Tuesday 27 February 2018

The light in Cadiz!

We’ve just finished our urban sketchers workshop in Cadiz. Such a great place in the Atlantic. It was carnival and people were out and about enjoying the streets, singing together, enjoying the fun, moving about.

Two sunsets, with that fantastic light of Cadiz, set the beginning and the end of the course, one , my first evening by the sea, in playa Caleta enjoying the colours and talking about what is to come.
The last evening, from Celia’s terrace, trying to capture the light and the towers, the torre Tavira and its neighbour merchant tower in the approaching sunset.
With them a desire to go back and paint and draw more.
What a fantastic city! Can wait to go back.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

NZ people and landscape

As it happened i arrived in NZ the first day of the #oneweek100people2017. Starting in Narita airport, i did sketch a lot of people everywhere in the next few days - some of my favourites here.

Narita airport and Auckland bar dinner
Lava Glass below had a great glass blowing demonstration - with the glass blower doing a double colour glass bauble - it is interesting the repetition of movements, subtlety and slow or fast as needed but precise, very precise.

In Taupo, the place where we had dinner had a live band which was great and also great people watching all those subtle friendly gestures people have, some businesslike, some friendly, others loving, flirty...
Nothing like a queue of people to build up the numbers for the people drawing challenge, this time waiting to board the tourist boat at Taupo. And a quiet portrait of Dean on the boat, with some other passengers.
Below a great cafe in Napier, Chantal, an organic shop as well, with great atmosphere, great coffee!
I couldn't leave NZ without sketching the fern trees, a national symbol, so lush, so green and fresh, i love them!

It was a great time, resting and travelling, exploring new places, beautiful in the rain and the sun. We'll go back sometime!

Thursday 30 March 2017

Tokyo - Japan - Feb 2017

Tokyo was a revelation, huge but ordered, quiet and clean. 
A quick four days visit, for the occasion of the marathon that my mother in law was running. I managed to catch up with Kumi of the local urban sketchers and enjoyed a day drawing the Tsukiji Hongan-ji temple where there was a Sunday ceremony inside (imagine the incense smell and soft chanting) and the view down from the Tokyu Plaza Ginza shopping mall from where the cars and people appear tiny.
Tokyo Marathon - cyclists
Tsukiji Hongan-ji Ceremony
Tsukiji Hongan-ji - Drum
Tsukiji Hongan ji - Exterior
View from Tokyu Plaza Ginza

We also managed to catch up with architecture views that I remember from my student's days, the Tokyo International Forum and some more historical temples, Senso-ji.  
The views from the top of the Tokyo Sky Tree (that appears in the Senso-ji sketch) showed the enormity of the city, no end in sight.   

Tokyo Forum

Thursday 28 January 2016

Taking a line for a walk.

Experimentation is something crutial to develop the way we work and taking us out of our comfort zone.

In the last few months, I've been learning to sew. I love it! Creating something three dimensional and usable out of flat material is very exciting. I'll continue to make things.

But, the purpose of my learning was to learn free sewing and finally, this week was the moment - on a background  of watercolour, a vase of flowers sketched last week.

The freedom of free stitching is exhilarating, there is control but the line takes precedent, it just goes on on a walk, comes back to and fro and goes over the previous path.
It is something i normally do with a pen, or pencil, but in the beauty of the sewn line is that it is constant, but wobbly.  The thread was multicolour so i was not able to control the colour of line that much and it produced contrasts with the painted surface that were unexpected but enjoyable.

 I also tackled a simpler drawing over an orange satsuma drawing with repeated lines to create the shadows. It made me worry about the strength of the paper and whether it would desintegrate under the needle - new methods, new worries...
 And where will I go next?

Thursday 21 January 2016

Watercolours - testing various paints

I paint and sketch in watercolour since the 1990s and I love the quality and immediacy that watercolours give.
Through the years I've used some various makes of watercolour and always love trying new makes.  However, I tend to revert to W&N and I wanted to explore why.
I've done a little test of painting the same view (a tree in the cemetery near my house) in various makes that I've currently have on stock and on the same paper, following the same process (colour first,  a few w/colour pencil marks and at least two other watercolour paint layers. The makes : Kreme Pigmente,  Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith (colour chart), Vallejo (liquid watercolour).
Here is what I've found :
More pigmented.
Less translucent and therefore less layers, less subtlety possible.
Grainy and some interesting unexpected effects.
Some colour mixing (off paper) but opacity does not allow clean mixing.
Good earthy colours to use straight off palette.
This is what I am used to.
Translucent and good mixing possibilities off paper (I mix my greens).
Multiple layering retains freshness
Little graininess on most colours
Good reaction with w/c pencils
Clean colours with little graininess
It takes longer to dry so got quite a bit of wet on wet effect on paper.
I did not mixed the colours ad limited supply of  paint (sample palette of 238 colours).
Multiple layers retain freshness
Liquid watercolour applied with water brush (the others were with normal brushes)
Vibrant colours (not light fast so not archival) very punchy!
More chaotic mixing on paper only - but fun.
Mixing before painting possible.
Less layers possible - as freshness and vibrancy would disappear.

My favourites:
I will stick to W&N for painting but may add the odd colour from other makes for effect, specific colours.
On the road, and on my sketchbook  I'll keep using Vallejo amazing bright colours - their light and vibrancy appeal to me.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

2015 a good sketching year

2015 has been an intense year, busy in many ways and very enjoyable on the sketching front. Through the Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries courses that I organised with Swasky, with guest tutors from UK, Simone Ridyard, and Spain, Miguel Herranz and Mercedes Carmona.  We enjoyed teaching in Coventry, Oxford and Segovia and shared our passion for drawing and painting on location with many of you. Thanks!

To me it has been a great positive highlight to 2015 and one that I am looking forward to continue in 2016.

Personally, I feel fired up recording what happens around me and sharing it with others.
Here I've chosen a drawing for each month in 2015, a great exercise to remember where I was throughout the year. Enjoy!
January 2015 - St Martins in the Fields, London, 10 minutes, waiting for Alex and Karen at the door of the National Portrait Gallery
February 2015 - Aurelia, 30 minutes, she sells the Big Issue in Newbury ans we chatted whilst I did this portrait of hers that formed part of an Exhibition in Newbury called Overlooked.

March 2015 - Chandelier V&A London, by Dale Chihuly, drawn at the USk London outing, 30 minutes
April 2015 - Newbury Parkway rooftops from St Nichs church, 45 minutes, part of Overlooked exhibition

May 2015 - sketching demo part of our Artists at the Chapel, Open Studios 2015 exhibition
June 2015 - Jurasic coast, Dorset,  20 minutes, amazing folded landscapes

July 2015 - Ukelele band, Cowley road festival, 20 minutes
August 2015 - Castellfollit de la Roca, 30 minutes, a one street town on volcanic rocks

September 2015 - Broughton Pl / Broughton Street, Edinburgh, 20 minutes, a great trip on search of good coffee, art and old buildings.
October 2015 - Newbury market place in the round - 45 minutes -  part of a one day Picture This event, free of charge, Newbury Style.

November 2015 - Borough Market, 30 minutes, during the USk London outing.
December 2015 - Stonehenge - 15 minutes - the power of stones and landscape, cold and sharp and amazing.

Wishing you all a great 2016!

Monday 12 October 2015

Sutton Hoo, Suffolk uk

This is an old burial place where Saxon Kings are buried near criminals of possible a later age, called Sutton Hoo (which means Southern Dwelling High) and which was ordered to be excavated by Mrs Pretty who had heard spirit voices near the mounds. Some of the tombs (ship burials) where already ransacked but one of the larger ones was intact (except the body was not there only buckles and other goods left). 
Liquid watercolour sketch.

Sutton Hoo significa Domicilio Al Sur Alto. Este es un cementerio Anglo Saxon con tumbas barco que se encuentran al lado de otras tumbas de criminales más recientes pero también antiguas.
Algunas e las tmbas barco habían sido ya robadas cuando se excavaron en los años 30. Pero otra, principal, estaba intacta. Era una sepultura dentro de un barco y se encontraron la hebilla de un cinturón,  casco, escudo y otros bienes pero el cuerpo no estaba ya allí.
Dibujo con acuarela liquida.