…and then to France

A second batch of sketches from a recent trip South.

First some gouache and pencil sketches on the road over the border, snow-capped Canigou dominating the landscape.arnos vale (76)Then a quiet weekday corner in Villelongue-dels-Monts, sketched in bamboo dip-pen as a gift for our hosts. Spot a prowling rooftop cat, a loud peacock perched on a house, and the bike I used to get there. I had to sit in a doorway to get the view I wanted with the wires and windows, then got chatting to the owner in Franglais about art, visits to UK etc; sketching’s a great way to dissolve barriers! IMG_E0436

The foothills of the Eastern Pyrenees seen from the house we stayed in…arnos vale_0004

…with clouds curling over the peaks.arnos vale_0005

We decided to walk up the nearest peak; here’s the view from the top…arnos vale_0003…and the view as we walked back down.arnos vale_0001 (46)

A finally a day trip to nearby Collioure, historic haunt of artists. Time for a quick coffee and sketch in a cafe wall-papered in paintings…P1290341

…before drawing the harbour front. When I started this one I thought it would be a curved panoramic fish-eye sketch, but then changed my mind, hence the leaning tower and curious sinking sea on the right!P1290342 (2)

Here are some past sketches from the same area…

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To Spain…

A fairly long post with the first of two sets of sketches from a recent trip. This is the Spanish batch, with the French ones to follow…

The scene at Bristol airport, drawn from an upper level, the busy crowd helping me complete the ‘100 people in one week’ challenge.P1290344

Fellow travellers boarding a nearby plane…arnos vale_0007

… and a glimpse of the clouds and landscape below while sketching the screen-watchers in the foreground.arnos vale

L’Avenc at Tavertet where we stayed, perched above the cliffs in the amazing Collsacabra landscape near Girona; a view of the old house from the terrace…arnos vale_0001

…morning clouds in the valley below…arnos vale_0002

…the view towards the distant sea from the hills above L’Avenc; spot the car arriving and leaving along the narrow track. (I revisited this view in watercolour the next day)…P1290347

… the lonely tortured artist at work, struggling with his inner demons, and the strong winds snatching at the paper, bamboo dip-pens etc.IMG_1315

Looking down at L’Avenc from a different cliff, Girona way off in the distant plain beyond the hazy hills.P1290346

The artist now grappling with the ineffable majesty of nature, paint, flying insects etc…IMG_1282

…and the resulting watercolour, no ink or bamboo dip-pens in sight. The rain clouds approaching from the left arrived while I was painting, hence the unusual mottled sky effect!P1290343

(We stayed at L’Avenc last summer when I was exploring gouache and coloured pencils and mostly sketched the dramatic cliffs below the house…)

 

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Life outdoors

We had four days of unbroken sunshine for the Easter bank holiday weekend, so parks and public spaces were full of people enjoying themselves; here are some of them, drinking tea and smoking e-cigarettes, having an ice-cream, or just sitting and walking and chatting… Me? I was mostly sketching. (All drawn in bamboo dip-pen, with dilute ink and watercolour washes)P1290340P1290345arnos vale_0008Version 2arnos vale_0009

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More inky people…

All sketched in Bath, and all in bamboo dip-pen. From the top there’s Seb Guettier busking by the Baths, then Justin Towell busking by the Abbey, Saturday crowds observed from outside a cafe, and finally sketching amongst the chimneys up on the roof terrace at Hall and Wodehouse with Emily, Gome and Charlotte (pigeons and a helicopter overhead).

There are easier pens to use, but I keep returning to the idiosyncratic quirks and saturated lines of the bamboo dip-pen. I recommend trying one out as they’re very cheap, but make sure you smooth the tip with very fine sandpaper before using a shop-bought one or else scritchy scratchy dismay will result… (see also my modification to improve ink flow).IMG_0400IMG_0379IMG_0383IMG_0381

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Inky people

Five recent sketches using a bamboo dip-pen for juicy inky lines (which go grey when you blot them). From the top there’s the Saturday market in Stroud (mmm, delicious Portuguese pastries), Seb Guettier busking by Bath Abbey (apologies for the shrinking legs and violin sized guitar case), Bath rugby supporters queuing for the bus home (they’d won), visitors to the Roman baths enjoying the world through tiny screens, and masked animal rights protesters showing scenes from abattoirs on tablets. All human life is here, well, some of it…

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See-through city

Three attempts to capture the animation of Bath city centre, drawing people as they pass by, near or far, focussing mainly on the faces and posture and not worrying about overlaps. I was sat down, so some of the closer figures loom over the others. I drew the outlines of buildings, signs and pavements first to give me a loose structure to place the pedestrians in, and then just settled into people watching and bamboo dip-penning!

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City evenings

Sorry for the lack of recent posts; there’s no particular excuse, just the usual Christmas busy-ness and all the rest. I was still out sketching though, so here are four evening scenes in central Bath. Winter’s a busy time for Bath with a very popular Christmas shed chalet market attracting thousands of extra visitors. In the first two I slightly tilted the scene to be able to show more of the people and the streets stretching away into the distance. The third was from an upstairs cafe, so no tilting needed! (The first’s drawn with a fude fountain pen, the second in pencil, and the last two with bamboo dip-pen)

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