It's always a commitment when looking to settle down for an hour or two's sketching, and sometimes a certain view will "draw" you in and this is one such case. Having walked along the pathway, seen here in the centre of the sketch, and turning back to assess the vista, the composition was there. Watercolour in A4 sketchbook on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT.
and here's the finished piece. I haven't kept a note of the hours spent on this one as it's been fitting it in when time allowed. I could use the term "a labour of love" but that sounds like it has been a chore which it hasn't. My passion is combining suggested detail with atmospheric lighting and how light falls across a surface. As this view is very square-on, the cast shadows are instrumental in describing shape and form giving a sense of depth within the structure. Soon to be exhibited - details to come!
drawn yesterday from Millbank and, coincidentally, it was this day that it was opened in 1932 so a fitting sketch to mark its 84th birthday!
amongst others, done on a visit to London. This drawing of the nave in Westminster Cathedral was a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle outside - I later ascended the tower for a glorious view of the City. 2B pencil on cartridge in A5 sketchbook.
and its almost there. I'm recording these stages on my iphone as the work is too big to fit on the scanner at around 600 x 440mm, so will have to scan in two sections and join in Photoshop once done.
shows my working process from the left across the structure completing each section stage by stage. This method works for me as you only need to keep wet a small part of the work at any one time, gradually adding colour and tone. I'm struggling to find time to spend on this but will post next stage soon!
if anyone is in the area on Saturday 9th July come and join us for a spot of sketching the beautiful City of Salisbury - click here for link. Here's a quick sketch showing the cathedral nave from the west end. Watercolour over water-soluble ink on A5 cartridge.
and if you know where this is message me! Watercolour over pencil on 140Ib arches
and a watercolour showing the church of St. John the Baptist. I've been meaning to find this church for years mainly due to the fact that William Gilpin was the vicar from 1777 until 1804. Gilpin was an artist and writer and instrumental in founding the Picturesque movement. Done in A4 sketchbook on Arches NOT 90Ib paper in around one and a half hours on location and finished off in the studio.
done at the British Museum yesterday. Recommend the Francis Towne: Watercolours of Rome exhibition there till August - a joy!
done with Urban Sketchers Southampton at Tudor House Museum Southampton. A view looking out from a first floor window overlooking the back garden. A3 sketchbook on 300gsm watercolour paper in around one hour. Happy New Year!
is the statue of a man contemplating water in his cupped hands standing in the crypt of Winchester Cathedral. I have always found this work by Antony Gormley very spritual and calming. Unusually it is completely dry at the moment as it always floods during wet conditions. I did this sketch during a welcome break from the busy cathedral Christmas market just outside.
and a pencil and watercolour sketch showing St Margaret's church. The drawing was done on location in around 20 minutes and coloured in the studio. Ditchling Museum of art and Craft is nestled into the Sussex South Downs and a treasure of art and artifacts relating to the likes of Eric Gill, Edward Johnston and David Jones amongst other artists of the early 20th century. Cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook.
somewhere in Hampshire - any ideas where? A rather dull watercolour on a rather dull day but a pleasant one all the same. This took around one and a half to two hours on location with some stronger contrast washes and "scratching out" added in the studio to give it some life - not sure it has - strong lighting and cast shadows would have done wonders! A3 size on 140Ib NOT.
of Titchfield Abbey done in around an hour or so then a hasty retreat when they started to lock the grounds - a night spent in a ruined abbey definitely wasn't on the day's agenda! Pencil and watercolour in A5 sketchbook on Saunders Waterford 140Ib NOT with a few finishing touches in the studio. I'm currently planning a series of ruins and castles and this may lead to a larger work.
with Urban Sketchers Southampton this morning and here's my sketch: a view looking north across the Cathedral Close. I was lucky to be sitting comfortably on a bench when the sun appeared and everything became bathed in strong light and dark shadows - the perfect conditions for an urban sketcher! On heavy cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook in around one and a half hours. I prefer a slightly off-white heavyweight cartridge for architectural sketching which takes a wash quite well over pen or pencil detail.
done mainly "en plein air" and finishing touches in the studio. 140Ib NOT A3 paper in a very old sketchbook I've had for at least 25 years and it shows, but a nice paper all the same. A bit chilly to start with but the late afternoon sun came out after about an hour or so into the piece so I strengthened the cast shadows afterwards. Definitely worth a visit and a picnic on a warm day.
and after a few finishing touches here is a sketch showing Netley Abbey. Started off in the rain but it soon cleared up and and I was able to add a few cast shadows which lifted the sketch a little. Back in my studio I added a few pen lines and highlights. It's a bit of a homage to John Piper whose style I really admire.
and two quick sketches in A5 sketchbook. Top: Moot Hall Aldeburgh; Below: a beach view. 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT.
showing Cerne Abbas Church, from Abbey Street. Pencil and watercolour on cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook in around an hour and three quarters.
of Ferry Lane near to the Cathedral. I did this from a park bench as a pencil sketch and applied colour in my studio from a snapshot. Done in A5 sketchbook on off-white heavyweight cartridge paper.
because when I'm working in the chapel it's a break to sit outside for an hour or two with my sketchbook. This one shows a memorial to seafarers which is hidden away. There was little sun while I was there so I took a few snaps later and put the shadows in back in my studio. A5 Sketchbook on Waterford 140Ib NOT.
Here's the finished watercolour: 28 x 43 cm on Arches 140Ib NOT
done yesterday in the warm sunshine. I never tire of sketching in the cemetery and given my studio is here it's easy to stroll and sketch. This is of the 'other' chapel done sitting just outside my chapel in about an hour or so. Look out for my next post which is a larger watercolour of this view done from my ipad...
with Urban Sketchers Southampton. One hour 15 mins on A5 heavyweight cartridge paper
in the old cemetery. Done from a photo I took last winter on my ipad it shows The Lodge in Southampton's Old Cemetery on a cold, misty morning. A3 on Waterford 140Ib Rough.
Castle Durrow is an 18th-century country house in Durrow, County Laois, Ireland - unfortunately I didn't get to visit. Done for a wedding reception invitation. I really enjoy using ink line and have always admired the illustrators used in publications like Punch and Illustrated London News. And of course there's Arthur Guptill's Rendering in Pen and Ink featuring masters of American penmanship - a classic first published in 1976 and still in print. 240 x 340 mm.
this time from the South West. I did the pencil sketch on Sunday whilst sitting on a convenient gravestone and applied watercolour later on. Hand-made A5 sketchbook on heavyweight cartridge. Design Chapel
I managed this quick sketch whilst on a study trip with illustration students to Mottisfont yesterday. Done from the top floor exhibition room looking out over the River Test. I was drawn to the lovely old plane tree which reveals so much more of its gnarled trunk in wintertime. In many ways the countryside offers so much more of its secrets at this time of the year - as long as you can find somewhere warm or cope with the bracing weather!
done in in my new sketchbook. A view of God's House Tower Southampton. Pencil sketch done in around 30 minutes and watercoloured (in the warm) in around an hour and a half. A5 sketchbook on Saunders Waterford 140Ib NOT
Good to see my illustrations being put to good use in this article in Dwell magazine for Pearsons Estate Agents - nice one Rockit Design!
Spent a nice day on the Island yesterday and did this sketch of part of the former royal residence from the south lawn. It's changed very little since it was completed in 1851 and is a joy to visit within delightful grounds. I'd like to return and complete the right hand side. A5 on Canson 185gsm watercolour paper in around an hour.
has always been a favourite building of mine and this is my first sketch. My pencil drawing shows the west front with the wonderful medieval stained glass window. The glass was smashed during the Civil War and reassembled as a mosaic after the restoration. A5 on Canson 185gsm watercolour paper.
Sketches done last night with fellow Urban Sketchers Southampton in the High Street. No time for colour due to fading light but a good session none the less.
I started this one as a demo piece for my one-day residency at the Spice Island Art Trail back in June. With a few hours on my hands I thought I'd better finish it before teaching and commercial work takes over. Its from a photo I took walking up to the chapel in the Royal Victoria Country Park. The weather was quite changeable and I have tried to reflect this in the sky and light effect. 37 x 29 cm on 140Ib Waterford NOT
About 5 years ago I was commissioned to produce several illustrations for a book commemorating the tercentenery of the Sir John Cass Foundation. One illustration was of the SJC's Foundation Primary School in Aldgate. I have just completed the very same view for the second time which was presented to the headteacher on his retirement. The second version is at the top which I feel I have improved on the original by increasing contrast and cast shadows and by darkening the slate roof - not much in it otherwise. This commission was a first for me (or should I say second!)
Ink line and wash sketch of Holy Rood - lovely to stand for a while in the shade and hear the chimes. A5 on Canson Aquarelle 185 gsm NOT.
to christen my new sketchbook - a view of the south side of the City Museum Portsmouth. Built in 1897 it is grade 2 listed.
Here are a few quick sketches from a recent city break. Clockwise from top left: Rua Augusta Arch, Statue of King Jose 1 Commerce Square, view from apartment in Alfama, Lisbon street scene, aspects of Sintra.
Aerial view of Fordingbridge Hospital due for conversion into residential accomodation. An interesting commission, my brief was to portray the existing listed building in proposed landscaping. Originally a workhouse the building was designed in the Queen Anne style and has a date stone of 1885.
As a rather less than regular Urban Sketcher I thought I'd make the effort today and set off on my Raleigh for a spot of sketching. This is a 40 min drawing looking towards the Mountbatten memorial statue in Grosvenor Square. Cartridge paper 21 x 29 cm Seawhite's sketchbook.
This is the second of the London buildings commission. The RSA building in John Adam Street is the home of The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. It was designed by the Adam brothers and completed in 1774 as part of their innovative Adelphi scheme. An interesting fact is that the statues above the pediment and the wall plaques are not original. These were left off at the time due to cost restrictions and the plaques were added in 1980 and the statues in 1994. The artwork measures 500 x 360 mm.
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.
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!
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.
Done from a location sketch and photos I took last year whilst visiting Ludlow. Watercolour 350 x 530 mm
This is my other sketch done on the spot at Bramdean Common.
I spent a lovely bank holiday sketching this quaint old church on Bramdean Common with my friend Kate. The church was built in 1883 in just 5 days and is made out of corrugated iron. It was built for the use of gypsies and commoners who used the woods at that time.
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!
Make sure you get to the Wool House this summer for some exciting arts events and exhibitions - here's link: Element Arts
A commission (from my son!) of this remote 17th century building in the south of France which he visited this year. Done from his photographs on Arches 140Ib paper 340 x 460 mm
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.
I did a series of visuals for Dan Lobb, garden designer extraordinaire a few months ago and here are the results. Dan is a Gold Medal winner at Hampton Court Show and was short listed for this design competition to 3 finalists. Dan's brief was to create an innovative design for the soon to be restored walled garden at Mottisfont. Unfortunately as I write this has been put on hold and is awaiting further funding. Good luck Dan!
I started this a while ago as a result of a conversation I had with someone in the Oceans shop in Southampton. Oceans opened earlier this year as a souvenir shop and restaurant and houses an exhibition space celebrating the maritime history of the docks and cruise ships visiting the City. They sell my postcards of Westgate Hall and Tudor House and it was suggested I did one of the memorial as well. So here it is! Done on Arches 140Ib NOT surface at approx 280 x 400mm
Watercolour of Netley Abbey. I did this from a photo I took a few years ago on a cold early spring morning. Image size 280 x 410 mm done on Arches 140Ib NOT. One of several for sale at the portfolio weekend at First Gallery Bitterne 15/16 June.
I'm running watercolour classes over four Monday mornings in July at Red Hot Press: sign up and learn my secrets! Here's a link: Red Hot Press
Walking past the Cenotaph I snapped a photo on my iphone and did this in my studio. For a change I have included passers by to give a sense of scale. The Cenotaph is the only structure in the city designed by Lutyens and was influencial on the design of the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Unveiled in 1920 it was originally dedicated to the fallen of the First World War. Done on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT paper in around 6 hours.
I love the way the tower of Netley Hospital chapel pokes up above the trees and can be seen from all aspects. I took the photo for this watercolour sketch last year and I have a feeling it was from the IOW ferry (?). The sailing boat to the left balances the composition quite well. Done in around 4 hours in the studio on 200lb Two Rivers paper.
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.
Although named Tudor House this Grade II listed building is early 17th century and built in local limestone near Peterborough. Due to be renovated with a new-build to the left in a vacant plot this was a pleasant commission just completed. Most new houses in this region have to be stone-built and often with Collyweston slate roofs in order to blend with the local vernacular. You'll notice that the roof slates are graded with the smallest at the top and largest at the gutter. Drawn traditionally in one-point perspective from architect's plans this took around 16 hours to complete.
I can't seem to avoid Mottisfont and here's another sketch I did the other day. This time a full frontal! I arrived early on a very grey and overcast morning to meet colleagues and students from BA(Hons) Illustration course at Solent University for a day's drawing. I had around an hour and a half before they would arrive so sat on a conveniently placed bench and did this. The challenge was to make the view come to life even without sunlight and shadows - I added the lawn stripes for effect. Looking forward to the spring weather so I can get outside more - it's been a long winter!
Here's the finished watercolour. The view is the same as the sketch but worked up from photographs taken on the day. I have tried to capture the drama of the castle against the lightening sky with the sun casting much of the building in its own shadow. Stokesay Castle stands proud in the valley of the river Onny just north of Ludlow. It was clearly designed to charm both its owners and onlookers when it was built in the late 13 century and is a visual treat of vernacular building today. This took nearly three days to paint but was worth the time and effort.
This is a departure from recent work posted. After visiting Stokesay Castle in Shropshire here is a location sketch I did - finished watercolour to follow.
If you wish to see more of my work I am having a one man show at Southampton Solent University during November and December - details to come. Also visit the Tudor House and garden in Bugle Street which has just reopened and will soon be selling postcards of my watercolours of the House and Westgate Hall in a couple of weeks.
Here is the finished watercolour and detail. I've tried to recreate a "medieval" atmosphere to this view by showing a stormy sky and sober tones to the mass of stonework in the building. I've also omitted some street furniture and used the existing trees and foliage to frame the picture either side.
This has been a while on the drawing board as I've been decorating and a short break in Ludlow (wonderful town for sketching) but here is stage three of God's House Tower.
Much of the inspiration for my work comes from the golden age of British watercolours during the late 18th and 19th centuries. John Ruskin's writing and drawings on the picturesque in art have always fascinated me as does the work of Turner, Girtin and Varley et al. I am constantly referring to the work of such artists whilst working on a watercolour and this is no exception. As the painting progresses I have a continuous struggle with the medium trying to move the paint across the surface until I am satisfied with the result: although often disappointed once the paint has dried. This is what makes me want to continue and improve.
God's House Tower is situated at the south east corner of Southampton's medieval walls. It was built in the late 13 century as a gate house and as part of the city's defences. It is now the Museum of Archaeology which opened in 1961.
The view I've chosen takes in the tower and gateway arch which gives an interesting perspective of both aspects of the building. To give an appreciation of brush strokes and technique I have posted an enlarged detail.
The medieval Wool House is situated on Town Quay Road and was built to store wool during the early part of the 15 Century. After a chequered history it now houses the City's Maritime Museum but is soon to be sold off for offices or retail once the collection is rehoused within Sea City, part of the Civic Centre development. With this in mind I wanted to portray the Wool House near to its original form. After some research (thanks Mike!) this is the result.
Here's the finished study which is approx 350 x 430mm image size. Once again rather more detailed than I anticipated but I feel the architectural forms deserved accurate description in this piece. The stone colour ranges from strong 'burnt sienna' through to tones of blue/grey and in its depiction meant several washes in order to build this up. A small amount of 'toothbrush' spatter and a few body colour highlights and its all done.
The final two studies are 'God's House Tower' and Wool House which will complete the 6 places of interest within the Old Town area of Southampton.
As the picture progresses it becomes easier to assess the tones which are central to the representation of this mass of stonework. I am using mixes of Cerulean Blue, Permanent Mauve, Alizaren Crimson and Yellow Ochre with touches of Burnt Sienna and Sepia. I am applying these in separate washes and wet in wet applications. The dark washes on the underside of the archway has established the complete tonal range of the building and contrasts against the view beyond. The figures help to give scale. I returned to take a few detailed reference photographs this morning and intend to make a few location sketches later in the week.
...mean't to scan this before this stage but here it is rather more advanced than anticipated. I'm working from several photographs of my own and others in order to get the stone colour right for this time of day and weather conditions. The north aspect of the building shows a variety of architectural details representing the importance of the city during different phases of its existence. Guarding the Bargate are two lions, reflecting the local legend of Sir Bevis of Hampton, the mythical founder of Southampton. The first lions were put up in 1522, when the Bargate was decorated for the visit of King Charles V of Spain. The original wooden lions were replaced by the current lead lions in 1743.
I have done an "artist's impression" of the Bargate for planning purposes a couple of years ago. This was from the "Below Bar" or the southern side and so I decided to view the monument from the north for this study which was, in effect the main entrance to the old City. The Bargate was built around 1180 and is constructed of stone and flint. It was the gateway to the walled city and formed part of its fortifications.
I am determined to treat this watercolour in a more loose manner particularly as it is such a large stone built structure - we shall see!
This is the finished watercolour. I've darkened the sky to the right with an additional wash of Alizarin Crimson/Cerulean Blue mix (as per Colin's comment) and touched up one or two small areas of the building - trying not to be too fussy! Hope you like it and watch this space for my next demonstration of St Michael's Church Southampton.
The side of the House was quite challenging due to the size - the overall image is only 300 x 430 mm - I could have worked 20% larger with this amount of detail. My palette for this area is basically 6 colours: Light Red, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Paynes Gray, Cerulean Blue and Permanent Mauve with a little Permanent White for highlights. I use several makes but mainly W&N Artists' Water Colour. The brushes I have been using recently are Rosemary & Co Sable series 33 nos 2, 4 and 6 with no 12 for the sky. These have a reasonable life and are half the price of W&N series 7 which are probably the finest sables.
The timber framing really stands out against the white render which I've eccentuated using warm and cool colours in the shaded areas beneath the roof projections on the gable ends. Without cast shadows to provide depth codes I am relying on the subtle tones and textures to explain the building's design in this study.
Tudor House is arguably Southampton's most important historic building, encompassing over 500 years of history on one site. The impressive timber framed house was built at the end of the 15th century by Sir John Dawtrey.
The House has undergone a £1.9million restoration scheme, which has been funded by the council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage. Tudor House Museum re-opens this summer.
I love painting old clay tile roofs and this one is has real character with weathered and discoloured areas covered in patches of moss and lichen. My aim is not to get too involved in detail but to give the impression that I have painted every tile! I am generally working from background to foreground which helps when judging tonality which is always difficult against the white of the paper. The roofs and stacks took around 1&1/2 hours.
Here's my current project which I've just started painting: Tudor House. The aim is to draw and paint buildings of particular interest in and around the old town area of Southampton with a view to publishing these in a guide to City walks. This is the first scan of several which I'll upload at keys stages of its development - watch this space!
Drawing on location is a sure way to recharge batteries and put all those worries aside. Drawing and sketching "en plein air" can be a most theraputic experience and a few hours spent at The Hospital of St Cross certainly provided this. The Hospital is part of several Grade 1 listed buildings in the serene and tranquil village of St Cross near Winchester including almshouses and a church dating back to 1132. Here you can compare my waterclour sketch, drawn in about two and a half hours, with a painting completed in the studio done from photographs taken on the day. I didn't quite get the proportions of the tower right - have to be more observant in future!