Here are some more images from my recent short course at West Dean College in West Sussex. We did quite a bit of experiment with ink, using various tools, and with graphite. Some of this was on the theme of ‘winter landscape’, taking a rather abstract rather than observational approach. Here are some of the experiments I did.
These new drawings are monoprints – a print process which creates one, rather than multiple images. The drawings are of cones, shells and seedpods. I did them at West Dean this week, an observation of the natural world when the weather was too bad to draw outside.
My drawings here are based on drawings by Honore Daumier of French judges (drawn about 1850). Today I have been drawing in the study room of the Victoria and Albert Museum works on paper collection, which own the Daumier drawings, and many others. These collections, which also exist at the British Museum, Tate Britain and the Courtauld, are an extraordinary and little known resource. Members of the public can make appointments to see, and if wished, draw from drawings by world famous artists, free of charge. So much can be learned from the close observation which comes with copying drawings in different styles.
I did the drawing above this week at the Museum of the Order of St John, in Clerkenwell. The museum tells the history of the Order of St John, established in eleventh century Jerusalem to provide medical care for sick pilgrims, and then acquiring a military role in the crusades. After a complex history, it is now the St John Ambulance Brigade. A second drawing, below, shows the process I am using quite a bit at the moment, drawing in coloured pencil onto a pre-prepared background of water colour.
The two drawings below were done at the National Army Museum in Chelsea. The first is a display related to the battle of Waterloo, the second, a display of historic army uniforms.
I have never visited Egypt, but am always interested in seeing the art and artefacts from such an ancient culture. This composite drawing was done in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, as part of a joint meet-up with the London and Cambridge Urban Sketchers groups last Saturday.
Some more drawings from my sketchbook, in coloured pencil on watercolour backgrounds. The locations share a theme: a historic building set in gardens. The first two drawings here – each pair of drawings is actually one continuous image in a concertina sketchbook – were done recently at Newnham College, Cambridge. The ones below that were done at Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing, West London. This was the country house of architect Sir John Soane, and I tried to capture some of the characteristics of his architecture, such as the use of coloured glass, and the rounded brick arches.
This weekend I have been sketching in London. Above is a drawing I did on Saturday of the ever-changing City skyline, drawn from near Tower Bridge. It amazes, and sometimes worries me how quickly major developments take place in key areas of London. A couple of years ago, Norman Foster’s ‘Gherkin’ building on St Mary Ax dominated the view of the ‘new’ City. Now new buildings have shot up which dwarf it.
On Sunday, I was helping run a sketch crawl with Urban Sketchers London at Trinity Buoy Wharf. This is further east, across the Thames from the O2 in North Greenwich (originally the Millennium Dome). Trinity Buoy Wharf has the only lighthouse in London, surrounded by other older industrial/nautical buildings. It is now a centre for cultural activities and related businesses, surrounded by very new high-rise housing and offices, with great views of the river. My sketches take different elements of this and put them together. All sketches are done with coloured pencil on prepared but random backgrounds in watercolour, on a concertina sketchbook. Below are the drawings from Trinity Buoy Wharf: