There have been fewer extra-curricular doodlings than normal during the last month-or-so, for various reasons. One of which, I’m happy to report, is the fact that more of my time recently has been occupied with commissioned work – a welcome improvement on the situation this time last year, for sure.
I will, however, now immediately proceed to dismantle that wholesome image of an industrious studio-bound toiler by kicking off with three quick pen & watercolour sketches made during a recent cycling break in Tuscany. Oh, woe is me.
Eight of us altogether (four couples – how bourgeois can you get?) travelled to Siena where we picked up hire bikes for a three-day circular tour of the area, covering distances modest enough to accommodate sightseeing detours and extended lunch-stops at roadside trattorias. I had also envisaged copious opportunities to sit and sketch, and even invested in a new Moleskine watercolour sketchbook for that express purpose, but it didn’t quite pan out that way. On a trip as active, sociable, and just plain fun as this one turned out to be, the idea of sloping off for a couple of hours of drawing in earnest solitude held less appeal than I’d imagined.
Here are the three hurriedly-executed items in question. A sun-baked farm snatched while I paused en route to wait for the others to catch up (I staged a solo breakaway just before a series of sweaty climbs to buy myself some creative time); a wildly out-of-proportion Piazza del Campo in Siena (check out the real thing to see just how wildly); and our hotel and pool in Toiano. As always, even with the most cock-eyed observational drawings, these still evoke the time and the place – to me personally – far more effectively than any photograph could. Beyond that, their merits are somewhat less obvious…
Below are a couple of sketches made on the train to and from London last weekend, when Lynn & I went to see the much-praised exhibition of watercolour paintings by Eric Ravilious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. It’s on until the end of August and I would urge anyone who can get there to go. I found almost every painting had a kind of double-life; up close you can marvel at the variety and ingenuity of the brushstrokes (and still not entirely understand how he made some of those marks) then step back a few paces and admire the incredible mastery of tone and composition. Inspiring and uplifting.
Which brings us up to date. Here are a few 10-minute watercolour drawings of Liorah from last Tuesday. Towards the end of the session I decided to ditch the pencil and sketch solely in watercolour. There’s a different quality to these two pieces– I think this is an avenue I might explore some more.