Drawing compost bins. Really?!

This is a drawing I did of our compost bins down the end of our garden. They are now over 30 years old and need a bit of attention to bring them back to full working order. They are well overgrown, falling to bits, and with some large logs piled up in front to hide them from view; Pretend they don’t exist.

110918 - Compost binsI wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, but by sitting down and drawing, taking my time to study them in more detail (although not in a technical drawing sort of way), communing with nature a bit (a squirrel was making a right racket in a tree overhead), my sub-conscious brain started whirring and slowly formulated a plan of action. Now to put it into practice (next week).

Happy is a man with a plan. – and a sketchbook!

Moving pictures – a progressive procession revisited.

I’ve taken up the half marathon drawing again. See my post from last week. It kept on nagging at me – bringing me it’s lead – come on, I need a walk!

So here we go again:

191117 - Half Marathon 5First of all I decided to get a bit more structure in, so Iput in some black linear work which has given it a kind of rhythm which I felt was good for the runners. They need to get into their stride. However, this seems to have flattened the surface of the drawing out a bit, so 191117 - Half Marathon 6I decided to put in some mid range tones to give the image more body and depth. Following on from this I decided to put in some highlights to emphasise certain areas and then rework the black on top, after which I thought I’d be getting somewhere with this drawing! Hurrah!!

191117 - Half Marathon 7Humph!

Not quite as planned. I thought this was heavy-weight watercolour paper, not some namby-pamby thin cartridge paper. I don’t know my own strength and must have been too vigorous with it. There’s a hole in my drawing dear Liza, dear Liza; There’s a hole in my drawing; Dear Liza, a hole!

I think it is time to sit back and push the pause button again. Mending it with straw is not the correct solution, dear Henry, and fancy getting such an injury so early on in the race, I fear this might need help from the St John Ambulance service.

Also, is it still a drawing? Yes – but it seems to want to turn itself into a painting. It has a life of it’s own, like an ill-trained dog hauling at it’s leash. It wants to go that way, not my way! There are some intriguing elements buried under the surface rubble, some of which are beginning to poke through the charcoal, and I want to help rescue them. But how to do it, that is the question? Bloodhound, or Liza, or both?

Moving pictures – a progressive procession.

At the beginning of October I went to watch the local half marathon with the aim of doing a few drawings and getting a few ideas. I must admit I was flummoxed. The runners were much too fast for me! By the time I’d got the sketchbook out, they were gone halfway down the road and out of sight. Perhaps I shouldn’t have watched the runners at the start when they were fresh and bunched up together, but when they were more tired and strung out, and I could see them coming from a distance so I could prepare. Next year… However I did take a few photos to work from, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.

121117 - Half Marathon 1First and foremost I wanted to express the movement, and speed of the runners. I set to work, pencil on paper and immediately realised I’d chosen the wrong materials. Pencil wasn’t right to use on a thick rough watercolour paper if I wanted to convey the action. I have a long way to go in learning this art stuff, but hopefully will learn from my mistakes along the way.

121117 - Half Marathon 2I took the rubber to it, and immediately felt better. Strange that I had more freedom of movement by erasing things, than the initial making of the marks.

121117 - Half Marathon 3Charcoal was the medium perhaps. I had a lot less restrictions, the charcoal rolled over the surface much better and I could engage with the runners much more. Furthermore – I enjoyed working with the medium, although I have hardly any practice with it. Lets get stuck in.

121117 - Half Marathon 4I’m beginning to realise that charcoal can be worked with, manipulated and something that can be built on and up. A progression that takes on a life of it’s own. I’m not sure where this drawing is going; it certainly isn’t finished. The work has already taken me on a journey, taking me by the hand, and I am hopefully dragging you along as companion into the unknown. This is where I am, at the moment. I’m taking a rest now, before going onwards to who knows where. To be continued


Mandola Doodles

271017 - Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders

This is a little pencil drawing I did a few weeks back at a Jon Sanders concert held at a local church. Jon is a wonderfully talented musician who travels the world plying his craft, and we are lucky he occasionally visits Tonbridge and gives up an evening to play for us. It helps that his parents live close by. This evening he played mainly the mandola, but whilst I was scrawling away, the trusted ukulele came out for an airing.

Not a great sketch, but I’m proud to have done it live, so to speak, and without any backing vocals. I felt slightly guilty at the time, focussing on my drawing, rather than the music. I completed it within one song though, so my mind was only elsewhere for a few minutes, then it was back to the mandola.

Tonbridge Dragon Boat Painting

100917 - Dragon's Head

Dragon’s Head

The Loudspeaker. The starting line. The lining up of the two boats – forward, back, forward. The pomp of the glorious costumes. Hats and wigs straightened.

Pencils, brushes, paint and paper are ready.



BANG! They are off. The digging in and the clash of the paddles. The water boils and spray hurtles upwards. Dragon Boat Racing is upon us.

They are round the bend now. Still in the distance. One slightly ahead of the other. Preliminary scurry of drawn lines. Pencil meets paper.

The drum beat! Smothered, dampened thuds at first. The cries and whoops of the crowd as the boats come scampering down the river towards us.

Drum beats get louder. More frantic. Boom…boom…boom! Brushes, watercolour, splash – get those colours down on the page.

They are upon us! Yelling, bellowing, a heaving mass of bodies, paddles, water, spray, dragons, pencils, paint, line and tone.

The drummer beats and shouts. The artist frantic – hands a blur.

It is close, very close, too close to call! Dragon heads straining forward, pulling and diving towards the finishing line…

Bang! Bang!

It is over now. Paddles are shipped, and arms raised. The drums fall silent. The helmsmen serene, as the boats slide under the bridge.

The artist survives the carnage on the page, and the paint begins to dry.

100917 - Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Racing