Using a sketchbook

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.

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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.

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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.

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A Moroccan sketchbook

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.

 

Bird World

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.

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Winter sun in Dulwich Park

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.

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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.

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Looking at tree bark patterns

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.

Experiments with collage and texture

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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.