their cars and gone in a matter of seconds.
My heartfelt thanks to these strangers.
Safely off the road, I had my handbag, sketch book and pen so I got stuck into a few sketches. I never travel without these thanks to Sketchbook Skool.
Eventually, the recovery vehicle towed me back to the garage shortly before closing. The AA man and Kwik Fit lads pushed my car into shelter in pouring rain ready for Ryan of Rytech to work on it the following week. Thanks lads.
I was supposed to be collecting my American family from Manchester Airport and my husband was supposed to be going to his friend and colleague’s funeral, but none of this went to plan. This day could have felt a write-off but with the kindness of strangers and a sketchbook and pen, I can reflect on it in quite a different light.
In between drawing streets and icon diploma course work, I love to sketch whenever I get a spare moment. It means that waiting for the dentist, or whatever, is now a great way of really looking at life going on around me. So waiting for our turn on a seaplane trip was one well worth recording. The flight was actually a present for Iain’s birthday back in February, but funnily enough, we ended up flying on my birthday!
We have just had a week on holiday up on Speyside in Morayshire, Scotland. It was wonderful but the best way of telling you about it is to share a few sketches.
Taking a slightly different view of the street here, but still drawing! The Bishy Road has a thriving and active community which knows how to greet the Tour de France and throw a street party. I am quite pleased that I have discovered one tiny corner which speaks volumes about the secret of this community’s success – a noticeboard tucked away deep in the heart of the heart of the Bishy Road where everyone can see what’s on – without ever needing to go online. I will leave it to you to guess where it is!
The cards and notices give a cross section of life in Clementhorpe: life drawing, yoga for adults and kids, piano lessons, playgroup, spanish lessons, gutters cleared, theatre shows, garden services, plumbing, counselling, kids coaching, kids creative workshops, acupuncture, reflexology, music nights, photography, events organiser, fish and chips – all the bases covered!
I will leave you with a flavour of the Bishy Road dressed up for the Tour de France and their street party which followed.
It is the big Douggie Mac Bike Ride today. It’s terrific to see all the cyclists out in their jazzy colours for such a great cause, all very chirpy and making an early start on their bid for LLangollen. I have been meaning to sketch some of the buildings close to home so, continuing in the spirit of Sketch Book Skool, I sat outside the Sheet Anchor and sketched Station Stores along with a few cyclists!
A few examples of the smiles, waves and colour below. Thanks for reading!
I’m back from a wonderful family gathering and one of the first jobs on my list was to MOT my car. I popped the car into the garage but this time, packed my pens and sketchbook as there is a building close by that I have wanted to draw for quite some time.
No 7 Brunswick street stands out as a reminder of what was once a street of elegant town houses. The building next door is shrouded in scaffolding at present but the English Kitchen was just the right size for me to complete in one hit, standing with my back to Jubilee Pool.
Thanks to my friends who have encouraged me to get out there and draw – I completed the line drawing on the street and applied the colour at home. Here is the final sketch. Thanks for reading!
Some years ago, I came across a book called “Everyday Matters” by Danny Gregory. It’s a moving and uplifting book, all sketches and handwritten notes, a jounal of the everyday moments of his life. I’ve since bought several other books of his, noticing each time how his sketching changed as his skill grew from daily practice.
I have just completed my first week of Danny’s online sketching school, six weeks and six different teachers offering their tips on drawing. Some 800 plus sketchers have signed up from all over the globe, sketching and posting our most ordinary but meaningful moments. I’m hoping that this will give me the practise and discipline to join that wonderful community Urban Sketchers, so I can really get into the ribs of drawing streets on the hoof.
Somehow, capturing our own everyday matters really helps us see our surroundings with fresh eyes, no matter what the subject is….
All these sketches took between 5 and 15 minutes.
Thanks for reading and more sensible stuff on the next post…Burslem in technicolour!