Friday 24 July 2009

Grave Concerns!

Yesterday- despite the showers- I was determined to get out to do some sketching round the village.
The cemetery's a quiet place- no-one here's going to come and look over my shoulder at what I'm drawing- hopefully!
It starts to rain just as I've chosen a suitable spot, so I shelter under the huge dark yew tree in the corner, sitting on a soft carpet of needles. Here, I'm obliged to draw pretty much what's in front of me, so I go for what I think could be a dramatic composition, with the nearest cross looming large in the right-hand foreground.
I've stuck some Canson paper on a couple of pages in my book, and decide to work tonally on this coloured ground, in pen, black watercolour and white gouache.
The size of the cross means it's big enough get the inscription readable on the page.
Poor Joseph Sourdaine - at least his mother died in 1911, before he was killed in action in the First World War...such grim and sobering thoughts. And now the sky is massing its own storm-clouds, accompanied by distant thunder-so I gather up my bits and pieces and hasten down the street to home and a cheering cup of tea.
I finish off the sketch at the kitchen table, just the sky to fix, really, and I stop when I think it's
suitably Gloom-and -Doomy!

Sketches: Brittany July and March 2009.

Sunday 12 July 2009

A Grand Day Out

It's another lovely day in Devon, but poor Mr. Price has a frieze and some lettering to paint at Archway Bookshop in Axminster.
I leave him to his lonely task and decide to have the day out. He'll be ok, it's his birthday, I've tipped them off at the bookshop- and there's to be a cake!
I look at the map and Forde Abbey isn't far off.
It's just in Somerset... I follow two cars while another follows me, all heading for the Abbey down ever narrowing roads until everyone arrives for opening time.
Once through the shop and entrance there's a huge walled garden with sumptuous vegetables fit to make anyone relinquish their allotment...I can't spot anywhere to sit and draw so I take photographs.
Behind a big gate, however ('Please close as the chickens like the vegetables') is a good place to sketch. It's the back of the abbey- with said chickens and people dotted about the lawns taking tea from the restaurant ('Please shut the restaurant door as the chickens like to come inside for tea').
I do a passable pen drawing and then try to get the lovely warm colour of the stone. Sandstone, says one of the attendants later.
There's lovely pottery in the old crypt, and there's a pretty view, too, from the ladies' loo, but I can't linger in here, it would be selfish..what with all those elderly tea drinkers... I take a quick photo instead.

From the front, the abbey's quite stunning and I sit on a distant shady seat to draw the facade. It's got a lot of 'knobs on' and damn! I've missed out a bit of 'stringing'!

The Abbey interior is chocca with tapestries, paintings and fine furniture. I'm impressed by the huge four-poster bed in The Oak Room. The attendant tells me that when there's a recital on at the Abbey, "this is where the musicians sleep". In my mind's eye I see a string-quartet tucked under the covers, top to toe, with their instruments lying on the pillows next to them... such a pretty picture- what did he mean exactly?!!
Feeling like a rest after two heavily architectural pictures and the trek round the house, I do a quick watercolour of the garden topiary, but just in black.

That's enough, so I go for another cup of tea- even more people about now- then head off.

Back in Axminster, Mr.Price has eaten birthday cake, but has also produced a pretty frieze in the bookshop's children's department. Well done- now we're off for a meal at the Otter Inn, but not until we've changed out of our paint-spattered clothing!