Thursday, 20 September 2018

Art society workshop

This month's Monday evening workshop challenge was to work from an uninspiring, black and white reference image supplied at the start of the session.  Members could interpret the subject either realistically, abstractly, as a whole or just in part, with the aim of producing something more interesting.

There were a couple of really imaginative abstract pieces which I admired, but I opted to try out a sketchy image on black paper.  I used a white gel pen to pick out the features I wanted to include, adding oil pastel and gouache to inject some colour.

This was our reference image

I used the Hahnemuhle Black Book -
 really nice, sturdy 250 gsm pages, ring-bound 9" x 9" 

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Hahnemuhle Cappuccino sketch book

A lovely surprise in the post yesterday - a parcel from Germany with one of Hahnemuhle's newly released sketchbooks.  The subtle creamy brown colour is so enticing.  There's even a sachet of coffee included so I can enjoy a drink while I sketch!


Having enjoyed using their Grey Book, I am really looking forward to getting started on this one.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

John Blockley Retrospective Exhibition

I visited this exhibition yesterday with a couple of artist friends.

The venue was in the small Cotswold village of Todenham - the studio of artist Ann Blockley - who organised this excellent retrospective exhibition of her late father's work.  In addition to the impressive range of paintings, we were able to browse through portfolios of John's superb sketches and drawings.  It was an event well worth visiting.

For more images see also: John Blockley

We each managed to grab a few minutes for a quick sketch before heading to Moreton-in-Marsh for a lunch stop, a brief wander round the market stalls and a local art emporium, then a mystery tour of narrow country lanes as we meandered homewards. A really good day out.

A very quick pen sketch of the dilapidated village pub. Some repair work
 was evidently being undertaken, but whether it will remain a community
hub or become a holiday home remains uncertain.


Pat (our intrepid "tour guide") and myself

In the courtyard outside the gallery
The Farriers Arms




Monday, 3 September 2018

Urban Sketchers Swindon

The local John Lewis department store invited our sketch group to spend a couple of hours in and around the store, in part helping to promote Swindon Open Studios which takes place near the end of this month.

Initially, the suggestion did not seem to attract much enthusiasm, but on the day there was quite a good turnout and the challenge was enjoyed.

I wasn't particularly pleased with my effort, having chosen a complicated view of the escalator and stairs, but I struggled on.  I should have followed the example of others in the group who isolated still life subjects from the various display stands.

Pen, watercolour, gouache, wax crayon, gel pen on tan paper

Below are some of the photos taken by Daniel Thuysbaert who organised the event.






Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Recent sketches

I have been working on a couple of paintings for a local exhibition next month and have got behind with my blog postings.  Here are a few recent images from my sketchbook - a couple from life, others from magazines, the internet or imagination.





Flower study from my own photo reference

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Urban Sketchers Swindon

Sketch outing to TWIGS Community Garden.  I have been to this location a couple of times before, but this was a first for Swindon Urban Sketchers.  A glorious day, a good turn out with several new members and a luxuriant venue (we just had to be wary of the beekeepers working in one corner of the site).






Pen, watercolour, gouache, wax crayon on tan paper

Thursday, 26 July 2018

A canal, a tunnel and a bit of history

Wednesday, 25th July - A grand day out with a local sketch group at a hidden-away gem in the Gloucestershire countryside.



Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, at the end of a long, narrow gravel track is The Tunnel House Inn, surrounded by fields and shady, woodland areas.  Steps down a steep slope lead to a long disused canal and a grand Georgian style tunnel entrance, known as the Coates Portal.



The Sapperton Tunnel was constructed in 1784-9 and, at over 2 miles, was the longest ever built at the time.  The tunnel was too narrow to accommodate a tow path for the horses which pulled the barges, therefore a couple of men would lay on their backs on the front of the barge and "walk" their way along the walls, hence earning the name "leggers".  Meanwhile, the horses had to be led overground to meet up at the other end of the tunnel at Daneway.

The Tunnel House originally served as a hostel for the construction workers, but once the canal was in use it became a place for refreshment.  Traffic through the tunnel ceased in 1911 and subsequent roof falls made it impassable.  The portals at both ends were restored in the 1970s, but efforts to restore the weak areas of the interior seem to have been abandoned.


My sketches were done with sepia fine liner, watercolour, gouache, wax crayon and white gel pen.