I found this poor deceased little fella on the roof terrace yesterday morning and was struck by his dynamic pose so I decided to paint him.
I worked from photos as there was an element of surprise involved in the project.
First I roughed out the composition by making a preliminary sketch (right).
The bike is part of the exterior decor!
Next came the watercolour painting…
And here’s the finished piece…(click on the image to enlarge)
With a couple of details singled out below…
The food is a clever and delicious blend of the homely, exotic, luxurious and healthy; the wine list is extensive and expertly composed; the staff are incredibly warm and hospitable while at the same time being efficient and savvy; the outside terrace is sunny, shady and breezy with wonderful views over the surrounding countryside (Vejer’s perched on top of a steep hill, 200m above sea level); the interior is cosy and gorgeously crafted from reclaimed materials (by Retro Nuevo) and houses an extensive collection of Vejer themed paintings by local artists.
As the sign says Comer – Amar – Vivir = Eat – Love – Live
This is a delightful place full of loving touches.
With no Vejer Sketchers outing planned for today, I promised myself a lunch of takeaway sushi on the condition that I made a pen and watercolour sketch of it before eating…this has to be a perfect definition for delayed gratification and certainly helped to whet my appetite and really appreciate the artistry of our local chef at Sushi Time.
With the onset of showery weather it’s tempting to skip the weekly sketch meetings but these last two Saturdays I’ve been determined to persevere. For sure the white walls of Vejer don’t glow without sunshine but the brooding clouds lend a different atmosphere.
Above, the old town of Vejer from a roof terrace in the new town.
Left, the church bell tower from my roof terrace in the old town.
Both pen and watercolour.
Hooray for roofs and brollies!
This summer I spent a few weeks in London which meant that I missed out on my weekly Saturday sketch date with the Vejer sketchers. Despite the busy-ness of my city visit I made a little time to go out with my pens and watercolour paints.
The gorgeous view from my friends’ flat next to Caledonian Park in North London
The clock tower in Caledonian Park
I love a visit to a cemetery; they inspire, calm and ground me all at the same time.
I made my first trips to Highgate (left) and Nunhead (right) cemeteries this summer and found both to be oases of cool, damp, quiet wildness in the hubbub of the hot summer city.
The chaps who were restoring Karl Marx’ grave very kindly moved the scaffolding for a while to improve my view and a lady dog walker told me that her dog once refused to walk past the spot I was painting which raised some goosebumps.
Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads are a band of hugely talented and versatile musicians, one of the best on the Spanish rhythm and blues scene.
As well as revisiting classic blues themes and interpreting the music of more recent artists (such as Lloyd Jones, Los Deltonos and Vaughan Brothers), they play their own compositions, offering a rollicking live show to lovers of the blues in all its variations.
Back in 2012 Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads commissioned me to design the cover for their excellent third album ‘Jauja‘, so I was flattered to be asked to do the same for their latest release ‘Somos Más’ which celebrates their 10th birthday.
Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads are almost constantly on the road, which is what inspired me to suggest a tour bus for the CD cover. There are now several more ‘Blue Heads’ amongst their number, mostly woodwind and brass players, which is why they chose the title ‘Somos Más’ (meaning ‘there are more of us’). It’s also a nod to the growing number of people who are disillusioned by a corrupt political system which creates and perpetuates austerity.
The rough sketch above helped me to decide on the layout for the front cover which I then redrew carefully in pencil onto fine grained watercolour paper, followed by water resistant pen (below).
The landscape depicted in the background is typically Andalusian, it’s inspired by the view from my studio.
I used pencils to colour in a photocopy of the finished pen drawing as a trial and then applied colour to the actual drawing with watercolour paints. It’s a traditional and time consuming method but I love the warmth that hand painted textures impart to an image.
I scanned the finished painting into Photoshop where I added the text, taking the same hand drawn text style for the band name that I had made for the Jauja cover. I also replaced the white border with a black one (below).
And then on to the back cover…which had to be the back of the bus!
The scene in the background is inspired by the bamboo fringed sand dunes of the Atlantic coast where we live, dotted with bright flowering succulents in the spring.
I worked from my rough sketch (above) in the same way as I had for the front cover, just changing the layout to make space for the track list.
That’s Mr Groovy playing his harmonica in the back of the bus (below)
Having scanned the painting into Photoshop I added the text and digitally collaged the CD covers from the band’s three previous albums and the sea and sky which I had painted separately.
Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads are working non-stop for the imminent release of Somos Más which promises to be a superb mix of swing, funk, blues and second line.
Don’t miss it!