My first sketch of the holiday while having coffee looking into Convent Garden markets. While I’m happy with the general feel of it the lady’s head could’ve been better proportioned. No matter, it’s a lovely memory. I used a fine waterproof pen first and then added colour with my watercolour pencils and waterbrush. I didn’t draw with pencil first. I would’ve proabably remembered to leave space for the lady’s head if I had. I drew her after drawing the market carts.
A very quick sketch done with a Derwent watersoluble graphite sketch pencil and trusty waterbrush. The perspective of the fantastic arches worked but didn’t match the buildings above. Sometimes I wish that my teacher head matched my doing head at the same time.
My third sketch is my favourite so far. I sat with a pot of tea and a slice of cheese cake and drew the building opposite. The flowers all over London are wonderful. Every street has hanging baskets of flowers. Outside buildings, hanging from lamp posts and mostly, adorning pubs everywhere.
Well, I haven’t managed to keep up with my idea of doing a sketch a day but I am happy with some that I’ve done. Happy because I love the doing, happy because I did it, happy because they’re not too bad. However one particular sketch didn’t go so well.
By coincidence my South African brother and his youngest son were in London for a cross-over 2 days visiting the two other siblings, (nephew and niece) and grandnieces. So 7 adults and 3 girls just over and under 2, spent a Saturday visiting a pub in the country. We travelled down beautiful country lanes with large farm houses, pubs, shops and post boxes against the road. We finally arrived at the Stag on the River up against the lovely river Wey
After lunch I took out my sketch book. I started drawing one of the buildings and it just wasn’t working. Perspective and proportions were out and windows were drawn from what my head was telling me rather than my eyes. Then the magic started.
My unsuccessful beginning of a pen sketch was turned into a canvas for my three gorgeous grand nieces to explore. I showed Imi how to first put the colour down and then paint over it with the waterbrush. What a pleasure for me and her. Drew, Imi’s twin, preferred the black pen and with beautiful pen holding skill drew fine, careful words. I would love to understand the story she wrote.
I was pleased to redeem my belief in my ability the next day. Whew!
A few days ago I visited Tate Britain. This is where Turners bequest is housed and, happily, where a new exhibition of later works has just opened. I followed the signs to the Turner wing, not realising that I was completely missing the main entrance with maps and information. It was like creeping into the secret back entrance. There was no grand reception just some well placed signs to point me in the right direction.
I found them.
I hadn’t realised how large the works in oil are. Enormous canvases depicting great battles, mythical stories, storms and historical events – sometimes all in the same painting. His colours, brushstrokes and techniques were/are wondrous. However the wonder, for me, is in his brilliant watercolours. No wishy washy feint marks. (How did watercolour ever get its bad reputation for insipid colours with Turner setting the benchmark?). I was also excited to see his use of mixed media. Whatever gave him the effect he wanted he used. Chalk, graphite, watercolour and body colour (guache).
Although photos were allowed in the main section (not in the new exhibition) it is obviously difficult to take decent photos of work under glass so do yourself a favour and explore google images (or printed books) of Turner’s work.
I made some purchases including a book partly written by wonderful Australian artist Tony Smibert who works with the Tate as a Turner specialist. Inspiration to bring to my studio when I get home.
I’m in London for the first time in 33 years! My knowledge and interest in art was only vague then, and now, I am revelling in the opportunities that abound. I’ve also made a pact with myself that I will draw/sketch every day if possible. I’d like to share them with you too.
I visited the National Gallery on Wednesday afternoon after spending the morning in Covent Garden with my nephew who works near there.
My main interest lies in the 18th to early 20th century work so I headed there. Turner! There was a tour guide talking about the painting and I caught the tail end of his passion for the subject. I moved to the next room and Monet’s Water Lillies beckoned. How amazing to be in the presence of such wonderful art. To see the brush strokes, to see colours I had not imagined were there. Mauves, oranges and phthalo. I was bursting with the immensity of it all. Free to experience and photograph. It was almost overwhelming. I then did something I have never done before, had never had the opportunity or urge to do before. I sat on the broad wooden bench and took out my sketch book.
With 4 watercolour pencils (scarlet red, cadmium yellow, warm blue and indigo) and my trusty waterbrush I worked in my watercolour sketchbook. (300gsm paper). My waterbrush soon ran dry as I had used it for a previous sketch and had not thought to fill it up. So… I used the next best supply of liquid – my mouth! It wasn’t particularly successful but I was reluctant to break the inspired energy. Finally I decided that I did need proper water and sought out the cloak rooms. On may way there I passed through the next two rooms awaiting me – Cezanne, Van Gogh and more! They would have to wait. Indeed, I was too awed to continue once I’d completed the sketch and will definitely return to spend some more time with my new mentors.