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The Strange Tree

13 Jul

2020 penllegare

Yesterday the weather was lovely, warm and sunny not like today which is pouring down. Anyway just 24 hours ago Husb and I went for a walk in Penllegare Woods. We hadn’t been since before lockdown started. I saw this strange contorted tree so stopped to sketch it. I used Daler Rowney medium sticks of willow charcoal into a Khadi sketchbook.

Family Visit 2020

12 Jul

family 2020

Now that we’re having some easing of lockdown in Wales, it’s possible to visit family again, as long as we’re outdoors and wearing masks and so on…. Luckily we’re having a pretty good summer and there’s plenty of outdoor spaces. The 19th century terraced housing tends to have back gardens and in the 20th century, housing development in the area was influenced by the Garden City idea so there’s lots of green space for both public tenants and private owner occupiers.  Husb and I visited our cousins and sat in their gorgeous garden, chatting with our masks on and moving further apart to drink our tea. It’s strange not being able to hug family, but these strange times will pass.

Having A Natter

7 Jul

2020 cwmdonkin

I saw this little group when I was out walking with Husb yesterday, they’d taken their children to Cwmdonkin Parkand were having a natter. It’s nice to scribble little knots of people like this. It’s a good exercise because you have to get the proportions right while working quickly before they move away. I’ve been going to this park all my life and it’s the first time I’ve noticed how nice the benches are. I used a ballpoint pen into an A6 pocket sketchbook by Paperchase.

But what a change in 24 hours. Now it’s TORRENTIAL rain, gales – this is supposed to be the middle of SUMMER!!!!! No chance of taking their kids to the park today.

Unsettling Times

6 Jul

4 Cwmdonkin

It’s been an unsettling few days with the weirdest weather – torrential rain and gales in mid Summer, the death of a beloved elderly relative and the pandemic lockdown more or less lifted in the English part of the UK. Strange and tough times, I needed a short break from blogging and drawing. I went for a quiet walk this evening to Cwmdonkin Park, always a peaceful place for me, and I did a drawing of some of the trees into my Khadi sketchbook. Today I switched from Winsor & Newton fine willow charcoal to Daler Rowney medium willow charcoal sticks. They give a more robust line which forces me to work simply with little detail, pushing the drawing towards European Expressionism, which is alright by me.

Scribbling In The Scotch Mist

30 Jun

2 Clyne

I met up with a friend in Clyne Gardens today, where it’s easy to keep a safe distance. It was raining, but not heavily, what my Mam used to call “Scotch Mist” as she sent us out to play in the summer school holidays. We sat on a picnic table near the Touring Tea Room, a lovely vintage caravan serving tea, coffee and home made cake (lemon sponge cake glazed with lemon curd) and chatted in real life. I like social media and Zoom but after all these weeks, it was so good to talk to someone in the real world over a cuppa, even if we got wet.

Clyne caravan

I did a quick scribble while my friend went to get us a second cuppa, and the sketch is softer and smudgier than normal because of the damp. The Khadi paper is thick and strong so it didn’t crinkle or disintegrate.

Four Chelsea Buns, Two Small Loaves And A Quick Scribble

29 Jun

1 St James

I went out earlier for my sanctioned exercise and as it was looking like rain and very windy, just strolled to a small public mews garden, probably Victorian. It has quite a formal arrangement of lawns and paths but there’s a tangle of very mature trees around the edge. I did a quick sketch with willow charcoal into my Khadi sketchbook, then headed back before it rained. Then I made two small loaves and some Chelsea Buns.

Loaves and buns

There’s a hot spot in my oven, it’s annoying. I have to cover my baking with foil part of the way through the cooking time and I didn’t get to it quickly enough today. Tasted good though.

Then Came The Deluge

27 Jun

3 Cwmdonkin

 

Husb and I went for our daily authorised exercise today and ended up in the lovely Cwmdonkin Park where I stopped to draw this very striking row of trees. I laid down the basic details with willow charcoal into a Khadi sketchbook – then the heaven’s opened and a deluge of Biblical proportions hit! I ran under a large tree and managed to spray the sketch with fixative before it got smudged. I like it though. It’s the quickest one I’ve done and has the least detail. But I think it also has the most dynamism – it’s getting towards an Expressionistic style. I love European Expressionism so I’m well chuffed with it. The weather forced me to be much braver and more spontaneous than I would normally be.

The Stand Of Trees

25 Jun

7 Oystermouth

Another quick sketch in willow charcoal on Khadi paper caught as we left the allotment this evening. I’m getting used to being very sparing with it now, not doing too much detail. I find it helps to squint to see the blocks of light and dark more clearly. This stand of trees caught my eye, I liked the strong diagonal they formed on the slope of the hill.

 

Just Five Minutes

24 Jun

6 Oystermouth

If you’ve only got five minutes, draw. Even when you’re so short of time, draw. It only takes a few minutes every day to keep up that regular practice and it all adds up over a year, decade, lifetime. I only had five minutes this evening after we left the allotment with our first summer berries.

berries

Winsor & Newton willow charcoal into a Khadi sketchbook at Oystermouth Castle. Gooseberries, raspberries, Alpine strawberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.

The Sausage Fingered Stick Of Doom

23 Jun

5 Oystermouth

For most of my life I haven’t been keen on charcoal, I thought it was a bit clumsy. Husb calls it “the sausage fingered stick of doom”. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn’t much good if you want to do fine detail on small paper. My Khadi sketchbook isn’t big so I’m limited in what I can put into a drawing, which is challenging but in a good way. Here’s a sketch I did with Winsor & Newton willow charcoal after Husb and I did some work on the allotment earlier this evening. There’s a group of copper beech trees in a row alongside the path leading up to Oystermouth Castle and I made them the focus of the drawing. It was a chance to play around with strong diagonal scribbles.

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