Monday, November 13, 2017

5 Ely Place Upper

It was a cold afternoon. By Irish standards, that is. Not sub-zero celcius, but the wind-chill was definitely pulling the temperature down. But I came prepared - thermal underwear top to bottom, a long puffa coat, good socks, heavy boots, a scarf, a wooly hat, and my mittens. No prize for elegance. But it was worth it. It was a beautiful dry sunny day, and I didn't want to be stuck indoors.

Still, after about an hour and a half, I had to go in and warm up. At that stage, I had finished my drawing, and all I needed to do was to add colour. And to drink a hot chocolate.

Ely Place Upper is a very central location, right in the heart of the city, a stone's throw from St Stephen's Green, the Shelbourne Hotel, Merrion Square. The location had been chosen for an exhibition showing at the RHA last weekend, but I had gone in to town on the Saturday to look at the exhibition. I wanted to have all my time for sketching.

The whole time I was sketching, there were cars doing three-point turns right in front of me - people hoping to find a parking space at the end of the cul-de-sac. I gave them all a big smile (especially for fellow sketchers!). There was a car parked in front of the house itself, so I had to kind of guess how the steps and railings met the pavement. I find cars harder to draw than buildings - all these curves and subtle changes in plane... another day's work.

I followed the "structured" approach taught by Liz Steel in her Sketching Now Buildings online course. Without it, I would never have felt confident enough to draw this. I need to continue to practise, though!

This is how the sketch looked after my first pass with pencil. Not much to look at, but I spent a good bit of time figuring out the general shape and proportions, and the placement of the windows. I found it interesting to see that the door and the ground-floor window are not aligned with the upstairs windows. And that the windows get smaller and smaller as you go up the stairs.

It took me a good while to work every shape and detail with ink. I'm very fond of the little balconies at the first-floor windows.
The door is my weakest element. Next time, I'll pick a Georgian house with a no-parking sign in front of it, so I can have a closer look.

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