Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I missed the 'Sunday sketch' last week but I'd like to make this a habit so I made a determined effort this weekend, no computer until I had done some sketching. I'm so glad I did. I took my little sketching stool out into the garden and drew the variegated leaves of the hibiscus, the French lavender, a lily and something else I don't know the name of but it has super shaped seeds. I'm pleased with the how the leaves turned out - I've always wanted to do little watercolour sketches from nature - but the lily wasn't so great. No doubt it's my lack of skill but also I was painting on very smooth paper and I don't like how the paint handles on that. The morning was so bright and still and I found that birds and insects don't see see you if you don't move so they fly around very close. There is an atmosphere in the early mornings that is quite unlike the rest of the day, if only I wasn't so lazy, I'd be out there more often.
The still life and the lemons are copied from a watercolour book that shows how to paint step by step. It's quite useful but I don't really like to copy other paintings. They came out OK but not so OK that I want to scan them and let anyone scrutinize them! I've also been trying to paint my bag. I showed it to the teacher last week and she was impressed but I find it frustrating when I know in my head what I want to achieve but the water, paint, paper and brush won't co-operate and oblige! I can't yet look at a subject and know which techniques I will need or how many washes in what sort of concentration of pigment. It's still all trial and error.
The sketching in public is coming along though. Yesterday, I collected Alex from the school after a school trip but the coach was half an hour late. I spent the time sketching one of the smaller buildings as it had lovely old shutters and a wisteria growing up the walls. Loads of people passed me but only one seemed to notice! I've been so worried about it but I find it amusing to think that if I was an attention seeker, I'd be very disappointed. Most people don't really notice what's going on around them..
I drew these a while ago when the builders were here extending our patio but forgot to post them. They finished only a week over time and were very pleasant and efficient. One, or sometimes two, of them would turn up at 7.38am every morning, stop at 12 exactly for an hour and leave a few minutes after 5pm. Sounds like Swiss efficiency but they were Albanian. It was just that they were arriving and going by bus and the buses run like clockwork here! I've no idea what they used to talk about but the two that were usually here seemed to be very good friends, always laughing and having animated conversations. The top drawing is of them deep in conversation, having finished at 5pm but with a few minutes to wait before they needed to go for the 5.08 bus! (The stop is right outside the house.) Somehow, I doubt this behaviour is not usual in the building trade! I'm glad to get my garden back, but it was no hassle at all having them here.