My people sketching was done a bit later in the day than the rest of the week, so a little busier. We had some interesting weather during the night, so not a lot of sleep, branches off trees, garden waste bins sent flying, that sort of thing. Still windy during the day. People’s hair flying every which way, and when it wasn’t raining the sun was so bright there was an outbreak of sun-glasses. Well, it is March..
I had a sort of idea how I wanted people spread across the pages today, but things never go quite as one hopes. On the other hand, I did the best I could as people came and went, and one doesn’t have a lot of time to think when people insist on moving so much . And at least I’ve nearly reached the magic number which I wasn’t sure if I would or not on Monday.
If I thought people were bustling on day one, they really stepped up a notch today as the wind and the rain swept in. There were one or two people who stayed still (almost) long enough to complete them, but mostly I had to remember their headgear and attach part of another body to it, which made for some rather lumpy people today. It didn’t help I had to keep cleaning the windscreen so I could actually see something.
There were one or two I would have liked to develop a bit more, and my original plan had been to try and group people a bit better, but it didn’t really happen. There is always tomorrow.
Everyone wears hoods or hats these days. Umbrellas are out of fashion.
The supermarkets must have special offers which appeal to the older generation on a Tuesday, as there was a noticeable difference in the age range of shoppers today – and more trollies being trundled. One good thing about the slightly slower pace was that I was able to do a few sketches and then add colour to a chunk of them while waiting for other people to come.
The only trouble was, I miscounted and had to squeeze two extra people in at the last minute…
Rather rashly, I decided to try out the #OneWeek100People challenge created by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steel. I believe this is year 5 and I have not tried it before.
The idea, for those who have not come across it before, is to spend a little time each day for a week, sketching people wherever you find them (while also being socially responsible this year). You can share your work on the facebook group page or any social media using the hashtag #OneWeek100People.
Normally I would have been quite happy to settle down somewhere with a cup of tea or coffee and and sketch other people, which would have been the better option as at least my ‘models’ would have been relatively anchored for a while.
However, life being what it is, sitting in a cafe is not yet an option this year, so where could I find people and observe them safely?
How about from the car park outside a supermarket? It sounded a good idea. Normally there are any number of people standing around chatting. Not today! Today, people Bustled. Not surprising really as it was distinctly chilly. Too chilly to stand around outside. Probably not the best day to try out this project for the first time.
I soon realised I was not going to achieve many full figures, so I began with a few heads, which was about all I had time for before they disappeared inside the store. I managed a bit more when a couple of people stopped to use the cash machine. Then there was a while where nothing much happened at all, which is why I included a trolley. I don’t know if that counts as one of my people, but I’m counting it any way for the moment. Then suddenly, there were people everywhere and I only had time to put in a few lines while I could and then go back and join some of them up later. Only two of these people were actually together. The others were, as far as I’m aware, unknown to each other and in reality were more socially distant than appears on the page (in case you were worried).
All of them were sketched from life and the bits of colour were added at the end of my session while still in situ, but from memory. I don’t know how the rest of the week will go. I think I will have less time towards the end, but at least I have made a start.
Gradually, life is stirring in the garden. The beautiful warm, sunny weekend saw many of us out there engaged in a general tidy-up in preparation of great things to come. Among the shoots pushing their way through the soil, the more advanced leaves becoming sturdier by the day, and the amount of buds appearing everywhere, unexpected splashes of colour reveal themselves among the winter debris of fallen twigs and branches. The snowdrops and hellebores will soon be joined by daffodils, tulips and primroses among other welcome visitors, and the range of things to sketch will continue to grow,
Early in the year though it is, and despite the global problems of recent months, Nature is not giving up on us yet, and in it’s own time will restore our well-being in the months ahead.
Painting the landscape during the present lockdown restrictions reminds me of the accounts of artists working at the time of the first world war just over one hundred years ago, when anyone who was seen wandering in the landscape taking notes, was regarded with deep suspicion and immediately identified as an enemy agent gathering information to help an imminent invasion.
Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) was in Cornwall at the time and later recalled painting ‘Spring’ when she had to “lie on my stomach under a gorse-bush or other convenient bush in dread of being taken off to prison, to make a line or two in a sketchbook, memorise – rush back to my studio and paint.”
There is a similar feeling that wandering through the landscape during one’s daily exercise, making a line or two in a sketchbook, is still regarded as suspicious behaviour and must certainly mean one is up to no good and must be given a wide berth at all costs.
Luckily, given the weather conditions, I did not have to find a gorse-bush to lurk under in order to draw some lines for ‘Winter field’ (below), but stopped the car in an unusually convenient field gateway on my way home from a legitimate local journey – and the only person I met was a young lady upon a fine horse who gave me a wide smile and seemed not to have any concerns about my being an enemy agent.
They may not be this advanced in the garden yet, although there are encouraging signs they are on their way, but who can resist the bright cheerfulness of Spring daffodils ?
Possibly the last of the tulips, we’ll see what happens. Some of the flowers have opened a bit more, as much as shop-bought ones ever do, and the leaves are beginning to lose some of their strength, which is a shame but actually makes the shapes more interesting. Also, being the third of three paintings in fairly quick succession I noticed I was being a little more adventurous with the colour here and there, bringing in some quinacridone magenta in the flowers and adding some prussian blue in the leaves. I’ve just noticed I seem to have lost a stem somewhere, but never mind!
The same tulips as in the last post, but starting to spread out a little without being too floppy. The greens are mostly Lemon Yellow with Cerulean blue and a touch of Permanent Magenta in the darker areas. For the tulips I used Permanent Rose with some Cadmium Scarlet in places.
These shop-bought tulips are still tight and upright after being tightly bound and squeezed into a bucket with a number of other bunches. I’m looking forward to painting them again when they have flopped a bit and the leaves point every which way!