Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Sketchbook Project

Our local urban sketching group has decided to participate in this project  (see details here:

 A sketchbook has been purchased and we have until the end of March 2018 to complete and return it to the Brooklyn Library, NY.  The book measures 5” x 7” and contains 16 pages (i.e. 32 sides), this will be passed around the group with each participant using 2 or 3 sides. 
The paper is rather thin so care is needed if using watermedia – an alternative is for contributors to supply their sketches on separate paper which can then be glued into the book.
I wanted to include something particularly relevant to our locality, so decided to use the information and a couple of images I gathered when putting together my booklet on the fritillary nature reserve.  My third was a pencil portrait with added collage.

Left - collaged lino print on mulberry paper
Right - pen and watercolour sketch

Pencil, watercolour, collage and acrylic print

Monday, 18 September 2017

Steam train journey

To celebrate a special birthday earlier this year, my husband was given tickets for a trip on the famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman which was running from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Heritage Railway.  The booking was for Tuesday last week and involved a coach trip to Bishops Lydeard station, by rail to Minehead on another steam train, with the return journey on the Flying Scotsman itself.  Good photographic opportunities of the famous engine were limited as it was surrounded by a crush of railway enthusiasts, but it was a memorable experience.

Apart from a sketch while waiting on the station platform, most of my efforts were tiny scribbles from the moving train.  I tried out continuous line drawing with a Micron pen; at first I found it required concentration to keep the pen on the page, but it's a technique I would like to practice more frequently.

Raveningham Hall steam locomotive

The Flying Scotsman

Micron pen sketches

Monday, 11 September 2017

Great Chalfield Manor

We visited the gardens of this late medieval manor house and church last week and were pleasantly surprised that there was plenty of late summer colour in the flowerbeds and borders.  There was so much to take in and I took loads of photos.  We did, however, find a quiet, sheltered spot for our picnic lunch so I made time for a very quick pen sketch, with colour added later at home.

Guided tours of the house were by timed ticket but we missed out as we spent so much time exploring outside - an excuse to make another trip, perhaps in the spring.

Pen, watercolour and gouache
in the Hahnemuhle Grey Book

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Swindon Urban Sketchers

Last Saturday was the first anniversary of the Swindon sketch group and we met up in the grounds of the Richard Jefferies Museum* near Coate Water Park.  The weather was kind and there were plenty of picnic tables where we could comfortably sketch and enjoy a snack lunch, as well as a couple of glasses of wine.  (I am glad I was taking the bus home!)

*This was the birthplace of Richard Jefferies, a Victorian nature writer, noted for his depiction of English rural life.

Pen and watercolour over some random collage

Pen, watercolour and gouache

Both of these sketches were done in the Hahnemuhle Grey Book.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A concertina book

I saw an image of a circular concertina book on Pinterest and decided to try my hand at making one (unfortunately I have lost the link to the post that inspired me*).  I had made a similar structure in the past using square pages, but this looked even more interesting.

To ensure I cut my eight pages all the same size, I printed just the outline on 100 gsm cream printer paper.   I made a circular foam stamp to add a bit of colour, folded and assembled the book using double-sided tape.  The edges of the pages were washed with pink then gold acrylic.  Rather than attach hard covers, I made a small quadrant shaped box to contain the folded book and a ribbon eases it from its resting place.  The diameter of each page is 5".

I am now trying to think of a suitable theme to incorporate different images on each page.

Foam stamp, print sample, quadrant box and finished book

Finished book

Alternative display method

*  I have now found the link to the work of Helen Malone

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Castle Combe sketch outing

Earlier this week, our summer sketching group met up in Castle Combe.  This Wiltshire village, with architecture little changed since the 15th century, is frequently voted the prettiest village in England and is another location in our area which is a favourite with film makers.  Recently it has provided the backdrop for scenes in "The War Horse" and "Stardust".

At any time of the year the village is popular with tourists, but especially so during the summer months so it was very busy.  However, there are no shops, souvenir or gift boutiques so, apart from motor traffic, it really does feel as if you are stepping back in time.

We started off with coffee at The Castle Inn and later stopped for a delicious lunch at The White Hart pub.

Waterside Cottages, Castle Combe
Pen, watercolour, gouache in Hahnemuhle Grey Book

Water Street, Castle Combe (buzzards flying overhead)
Pen, watercolour, gouache in Hahnemuhle Grey Book

The stone structure in the middle of the road was originally used for tethering and mounting horses.

Sketching by Town Bridge
The Old Court House

Friday, 25 August 2017