Saturday, 23 May 2009

From my Bookshelf - 5 Books About Sketching

1. Sketchbook Secrets by Moira Huntly
2. Creative License by Danny Gregory
3. An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory
4. Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory
5. The Tao of Sketching: The Complete Guide to Chinese Sketching Techniques by Qu Lei Lei

10 Great Places to Sketch Around Cambridge

1. University Botanic Gardens
2. Fitzwilliam Museum
3. Market Square

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Sketching in the Botanic Gardens

Cory Lodge, pen and wash

I spent a delightful day at the University Botanic Gardens in Cambridge today. I am very lucky to be able to get a bus from the end of my road that takes me all the way to the Station Road entrance in about 30 to 40 minutes, so loaded with my sketch kit plus a few additions I set off this morning to do some sketching. My first stop was the cafe, where refreshed with a mug of Blackberry and Nettle tea and a slice of Florentine I settled down on the terrace outside to do the above sketch of the building called Cory Lodge.

"Cory Lodge" before wash was applied

Outside the hothouses, coloured pencil in Moleskine

This is a coloured pencil sketch. I don't do much sketching from life in coloured pencil and need to practice more!

Gardener's trolley, pen and wash

I was looking for something to do a quick sketch of before heading home when I caught sight of this trolley which was obligingly parked opposite a sheltered bench. I got some funny looks from the gardener who was watering the border that he had just planted up!

My sketches cannot do the gardens justice so I took a few pics as well : )

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Biscuit finished

Here he is finished. I might tweak a few things here and there, but it is essentially done. I just need to think of a title.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Biscuit WIP update 3

I have had a bit more time today, so managed to get quite a bit more done.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Biscuit WIP update 2

Here is an update, I haven't had much time to spend on this, and there are still things that need fixing, but it'll get there.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Biscuit WIP update

Here is an update. Now it's on the screen I can see all that's wrong with it. His coat colour is proving very difficult, especially in the shadow areas. He is a very pale ginger tabby with a white bib and paws and white on his face (a tuxedo cat).

The Immortal Stone

Chinese jades from the Neolithic period to the twentieth century

Jades from the museum’s collection covering the most important periods in Chinese history. Included will be jades for burial; animal sculptures and luxury utensils from the Ming and Qing periods and jades from the imperial collection, as well as fake jades from the late 19th to early 20th century. There will be a catalogue available to accompany this exhibition.

I visited this exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge last weekend. My first impression was that it was quite small, the Octagon is not very big, but I was soon absorbed by the exhibits. There is one fascinating exhibit depicting the various forms of forgery that have been used to make pieces of modern jade look like antiquities. They went to a lot of trouble to do this, copying pieces from catalogues and then scorching them to discolour the jade.

As photography is not allowed in the museum I pulled out my sketchbook to draw the horse below, but unfortunately the nib of my pen snapped and I had to complete the sketch with a non waterproof gel pen. I surreptitiously added watercolour using my tiny watercolour box and waterbrush as only dry media are allowed in the galleries, but it is so small that nobody noticed.

The exhibition is on until Sunday 31 May in the Octagon (Gallery 10)
Admission is free

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Biscuit WIP

Prismacolor on Sennelier pastelboard

I've started a new piece in coloured pencil. This is one of my cats, Biscuit sitting on the fence between our and our neighbours' gardens, where he likes to sit and torment the neighbours' dog while they are out. She can see him through their kitchen window and goes mad while he sits smugly and safely out of reach.

Kachōfūgetsu - the natural world in Japanese prints

I went to see this exhibition on Sunday at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

"This exhibition explores the illustration of the natural world in Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and books selected from the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection. Birds, insects, fishes, shells and flowers appear in a miscellany of guises. The centrepiece is the trio of books designed by Kitagawa Utamaro (c.1756-1806) on natural themes, known popularly as the ‘Insect Book’, ‘Shell Book’; and ‘Bird Book’. These are generally considered among the masterpieces of book design and printing, and visitors will be able to explore them more fully in a special virtual display. This is also the first chance to see Hokusai’s print, Convolvulus and Tree-frog, recently acquired by the Fitzwilliam with the help of the Art Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund."

As well as the exquisite Utamaro books the exhibition includes prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai. The Utamaro books are worth seeing on their own and if you are unable to visit the museum you can access the excellent online interactive version, where you can view each book page by page, while clicking on the various notes will transalate the text and identify the birds and animals illustrated. You can also use the interactive display at the museum to do the same thing, as obviously you cannot turn the pages of the real book!

The exhibition is in the Shiba room, gallery 14 until Sunday 17 May. Entry is free.