Sunday, 27 July 2014

Jane's self-portrait

Jane's submission for the Tabernacle Open art competition at MOMA was accepted, and also highly commended. Very exciting and well-deserved.

The theme given was 'Myself'. Jane worked in charcoal, linseed oil and acrylic on board to produce a very contemplative, sensitive and moving self-portrait.





The exhibition runs from 12 July to 30 August 2014 at MOMA in Machynlleth, Wales (link above)





Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Garden shed

garden shed from Fiona's garden; inks and watercolour (Jane)
Broken-down garden sheds are a bit of a speciality in Wolverhampton. As they sag and lose planks, people prop them up and patch up the holes. Black Country people are endlessly resiliant and resourceful. Makeshift blue vinyl rooves are a common sight and almost a work of art in themselves.  These temporary structures become permanent fixtures amidst the nettle patches and compost heaps at the end of the garden.

Jane was taken by this particular shed, and came round to sketch it before we put up another in front of it (in order to decant the contents of our broken-down shed so that we can patch it up in turn, so the cycle continues..). In the spontaneity of her brushstrokes and the discrete use of the startling blue, she has captured the wildness of the undergrowth, and the dappled light as it filters through the tall trees, as well as the unique character of the garden shed.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Sketching in Tuscany


We had a wonderful and inspirational week in Tuscany. Our trip started in Pisa, the air fresh and clear after overnight electric storms. The view from our hotel was spectacular. We sketched for an hour before journeying to Volterra for the workshop.


Leaning Tower, Pisa; pencil (Tina)

duomo, Pisa; watercolour, conte crayon and ink on altered book (Fiona)

In Volterra, we were greeted with a gentle and warm-hearted welcome by Klaudia, Wolfgang and Anton to the Villa Guadelupe, and over the next few days formed a firm bond with the group of diverse, talented and committed artists who had travelled from all parts of Italy, and from Spain, Germany and Russia, to take part in the workshop. The hospitality was fabulous. Simo and Caroline were supportive and energetic workshop leaders, taking us from sketching inside the villa, looking outwards to the gardens and hills beyond; then back to the ancient history of the area, sketching in the Etruscan museum and the Roman amphitheatre and the streets of Volterra; ending with a sketchcrawl to the final public exhibition of our collective work on the final day. Simo has written a summary of the workshop in english here  and in italian on her blog here.


We finished the trip off with a day in Florence. The warmth of the landscape and the people and all that we'd learned made us want to stay longer; a sign of a great week. Photos of the workshop and participants here

A few examples of our sketches:
Val di Cecina from Villa Guadelupe, Volterra; watercolour & conte crayon (Fiona)

Val di Cecina from Villa Guadelupe, Volterra; watercolour (Tina)
Olive groves and the Val di Cecina; indian ink (Fiona)



Volterra garden; watercolour (Tina)

Etruscan bronze statuettes; inktense pencil (Fiona)

Florence, from Santa Croce; ink & watercolour (Tina)



Sunday, 25 August 2013

Seeing the world one drawing at a time

Two of us (Fiona and Tina) are flying to Italy next week to take part in 'Tuscan Landscape', an urban sketchers' workshop in the ancient city of Volterra, based in the beautiful Villa Le Guadalupe.


We will be sketching and seeing our surroundings 'one drawing at a time' in keeping with the urban sketchers' manifesto (see below). Their philosophy of truth in looking, capturing and sharing is one that chimes resoundingly with all us who sketch and paint. We'll also be sketching the magnificent Etruscan and Roman remains, working expressively and experimentally exploring interrupted lines and fragments.  We're very much looking forward to sketching in such a wonderful environment and meeting the interesting people who are also attending. In fact we're so excited to be going, and to be going together, that we've been quietly delirious for weeks.

I attended a similar workshop in 2011 and wrote about it in my personal blog here and here.

USK Manifesto

1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation. 2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel. 3. Our drawings are a record of time and place. 4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness. 5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles. 6. We support each other and draw together. 7. We share our drawings online. 8. We show the world, one drawing at a time.

Reading this manifesto earlier this summer, I was spurred on to sketch even more regularly. I've therefore had a very pleasant summer sitting outside cafes and in pub gardens, consuming excellent coffees, beer and various cakes, pies etc, sketching whatever I could see in front of me. I made my own sketchbook, taking an old poetry textbook and altering the pages by staining them with inks, household emulsion and gesso or including extra pages, mostly old monoprints, textured papers etc. Every page is different and the challenge has been to work on whatever surface presents itself next, no matter the subject, and no matter how difficult! I'll post about how I made the book in another post later. 

All sketches have been done on location; on some of the pages, colour and texture has been added later. Here are a few examples:


Victorian pub 'the Rising Sun'; watercolour, ink and gouache on yellow household emulsion paint (Fiona)

16thc coaching inn 'The Crown'; gouache and inks on ink-spattered text (Fiona)

fields and sky at Compton Verney; watercolour and gesso (Fiona)

stone sculpures at Tong church; inks on old monoprint (Fiona)

Tong church and village; watercolour, inks and white marker pen on household emulsion (Fiona)

light and dark; inks, crayon and gouache on household emulsion (Fiona)

watercolour, gouache and inks on old monoprint (Fiona)

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