A few weeks ago, the weather was set fair so we took off to Anglesey for a bike ride and a night in our tent. I love these 24 hour mini-holidays. Not driving too far and getting fresh sea air is a tonic and I really enjoy exploring places new to us.
I had a new tiny palm sized sketchbook to make a start in. The best sketchbooks are the full ones so I got stuck in. There’s a church tower rising over the dense trees opposite the entrance to the campsite. It’s dedicated to an early Celtic female saint – Saint Ceinwen. Apparently there’s a holy well somewhere in the area – finding where that’s hidden will be a destination for another day!
Thanks for the subject of this next sketch Aunty J!
The following morning, we cycled out to the Cefni Reservoir from Newborough Sands. Most of the route is off the main road, alongside waterways full of wildlife.
I love this time of year. We went on this trip just before Midsummer when growth is at its peak. Have to grab and treasure these days when we can.
This week, Stoke Urban Sketchers celebrated international recognition as they were granted the status of ‘Regional Chapter’ within the global community of Urban Sketchers.
The group met up for a sketch this Saturday in the New Vic and the group founders, Laura Green and Rhomany Klair Scattergood were interviewed by the Sentinel for a feature as part of the Stoke bid for City of Culture 2021. There’s a taster video of the sketching session here filmed by Rhomany.
Instead of sharing my recent sketches, I thought I would rewind a bit to where I began keeping a sketch book. A few years ago, it was a wish of mine to become a member of the Urban Sketching community. I loved the confidence and simplicity of sketches from life and how people would share their sketches from all over the world. The range of skill is quite dramatic – from hurried sketches to accomplished works of art.
Even with my background in architecture, I still found it quite daunting to sketch out on the street, but that was only until I came across the work of Danny Gregory and his genius idea of Sketch Book Skool.
I think I was the eighteenth person to enlist on ‘Beginning‘, that first round of Sketch Book Skool lessons, which was such a brilliant experience. There must be thousands enlisted now. Danny and his co-teachers taught us all to just go for it – to sketch our days and in so doing we sketch our lives.
For these sketches, I was following a lesson given by Prashant Miranda, recording a day from start to end, my early dip into sketching from life, which is all urban sketching is about.
If you are thinking of joining a local group of Urban Sketchers – it is really informal and you’ll be made very welcome!
On the top floor of the brand new Fiona Stanley hospital in Perth, there’s a dedicated visitors’ room complete with all you need to help yourself to a brew or chilled water thanks to donations from the Australian #DryJuly. A perfect refuge for me who had just arrived from UK and was all at sixes and sevens with the seven hour time difference.
This was an unplanned, hasty visit as my sister had been admitted to intensive care then moved to ward 7D. She was so poorly.
I unplugged from all social media simply because I wanted to be fully present with my Aussie family.
My sketch book though is a great soother and even these bins became quite a focus when everything else was just too hard to take in. In spite of clear labels, when under stress – no one knows what to throw where!
Nights alternated between the ward and my temporary Aussie home, looking toward the river and my nieces’ childhood tree house, built to last over 20 years ago, by their Dad.
Every other night was spent on the recliner with Anne, on the top floor of the 5 star, state-of-the-art hospital, overlooking the city skyline. A room with quite a view!
Perth City Skyline from ward 7 D Fiona Stanley
Towards the end of my visit, my sister gradually began to recover. Looking out between the blinds, we noticed an unexpected sky treat – a splinter of light which burst into a huge illuminated candle on the corner of Perth’s landmark QV1 building, designed by the architect Harry Seidler.
These are rare and treasured moments.
Asking to ‘go out’ for a coffee is a significant sign of improvement!
This has been an unforgettable and profoundly moving trip. Anne remains an outpatient under the watchful care of her healthcare team with a large question mark as to what treatment next. We are all so grateful for the extraordinary care, prayers and kindness given to Anne. They are received by all our family with gratitude.
This post is for my nieces – with love and thanks, from Aunty Ron XX
Been thinking ahead to drawing another stretch of the Great North Road later this year. I like to sketch from the street first to get a good look at some of the details so pitched my perch opposite the Fig and Olive on Upper Steet, Islington.
I use a handy portable camping stool – it’s lightweight and fits easily into a bag and I tucked myself into a corner, well clear of the fire station.
Stating the obvious, it was pretty cold and so on the fist day of the Chinese New Year (Rooster), I chickened out after one sketch and went for an indoor brew nearby. Couldn’t see a Shirker’s Cafe, but this place, the Workers Cafe looked like I could sketch from the empty seat in the front window.
Back home again next day via a catch-up with a dear old pal, meeting up in Milton Keynes.
Getting back in the groove can be an effort, but it’s always helped by a brew. It’s been a while since I wrote here but it’s time to return to the sketch book. I have had 10th October 2015 in the diary for some time as it is the first #ArchitectureDrawingDay, set up by the RIBA as part of The Big Draw.
This year’s theme for the Big Draw is ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’. I packed my pencil case and took off to London to draw a few more sights on the Holloway Road, the old A1, that Great North Road.
No better sight at Euston, than the 253 which heads out to Nags Head:
Hopped off the bus at the Nag’s Head and found a bench free opposite this lovely frontage. The sun was out, so I pitched up to draw.
A few hours later, I made my way down the road for a bite to eat where I could continue drawing outside but under awnings. Had a tasty lunch at Constolia – and drew this domed character opposite. I have no idea about its history – have you? I would love to hear from you if you can shed some light on the building.
Festac nightclub and Holloway Mosque sit below this red brick and stone building – for an intriguing insight into this hot-spot corner of the Holloway Road, have a read of Islington Now .
Then, only a few hours later and it’s time to go home. This time back on the number 29 bus.
Thats all for now. I will say goodbye with the back of a very fine London bus.
Been such a tonic to spend the day with #ArchitectureDrawingDay.
The last few days have been spent mostly on trains and buses and taxis – no bicycles other than the above. I have only caught a passing glimpse of the awful events that have happened in Paris, but am heartened by the response of seeing so many drawings and cartoons appear online with ‘Je Suis Charlie’.
Drawing has become so much part of my life that I would now feel quite lost without pen and paper and I think the best tribute we can make to the lives lost is to pick up our pens, so much mightier than any sword or gun for that matter, and write, draw and give thanks for their lives lived to the full.
So a couple of drawn days in my life – collecting my son on his return form Hong Kong – our first Christmas without him – shhh… he missed a good one!
All this sketching needs fuel – found at the pre-sketched Golden Croissant on the Holloway Road!
May the souls of the French artists rest in peace and thanks for reading.