I made this little pen and watercolour sketch of the view through the castle ramparts at a recent meeting of the Vejer Sketchers.
That’s me, right, in the Plaza de España trying to capture a quick likeness of la Torre del Mayorazgo (above) before the morning sun burnt my shoulders.
Drawing the beautiful view from the living room in my friends’ house on Calle Levante (left) was a more leisurely affair; just as well as it took a few corrections to get the angles of the buildings right.
I had a lovely surprise during my recent visit to Vejer (after an absence of several months) – the fabulous people at the delightful Corredera 55 restaurant had updated their business card to include the pen and watercolour sketch I made of the restaurant facade back in 2016 (below).
I knew they were planning to change their business card, in fact I prepared the file for the printer some time ago, but seeing the dinky little versions of the original painting sitting there in the restaurant made me smile.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Corredera 55 this summer I can highly recommend the baked sardines with sumac, damascan lemon, black olives and cherry tomatoes; a luscious oily concoction which melts in the mouth and goes down particularly well after the green gazpacho; a pea, mint, avocado and cucumber variation of the traditional Spanish cold summer soup.
To herald the arrival of springtime the good folk at Mary’s Living & Giving Shop in Bermondsey Street (where I work as a volunteer for a few hours each week) invited me to design and execute an illustration for their window.
What a lovely project – and right up my street!
Before embarking on the window I had a little practise with the chalk pens on a small sheet of glass and assigned colours to the different elements of the drawing….
…while Kerry kindly cleaned the window in preparation for the obligatory ‘before’ photo.
(You can just see my two remaining ‘Pre-Loved Fashion’ drawings hanging up there behind the manequins.)
Artist at work!
Here are a few photos of the completed drawing, which took a couple of sessions to finish… …needless to say the ‘here comes the sun’ caption is more of a wish than an observation during springtime in Britain!
I really had so much fun with this project and am so grateful to the Mary’s Living & Giving team for trusting me with it – thank you!
As well as being right up my street this project is also a trip down memory lane (pun central…sorry!). About 20 years ago I did some window painting at The Honest Cabbage Restaurant, 99-101 Bermondsey Street (below left)
and her sister restaurant The Honest Goose on The Cut in Waterloo (above).
The Cabbage has since been converted to The Garrison Public House – my artwork didn’t survive but that tends to be the way with mural art unless you’re Banksy.
I was having a wander around my district the other day and saw a sign outside the Mary’s Living & Giving Shop in Bermondsey Street asking for volunteers. The Mary in the title is Mary Portas, ‘Queen of Shops’, and the 23 Living and Giving shops in London all sell donated new and pre-loved fashion in aid of Save The Children. So I signed up…what better way to contribute to a worthy cause, meet new people and hang out in a gorgeous place? Not to mention the beautiful pre-loved designer gear (no staff discounts!).
During my first shop shift I felt inspired to draw some of the delightful items on display so I signed them out in the ‘borrow book’ and took them home.
I started by making some sketches to test colours and layout, taking elements from the shop decoration (by Elno Art) to use as the border.
I was pleased with the sketches but I wanted to develop them into more polished pieces which I could donate to the shop. I got the sketches enlarged by photocopy so that I could trace the layout onto lovely heavy watercolour paper without having to start the whole design process again from scratch.
Once the pencil line work was complete I went over it with water resistant pens of various nib sizes
Then with the pen outline finished I rubbed out the pencil marks and started adding layers of watercolour paint
Obviously the shoe drawing is my favourite…the actual shoes are my size but those heels are really high and my knees are middle aged!
Finally I got the completed pictures scanned…
I will be so proud to have my drawings displayed in the shop and maybe even sell them – all proceeds to Save the Children.
Pre-loved fashion – sustainable, ethical and beautiful; reuse, recycle, donate!
Update: On 21st March 2018 my lovely friend Wendy came by the shop to buy ‘Head over Heels’! Thank you!
There’ve been two public holidays in Spain this week; Wednesday the 6th and Friday 8th December to mark the Spanish constitution and the immaculate conception(!) respectively.
So to celebrate, Vejer went into ‘Pueblo Abierto’ (Open Village) mode, flinging back the doors of her monuments and putting on a Ruta de Tapas (tapas route).
During the Ruta de Tapas 12 restaurants put up their best little dishes for sale at 3€ (including a drink) and hundreds of people try to taste them all within the 8 hour over 2 days time frame. There’s a tapas route map which you need to get stamped in every establishment you eat at – if you get the full set of stamps you can vote for your favourite dish and enter a competition to win a computer. Tasty and hectic, start early!
The Vejer Sketchers arranged a meeting on Saturday so I popped into town with the intention of sketching (and eating) food in tapas form.
First stop the market (below)…not strictly part of the official tapas route but hey ho, the only place open when I started sketching. I didn’t eat this one, the roe was pretty but not gastronomically appealing so I gave it back unsullied to the fish counter lady once the sketch was finished.
Next stop, La Posta for some yummy spinach and ricotta pasta in a red onion sauce (below)
Then on to the 4 Estaciones (4 Seasons) for some delicious beef with Japanese flavours in a crunchy filo pocket (below)
Confession time: I ran out of steam and didn’t draw the last dish I ate…the establishment was struggling under the weight of the hoard by then so it took a long time to procure said tapas, which although delicious was not pretty!
I finally made time to return to Señor Angel’s vintage radio museum in Vejer this week…it had been a year since I made my last radio sketch.
The German company Telefunken manufactured this Capricho model in Spain in the mid to late 1950s. Angel told me that red radios were the most popular choice in Spain at that time….pretty!
A friend of mine recently bought himself a present – a fish shaped gurgle or glug glug or gluggle jug…so called because it makes an entertaining noise when liquid is poured out of it.
Wade first made these gurgle jugs in the 1870s and they’ve been popular ever since…how’s that for a design classic!
I loved the jug and saw its sweeping lines and surface detail as a fine drawing challenge, my friend’s partner took against it immediately he saw it.
Can’t please all the people…!