A room with a view

A rooftop view of Cordoba’s Mezquita from our room, and a Moorish gateway in the street outside. The old town streets are narrow, with lovely strong shadows on the white walls and angled patches of sky above. These sketches are mostly grey/grisaille, with a touch of colour at the very end. Steven Reddy describes the approach as “black and white does the work, colour gets the credit”!

PS: This Sunday 26th April there’s a sketchcrawl in Bristol, meeting at 11.30am outside the Arnolfini. Weather now looks dry… Hope to see you there!


easter03 easter18All 3 Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, watercolour, A5 – 20 – 40 mins

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Roman bridge

Looking across Cordoba’s Roman bridge to the old town from the top of the Calahorra Tower, a paraglider buzzing overhead, and the river running low. I drew one side of the bridge before the other and failed to notice that the projecting stone buttresses needed to match up as they’re the bridge’s arches…

bridge111Lexington grey in water-brush and fountain pen, watercolour, A4 – 40 minutes

As well as great views from the top, the tower has a small museum including a room full of beautiful models of  life in Moorish Cordoba; here’s a close up sketch, peeping into  one of them (the figures are about 3 inches high).


Lexington grey in water-brush and fountain pen, watercolour, A5 – 20 minutes

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En route

Fellow passengers on the way to Cordoba; waiting at the airport, sleeping on the plane, and passing time on the train. Pencil works well for larger and more detailed portraits, it can be hard for a face to recover from a poorly placed ink-line

(My previous post got twice the usual amount of views; we’re interested in other sketcher’s work, but really interested in their drawing kit and techniques, the practical details that help us get out and sketch!)

easter25easter16easter333trees2Pencil, Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, watercolour, white gelly Roll pen, A5 – various times, fairly fast

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Daily sketch kit update

3 months late, but here’s an update to my daily sketch-kit page…


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Can’t see the wood

A break from Cordoba with some recent tree sketches, rural and urban. The first two are of an old mossy oak in a wood of mostly Scots Pine, done a couple of months apart. Then a tree in Queen’s Square in Bath. It’s hard to know where to stop with trees, the branches keep on branching, smaller and smaller…

PS: On Sunday 26th April there’s a sketchcrawl in Bristol, meeting at 11.30am outside the Arnolfini. Details in the PDF below. Hope to see you there!

Urban sketch-2


treess1Brown Pigma pen, Lexington grey and Noodlers Brown 41 in water-brush, watercolour, A4/A5 – one hour each

teeth12Noodlers Brown 41 in fountain pen and water-brush, dilute Lexington grey in water-brush, A5 – 30 minutes

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Near the Easter processions…

Back in Cordoba with people waiting for Easter processions to start, watching them from a balcony, and some band members recovering after hours of playing in the heat! I think drawing groups of figures is my default for ‘urban sketching'; I love picking out the key lines and gestures that describe an individual, and that capture their relationship with others nearby.

easter26easter23easter13 easter12Lines drawn with brown Pigma pen and Lexington grey in fountain pen; dilute Lexington grey,  Namiki blue and Noodlers Brown 41 in water-brush for shading,  water-colour, A5 – various times

Posted in coloured ink, coloured paper, Cordoba, figures, from life, holiday, line drawing, monochrome, parades, people, street scene, travel, Uncategorized, urban, waiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Holy Week in Cordoba

Six Semana Santa processions in Cordoba, great practise for drawing spectators! Each one was subtly different, reflecting the brotherhood they represented; the colours of the pointed hoods, the scenes depicted on the floats, the specific music played. But all shared the thick clouds of incense, the huge crowds watching and photographing, and the wonderful marching bands.


They slowly processed through the narrow streets of the old town, the Court of Oranges and the Mezquita.


I sketched the crowds while we were waiting, estimating the possible position of the floats, and then drew very fast to catch them as they went by. I managed line drawings on the spot, and added the shade and colour once the procession had passed…


Children rushed out to collect dripping wax from the long candles carried by the ‘Nazarenes/penitents’. The pointed hoods are hard to see out of, hence the hand held up to the face, pushing the fabric back.

easter22Pencil, ink, paint, A5 – various times

Posted in coloured paper, Cordoba, figures, from life, holiday, journeys, parades, people, street scene, travel, urban, watching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments