Thursday, April 15, 2021

Memory of Porto

When the theme for Dublin Sketchers was a café terrace anywhere I wanted, I knew instantly where I wanted to transport myself!

What better memory than Porto - Urban Sketchers Symposium 2018!

I still remember the buzz the day before the symposium, the city alive with sketchers, the anticipation, the excitement! And this was even before meeting my good friend Deb for the first time - we were friends online before Porto, and I can't describe how wonderful it was to spend time with her and Pat from Dublin Sketchers for those few days during the Symposium. Can't wait for those happy days to come back again!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Hong Kong in virtual sketch

More virtual travel and sketch. While we can't have the real thing. 

I pottered around Google Maps, inspired by Virtual Sketch Leicester, who were going to Hong Kong. I looked through some photos I had, but my photos never seem to be very good as a reference. But I found this "Olympian City" on Google Maps and I loved the shapes and movement. As I still had to do my final assignment for Maru Godas's Domestika class, this was the perfect subject, as I wanted to explore distorted views. What a revelation it was! I could fit all of these skyscrapers on my landscape sketchbook page. And those that didn't fit, it didn't matter! It turned out to be more work than I thought, but playing in gouache and pencil, and a few markers, was great fun in the end. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Monday, April 12, 2021

Dunmore Head - Zooming in

Moving on in my exploration. Zooming in and out to figure out what it is I want to paint in this scene, which is so well known on the Slea Head Drive that it is almost a cliché. You turn the corner, after a pretty scary bit of road, and this majestic view is there, and if you're lucky, there's nobody parked in the lay-by and you have it to yourself (and the seagulls). For me, it's that sense of being where I belong, the end of the world, just me, the sky and the ocean. I hope to be there again this year at some stage. Not booking anything yet until we have a better idea of how things are, though!

But it's not an easy idea to paint. It's almost too perfect. And I'm not sure about the composition ("Again?" I hear you say)

So I played with different options and I have two views I like best so far. Both zoomed in, on different elements.

So when I was done with the postcard size, I moved to a double-postcard (2 per page as opposed to 4 per page).

This one I'm not so sure about - I could paint it with a lot more movement in the sea - I have a photo of it where the waves are constantly rolling in, so that might make it more interesting.

This one is my choice to develop further.  No sky, no headland, just a bit of sea. And all about the greenfields and the stone walls.

I really enjoyed this approach of watercolour thumbnailing and matching my emotions with painting techniques. It's something I learned from the amazing Uma Kelkar, and which I have adapted to suit myself as a way to create opportunities for exploration!! I'm not sure my thumbnails truly represent the emotions I had picked, but choosing one emotion and one design principle really forced me to paint 4 very different thumbnails from the same photo! Which is something I have struggled with!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Wouldn't you love to see behind those walls!

It's going to be a while before we can travel to Japan again. Well, at this stage, I would be happy if I could get to the other side of Dublin Bay, so it's all relative, isn't it!!

But thankfully, virtual sketching is offering some solace. The purists might turn their nose up at it, but they haven't been in lockdown for the last 3 and a half months. My philosophy at this stage is that anything that keeps me from going insane is good enough for me!

So I'm still exploring Shinobu's neighbourhood in Kachigawa. This amazing house belongs to one of her neighbours, who takes great care in looking after the beautiful trees and hedges! And look at that external gate in the second sketch! I would so love to see the peaceful garden that I'm sure is hiding behind it!

Friday, April 09, 2021

More People!

Here is the homework I did for Suhita Shirodkar's workshop. I enjoyed sketching the crooner the best! All the silhouettes in the second spread are from the Met HD's Streaming channel, and it was their production of Rigoletto, set in Vegas! Not my favourite production of that wonderful opera, but great for sketching practise! And Suhita gave me really useful feedback, so I'll be practising more - when I find the time!

Thursday, April 08, 2021

What's my teapot got to do with colour theory?

We still can't meet as a group, or even one to one. Since the 27th of December. For god knows how much longer. It's tough. But our Dublin Sketchers group is resilient. Every week someone comes up with a theme, we chat on WhatsApp, we meet on Zoom, we share to the blog and Instagram. This week, Marie had picked the colour red and the colour wheel as a theme. So my teapot modelled for me again. And I explored triad, tetrads and split complementaries, all in the one sketch, because, why choose when you can have it all? 

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

People People!

Since we're still stuck in lockdown, unable to go beyond 5 km, etc., I'm doing more online courses. This one is from Suhita Shirodkar, and of course, it's about capturing people. For the first week, we started with silhouette. Really interesting approach. I learned so much. And she's a wonderful teacher, very organised and precise. And I was amazed at the level of individual feedback she gave on the assignment! I would really recommend her as a teacher if you're looking to sketch more people!

Here are a few of the sketches I did:

Monday, April 05, 2021

Next project - Dunmore Head

Moving on to my next project. Exploration stage! 

Playing with pigments

Getting a feel for the view I'm interested in.

Knowing my pigments and some nice surprises when I find I can mix these myself!

It always looks better in reality than in photo!

Thumbnails. I started with good intentions and then look what happened.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Little people in gouache, pencil and marker

More fun with gouache and pencils (and markers). Little people and bigger people. The portraits were inspired by the McKernan catalog, which is why they all have lovely scarves!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021


Back to Kachigawa! I finally found it!! And it's a beauty, all white in the sunshine. Not the easiest to paint - I worked all in negative shapes. Lost some of the proportions along the way, but I'm happy overall. Next time we go, we'll have to take a photo in front of the house and walk the streets together, looking at all the lovely houses in the neighbourhood! Something to look forward to!

And then on the right page, I sketched the neighbour's jumble of roofs in fountain pen with water-soluble ink.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Would it look better in gouache?

Would painting the view I've been grappling with in gouache in full panorama help me? Not really. But it was fun!