38 boats

While in Stockholm we caught a ferry to Grinda, one of 30,000 (!) islands in the surrounding archipelago. We swam in the warm Baltic and I tried to sketch the many pleasure craft that passed. As most were going fairly fast I ended up with a collection of tiny one minute drawings, I added the shade and colour later. Some of the speed boats managed to tick every box on my list of general irritants: noisy, hurried, expensive, ostentatious, wasteful, and driven by yahoos imposing their idea of a good time on everyone else, harrumph. Which meant the silent, slow, cheap, modest and resourceful kayakers were all Good People, probably.

boats1Pencil, Lexington grey water-brush, watercolour, A6 – 20 minutes

boats2White Gelly Roll pen, Lexington grey water-brush, watercolour, A6 – 20 minutes

The sketches have ended up looking like 1950’s wallpaper for boys (examples from the internet below, not my work!), I think the colour’s to blame….wallpaper4wallpaper5wallpaper3wallpaper1

Posted in boats, coloured paper, holiday, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, pencil, Stockholm | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Worshippers, ancient and modern

worshippers31Lexington grey fountain pen and water-brush, white Gelly Roll pen, white gouache, on coloured paper,  A5 – 10 minutes line drawing at the museum, and 30 minutes adding the light and shade at home

A small fraction of the 2,000 votive figures excavated from the open air temple of Ayia Irini in Cyprus in the 1930s. Half of the statues are on display at the Mediterranean Museum in Stockholm (where we saw them, and where you can eat a lovely lunch in amongst the display cases) while the other half are at the Lefkosia Museum in Cyprus. They’ve been arranged in the way they would have stood originally, in concentric semi-circles, all facing a sacred stone. The huge range of faces and expressions makes them a gift for sketching, I kept spotting people I recognised in the crowd!

worshippers22The Stockholm half of the collection…

Archaic and Classical period…and the Cypriot half.

The crowd of statues reminded me of Antony Gormley’s ‘Field for the British Isles’


Later the same day I sketched these shop dummies. The way they all faced the same way, wearing uniform clothing, with blank eyeless expressions echoed and contrasted with the ancient Cypriot figures; I’ve no idea what they’re worshipping.

worshippers2Lexington grey fountain pen and water-brush, gouache, white Gelly Roll pen, A6 – 15 minutes

Posted in collections, coloured paper, exhibitions, Lexington grey, monochrome, museum, Stockholm, urban, white pen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take off, in-flight, landing

Scenes from a flight to Stockholm… A sketchy impression of the rolling patchwork landscape around Bristol airport as the plane took off, random images from a flight safety card (including a wildly optimistic ‘landing on water’), and planes waiting at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport under low cloud. I couldn’t see out of the window or down the aisle in flight so the safety card was the only promising material to draw! It’s interesting to see how the illustrator simplifies people to a few clear lines, and I particularly like the man whose lazer vision has the power to burn or freeze.

take off1

Lexington grey water-brush, watercolour, A6 – 10 minutes

stock3Lexington grey fountain pen, watercolour, A6 – 40 minutes

stock5       Pencil, Lexington grey water-brush, A6 – 30 minutes

Posted in airplane, airport, landscape, line drawing, monochrome, pencil, sketching, Stockholm | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stockholm sketching

stock11Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, watercolour, A5 – one hour

We spent last week in Stockholm, and I was delighted to have the chance to go on a sketchcrawl, kindly arranged by Nina Johansson. Here are Tina (on the fence) and Nina (on her tiny stool) drawing the back of a cement works and docks on the North shore of Liljeholmen, after a heavy downpour and very dramatic lightning storm.  My five colleagues were all either bilingual or trilingual, speaking Spanish, French, Swedish, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese; fortunately for me they also all spoke English. Many thanks to Nina for organising the crawl, it’s lovely to have a local guide!

Posted in buildings, from life, holiday, journeys, people, sketching, Stockholm, urban, waves | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Digital art

Lots more fingers and toes, all drawn late in the evening when there’s nothing else around to sketch. Strange to see my hands age so dramatically as the drawings become more detailed, with more lines and shading…

(A range of pens and inks, mostly Lexington grey with some white Gelly Roll, all A7 and fairly fast)

hands and feet6hands and feet5hands and feet4hands and feet1hands and feet3hands and feet2

Posted in body, collections, coloured paper, from life, hands, night, self-portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sushi, again

Back at Yen Sushi for another lovely lunch. From the top there’s green tea, steamed rice, aubergine salad, spinach with peanut sauce, and teriyaki prawns. I ate lots more but it didn’t hang around long enough to be drawn. Below it is the equivalent sketch from a year ago, complete with wobbly restated lines, either caused by sake or inexperience… Progress?

ghg1Lexington grey fountain pen and water-brush, water-colour, A6 – 20 minutes


Blue and brown Pigma pens, Lexington grey water-brush, water-colour, A6 – 20 minutes

Posted in Bath, cafe, every day matters, food, from life, urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

46 strangers

Urban sketching turns the busy city centre into a giant, free (clothed) life-drawing class. It’s great practise for gesture drawing, and you’ve got to be fast to catch the pedestrians, but some are sitting ducks… Here are members of the public around Bath over the past few months; shoppers checking phones and waiting for friends, lots of bench-sitters, and a queue of tourists for the Roman Baths. The head-down-hands-up phone checking pose is a recent phenomenon and very familiar; 8 of these 46 people are doing it, with only one doing the twentieth century equivalent (reading a newspaper).   (Too many inks/pens etc to list, but mostly Lexington grey and watercolour, A6/A7 and all done fast)

people 11peoples4peoplesss1peoples2peopless1

Posted in Bath, coloured paper, from life, line drawing, people, street scene, urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment