This week I had the challenge of drawing two Hindu temples, or mandirs, in North London, both of them buildings with extremely complex stone carvings. I needed to find ways of drawing these buildings in a fairly short space of time. The drawing above, and the photograph on the left, is the Shri Sanatan Mandir at Alperton, near Wembley.
The photograph on the right is of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden. Here is a second drawing of the Shri Sanatan Mandir, and one of the entrance to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.
Recently I spent a few days painting in the Exmoor National Park, staying at Selworthy. The painting above shows a view of Exmoor near the North Devon coast. Below, a farm building near where I was staying, and a wind-blasted tree which was painted on the coast at Porlock Weir. All the works are watercolour, painted on location.
Yesterday, I ran a sketchcrawl in Dulwich Village with Urban Sketchers London. I also found time to draw across four pages of my concertina sketchbook, and the results are shown below. The paper was initially prepared with torn paper collage, acrylic gesso and random marks with diluted indian ink. Then I drew on location with chinagraph pencil, which is a waxy, quite thick black pencil which encourages a bold approach. I am finding that the concertina format encourages a more flexible use of different images across the spread, developing a portrait of the place, in this case Dulwich Picture Gallery and its surrounds.
I recently spent a few days at West Dean College in Sussex, on a course called Drawing in the gardens – Pattern and place. One of the challenges we were set was ‘A figure in the landscape’. Here are a few drawings. The Victorian greenhouses in the West Dean gardens are under restoration, so scaffolding was also a feature.
A few weeks ago, I posted some sketches I had done on a visit to Morocco. Here is some work I have done subsequently from those quick location drawings. There are two works in soft pastel, two small watercolours, and a section from the experimental sketchbook I have been keeping, drawing onto a background of collage, ink and gesso. Although this seems an obvious thing to do, to keep a sketch book and then make more developed paintings later, in practice I have rarely done this. The sketches have not seemed ‘good enough’, I am more interested in working on location rather than make studio paintings. I feel it is progress that I have taken this further and it has helped to embed my recollections of this journey.
Above are the pastels, first a view of the gardens of the Mamounia Hotel, followed by a scene from the Majorelle Garden, which used to belong to Yves Saint Laurent, both in Marrakech.
Above are two watercolours, first one of Essaouira, and the second a view of the Kasbah above Imlil in the Atlas mountains. The two last images, below, and sketchbook pages which aim to give more general memories of some of the scenes of Morocco I remember from my trip.
For me, one advantage of still life drawing is the opportunity to focus on how different forms and textures are shown in a drawing. Three of these were drawn with chinagraph pencil, and the jug with flowers with oil pastels. The drawings were done at a workshop taught by Fabia Claris.
Earlier this month, I made a short trip to Morocco, staying in Marrakech, the High Atlas mountains, Taroudant and Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast. It was a busy sightseeing trip, but I made some sketches which are shown here. The drawings are in pencil: graphite, sanguine and other coloured pencils.