Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Painting In Bath

In case you happen to be in Bath this Saturday please drop by the 'Best Of The Bath Prize' gallery on Stall Street just opposite the Roman Baths, and say hello. I shall be working on my Lansdown Road watercolour (below) in the gallery and answering any questions from 11am to 4.30pm.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Map for the a children's book...

In June I posted a map I was working on for a children's book, to view click here. Now I can reveal the colour version below. I shall add a map key with numbers, compass and probably a frame at a later date so that kids can pore the map working out where all the action is taking place and generally looking for mistakes, just like I used to do!

The illustration was completed in exclusively watercolour, size 30x24cm.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Honeymoon Sketches Pt.5

For the last two nights in Switzerland, Suzanne and I stayed in Geneva. We spent many hours strolling around the city soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and enjoying the warm weather. Our favourite haunt was the old town of Geneva which is typically European in that the buildings are on top of each other with lots of medieval alleyways, nooks and crannies. Nestled in the middle of old town is the Saint-Pierre Cathedral which I believe was built on Roman foundations.

Below left you can see a sketch I did sat on a bench looking across to the classical facade of the Saint-Pierre entrance. The light was constantly changing and tourists like myself were sprawling all over the steps but I didn't include them in the drawing.

To the right are two very quick sketches done as we sat on the Lake Geneva cruise boat waiting for it to cast off. The spire of Saint-Pierre dominated the view and was nicely framed by the mountains behind.

That's the last of my honeymoon sketches, I hope you enjoyed them!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Honeymoon Sketches Pt.4

After a reasonably long walk to St Christophe and le Chateau on the other side of the Verbier valley Suzanne and I visited a small bar in the town which had a delightful terrace out the front. There Suzanne started to read as I quickly did her portrait.

Suzanne wasn't overly impressed, apparently I could have made her look nicer!

So after that poor review I decided to turn my attentions to the building opposite me because buildings can't talk back. Again in HB pencil I concentrated on a simply line drawing and what was a new Swiss style chalet/shop. The clouds gradually got darker as I scratched away and soon it started to rain which brought a halt to my efforts before I could creating tone.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Honeymoon Sketches Pt.3

My first attempt at watercolour pencils was part success, part failure. I found it difficult to achieve the correct colours, probably due to the limited colours I had at my disposal but I did enjoy the atmospherics on the distant mountains I could suggest with varied applications of ultramarine and violet.

The view is from half way up the Verbier mountainside looking down into the town and across in the direction of the mountain of Le Catogne. While I sketched a couple of American golfers were coaching each other on the course directly below where I sat. As they jabbered on about birdies and irons a helicopter kept flying up the valley dragging recently felled trees behind it. Also there were at least two lumber-jacks complete with chainsaws in full flow during my time sat drawing. Despite appearances this was not a peaceful scene.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Honeymoon Sketches Pt.2

This little sketch was done in the evening  with a 3B pencil under the influence of tea and wine. Not necessarily the perfect aid for drawing but it helped my Dutch courage as I was perched in the doorway leading onto a balcony without railings, four floors up. During our stay in Verbier building work was commencing on the exterior of our accommodation which meant the view was obscured by scaffolding and the odd Swiss builder.

With the above sketch I ignored the scaffolding and tried to concentrate on the contre-jour view of chalet roof tops. The front lighting gave the buildings a graphic quality, looking at this now I realise I should have tried a version in marker pen but perhaps I was a bit 'tired' after finishing the drawing (and wine).

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Honeymoon Sketches Pt.1

As promised here is the first of I what I predict to be six posts showing my sketches from Switzerland. Just to warn you these sketches are not in chronological because the only colour version was the first drawing I completed, so I have decided to hold back on that one and show you the above sketch looking across Verbier South-West towards Grand Combin.

This pencil sketch was quite a challenge for a novice plein air artist like me as the peaks of Grand Combin kept disappearing behind white cloud so it was hard to get my bearings on the page. I worked with an HB lead throughout and tried to get all the basic outlines down before suggesting the light skimming off the rock faces and being swallowed by the forests lower down the mountainside. If your eyesight is good hopefully you can see the quick outline of the apartment block Suzanne and I stayed in. It's in the bottom left to the right of a badly drawn crane (the lifting type).

Back in that apartment I grabbed a 3B pencil and blocked in the foreground forest to provide a bit of depth and contrast to the composition.

The sketchbook I used on our trip was a 14x14cm cartridge paper book. The pencil was a Venus HB, one of few left from my Grandfather's box of pencils that he used at work in the 1950s.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Back In The Saddle Again...

- As Aerosmith once put it.

I know my Blog output has not been the most prolific but I think planning a wedding, getting married to a wonderful woman and going on a honeymoon with her is a strong enough reason to let certain things slip. However now I'm an honest man and back in wet Blighty I would like to pick up the slack and do some blogging!

Starting tomorrow I shall be posting the sketches I did on our honeymoon in Switzerland but for a teaser here's a photograph of me colouring away.