Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Christmas sketches this year

Some of my friends HATE Christmas. Sorry those friends. 

This year I've turned sketches into Christmas cards. These local ones I managed, in a rare burst of organisation, to scan and print for the neighbours. 

Other cards I just drew straight onto those cheap blank cards from 'The Works'. These ones I posted to old school friends associated in some way with the locations drawn.

And as I don't actually HAVE that many friends, I've also been giving sketches direct to strangers who I think are good. Like the folk who organised York Zine Fair (above).

And as I'm more confident on time alone alone than during actual interaction with people, where I fluster and mumble and confuse, I have also been drawing inanimate buildings and handing the cards to the people who work there. Above is the Crescent Community Venue, where the York Zine Fair was.

The following are Yorkshire ones, courtesy of train changes.

These two following were given direct to the people / house drawn. In Berwick.

Whereas the York station and other Yorkshire ones went in the post to the old schoolfriends.

I ran out of cards : these 2 sketches went on envelopes.

And the Durham ones : a couple went direct from hand to hand (but you HAVE to envelope em first), a couple more waiting for me to post.

Today, drawing in Newcastle with Bob and Maria (meeting 10am at central station if u fancy), and it's the last day for 2nd class posting!

Monday, 18 November 2019

Edinburgh sketchbook filling in

My cheapest sketchbook is from Paperchase and I devoted it to Edinburgh. A risky strategy when your sketchpads start to proliferate, one for each town or topic.

Anyhow, it's a bit flimsy so straight lines are impossible when holding it in the street. But it's filling up and like all my pads the whole is greater than the individual pages, at least to me.

Here are the latest, from the Stockbridge area. Quite good looking and posh. And just the one sketch afterwards from the Waterstones on Queen St. A nice lass learning english from books complimented me on it. And later I spotted her in the pub though I left her her space.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Urban Sketchers' Trip to Barnsley

I've never been to Barnsley before. When the Yorkshire Urban Sketchers advertised a group sketch visit there I bought my trains to join them.

I'd been so overactive drawing in October, mind, that I had forbidden myself from carrying sketchpads around with me.

My Inktober comic is still to be worked out (edited, printed) and I'd let some other commitments slide, purely cos of too much drawing: too much urban sketching.

But my trains were already bought so I was gonna turn up anyway. Plus this wouldn't be solo sketching but with actual people, which is good for me. I tend to isolation so countering that is healthy.

Anyhow, this means I took, instead of a proper sketchpad, one of these £1.20 mini pads which I'd got with the intention of making Christmas present booklets out of.

The mini and flimsy format encouraged me to draw fast without too much care. The Aim = to fill all the pages, onesided that is.

I squatted, leaned in corners, ate the best chips I've had in years, and endured the Brexit lobbyists collaring the ex Labour vote as it walked past, encouraging submission to the super rich tax exiles as they dismantle what those who fought the second world war created afterward (depressing days we live in).

Bit cold so a few warmup coffees now and then. Didn't actually socialise much.

A bit envious of fellow sketchers doing proper drawings with more care, and colouring. But I saw my aim through.

A couple of pics were not official 'urban sketches' according to the rules, but most were.

I quite enjoyed the more ambitious/slapdash like this one. Perspective overload!

And in the Cooper Gallery I kept up my 'drawing in art museums' thing.

This one above (the Cooper Gallery) is my favourite from the day.

And an old school friend will have the booklet foisted on him as an odd Christmas present, because he's the only person I associate aith Barnsley.

Which means I've not broken my no sketchpad-filling rule: instead I have been industriously involved in legitimate Christmas preparations! 

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Molybdomancy Bothy Music

 I will (will I?) write this up for the bothy zine I intend to make. But till then, a record here: we began the adventure in the Allenheads Inn, for 3 hours. Made very welcome and at bargain hot toddy prices.

 Then we joined artist Henna Asikainen's 'molybdomancy'  event, which featured Mick the foundryman cooking up a fire for babit (a zinc and tin alloy) and frequently plunging his hand into cold water on what was a pretty cold and starry night. Good man. He put with a lot of chat and nonsense from me.

 The aim was to create shapes in the Finnish tradition of New Year fortune casting: everyone's plunge of metal is unique as the hot liquid form hardens as it enters the cold water. You then use the candlelight shadows to see shapes.

My own shape was quite chaotic and fragmented to my eyes, albeit full of movement. No one claimed to be able to read the signs. Except Ali who I met for the first time in 10 years, who was good at spotting the signs of money coming. He remembered me as the first person he had ever met who actually ate a veggieburger. He had no conception of what the hell such a thing could be.

 I met other faces from more recent times, like Ibrahim and Ahmed who hadn't at first clicked that the activity was for fortune telling rather than just art. The picture above is a particularly beautiful cast, last one of the night, made over a cooling fire, by Ibrahim as the bus home was waiting. I felt envious of his shapely future.

 Next morning, we woke in Alston and walked to Dufton. It's a long way and we spent twice as long as we should have on the first stretch along the river to Garrigill. Erosion in action.

 At this spot beneath the larch trees, with a small cliff waterfall and water running over beautiful geology to make a plunge pool, I took a dip. To call it a swim would be a lie.

This is the spot. A dipper was there before we interrupted it. 

 Then up to the grouse moors and the dubious legality of traps and signs.

 And rising higher we met the snow zone of Skirwith Fell, Cross Fell, Little and Great Dun Fell.

 We used the kindling brought from Alston to make foil wrapped cheese toasties in the stove at Gregs Hut. A fine bothy, kept in v good nick.

 I went up to my knee in a sphagnum patch under snow. My phone died round about then and we were benighted but chose to crack on: it was good conditions really, albeit it wintry ones. The well laid slab path of the Pennine Way was frozen over so that it was a matter of stamping and sliding a lot on the last bits of uphill.

Finally we took the easy but unhealthy stamp and march route down (unfrozen) tarmac road with the clear white guiding lines at each side. Not fun walking but it got us down to Knock and then Dufton in time to see the theatre gig we were aiming for. Sold out but our names were on the list at the village hall. White perms and pearls, villlage folk, some cool familiea whose kids drew the performers and made me wish I had the same energy. A village hall of shouts and laughs and standing ovations and whisky passed round. And Dolly Parton and Johnny Clash and thespians are odd people and hammy but amazing and full of fun. Glad we walked the 20 miles to get there. And they liked the fact we had.

In the morning, the walk in the rain from the farm to Appleby, where we arrived just after the minutes silence for Armistice day. It was a wet gloomy day so we finished our time in the cavernous second hand bookshop of Carlisle: Bookends. Very recommended for anyone who visits (and the attached cafe too with vegan options), to while away 4 hours or so.