Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Drawing Tuesday: New River Walk, Islington

 Last Tuesday's drawing session was at Janet K's in Islington. While most sketched some of the wonderful objects she has in her house,  with  yet another new sketchbook to start ( my ' small square chunky book' of watercolours and small treasures is full), I headed off to the 'New River Walk' in search of inspiration armed with my 'bijou' paintbox and size 12 travel  paintbrush.

 Some interesting architecture  and seriously distracted  by the adorable moorhen chicks (  black balls of fluff with enormous feet) , with less than an hour I  found a bench and drew whatever was in front of me. 
I started off with the negative shapes of the tree then ' branched out'  into  a watercolour  sketch .   There were several people  that  stopped to look  and  some members of a walking group  huddled round blocking my view! I'd like to say that's why it isn't a brilliant painting  but I'm out of practice. 
What is it about painting in a public space that invites comments  from passers by ? 
I've got  used to it over time  and don't mind  too much  but  it  can be intimidating if you're new to working  'plein air'  .  On this occasion  it was the usual : ' you're so clever'  ' my aunt /brother paints' , 'I couldn't do that' etc. They're usually complimentary and admire the fact that you're doing it all rather than critiquing  the art you're producing ( I was once unnerved by someone silently watching for 10 minutes or so then saying ' That's a neat little paintbox' )
 On holidays abroad  eg Tunisia Ian has found me surrounded by silent locals  or in Greece, cats. 
My favourite quotes from walkers on the Pennine way  whilst  painting in Malham :' Why don't you take photos , it would be  easier' to 'I'd like to take up painting , it must be so relaxing' . I meanwhile was trying to brace myself on a slope with my easel threatening to take off at any moment! 

I'd picked up this large piece of bark but although tempted to bring it back, I'm not sure what the train commuters would make of it  so settled for a continuous line drawing in pen with 'frottage'  using brass rubbing crayons.
And whilst in 'frottage'  mode, I made rubbings from the litter bin  with crayons on colour catchers and handmade papers and graphite on tracing paper

Janet supplied a wonderful lunch and  it was great to catch up with most of  the Tuesday sketching group  with  interesting, wide-ranging conversations. ' Homework' was to draw from a painting/print. Alas I haven't done it yet  but I will, I know from the 2 courses I did at the National Gallery  that  you learn so much  about composition from  using drawing to really look and analyse, even if the subject matter is not to your taste.  One of my examples was  published in this book  but my more recent experiences have been looking at colour too. Definately a very useful exercise.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

The light on water reflections in the 4th photo (the second with the moorhen)are amazing. It would be interesting to isolate the mark/shape it makes and do something with it.