Tuesday, 3 June 2014

a drawing a day - sketches from Leros

"The important thing is to do, and nothing else: be what it may" - Pablo Picasso

Last time I blogged about my drawing a day project, I was doing pencil sketches in and around the home. This taught me a lot, even though I don't really enjoy working in pencil;  years ago I did an evening class in Life Drawing at Central St Martins and found I much preferred charcoal - only really coming alive when the tutor let me use ink and a brush!

Zig pens and Hahnemühle sketch diary
© Teresa Newham
At Christmas I was given One Drawing a Day  - a book by Veronica Lawlor, which places the emphasis on working quickly and playfully, rather than on the result, and encourages experimentation with different media. I treated myself to two or three Zig Brushables, and quickly became hooked.  I'd also been given a Hahnemühle Sketch Diary, and decided to use these to record our holiday.

Chora town square, Patmos
© Teresa Newham
In the past I've done watercolour sketches on location in Ireland, usually with my friend Sue and often from the comfort of a car; wide open spaces with nobody else around.  But my husband and I were travelling to the Dodecanese island of Leros, via Kos - a day trip to Patmos was also in the mix - popular holiday destinations.  As soon as I got my sketchbook and pens out, fellow tourists started to take an interest, so I had to get over my self-consciousness pretty quickly . . .

family on Panteli beach, Leros
© Teresa Newham
I was keen to practice drawing figures, but didn't want to intrude on anybody's privacy; so I often found myself sketching people some distance away.  Of course, they kept moving: by the time I finished the little illustration above, the young boy in black was sitting somewhere completely different.  I needed to rely on memory as well as speed!

the ridge above Panteli, Leros
© Teresa Newham
I tried various ways of capturing the hillsides and vegetation of Leros, but short of carrying dozens of pens of varying shades I had to improvise.  A black and white sketch will remind me of what the place looked like just as well, particularly if time is short.


diners at the next taverna
© Teresa Newham
I also discovered that by and large tourists don't wear brightly coloured clothes; blues, whites and greys proliferated.  Flesh tones might have been a problem, but as everyone was tanned I was able to use orange, which contrasted nicely with the blue!

yacht in Lakki harbour, Leros
© Teresa Newham
Having time to spare over a sketch wasn't always an advantage, as the temptation was to overwork it: I can't help thinking this yacht would have looked better without the background hills (or just their outlines). Ironically, for someone who is scared of water, I love drawing boats . . .

on the ferry from Leros to Kos
© Teresa Newham
I even got a bit twitchy on the ferry, so to take my mind off things I tried to immortalise some of my fellow passengers.  They, however, were busy exploring the boat;  I'd only half got this chap's hat down on paper when he left the rails and I had to try and remember what his back view looked like.

view from the terrace
© Teresa Newham
You can probably tell I had a lot of fun with these sketches.  And there's the small matter of 400 photos to attend to.  I trust that the spirit of Leros will be with me for a long time!


5 comments:

  1. Awesome! Really lively and those brushables work a treat for this : -)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! the brushables are ideal as they don't require any setting up, unlike watercolours. And they encourage me to experiment!

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like them all, you are a graet artist, congratulations !!

    ReplyDelete
  4. These and the diary notes are an excellent record of the holiday. I think these quick sketches work really well, with an imaginative use of colour.

    ReplyDelete