I made this little pen and watercolour sketch of the view through the castle ramparts at a recent meeting of the Vejer Sketchers.
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!
My lovely and very talented friend, the actor, playwright, voice over artist and photographer Marcel Snyders recently asked me to design the cover for his play ‘Té Verde’ (‘Green Tea’ in English) which will soon be published in Spain.
Té Verde is a funny and chilling tale dealing with strained family relationships as a mother waits impatiently to die while being attended by her two daughters and two volunteer carers in a hospice.
Having read the play I laughed out loud and immediately agreed to take the project on.
I roughly sketched out my initial idea of an aerial view of two tea cups a number of times (above) until I’d found the version which ‘clicked’.
The rough full size layout of the chosen design is shown above.
The closeness of the cups represents the relationship between the two green tea drinking characters in the play; also, the angle between the cup handles and the intersection of the saucers at the edge of the image is intended to create a sense of tension.
Marcel approved the layout at this stage and I drew the design out more carefully on watercolour paper, first in pencil, then in waterproof pen before adding layers of watercolour paint (below).
Marcel was keen on an eye catching combination of green and red for the cover; they’re complementary colours which makes them ‘pop’ dramatically when they appear next to each other; an effect that further raises the tension of the composition.
Finally I scanned the painting into Photoshop, added the text and some ‘splatter’ effects to reinforce the violence suggested by the ‘bloody’ background (below and top).
To celebrate my 50th birthday on the 5th June I traveled to beautiful Andalusian town of Ronda in the province of Málaga.
I booked into the lovely Catalonia Reina Victoria Hotel and spa for a bit of luxury pampering…
….and it was lush. I think the anti-aging facial was a bit too little too late but it felt delightful!!
I painted this view of the Tajo de Ronda from the balcony of my room while I was sunbathing.
I am reliably informed by Señor Angel, Vejer’s proud and knowledgeable collector of antique radios, that this art deco style beauty was produced by RCA in the USA in 1933 and was modelled on the Empire State building.
Its name is Victor and it’s brown in real life.
I was laughing to myself while I was painting as Angel was twisting the tuning knob of an old set and creating that glorious whiny crackle that one hears so rarely these days…joy!
Continuing the retro radio theme for my sketch session this morning I returned to the radio shop / museum and chose a Philips model which was manufactured in Great Britain, Holland and France between 1930 and 1934.
Needless to say I took liberties with the colours…the actual radio was made out of Bakelite, the world’s first completely synthetic plastic, which was invented in 1907 by Leo Baekeland and is actually brown with reddish hues. I felt purple was a more interesting option so I used my artistic license.
There’s a gorgeously eccentric shop in town which sells assorted hardware and houses an impressive and beautiful collection of old radios.
The owner plays classical music which spills out onto the street, inviting passers by to enter (worked on me).
I spent a very happy hour in there yesterday sketching this French example and intend to go back again, and again and again…