Monday, 27 March 2017

URBAN SKETCHING TIPS

It is a little daunting to venture out with a sketchbook unless you are very sure of yourself and have no objection to passers by having a look over your shoulder.  How do you feel about this?  I hate it personally, and I am an experienced artist.  I feel as if I am deliberately asking for attention.  I have learned a few tricks to cope with this.

Join a group of sketchers.  The Urban Sketchers organisation is a great one to join.  It costs nothing.  No matter how experienced or inexperienced or simply a beginner,  you are welcome.  There is no competition involved.  You will learn so much and other sketchers are always willing to give advice on equipment, etc. You just have to ask.  Being with a group makes you feel less exposed and there is a nice sense of comeraderie.

Sketching regularly is an invaluable way of seeing how wonderful the world is around you and really experiencing how things actually look - the colours, the shapes, the smells, the warmth of the sun, the chill of the wind or the soft caresses of a gentle breeze on a hot day.  If you are a keen painter, your work will improve dramatically if you sketch often.

Try to do a quick sketch each day.  It can be a small one.  There are so many things to attempt.  Look around you.  Where are you sitting now? Your desk has so many objects to sketch.  Perhaps you are off to the kitchen.  Look around and see what you can draw - even a wooden spoon has shape , colour and form.  The more you sketch , the more you will see.  

More tips will be posted on my blog soon.

Enjoy your sketching.  Most of all - have fun and I am sure you will be excited as you see your sketches come to life.


 

URBAN SKETCHING

It has been ages since I have added anything to my blog.  It has been a tough year healthwise but am now on the mend and feeling more like my old self.  Urban sketching has become a real passion for me and I am sketching more than ever before.   I have met a great group of sketchers in South Africa in a small seaside town called Hermanus.  They sketch whenever they can .  I had the privilege of spending several days sketching with them. It is good to have made new friends with similar interests.  I am hoping that two sisters will be able to visit me in Germany for a few days and we can spend time sketching in the lovely little town in which I live.  It is a Spa town and there are so many stunning places, buildings and landscapes to excite any keen sketcher.  

I belong to an art society called the Kunstverein Mindelheim. I am keen to get together a group of artists to spend time enjoying their sketchbooks.  For this reason I will be hosting a sketchcrawl on the 24th June in Bad W├Ârishofen - my town and am really looking forward to it.  I hope we willl have a good turnout.

Here are a few of my latest sketches done in South Africa.








 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

MAGIC CARPETS AND ALI BABA - MOROCCO

The scents and colours are still swirling around in my mind - magical Morocco, a country of contrasts and unforgettable memories.  We had intended to visit Turkey again this year but the unrest and instability caused our Travel Agents to cancel the trip.  They offered us a few alternatives, one of which was the North African Kingdom of Morocco.  

I had my sketch book ready as we boarded our number 41 bus.  Our travel guide was a wonderful man called Sedat.  He was an educated and charming gentleman.  His wife was German and he had a young son of 13 years.  They live for part of the year in Istanbul and the other part near Munich.  His knowledge and patience were remarkable.  

We visited the four Royal cities, Marrakech, Rabat, Fes and Meknis.  We also spent some time in the famous city of Casablanca.

The King and Princess of Morocco are a modern pair with a mission. They met whilst studying at a university in France. His passion lies with the youth of the country and the need for education.   His mode of dress (apart from State occasions) is casual; jeans and a black leather biker jacket.  Young folk respect him very much and his outfits have become almost like a uniform amongst the youth. The princess concentrates on the rights of women. Her emphasis has been on establishing co-operatives for the Berber women who are for the most part totally illiterate.  They are, however, extremely talented at carpet weaving.  Thousands are part of these co-ops and earn a salary and have medical insurance.  In the morning they weave and in the afternoons they are taught to read and write.  This has done a great deal for their self-esteem.

Although the Muslim religion is a polygamous one, the King of Morocco has encouraged monogomy with an interesting twist.  More than one wife is permitted on the condition that the first wife agrees wholeheartedly.  Now can you imagine her saying 'Of course you can darling.  When is the big day??'.  I think monogomy is definitely on the rise!!  

One of the first things the King did after his father died was to remove the 40 odd concubines from the palace and send them off with a good pension.  No doubt this was encouraged by the Princess.

The countryside is varied from sandy desert dunes, to beautiful beaches and lush plantations of olive trees and citrus fruits as well as flourishing vineyards.
The beauty of the landscape is breathtaking with its vast plains and clear skies.

I loved the buzz of the markets where buyers and sellers haggle over the prices of colourful spices, carpets and clothing.  

Jews, Arabs and Christians live peacably with each other. Mosques, churches and Synagogues are all part of city life and respect for each other's religion is an integral part of community living in Morocco.  Long may it last and not degenerate into the chaos which reigns in other Muslim countries.

I would recommend anyone with a love of travelling to visit Morocco.  It's a wonderful country and an unforgettable experience.

Here are few of my sketches of my trip and photos of King Mohammed the sixth and his lovely wife Princess Lala Salma.
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Hope you enjoy them.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

SKETCHBOOK FUN






There is never a moment when I don't have fun with my sketchbook.  I found this lovely , lively scene in a small town nearby.  An old , old house had been converted into an antique/bric-a-bac shop , reminiscent of those I had experienced in Long Street and Loop Street, in Cape Town , South Africa.  As it was a lovely sunny day, a canopy had been erected and customers were browsing the bits and pieces.  I really enjoyed doing this sketch.  It reminded me of a wonderful man called Bobby who had been involved in this type of activity all his life.  He would have loved some of the items and they would have definitely landed in his small shop called Jinty's Junk in Church Street, Cape Town.

TIP  For those who love sketching as much as I do, there is always a subject
around the corner and even in your own home.  Why not sketch your desk, telephone, computer or the utensils in your kitchen.  You improve with every sketch you do.  I am aiming for a sketch a day next year.  Not sure if I will have the discipline but it is worth a try.  I challenge you to give it a go too!!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

URBAN SKETCHING

I absolutely love urban sketching.  Sitting with my sketchbook and taking in my surroundings is so therapeutic.  I have learned so much about the area where I live, simply by sketching.  One tends to overlook things that are interesting in their own right.  Here are a few of my sketches of local buildings and attractions.  I am now a member of the German Urban Sketchers community and it is so interesting to see the different styles.  Urban sketching is not only for experienced artists.  Anyone can take part , whether you are new to sketching or an old hand.  No one judges you and your sketchbook is yours to enjoy and to experiment.  The more you sketch, the better you become and it is such a joy to watch the progress and see your book filling up with memories. A sketch is far more valuable as a memory than a photo.  It takes time to sketch (even half hour ones like mine) and only a few seconds to take a photo.  

Hope you enjoy these and maybe try some urban sketching yourself.  Urban sketching can also be simply the things that surround you in your home, garden or street.  I have even sketched my breakfast and my feet whilst lying in hospital recently.

The last three were sketched quickly at a vintage airshow in a nearby town.  There were thousands of people (mainly guys!!) and it was difficult to find a space to sketch.  It was fun drawing aircraft for the first time in my life. Not easy but I enjoyed the challenge.





THE WIND WHISTLES

The Mindelheim Art Society ,of which I am a member, is holding an exhibition. It will be in a  lovely old Castle, in the small town of Turkheim not far from where I live.  The theme is 'movement' which covers lots of options.  I will be presenting two of my works.  This one is called 'The Wind Whistles' or in German 'Der wind Pfeift'.   As usual an animal is nearly always a part of my painting.  My style has changed from very realistic and paintstaking to one which is more impressionistic.  I am enjoying working with a painting knife which gives lots of lovely textures.  I use a brush for the finer details. Here it is.  Hope you like it. Your comments would be very much appreciated. Click on the photo for a larger image.      I am busy on the second work which I will upload when it is finished. 

 


Sunday, 21 August 2016

CACTUS IN WATERCOLOUR

During my painting holiday in Spain, I could not resist painting this lovely Prickly Pear plant.  As a child in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, I was lucky to spend holidays on the farm of my grandparents.  Rolling hills, cattle, sheep and horses were my delight.  The food was always scrumptious and not always that healthy!!!  Fried potatoes and lamb chops were my favourite.  From early morning (watching the cows being milked and feeding the calves) to collecting eggs with Grandmother, to late in the afternoon, I was enjoying the freedom with my cousins. One of the joys was to eat a juicy prickly pear.  The flesh was yummy but the procedure was NOT!!  Covered in tiny fine hairs that stuck into the skin in a very insidious way, peeling one of these was no fun.  One had to wear gloves.  

 

Friday, 19 August 2016

URBAN SKETCHING IN SPAIN

I have just returned from a wonderful week in Spain.  My friends Loli and Harold run art holidays.  Their home which houses the visiting artists is a beautiful villa high on a hill above the town of Beniginam.  The views from the terrace across the valley to the distant mountains are just crying out to be painted.  The tutor was a really good artist called Paul Weaver.  He and his charming wife were very much part of the group.  There was much laughter, terrific food all made by Loli and generous pouring of wine by Harold.  Loli makes the best Paella in Spain!!!!
It is worth taking a look and hopefully you will find a tutor who suits you and join us next year.  This is my third visit which says it all.  Here is a link to their website www.dalvaro.co.uk

I love urban sketching and these are some of the sketches done during my week in Spain.


 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

SKETCHING THE LOVELY OLD CITY OF AUGSBURG

Pete and I had a great day with our Kunstverein Mindelheim, a group of art-loving folk as we learned more about the lovely old city of Augsburg.
When one shops in the city,  the only thing that one really notices, is the very high cathedral dome.  However, with a good guide who really knew the architecture and the history, it was a different story.  I could not resist sketching this scene in line and wash.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

MIXED MEDIA JOURNAL - JOYS OF SPRING

I decided that I was going to have a fun journal filled with mixed media experiments. Spring is my favourite time of the year in Bavaria, Germany. The world around me is exploding with colour. Spring flowers of every hue are popping out of the quiet winter soil.  The trees are wearing their Spring underwear before the greens of summer foliage hide their lovely forms.
This is an experiment in mixed media. I so enjoyed the process. I was happy with the result. Hope you too, enjoy it and let me know what you think.




Today, there are two magpies stripping twigs from a fir tree and I can see their black and white outfits as they jump around the branches looking like two very busy waiters in a Victorian restaurant. Their rather unmelodious voices are mingling with the pure lilting sounds of the blackbirds. Charming little blue tits are chattering to each other and the sun is shining.