Thursday, 4 February 2016

And now it starts ...






















































(Various media in A5 sketchbook)

Now that my Sketchbook Circle book has been safely received by Ang, I can show the pages I prepared before sending the book off to her. At least, I can show you all of the pages except the inside front cover and Page 1, which somehow I failed to save when I scanned them in. I hope to add those when they become available again.

Having no previous experience of this kind of exchange, or indeed of this kind of sketchbook work, I simply set to and played with the pages. Some are collaged from magazine photographs with watercolour and body colour added; others are clearly straightforward marker drawings. There are a couple that use fragments of failed etchings salvaged from the bin of the print room at University.

And the last one should be of interest to my old science fiction pals - it's an imprint left on a folder that contained an inked stencil used in the production of one of the many Gannet fanzines.

The stencil imprint and the etching fragments have been in my studio for twenty years or more. A hoarder? Me!? I knew they'd come in useful one day.

What my sketchbook partner will make of these pages is anyone's guess. But that's half the fun. I've now received a sketchbook from Becca, my other partner in the Circle, and I have to start thinking about what I want to do to that. That's the other half of the fun.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Sketch Crawl # 6 : Baltic and Sage












(The usual and some not so usual suspects in the Baltic)

The weather is never really kind at this time of year and while it was a decent enough sunny day on Saturday for our sixth Sketch Crawl, the wind was howling a gale and icily cold. So meeting in the cafe of the Baltic was a good move and we had a good turnout: 7 or 8, unless I'm mistaken. But Mike likes to put the pressure on and said "Well, I'd like to try drawing outside for a while." Who there would say they thought it a terrible idea?

I tried to get out of the wind by walking round the side of the Baltic and standing on the narrow quayside path but I soon realised I was in something of a wind tunnel. Still, having decided to draw a boat on the other side of the Tyne, I set to and tried to ignore my streaming eyes. About an hour later, my freezing cold fingers (Note to self: remember fingerless gloves!) had made this rather shaky drawing. I tarted it up a little later on with some firmer lines and a grey brush marker.





















Across the Tyne 
(Black markers and blue and grey brush marker in A4 sketchbook)

It was a relief to meet up back in the Baltic on the observation deck, but the view from there is so complex that I think no one really fancied attempting it. So out we went again into the wind and climbed the stairs to The Sage.

The Sage is something of an intimidating space too, although I suspect that after a while it would be possible to get to grips with it. I eventually settled on looking down from the first floor gallery onto the tables of the cafe. For no particular reason, I decided to use a 4B pencil for this drawing and I have to say I enjoyed using it and like the result. The only problem with such a soft pencil is that it wears down very quickly and while sharpening it outside wouldn't be much of a problem, leaving pencil shavings all over the floor of the Sage probably isn't looked upon favourably by the staff.


























In the Sage 
(4B pencil in A4 sketchbook)

Next time : The Discovery Museum!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Sketchbook Circle















(Front and back of Sketchbook)

The Regular Reader of this blog and its partner, The Cartoonist's Hat, will know I've always had an interest in working interactively with other artists. The Moly exchanges of a few years ago (see links in the sidebar) were really quite stimulating and responding to other's ideas kept me producing new ideas of my own.

So when I discovered Sketchbook Circle in a post on Facebook, I was intrigued.

How does it work?

"Each January a circle is established and then every artist makes work in a book of their choice (although it needs to fit through the letter box.)  They post their books to the person next to them in the circle by the end of January.  Then every artist makes work in response to the work they have received and posts the book back to where it came from.  This means that there are two in-depth artistic conversations occurring over the course of a year (it goes back and forth like a pendulum).  Artists work in any medium and on any scale, sometimes working outside the book and using it just as place to record their making. [.............] It is a demanding project as it is stretching to respond to someone else's artwork, but it is also incredibly rewarding."
The original Sketchbook Circle brought together artist educator friends using sketchbooks as a vehicle for collaboration, who were looking for a way to commit time to their own making around their busy lives working in education and wanted to develop a community of practitioners. I was a little concerned that not being a an "artist educator" I'd not qualify, but it seems this is not the case. So here I am, a participant in Sketchbook Circle 2016.
I'm not by nature a sketchbook artist. I tend to work out my ideas on canvas, but I've come to the conclusion recently that a lot of my unrealised ideas are still unrealised because the initial important stages of investigation and experiment are missing. I'm hoping this Sketchbook Circle experience may go some way to changing that.
In a painfully slow fashion I've started my own sketchbook for this project. After some attempts at just creating covers for the book, I stripped off all the additions and left it as the  somewhat minimalist thing you see above. 
The pages are taking just as long, but I'm starting to get a feel for it. In a way, it may be easier, if a little daunting, to respond to someone else's work, which is what I'll be faced with next month.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The People's Show
























London Millennium Bridge 
(oil on canvas, 20 x 20 in)

I went to the Private View of the troubled People's Show at the Northumbria Gallery last night and must say I have no problem with the hanging of my painting; it's in the downstairs gallery, on the far wall staring at anyone who comes through the door.

Overall, however, I couldn't help feeling the exhibition was a lacklustre affair. No doubt because of uncertainties about the exhibition even taking place, following the shameful dismissal of Mara-Helen Wood and her staff, there were only around 70 submissions. Out of those, thirty-five were chosen for the show. A high proportion of these are photographs (I'm still a bit sniffy about photographs in an art exhibition. So bite me.) and the rest were, well, by and large, OK paintings. There were some good portraits, but it puzzled me to find that one person had two portrait paintings in the show and another had three. Maybe I misremember - were we allowed to enter more than one painting?

The attendees were what I might expect from a university show - mainly students and liggers. Gone were the people with cheque books who would have bought work at previous People Shows (I've often done well there). I was pleased to find a couple of friends there to have a chat with, even if one conversation was interrupted by the prizewinner unexpectedly hitting on my friend's daughter. Tsk tsk.

I came away with the feeling that the show was put on because the new regime found they'd taken over the Gallery with some submissions already in place and invitation forms distributed all over town. Cancel the show, hand back the submission fees (and the donation from the late Norman Cornish's family)? Or go ahead with an exhibition you don't really care for? I think I know what I'd do, but maybe I'm being unfair. Only time will tell: will there be another People's Show next year?

Friday, 1 January 2016

It's Always Boogie Street

"It’s always Boogie Street: Boogie Street in the monastery, Boogie Street on Times Square. You don’t get away from it, No one masters the heart. The heart continues to cook like [a] shish kebab in everybody’s breast, bubbling and dripping, and no one – no one – can escape."

Leonard Cohen quoted in Look Who’s Back at 67: Gentle Leonard Cohen by Frank DiGiacomo (New York Observer, Oct 15, 2001)

Happy New Year to all my Reader!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Monday Washing Again.




















Washing WIP (acrylic on canvas board)

Apocryphally, it takes three weeks to establish an activity as a habit, so back at Gateshead Art Society on Friday for the second week in a row, I felt I might be getting back into a routine. Of course, although I plan to be back there this coming Friday, it'll be the Xmas Party that day and no work will be done. So unless I can get some work done on this painting this week, the impetus may be lost.

On the other hand, I took it along to a meeting of the Painters' Group on Saturday and for the first time in a very long time, our tutor, Bill Varley pronounced my picture "good." As is often the case, he'd rather I did very little more to it and I'll probably not take his advice, but it was encouraging to get some praise.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Not yet the Siegfried Line




















Washing WIP (acrylic on canvas board)

Back at Gateshead Art Society's Friday meeting, I find myself increasingly frustrated with my acrylics. Having rejigged the composition on this painting, I now find I can't easily cover up the construction lines. I'm guessing that this is simply due to a lack of sufficient pigment in the brands of acrylics I'm using. Perhaps I'll have to bite the bullet and pay for the more expensive Golden brand, but I've recently heard good reports of Jackson's own make. Anyone able to confirm?

I'm happier with this slight change in composition which reduces the problem of the buildings receding in perspective and the umpteen cars parked in the street at ground level. But I'm constantly tempted to resume the picture in oils because I'd have so much more confidence in making it work. That will not happen, however; I'm determined to master this medium.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sketch Crawl # 5 : Ouseburn
























Natalie Bell - Untitled (acrylic on board, 12 x 12 cm)

RAIN (and indoor entertainment) STOPPED PLAY

It was always going to be a questionable plan to arrange a Sketch Crawl to coincide with the Ouseburn Open Studios. The Ouseburn area is fascinating and in the right circumstances it would be great to draw the flying viaducts, old industrial buildings and even the urban farm animals. But on Saturday the weather wouldn't play ball. 

I think one or  two sketches were done and Liz managed to get a print in her sketchbook of a pig's snout, but mostly we all took advantage of looking round the artists' studios in The Biscuit Factory, 36 Lime Street and Jim Edwards's Studio Gallery.

In the end we all agreed it had been a very enjoyable afternoon, despite the lack of sketching, but decided that we should not try a Sketch Crawl in December. We'll arrange another in January in the no doubt foolish expectation that the weather will have improved by then.

And the painting illustrated? I couldn't resist buying this sweet little painting of a cup from Natalie Bell (no relation) at her open studio in 36 Lime Street.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Bytautas

Alfons Bytautas

I went to the opening of Alfons Bytautas's solo show at Newcastle Arts Centre last night and thoroughly enjoyed the work. I'm always interested to see paintings by Scottish artists and was intrigued to learn how he'd arrived in Newcastle. Turns out he's technician at Northumbria University, something I should have guessed by the majority of attendees standing in the middle of the room, backs turned to the paintings, chatting earnestly. Typical university liggers!

Bytautas is primarily an abstract painter and many are clearly based on grids. For the most part I liked them, although I found it difficult at times to shake off the idea that some of the newer work reminded me of hooky and proggy mats. Nowt wrong with proggy mats, of course.

The paintings I preferred were probably the earlier ones (why is that so often the case?): freer forms, more organic. And those where the colour was either partially contained by line or where the line tended to float free from the colour areas. They certainly gave me something to think about.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Sketch Crawl # 4 : Hancock Museum



















Heads (Pitt marker in A4 sketchbook)


















Greek Plate (Pitt marker in A4 sketchbook)

On Saturday, the fourth of the current season of Sketch Crawls was indoors as the weather deteriorates. The newly modernised Hancock Museum clearly does what it's meant to do - engage the attention of young children - but I was a little disappointed to find all the old gloomy galleries gone. 

As the galleries themselves had always been my interest in the museum, I now had to simply wander round the cases (with my Museum Sketchbook) drawing a selection of heads and a Greek plate. OK, but not as interesting as a building, either inside or out. I suppose one or two of them might make their way into a still life one day.

















Some of our Sketch Crawlers did at least find a comfy bench to sit and draw, but my camera decided to autofocus on the furry thing in the foreground instead of the sketchers!



















If I could have found a decent place to sit or even stand without fear of being trampled by running children, I'd have liked to do something with the T. Rex, but 'twas not to be. 

While I was drawing the Polynesian mask, a little Chinese girl looked up at me and asked. "Are you an artist?" She seemed to be quite overawed when I answered, "Yes."

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Washed up




















Washing WIP (Acrylic on board, 12 x 10 in)

I'm starting to feel like it's time to really get working again, so off I went on Friday to Gateshead Art Society, a box of acrylics and a new board in my hot little hands.

I'd made every effort the previous night to ensure I'd have all the necessary items with me, but when I unpacked my gear at the club I realised I'd left behind a worked over and squared up inkjet print essential to the new project. What I'd brought instead was an earlier reference photo which was the wrong dimensions.

Never say die, I made the best of it and got the board covered as you can see, but it's not right. Later I had to square it up using the correct reference material and now I'm ready to start again when I get to the club next week. Who said acrylics allowed you to work faster|?

Friday, 16 October 2015

Sketch Crawl Time again


















Old Hancock Museum: Relic Case
(Charcoal and compressed charcoal across two pages of A4 sketchbook)

For those who might tune in here to find out news of Sketch Crawls in the north east (Unlikely, I know, but I live in hope of making contact with this blog), we have another Sketch Crawl coming up for those tempted.

This time  we'll be drawing at The Hancock Museum, Newcastle on Saturday 24th October and those interested should turn up from 1.00-1.30pm. Draw inside or outside the building, as the fancy takes you.

This one is timed to coincide with World Wide SketchCrawl 49.

Hope to see some new sketchers there.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Plantlife Madeira




Black 0.8 marker in 21 x 20 cm sketchbook

always go on holiday with my sketchbook with the honest intention of filling it with drawings. Sadly I find that wandering about just looking at new things is an activity in itself that takes up most of my time. As a result, the opportunities for sitting and drawing are rarer than I'd like. Perhaps if I could develop a more rapid sketching style, I could get more done, but I'm afraid I'm a careful observer of fact and detail ...

Anyway, in an attempt to set aside some time purely for drawing, on Wednesday Pat and I went off to the Botanical Gardens on the hill above Funchal; she with her Kindle, I with my sketchbook. The result: three carefully observed pages of drawings of alien trees.






Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Course Project 3




















Project 3 WIP (Acrylic on canvas)

I'm really enjoying this online course run by Este Macleod, because it has certainly thrown me out of my comfort zone and I find myself producing pictures which I couldn't predict before I started. 

This latest is being developed from a canvas prepared with several layers of mark-marking, following Este's guidelines:



Friday, 18 September 2015

Still on Course

























Project 1 has moved along and changed over the week. The fruit have disappeared and been replaced by a key and the flowers have become better defined. Not too much more to do on this one.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Course Project




















Project 1 Day 1 
(Acrylic on canvas) 

The day began with panic at having to abandon all control and simply follow the instructions. My initial reaction was, this is never going to work. But fairly soon after, things began to pull together and reached a point where I was rather pleased with the look of the thing. 

Of course, I've gone beyond that now and am at the point of wondering how it will ever really come together.

Under advice from Este (who insists she would never finish a painting in a day), I'm putting it to one side until tomorrow.

Friday, 11 September 2015

On Course























I think I mentioned when beginning work on my wooden heart, that I'd signed up for an online painting course. It's with Este MacLeod and it started this week. Este's paintings are nothing like mine; her background is in textiles, she paints in an abstract manner and she uses acrylics, on this course Golden Fluid Acrylics. All of which I thought would throw me out of my comfort zone and maybe give me a push in a different direction.

It already feels like it's working. There's that old feeling of finding water unpredictable and uncontrollable and relief to find that she uses mostly acrylic medium to thin her paint. But not knowing, and finding out how paint and colour will behave is a getting-back-to-basics strategy and is truly fascinating.

At the top of this post is one of the colour exercises and here's a couple of pages of fanciful flowers put together, quite quickly, from deconstructed fruit and veg.

More as things unfold.




Sunday, 6 September 2015

Sketch Crawl #3 : Tynemouth

























Collingwood Cannon, Tynemouth
(Pitt markers, Japanese brush pens in A4 sketchbook)

It looked grey and cold on Saturday morning and even though the forecast showed some sunshine at the Coast I decided on wearing a fleece. Boy, was I glad I did when I got to Tynemouth for my third sketch crawl. It was one of those sunny days where the constant wind makes it bitterly cold.

I'd made some error in my travelling calculations and got to Tynemouth Metro Station about half an hour later than I'd planned, so everyone was busy with their sketching and I had to hunt them out. Not an easy job, because I'd completely forgotten that on Saturday there's a market held in the station and the place was heaving:
















It was somewhat overwhelming and rather than try to sort out something to draw, I made a quick tour of the station, photographing my fellow sketch crawlers for posterity:



Allan                                    Barbara













Katie



Michael















Richard

With something like fifteen minutes to spare before we moved off, I took out my A5 sketchbook and stood on the pedestrian bridge, having a go at capturing some of the people milling about below. No one - even the man who'd been standing stock still at his stall and who'd therefore encouraged me to try this - remained in one place or position for more than thirty seconds. I'd look up and the person I'd started to draw had morphed into someone else, so the old woman with the anorak exchanged her trousers for a long skirt. No men suffered this indignity, but another woman found the dog she'd been leading on a bit of string had turned into a rabbit.
























Tynemouth Market people
(Pitt medium marker in A5 sketchbook)

After that it was off into town to find somewhere to draw that didn't involve being blown away. Pretty impossible, as I discovered when I tried to find shelter in a valley near the Collingwood Monument. Finally accepting that the wind would blow wherever I stood, I took up position on the steps of the Monument and drew part of one of the cannons (see above).

Although there was about half an hour left of the allotted drawing time, I headed back up the hill to Front Street and hung about outside Mr Woods coffee shop, waiting for the others to turn up. After a while I was joined by Barbara and we talked for a while in the partial shelter of a lamp post. After a further while, Michael came out of the coffee shop and apologised for having gone in soon along with the others. We joined them for a muffin and a coffee.

As well as passing round the day's accomplishments, we talked about how the summer (ha!) seemed to be coming to an end and we might have to find indoor locations for our sketch crawls. As it has previously, the possibility of sketching in Newcastle's Hancock Museum came up. We'll see ...

Friday, 28 August 2015

Heartache

Sometimes I think I have no idea of exactly when in the month I am. Where does the time go? I had to take time out yesterday to get some ultramarine acrylic (I had to settle for Galeria rather than my preferred Liquitex) and then really had to crack on with the wooden heart to try to get it in the post today.

Nevertheless, against all odds I finished painting the heart and sent it off in its prepaid envelope to St Claire's Hospice. With luck it should get there by 1st September. 

If only I could post a picture of it now. I'm actually rather pleased with it, although I still find the peculiar, almost chalky surface of acrylics a little difficult to take.

Monday, 24 August 2015

I Heart Acrylics?

Some blocking in done on my wooden heart. It's already starting to look like it might work out, but I'm struggling a little with acrylics after something like 20 years without using them. 

Instead of painting in oils, I decided  to use up some tubes of Liquitex and Galeria acrylics from 20 years ago and while I'm getting on OK with them I'm sure I'd find the more modern acrylic paints more to my liking. 

In the days when I used acrylics I preferred Liquitex and only bought Galeria at university,but many of my painting friends recommend Golden. I recently bought some Golden High Flow acrylics, but they're for an online course I've signed up for. Still, I've run out of ultramarine, so I may have to raid them for that.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Slow Heart Rate

Two coats of gesso on my wooden heart today. Progress is slow. I'm going to have to step up the pace.

Friday, 14 August 2015

I do have a wooden heart …



There's nothing like a deadline for getting the creative juices flowing. And I have a deadline. This wooden heart is to be decorated in any way I fancy and returned to St Clare's Hospice, Jarrow by the 1st September in time for a charity event.

The Hospice will be holding an exhibition of these decorated hearts (one of them has been decorated by "Call me Dave" Cameron - be still my beating heart!) in November. There'll be a catalogue and a website and I'll be sure to post details of those in due course.

Meanwhile, I'm afraid I'll be unable to share progress of my heart's painting with you. The work will all be displayed anonymously, although a list of contributors will be available. Later, after the exhibition has closed and the work has been sold, I'll let you see what I came up with.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

From Dillons' First Floor Window























From Dillons' First Floor Window
(Oil on board) Private Collection.

We went out to a Private View last night at a gallery new to me - the Bewicks Gallery Space in Gateshead Civic Centre. We'd been invited to a preview of work by Tom Bromly OBEDean of Newcastle Polytechnic (the forerunner of Northumbria University) Faculty of Art and Design until his retirement in 1992.

I liked the show very much, although I preferred his more designed/abstracted compositions to the straightforward studies and paintings of trees. I chatted to an old friend for a while and then, as we were taking a second glass of wine for a second turn around the gallery, someone came up to me and said:

"You're Harry Bell, aren't you? I bought a painting of yours a long time ago and I still love it!" We were joined by his wife who said "You're Harry Bell! You painted my favourite painting!"

The oil painting was From Dillons' First Floor Window and it was sold in 1995 from my first solo show. It was always a favourite of mine and here was the man who bought it twenty years ago, still enthusing about it now. 

Don't you just love it when that happens?

Friday, 7 August 2015

Food for Thought

























Food Station 
(Digitally coloured)

While it may have been the least accomplished of the sketches I did on Saturday's sketch crawl, the Market Square drawing is the most likely to prove useful. Today I ran it through Photoshop to see if it might work as a painting. And I think it might.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sketch Crawl #2: Durham

























Market Square, Durham
(Pitt Medium marker with black Pentel Brush Pen, 
grey and blue brushpens in A4 sketchbook)

Despite all my good intentions, I did no more drawing following last month's Sketch Crawl, so it was with some relief that I headed off yesterday to Durham for my second Crawl. I had two possible buses to catch: the 21 and the X12. It seemed sensible to take the X12, it being an express to Durham, although I was puzzled to see from the timetable that it arrived in Durham Bus Station only five minutes sooner than the normal service 21.

Once I was on the bus, of course, I realised why the time difference was so small. We crawled along behind and only very slowly passed three 21s travelling in convoy, there being no opportunity to overtake them until more than half way to Durham.

We'd had a week of indifferent to poor weather before Sketch Crawl Day, so it was a real pleasure, if a mixed one, to find the sun out and shining on the milling throngs of people in Market Square. Michael and one or two others were already there, Michael beavering away at his first sketch; once we were all collected together and an itinerary agreed, we split up to look for subject matter.

The milling throngs proved difficult for me to deal with. Every time I saw something I wanted to draw, crowds would gather in front of it. So I was well into my allotted time before I'd found a convenient doorway from which to draw this food stall. Even then, I had people walking past me and thoughtlessly buying food from the stall (see the man with the transparent trousers in the drawing), so that with every line I was having to pause and say to myself "Where does that line go?"

By the time I'd finished all the other Crawlers had moved on to the Cathedral, outside of which 146 Harley Davidson motorbikes were parked. The bikers' long and thunderous drive through the Market Square hadn't helped in my search for subject matter, but now at least they were quiet.
















Some of the Harleys outside the Cathedral.

Drawing cathedrals isn't really my thing and standing in the middle of the road drawing a Harley didn't much appeal (although both Michael and Gary had a go), so I turned to a house on the corner of Owengate, with part of the castle behind it.
























Nr the Cathedral
(Pitt Medium marker with green and red brushpens in A4 sketchbook)

I confess I wasn't terribly happy with this drawing at the time (maybe it's my antipathy to red/green), but now it's on the blog, I'm warming to it.

With a little time in hand, I took a short walk inside the Cathedral looking for the Magna Carta display, but found instead a lovely painting of St Margaret by Paula Rego which I didn't know existed.

Margaret and David by Paula Rego (2003)

St Margaret by Paula Rego

Our final sketching area was down by the River Wear, which winds through Durham. Standing on Prebends Bridge we looked down the river and each of us saw something different to draw. I decided to go down to the riverside and draw what turned out to be a piece of sculpture by an uncredited artist. On the back was this collection of gurning faces ...


























... but I chose to sit in the sun on a nearby bench and draw the other side. After a while, the inevitable happened and three people sat down on the carved wooden benches. I quite liked the idea of having them in the drawing so, expecting they'd soon be up and gone, I put them in quickly, sacrificing the correct scale for speed. They, of course, were still sitting there when I packed up and left.


















Riverside, Durham
(Pitt Medium marker with black Pentel Brush Pen, 
grey brushpen in A4 sketchbook)

I mentioned last time that one hazard of drawing in public can be the curious passer-by. Luckily, I was untroubled this time, although it's possible some of the people on this cruise boat were looking at me.
















It had been a thoroughly enjoyable and productive day as we all agreed over coffee and cakes in the Cafe on the Green. There was a bit of "show-and-tell" with sketchbooks passed around and helpful comments made.














Sketch Crawlers 
(L-R:Liz, Gary, Laura, Andrew and Allan. Barbara had to forego the delights of spiced apple cake; and I'm the photographer)

So, all in all, a Very Good Day Out and a decision made for another very soon - probably in Tynemouth.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Sketch Crawl #1: Sunderland

























Sunderland University 
(Pitt medium fibretip and Pentel Brush Pen in A4 sketchbook)


My very first sketch crawl! And it was fun. I met Michael Lee, who'd organised the day (he might quibble at the use of the word "organised") at Sunderland University on a bright sunny day and after some brief introductions we set to drawing. While I decided on this rather minimalist building (best not to be over-ambitious at the beginning, I thought), Michael opted for something else. Whatever it was, here he is drawing it.





















Having limbered up, we moved on to something much more taxing - the Empire Theatre.

























Empire Theatre, Sunderland
(Pitt medium fibretip, coloured pencil 
and grey brush pen in A4 sketchbook)

Talk about complicated and fiddly! I got totally lost with that columned thingy at the top and the swags round the lion's head (for that is what it is) went far too wide. But hey! it's only a sketch. 


By the time we moved on, the band rehearsing in the pub over the road had still not mastered the song they'd been hammering away at.


And so to Keel Square, a new development in Sunderland. Or rather, a new open space, we found, with wind whistling in from all directions and a crazy BMX biker determined to whizz across anything we chose to sit on, so we retraced our steps to find a more sheltered view of the Londonderry:



The Londonderry, Sunderland
(Pitt medium fibretip, grey and blue brush pens in A4 sketchbook)

One of the hazards of drawing in the street is that you may attract the attention of interested but sometimes opinionated passers by. I attracted two today: one who seemed to be the cook in the Londonderry who just wanted know what we were doing; the second who I suspect was a patron of the Londonderry ventured the opinion that what I was doing was "not bad, not bad".

He may have been right. I added the blue wash after I got home and think it may have been a mistake, but too late now ...

Michael, who I think had produced two sketches for my every one, kindly pointed me in the direction of the Metro station. When I got there, the Metro was broken. I dunno, the good folk of Sunderland moaned for years that the Tyne & Wear Metro didn't go as far as Sunderland, so they built them an extension. What did they do? They broke it and made me get the bus home.

Transport snags aside, it was interesting to see Sunderland again after so many years and all in all, it was a Great Day Out. Thank you, Michael!