Thursday, 29 June 2017

Summer sketching

statue and lavender
original pen sketch © Teresa Newham

Summer was a long time coming this year.  My sketchbooks show that I didn't venture outdoors to draw until early May, when I crept into the garden at the first sign of sunshine and made this little picture of a garden statue and some lavender. Because of the chilly Spring it was the end of May before I made the Acer drawing below!

new Acer
original pen sketch © Teresa Newham

I'd been encouraged to get to grips with regular sketching again after reading the book Sketching People, by Lynne Chapman.  Now, I realise the two black and white sketches above aren't actually OF people, but I was already putting some of her suggestions into practice: annotating, rather than just titling, sketchbook drawings to give a sense of time, place and memory; and bringing subjects forward by using a heavier line.

two women, Harpenden
original pen sketch © Teresa Newham

I did draw these women sitting by the fountain in Harpenden town centre - but it was lunchtime and quite busy.  True to form, they got up and walked off before I'd finished - and then continued chatting standing dangerously near me.  I dreaded the thought of one of them spotting my sketchbook . . .

queuing for ice cream
original pen sketch © Teresa Newham

I had to wait until a trip to Bournemouth before I found somewhere discreet to observe people.  We were seated at a bench in the Upper Gardens by an ice-cream kiosk, so I drew customers as they came up to make their purchases.  Everyone in the sketch above was actually leaning on the counter or standing right by it - I put them in a queue just for fun!

eating ice cream
original pen sketch © Teresa Newham

This worked so well I returned the next day and surreptitiously sketched a couple eating ice creams on the next bench.  Once again I only applied colour to the foreground, leaving the background black and white for context.  And I haven't coloured all the flesh, leaving some white parts to denote highlights (another tip from Lynne).  The flesh is my usual trademark orange Zig pen, by the way - the colour hasn't come out quite true on the scanner, although it probably looks more realistic . . .

Art on the Common 2017
original pen sketch © Teresa Newham

By the time Art on the Common came round I was quite happy to sit and draw whoever was sitting nearby - the boy and his father were way to the left of the group under the tree so this is actually two separate drawings.  It's been fun, and I'm hoping the weather picks up again soon so I can do some more!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

shooting the breeze

battened down for day one
© Teresa Newham

Given that just five days previously torrential rain and gale force winds were lashing the country, I reckon we were pretty lucky with this year's Art on the Common.  True, there was a brisk wind - so brisk in fact that on the Saturday Sue, Hillary and I kept everything flat and our greetings cards in riffle boxes - but it was sunny and dry.

a Very Big Flag in the Carnival procession
© Teresa Newham

Situated as we were under the road sign by the A1081, we had an excellent view of the Carnival procession, and could hear everything going on at the sound stage outside the Public Halls.  Harpenden Light Operatic Society gave us a foretaste of their next show Sister Act and a rock band performed an eclectic mix of songs during the afternoon (Here's to You Mrs Robinson in the style of punk rock anyone?).

Serenaded by members of HLOS
© Teresa Newham

I was struck by the amount of people with dogs in tow until I remembered that the Carnival included a Dog Show. We saw all sorts - large, small and everything in between -  and so many of them appeared to be art lovers (well, perhaps not the one on the right).

doggy art lovers . . . or not
© Teresa Newham

By Sunday the breeze had died down a bit and we put on something more like our usual display, mixing up our pieces to encourage visitors to take a good look round, while we sat in the shade and relaxed.  We had spent the last twenty four hours putting up two gazebos and all our wares, taking everything down and putting it up again, after all . . .

new layout for day two
© Teresa Newham
We weren't the only ones. After the bustle of Saturday with the Carnival going on around us, everyone seemed keen to take things easy, lay out a picnic, chat to family, friends and visitors.  Even the dogs took a rest!

time to relax
© Teresa Newham