Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Mill Road Winter Fair

Mill Road Winter Fair ink, watercolour and coloured pencil

On Saturday 5th December I joined the Cambridge Urban Sketchers to sketch the annual Mill Road Winter Fair. A few hardy souls gathered at the skateboard ramp at the Parkside end of Mill Road at midday before settling off to find a sheltered spot to sketch. I settled on a spot near The Broadway and perched on my camping stool until I could hardly feel my fingers anymore. Discarded coffee cups and escaped balloons swept past me as I was buffeted by the wind and I finally gave in and headed off to Romsey Mill Community Centre cafe to meet up with everyone else and thaw out with tea and cake! I added a bit more colour when I got home and got my fingers unfrozen!

This was my first trip out with Urban Sketchers since breaking my ankle in September and I hope to join the London Urban Sketchers next Saturday in Trafalgar Square

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Marking Time by Eithne Fisher

Grey Bridge oil on canvas by Eithne Fisher

On Thursday I attended my friend and fellow artist Eithne Fisher's preview of her new exhibition Marking Time. The exhibition of paintings and drawings is in rooms above The Plough pub in Shepreth, a pretty village about 10 miles south of Cambridge. The Plough closed its doors in 2010 and was due to be converted into a private house but dedicated campaigning by local people led to it being reopened last July as a community space for music and art as well as continuing as a traditional pub.

Upper galleries at The Plough, Shepreth
The rooms above the bar appear to be a work in progress as some of the light fittings are not yet installed, making the smaller of the two rooms a little dark, but the larger room is a good size and the white painted walls show off the artwork well.

Eithne is showing thirty three works, about half are abstract oil on canvas and the rest are a mixture of drawings and photographs split over the two rooms and the lobby. Eithne describes herself as "a painter and drawer", and drawing is the basis of her work.

Drawing from Noss Mayo 3
by Eithne Fisher

Eire Figure 1 and 2
by Eithne Fisher

"Drawing and painting can be descriptive in many ways, and colour in particular is sensitive to many influences. I believe that everything is connected and visual marking responds not only to what is seen but what is heard, felt and imagined. These thoughts carry my work, which is a journey to an unknown end. The beginning, however, is drawing."

Two works had already been sold during the morning and two more got their red stickers while we were there, including
Untitled Seascape 15-1, my favourite! I also particularly liked the Eire Figures and Noss Mayo drawings.

Untitled  Seascape 15-1 oil on canvas by Eithne Fisher

The exhibition continues during pub opening hours until the 31st May at

The Upper Galleries,
The Plough,
High Street,

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Mill Cottage

Last summer during the NGS open gardens I visited Impington Mill, to do some sketching and produced this drawing.

I have since made a watercolour, pen and coloured pencil version, which I intend to be the first in a series of paintings of local landmarks. I'm going to visit the mill again next month to draw the windmill itself. Impington Mill will be open during National Mills weekend 9th and 10th May from 10.00 to 16.00. I believe it will also be open for Histon and Impington Open Gardens on Sunday 14 June.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Botanic Garden Sketches and Jade Vine

View of the hot houses
 Last week I spent a couple of days sketching in the Cambridge University Gardens. The first day I didn't take my folding stool so had to wait for a seat to be vacated! When I started sketching I was in the shade but as the sun moved round I was getting hotter and hotter.
1 Brookside
I returned the following day armed with my stool and settled down to draw 1 Brookside, just inside the entrance, but although the sun was shining it was distinctly cooler and I soon retreated to the Garden Cafe. I will finish both sketches in the comfort of my studio desk in the corner of the living room!

I can never visit the Gardens without going in the hot houses and this time I was rewarded with the magnificent Jade Vine in bloom.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Drawing with London Urban Sketchers

Yesterday I joined the London Urban Sketchers for the first time. We were to meet on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral at 11 o'clock but I was late and so after catching up with the organiser, Katherine Tyrrell, I headed down to the river and sketched the view across the Thames to the Tate Modern.

View across the Thames from just right of the Millennium Bridge

We all met up again on the roof terrace of One New Change to sketch the fabulous views and pose for a group photo. We also gathered all our sketches from the morning together. It was great to see
everyone's different styles.

The dome of St Pauls
Materials and equipment used, left to right. Winsor and Newton 
A4 sketchbook, Moleskine large watercolour sketchbook,
 Winsor and Newton Bijou watercolour box ,Uni Kuru Toga
 mechanical pencil,Uni Pin fineliner, Pentel waterbrush


Group photo in Paternoster Square 
 We met up for a final time in Paternoster Square for another group photo (including a photo bomber, far right!) and another look at everyone's sketches. After saying our goodbyes a few of us repaired to a nearby coffee shop to compare the contents of our sketch kits!

More sketchbooks!

All in all I had a fantastic day and I can't wait to do it again next month when we are going to Kew Gardens on the 16th of May! Details of future London events can be found here.

Thanks so much to Katherine Tyrrell for organising the event. It was great fun and I made some new friends! Urban Sketchers London post about the event is here.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

London Urban Sketchers

London Urban Sketchers' Sketchcrawl - Sunday 26th April 2015

Pen and watercolour sketch of St Pauls.

I'm going to join the next London Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl which will be at the Millennium Bridge North Bank, St Paul's Cathedral, and One New Change - The Rook Terrace. All the details are on the Urban Sketchers London blog. This event is being organised by Katherine Tyrrell and details are also on her Travels with a Sketchbook blog.
The sketch above of St Pauls was done a few years ago from the cafe of the Tate Modern.

You can find out more about Urban Sketchers at their main blog at urban sketchers dot org.

"Urban Sketchers is a network of artists around the world who draw the cities where they live and travel to. Our mission is to "Show the World, One Drawing at a Time." Visit our main blog at urban sketchers dot org for more information."

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sketching the Market Square

It's too cold, wet and windy at the moment for sketching outdoors (for me at least), so I've retreated to the Cambridge branch of Marks and Spencer over the course of a few days to sketch from the cafe. The tables by the windows on the second floor offer a splendid view of the Market Square and St Mary's the Great church with Kings College chapel in the background. The aspect I chose to sketch looks across the market stalls and down St Mary's Street toward the Senate House lawn.

Market Square pen sketch

Getting a window side table to sketch from wasn't easy! The cafe in Mark and Spencer is very popular and everyone wants to sit by the window. I had to lurk for about 20 minutes, surreptitiously browsing home wares while waiting for a table to become free. As soon as a table became vacant I dumped my bag and coat and went to queue up for a pot of peppermint tea and a delicious cheese scone, but the service was not the fastest and by the time I came back to my table my coat and bag had gone! Seeing my look of alarm an adjacent diner told me that a staff member had taken them for safekeeping as she thought they had been left behind by a previous occupant. My things were quickly returned to me and no one else had taken the table so no harm was done and I was grateful to the staff for their vigilance. On the next visit I got my tea before sitting down at a table as close to the window as I could and waited until a table became free. It took longer this time as I needed to get the same table as before to continue sketching the same view.
Market Square pen and watercolour sketch

So lessons learnt on this trip.

  • If sketching from a popular eating venue get there early to ensure the position you want. (This also allows more time to complete the drawing, I had to return to the  same spot to finish my sketch as I hadn't allowed enough time and the light was fading.)
  • Get your food or drink before you sit down even if the seat you want isn't immediately available. You can quickly switch seats later. 
  • If possible reconnoitre the venue first to check the best view, time of day etc. 
  • Be prepared to wait! (You can always sketch your fellow diners while you wait!)