Here's a couple of sketches I did yesterday while taking a welcome break from London's hustle and bustle at a lunchtime concert in St Martin-in-the-Fields
Spent a morning drawing with students in the Mayflower Theatre Southampton. We were up in the gods and with low lighting everywhere except for these two boxes I sat at the front row and did this sketch in around 30 mins. I may go back next week and draw from the stalls.
Here's a selection of drawings - love the colour jug: it was her first use of watercolour - suggestions of a Mary Fedden don't you think!
Still life drawing is a challenging but satisfying genre which allows the novice to internalise, through practice, many aspects of drawing theory. Understanding the construction of objects is central in the successful representation of different shapes. In geometry the cube, cylinder, cone and sphere relate to most man-made and natural forms and understanding how to draw these shapes can help to make sense of almost anything. Here are some photographs from a one-day drawing workshop I ran for interior design decoration undergraduates at Southampton Solent University yesterday.
The collection of objects are mine and selected to represent a range of shapes, materials and textures. I have designed tailor-made drawing workshops for many different groups and age ranges for both corporate and recreational markets: happy to discuss future sessions with anyone who may be interested. I'm running another watercolour basics workshop at Red Hot Press over 5 weeks in June: see website for details.
This is the poster that Julia Moszowicz and I had designed by two 3rd year graphics students at Solent School of Art, Lilly Marfy and Oliver Russell: thanks both - a great job! It was for a poster presentation at the recent illustration conference "The Science, Imagination and the Illustration of Knowledge" at the Pitt Rivers in Oxford. Julia and I intend to pursue the theme of linking topographical illustration with Michel Foucault's Heterotopia and hope to give a paper later in the year. The quote on the poster makes more sense when I tell you that it refers to a view in a mirror. The illustrations are taken from a sketch and painting I did of Stokesay Castle.
I had a strange compulsion to layout some of my sketchbooks today - no reason, so here they are: I counted thirty dating back to 1994. I have older ones from the early 80s stored somewhere in the loft? All shapes and sizes although my favourite size is A5 portrait. On leafing through each it's amazing how every sketch tells a story and I can recall quite intimately the place and circumstances surrounding each drawing. I've always found artists' and designers' sketchbooks fascinating and so much more revealing than later more finished works. One of the best books recently published is called The Art of Urban Sketching (2012) and is an inspiring collection of drawings from around the world - a must for every artist's book shelves.
...and here's one I did from a 2 minute pose...
I work with first year BA(Hons) Illustration students here at Solent and this was done by a student from Finland in 5 mins. It's me dressed as a British soldier and it was part of a project called "Uniforms" where we dress up and draw each other in our sketchbooks. The project is one-day and comprises between 25 and 30 poses all between 2 and 10 minutes each and is very popular with the students. For more images and other work from this course here is a link to our blog. PS - the animal is a stuffed fox!
Did these yesterday with my students at the Natural History Museum London. Alfred Waterhouse's building is glorious (if you like Victorian Romanesque) and the Great Hall is wonderfully decorated in terracotta - a joy to draw!
As summer fades into autumn and now winter my energy levels fade with it. Fueled by the pressures of work spent on preparing teaching material at this busy time of year I have produced little work of my own. However here are a few sketches done whilst attending a two-day symposium at the Pitt Rivers museum Oxford. "The Science, Imagination and the Illustration of Knowledge" proved to be a fascinating insight into a range of subject areas: look out for the journal
I've been busy of late with commercial work alongside teaching - here's a recent project. This is very much "bread and butter" to me but I still enjoy visualising new developments of this vernacular type. My commissions vary in interest but the process of drawing an architect's design in perspective still holds its magic for me. Knowing I am following in the footsteps of the likes of Cyril Farey and Charles Cockerell validates my enthusiasm. My topographical watercolour paintings on the other hand, present different challenges in representing the natural and built environment. For me the two activities go hand-in-hand and are complimentary.
I thought you might like to see a pen and wash sketch I did in my A5 sketchbook of the Castle with bridge in foreground. The view is from the same position as the previous finished watercolour.
Here's some "work in progress" by my evening class students. Great results achieved in less than 2 hours - well done everybody and keep it going! Whose interested in a follow-up intermediate's class in the near future?
Where am I?
I did this on location and finished off in the studio. The wool House was built in 1417 as a warehouse for the wool trade with Flanders and Italy. Later it was used as a prison and is now awaiting it's future role. The drawing for this watercolour took around an hour and and I spent a further two hours laying basic washes before finishing at the Chapel - the roof was a joy to study!
This view is looking west and shows the existing tree and buildings in the background. Notice the rills which are designed to bring water from the pond to irrigate the garden.
This view was set-up as a 3D model using SketchUp and shows the view looking north towards the entrance to the existing rose garden. The emphasis in this view is the water feature and to predict how the cherry trees canopy will provide shade to visitors strolling the gardens.
Here's the second sample done on the heavier weight paper for making our sketchbooks with; I'm really looking forward to this one - hope to see you there! Making and Usng Sketchbooks
In anticipation of my forthcoming course at Red Hot Press Making and Using Sketchbooks, I have experimented with two papers and here are the results. The first one is a 190gsm Kent cartridge and the second is 210gsm Norfolk cartridge. I've gone for the later as it's heavier and will cope with washes well and is also whiter giving a more "crisp" finish. The book size is A5 portrait giving A4 landscape across the double-page spread.
There are still one or two spaces on our exciting and unique course which starts next Monday 3 June for 4 weeks from 10.00 to 1.00 pm. For more information click here: Making and Using Sketchbooks
A lovely church with a Norman tower where my daughter is getting married this summer. I did this pen drawing from a photograph I found on-line and is for the Order of Service: here's hoping for nice weather!
This location sketch done today at Hythe after catching the ferry with our bikes - 30 mins.
These were made as experimental studies of the representation of light inspired from photos on my ipad and carried-out in the studio.
Just to wet your whistle for this course here is my current sketchbook beautifully made by Katherine at Red Hot Press. A5 cloth bound with a heavyweight cartridge just right for all types of dry and wet mediums - see my next post for examples of watercolour studies made over this weekend.
More news soon, in the meantime here's some recent sketches done with my students in the V&A
Here are a few drawings I did at the weekend spent in london. The DPS is in the courtyard of the V&A and the other two are in the Maritime Museum Greenwich. Done in my A5 sketchbook on a nice Somerset paper.
Here's something different - a view of the Southampton incinerator from across the river. The metal dome shape can be easily spotted from all points of the city. Due to its reflective material it changes colour throughout the day and time of year. The photograph I worked from was taken on a hazy morning in early spring last year and I tried to give the structure an air of mystery by enhancing the lighting effects on the roof.
A pair of cottages built in the mid 1860s and moved from Ashtead Kent. The interiors beautifully reconstruct a farm worker's home in mid Victorian times.
It's been a while, once again, so here are a few quick sketches I did with my students at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton. A cold but bright day and with gloves and intermittent coffee only my feet suffered from standing on the frosty grass! I've spent previous days at Singleton and always a joy with so much to draw. The weatherboarded cottage I coloured later in the warm! All done in an A5 sketchbook on cartridge paper.
It's that time of the year again and the Big Draw launch event is at the V&A on Sunday 30 September. I'm not officially involved in this year's events but hope to be there all the same. Always a good day out.
Here's the last watercolour view showing Southampton Docks. This one portrays the four ferries: the ro ro car transporter, the IOW car ferry, the Red Jet and the Hythe ferry. The view is from Hythe pier and put together from several photos to assemble all the ferries together at one time. It took several visits to achieve this but worth it in the end.
hardly had time to start this one before it really chucked it down. With nowhere to shelter my friend Kate and I had to "leg-it" to the car this time - pity. Nevertheless, the rain produces an interesting mottled effect! I shall return!
and then the rain came down...not the best medium to use at this time of sunshine and showers! Here's a watercolour sketch done at breakneck speed yesterday just outside Winchester. This sketchbook was handmade for me by my partner Katherine (orders taken!). It contains Fabriano paper which is not ideal for watercolour as it's so absorbent. It all got rather soggy but interesting results all the same. I quite like sketching days with "weather" as it brings forth unlikely results. Meanwhile - back at the ranch...
This one probably took the longest at around 20 hours due to the detail but I think the subject matter is worth the time taken. I feel that I know these structures intimately now and worthy of further studies.
I limited my palette to just 5 colours for this piece and concentrated on the tonal values in order to create the atmosphere.
Here are details of my finished watercolours which give an indication of my brush stroke technique. I tend to work wet-into-wet using warm and cool colour until there's no more benefit in moving the pigment around and I'll leave to dry. I'll then add detail and finish with some dry-brush. I use a large squirrel hair brush for sky and sea washes and sable brushes nos 4, 6 and 8 for the rest. I buy my brushes from Rosemary & Co.
No you're not seeing double - here are my two watercolours of the Southampton docks view as seen from the Town Quay. The final watercolour is the largest I've done at 430 x 570 mm and so much easier to paint - I plan on doing everything larger in future! For this I stretched a sheet of Waterford 140Ib NOT paper which provided a drum-tight surface. Even when soaked the paper remains flat and a joy to work on. Although the smaller one was done to gain approval from the client it also helped to establish the composition and colour palette - a useful exercise.
Well here's my third and final version of the view showing the Western Docks container terminal and completes the set of three watercolours (I now have some appreciation of how Monet felt when he painted multiple studies of the Haystacks series!). These will now be enlarged to a good size for the finished works - I'm looking at around 460 x 620 mm - this will give me real opportunities for getting out my big brushes and allowing the paint to work for me - to be continued...
...and here's my second attempt - judge for yourself - I think it works better with the others as a set of three - we'll see?
This is the last of my initial views of the docks - here we have the container terminal at Western Docks looking across the River Test from "Goatee Beach" at Eling. The cranes dominate this part of Southampton and can be seen from miles around. I'm not sure about this one and I feel my original sketch done on location has more atmosphere. I plan to look at a closer view with just the river in the foreground.
This is the second in the series of views of the docks showing Fawley refinery looking from Hamble. I used a 250mm lens to get a panoramic view which I cropped for this watercolour. Again, a misty morning providing atmosphere and "aerial" perspective.
Here's my latest watercolour which is a small scale version of the first in a series of southampton views focusing on the docks. Done from sketches and photographs this piece measures approx 270 x 370mm and was done to establish my colour palette with a view to producing a larger finished work. It shows the cruise liner Saga Sapphire in dock a few weeks ago as viewed from the Town Quay. It was around 10 am on a misty morning and I have tried to represent this in the soft washes of colour in the distance. Watch this space for further views!
Here's a couple of sketches I did today at the Titanic Event at Ocean Terminal Dock Gate 4. Fred Dinenage compared this memorable event organised by staff and students of Solent University. The sketches are both on A4 cartridge paper.
I've never been able to sketch the clock tower from this position due to adjacent trees obscuring the view. At this time in early spring however it's perfect! The segment-like architecture of the Sea City addition can be seen and is almost ready for its opening on the 10th. I have to say I struggled trying to keep the tower straight which "curves" its way up to its delightful copper roof. 30 minute sketch.
...and this one's specially for Betty: Western Docks from Eling
Here's a sketch I did today - one of several studies for a future commission to show views of Southampton. I'm trying to compose a view that can be recognisable as well as a personal interpretation. We'll see but whatever the outcome it's been a joy to partake en plein air in such lovely March weather. This sketch shows the view looking west from the end of Mayflower Park - about 45 mins.
Layout ready to be transferred to acrylic screen
A3 size layout of proposed street scene
Some images showing what Katherine and I got up to at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Essentially a large 5 metre by 2.5 metre light box painted in blck emulsion which we worked on like scraper board using lino tools and chisels. The brief was to create a street scene showing the clients street lighting products and to encourage visitors to "have a go". Hard work but fun over two days - we are now both lighting experts - LED of course!
A rather belated mention of the SAI drawing and rendering workshops held at the University of Bath in October. Given it was held on a saturday morning the turn-out was extraordinary. The Architecture seminar room was the venue for a series of workshops delivered by myself and four other SAI members to a packed audience of more than eighty B.Arch. undergraduates hungry to learn the masters' secrets! This is me in full flow: How to draw a peg in three easy lessons! Here's a link for more info: http://www.sai.org.uk/blog/?p=584
Use this link to hear my BBC Radio Solent interview regarding the forthcoming course Line and Cityscape Weekend - fast forward to 1 hr and 8 mins of Neil Sackley show. This is being offered by Red Hot Press in Southampton and in colaboration with artist and printmaker Sarah Mander. Anyone interested should go to www.redhotpress.org.uk
It's retrospective I know but Sarah Mander and I were interviewed on BBC Radio Solent last night at 6.10pm. The feature was concerning our collaboration on the forthcoming printmaking course "Line and Cityscape Weekend" on 9/10 July. I shall be location drawing on the Saturday in and around the Old Town Southampton whilst Sarah takes over in the Red Hot Press workshop on Sunday with drypoint printmaking. Still places left at £110 - a bargain! See the link on this site. P