Sunday, 15 October 2017

Inktober Week 2 The full Monty

Well with workshop in London it has been a case of grabbing opportunities where I was able.

Fortunately my locations were on the south back of the Thames so some interesting sights.

Shored up by still life set-ups on the kitchen table.
Sunday: Beetroot

Monday: Rudbeckia with Watering Can

Tuesday: Marylebone

Wednesday: from the Sea Containers Building

Thursday: Tower Bridge

Friday:  The days of wine and radio

Saturday: In homage Yutaka Takanashi

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Inktober Initiative - EXCITING!

31 Days 31 Drawings

Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year. Full story

Anyone can do Inktober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.
1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
2) Post it online
3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2017
4) Repeat

I've got some catching up to do - it's day 8  

Fortunately since last Saturday I have been drawing.. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Kingfisher Butcher

The Kingfisher Butcher

Daisy Siggers, head designer at posh outfitters Frank and Grace
asked that I illustrate this fly as a motif for some fabrics they are creating and F&G.

A nice commission and I was intrigued as to whether this dry fly had any history….

It appears that Messers Moon & Jewhurst of Tunbridge Wells, created this dastardly lure in the seventeenth century.

It was originally named 'Moon's fly'. However in 1838 it was renamed 'Butcher' after the their trade as butchers. The colours of their trade being white and blue apron splattered with blood.

The slick of turquoise on the fly signifies its ‘kingfisher’ moniker.

For fly fishermen the Kingfisher Butcher has continued to be a killer for the best part of two centuries on still waters and rivers.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Berkshire Gates

The Gates of Hampstead Marshall  21 x 21 cm Watercolour on Paper

This painting was inspired by churching in west Berkshire. Last month Ricardo and I visited St Marys at Hampstead Marshall, just west of Newbury.

Walking through the churchyard and then through a gate in its high wall we came upon these wonderful gates, alone and quite ignored by the sheep grazing nearby.

These are all that is left of a great palace…

The Berkshire Historical Society tells of the widowed mother of the William Craven, the son of the Lord Mayor of London of the same name bought the estate in 1620 for her young son.

Later he is said to have fallen deeply in love with Princess Elizabeth, the sister of King Charles I and the dispossessed Queen of Bohemia.

To win her heart, he decided to build her a grand palace. In detail, it was to be a miniature version of Heidelberg Castle to remind her of the home she had lost.

The Princess died before construction works even begun, yet the Earl still pushed the project onward. In 1663, began to erect the building as a tribute to her memory. The great palace is supposed to have taken thirty-four years to complete!

Sadly, the splendid palace was destroyed by fire in 1718, with the exception of these superb gate piers.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Ridgeway

Along the Ridgeway  Watercolour and Ink on paper 30 x 40 cm

The Ridgeway is a surprisingly remote part of southern central England. It travels in a northeasterly direction for 87 miles (139 Km) from its start in Wiltshire.

This is Britain’s oldest road and still follows the same route over the high ground used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers
and parts of it cross wonderful west Berkshire.

Occasionally I have cycled sections with good chum Ricardo, enjoying wide views of rolling chalk downland and passing  Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts - an archaeological romp.

After the west Berkshire Churches trip in September I went through photos taken on previous rides; I came across one which I knew I must have taken to make a painting one day.  Here we are at last.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The wonders of West Berkshire

Hampstead Marshall – St Mary’s lovely wood carving

West Berkshire Three Churches

If you drive one hour in a Westerly direction chances are you will come to some lovely countryside. West, along the M4, turning off at junctions 13 or 14 takes you into some lovely Berkshire Downlands.

Racehorses, the gallops along which they are exercised everyday and mansions for senior Vodafone executives are dotted here abouts.

Land intersected by the Ridgeway.

This is Betjeman country; A memorial window, designed by John Piper, in All Saints' Church, Farnborough, Berkshire, where Betjeman lived in the nearby Rectory.

This is a part of the country that I discovered on cycle rides with my good friend Ricardo.

Now he and I did return in September, churching with three particular churches in mind, selected from Jenkins’ Bible - England's Thousand Best Churches, by Simon Jenkins.

Lambourn – St Michael, a cathedral in the downs

Wickham – St Swithun, elephants in the rafters

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Clacton-on-Sea - Kiss me quick

3. Clacton-on-Sea 

Clacton has it all; a pier, arcades, a golf course, seagulls that form up as squadrons to descend on waste bins, caravan parks and even an airfield. The Clacton Air Show, for which we were too early, takes place in August

Developer Peter Bruff founded Clacton as a seaside town before he moved up the coast to make a start on Frinton. Originally the main means of admission to Clacton to was by sea; steamships operated by the Woolwich Steam Packet Company docked from 1871 at Clacton Pier.

This is London’s Blackpool

Butlin's first holiday camp opened at Skegness in 1936 was followed by Clacton, two years later. The camp closed on the outbreak of war in 1939 and was immediately taken over by the Army. It was intended to use the site for housing prisoners of war and barbed wire and floodlights soon surrounded the camp, much to the anger of local residents who feared the lights would attract the enemy.

Clacton’s camp was sadly closed 1983 when, due our discovery of Spain and British holidaymakers made a mass exodus to the Costa Brava. At the time Clacton employed over 900 seasonal staff with a further 67 permanent workers.
However a buyer was found in the form of a company called Amusement Enterprises, sadly the new venture only lasted 4 months.

The place does have an exuberant atmosphere. And if you keep your eyes peeled some wonderful 1930’s architecture, one instance being the Gentlemen’s Toilets on the Pier – huge and all tiled and ceramic like the nave of some basilica.

My good friend photographer and architect conceived the idea Travels with My Architect. It was and is a series of seaside jaunts where Trevor with cameras and I, with Moleskine and pens visit the offbeat parts of the Essex, Suffolk and Kent and get the place down on paper and film.  We seek out the unusual, outrĂ©, and idiosyncratic bits of any place where we end up.

Our early travels to Jaywick, Canvey Island, Shotley and Dungeness are published in the book Curious Coast. You can download the PDF for free right here