Last week I spent a few days in France helping my parents pack up the house they’ve had for over twenty years. It was a busy time and ridiculously cold (there was no heating in most of the house) and I didn’t have any time to draw.
I have many happy memories associated with that house so I had a mix of emotions – joyful recollections but sadness at being there for the last time. Something I remember with lots of fondness is how my Gran would sit on a bench at the front of the house and watch my children playing. Family gave her such joy.
Here’s a picture of Gran’s bench, drawn a few years ago shortly before her one hundredth birthday.
This last week I’ve been working on a double portrait I think I’m going to call J & C, at least for now. It’s the initials of the subjects (two of my amazing wife’s amazing children). Titles are important but I’m not very good at them.
I also picked up my bird project again. When I was a child I could identify most British birds but the years have not been kind to my memory and I was getting frustrated that I now know so few. I thought a good way of learning about them would be to draw them. At the same time, I could develop my coloured pencil technique. I still think this is a good plan but I’ve been making very slow progress.
Last week I was fortunate enough to be in Lanzarote with my wonderful extended family. I’d thought I’d complete a drawing every day but ended up failing quite spectacularly. I completed just two, at the start of the holiday. My days filled up with other things.
I did sketch the view from the balcony where we were staying. It was a spectacularly windy day, something Lanzarote is famous for of course, and I tried to capture that in this sketch.
The day after I walked from the town where we were staying, Puerto del Carmen, to the next little town along, Puerto Calero. On the way there I passed an abandoned building, teetering on the edge of the cliff, and stopped to draw it on the way back.
Now I’m back in England and am working on a double portrait. I’ll post a progress shot of that soon, but here is the portrait I finished shortly before leaving. I restarted this picture as the first version wasn’t working out. There comes a point when you have to accept a drawing can’t be saved. I’m pleased with how the second version ended up, though.
If you like what I do, please take a look at my Etsy shop or perhaps contact me about a commission.
I have a little more time for drawing at the moment and I’m making the most of it by setting up in the bay window of our dining room, overlooking the sea.
The large picture here is St Catherine’s Chapel, near Abbotsbury, and will be part of my Drawing Dorset collection. I’m using Daler Rowney fine grain heavyweight cartridge paper for this. The grain really helps with the stones.
The smaller picture is of Biggie, a very special French Bulldog, in very early stages. For this picture I’m using Daler Rowney smooth grain heavyweight cartridge paper. The smoother texture lets me get more of the detail of his coat.
Creativity is part of what makes us human. We all need to be creative; we all need to create, to make something that wasn’t there before. Project ourselves, our selfs, into the world. There are very many ways to fulfil this fundamental need. For me, it’s drawing.
For the close to half a century I’ve been alive, drawing is the one hobby I’ve kept coming back to. Other interests, and there have been many, have come and gone, never to return. Drawing has pulled me back time and time again.
I love how the simple act of making a pencil mark on a piece of paper can create a picture that in turn can create an emotion, a thought, or a memory. I love the connection I develop with what I’m drawing, over the hours I spend studying it, whether the subject is a person, a pet or a place. That something this simple can become something so deep, complex and meaningful is like magic.