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Archive for December, 2014

Last one of the year, this mural by fin Dac (for Day True) can be found on Elgin Avenue, W9.

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I love this, and very nearly missed it as we were in a taxi at the time!  Thankfully our cab stopped at the lights (outside St Clement Danes, Aldwych) so I was able to snap a quick photo before we moved on.

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William Couch 13th September 1944 – 22nd December 2010.

The Lord of the Rings by William Couch. Pencil and charcoal on paper.

PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”

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Ok, it’s been a long time since my last sketchblog post, but sometimes life gets in the way of things like blogging.  It’s been a busy couple of months and some of it has been dull (but necessary) trudgery…but there has also been time for fun and frivolity.

I’m sure we all pass places that look interesting and think “I really must have a look in there when I have time” and then fail miserably to go back.  The Idler Academy is one such place for me.  Or rather it was until the back end of November.  I walk or drive past The Idler on a fairly regular basis and it’s always intrigued me but, of course, I’ve always been too busy to stop and see what it’s all about.  That changed when I passed by and saw a sign advertising a Gin & Drawing evening.

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Yes, that’s right, gin AND drawing.  Two of my favourite things.  I couldn’t resist!

I arrived early (I know, very swotty, but I was very excited) and sat comfortably to wait for the rest of the class to arrive.  Gin (Hendricks, served in teacups) helped to take the edge off my nerves.  Before too long everyone was there and we got started.  A friend of mine had also come along, which was good as we could whisper together and it’s always good to have company when you’re trying something new.  One thing we did note was that the dozen or so people, excluding me, fit a very specific demographic: white, middle class, and female.  That’s not hugely surprising given the location of the Idler, but it was noticeable enough for my friend and me to remark on (and thus I thought I may as well mention it).

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The class was designed for everyone, regardless of ability, so the teacher (artist Alice Stevenson) had planned a series of observational exercises for us to attempt.  I won’t describe the exercises because, well, you might want to go to the next class and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but here are the pages from my sketchbook that night.

10 minute sketch

10 minute sketch

3 minute sketch

3 minute sketch

1 minute sketch

1 minute sketch

10 minute sketch

10 minute sketch (this was my favourite)

5 minute blind sketch (no looking at the page while drawing!)

5 minute blind sketch (no looking at the page while drawing!)

?

No idea, clearly the gin had taken effect by this point.

We then tried some cut outs, which was an interesting exercise as we had to do them without drawing an outline first.  I’m rather pleased with mine (ginger, and a squash).

Silhouette cut outs

Silhouette cut outs

There was then a longer drawing session where we concentrated on the lines on the back of leaves.  Alison provided kale for the added challenge, and it was a good challenge but oh the smell!

20 minute drawing

20 minute drawing

The final part of the class was collage work.  This was easily my least favourite part of the evening, but I gave it a fair go and it’s not bad but you can see that my heart wasn’t really in it.

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Collage

Collage

I really enjoyed the evening.  The Idler is a very relaxed environment (and the gin helped!), and Alice Stevenson was a good teacher.  She explained everything clearly and made everyone feel at ease.  The majority of the women who attended the class hadn’t done any drawing for years, but even for me it was good fun – going back to basics often is, and it was great to be able to enjoy the process of drawing without worrying about the end result (which is what I do most of the time, when I’m drawing for work reasons).  I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a fun (and incredibly civilised) evening out.  The only improvement I can think of is that they really could have done with providing some snacks during the half-time gin break.  The class started at 6.30pm and so I guess most people would have come straight from work – having something to soak up the gin, even a few bowls of crisps for people to pick at, would be no bad thing!

If you skimmed to the bottom because TL;DR then here’s the short version: gin and drawing = good.  Idler Academy = brilliant.  Go and have a look at their calendar and book yourself in for some interesting classes.

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It’s that time of year again, or it was a few weeks ago at any rate.  My batch of hats was dutifully dropped off at Fruit Towers, and my dog brought the place to a crashing halt…

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He’s such a tart and he adores the attention!  So, hats all done (for this year at least), and now I can concentrate on my own knitting and crochet projects 🙂

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A stone bench I took a liking to on the north bank of the Thames, just near London Bridge.  Pity they couldn’t spell pampas grass correctly though, as a gardener this annoyed me quite a bit!

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Another piece by Paul Don Smith (for more by this artist see Street Art #9 and Street Art #33).  This one sprang up on the side of a flower stall just outside Queens Park station, NW6.  I especially like the little tap man in the top left corner.  Many thanks to Matt of The Loki Files for spotting and photographing this piece.

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