Yesterday I was drawing birds in the galleries of the Natural History Museum in London. Once again, I had prepared pages of my sketchbook, this time with acrylic gesso and watercolour. The birds are drawn in coloured pencil, with no attempt at realism or scale. Here is an imaginary Bird World.
These two drawings were done in Dulwich Park, near my home. Before setting out, I prepared the pages with diluted Indian ink, acrylic gesso and watercolour. Then I drew in pencil onto this ground, from observation at a couple of different locations in the park.
The second drawing also includes some text. I had been on a birdwatching walk in the park a few days earlier, and I included the list of birds we had seen in the park.
With my tree identification group, I have drawn leaves, pinecones, seedpods – but in winter sometimes these are not available. So today we met in Peckham Rye Park to investigate how to identify trees from the pattern of their bark. We also did some rubbings, using wax crayon on paper. Later, at home, I added some watercolour washes. I liked the patterns, so here are some images:
From top to bottom, left to right: Oak, Turkish Hazel, Japanese Cherry, Copper Beech, Dawn Redwood.
Recently, I have been experimenting with a new, mixed media approach to my drawing. Using a concertina sketchbook, I first prepare backgrounds with ink or watercolour, collage, and acrylic gesso. Then, on location, I add drawing, and I have been experimenting with different pens and pencils. Here are some examples, drawn in Dulwich Park, at the British Museum, at Kew Gardens, and on a recent meet-up of Urban Sketchers London, at the Barbican.
Today I have been drawing in the Islamic galleries of the British Museum. The challenge was to capture the form and texture of these beautiful artefacts, as well as the decoration.
For some months, I have been part of a U3A (University of the Third Age) group learning to identify different types of tree. We visit parks in the Dulwich area and also look at street trees, which are surprisingly varied. Drawing from tree specimens at different times of year helps to improve observation and memory.
This week I have been looking at catkins, one of the most familiar signs of approaching spring. The Himalayan birch has a brighter white bark than the more familiar silver birch, and is frequently being planted as a street tree in this area.
This weekend I have been drawing at the British Museum. This is a sketch of pots which are on display in the Africa Galleries. Urban Sketchers London, which I help to run, had a sketchcrawl there. More information can be found on the Urban Sketchers London blog.