10.1.11

Cold winter sketching

Saturday was cold but gorgeous and I played truant from what I should have been doing to take my sketchbook for an airing. It's a big A2 Moleskine which I am ashamed to say has sat on a shelf, pristine and virginal since it arrived last Christmas, over a year ago. I really need to get back into the habit of drawing from life again, even it it is just scribbles.

This is the kind of thing you don't often show people - it's simply an exercise in every sense of the word - in the same way that singers practise scales, dancers do barre movements, an artist needs to do the real eye/brain/hand thingy which hopefully one day will end up in some kind of finished form. It's not supposed to look pretty (though it's a bonus if it does).
Although there was a thin, mean wind, I forgot myself as I scribbled and scratched away. Once I started looking, I could have been out all day drawing - the line of oak trees in a hedgerow which would make a lovely little lino cut.

Everyone I met was (unusually) friendly - I think having a sketchbook is rather like having a dog - it gives you a legitimate reason to be out walking. For once I wasn't just the strange woman out alone with her camera. The horse chestnut avenue was beautifully stark, but I decided to save it for next time.

Spotted a potential picture with the farmhouse, which is unusual for me as I tend to prefer trees in the landscape. I've done this walk hundreds of times and am still finding fresh aspects of it.


This line of trees is definitely one to do another time - the clear winter sun brings out the acidic yellow lichen and the new red bark growth infuses the treetops with a warm blush.


I had one corner of my page to fill and of course, it was trees on the horizon.

Although my walk was only a couple of miles, I'd been out for two hours sketching. It doesn't look like much does it? Felt good though, flexing those out-of-practise drawing muscles.



23 comments:

frayedattheedge said...

Oh, how I wish I could do that!

liZZie said...

Good photographs too. I know what you mean about seeing more, looking differently if you cast an artist's eyes ~ I don't think I could manage dog & a sketchbook somehow! Very glad you are back to being an active you.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

A perfect day.
Amazing how much the landscape reminds me of your header!

Soozcat said...

I can't draw (yet) but have discovered over the course of a year or so how much having and using a camera seems to change one's mental outlook... you don't take in images as passively as you once did; you begin to notice compositions and details that would have escaped you before.

In addition to your images, you are spot-on with observational details like the acidic yellows of lichens and the reddish tinge of new bark. One of many reasons why your blog is eminently readable and interesting.

Natasha said...

Oh so jealous, sketching is my favourite thing to do and I never do it!
Yours are amazing as I would expect!
xx

clare said...

What a wonderful sketching session! It's great to see the photos of what caught your eye, too.

Sweet Birdy Love said...

Seeing the landscape through an artists' eye, gives you a whole new persepctive.
Gretel if my visual diary was filled with sketches such as yours I would proudly leave it casually lying around for anyone to look at...
Looks like ti was a corker of a day despite it being cold.

janet said...

Hey Gretel,
I hope you came home to a hot, warming cup of cocoa or tea. I also love your keen descriptions of the fields and trees around you, especially when you revisit your favorite scenes and we get to see how they change with the seasons. All great stuff!

Janet xox

d. moll, l.ac. said...

That old eye/brain/hand loop is such a wonder. Lovely sketchies, of course.

Southern Lady said...

Your sketch is beautiful. I wish I had that talent. It sounds like you had a wonderful day. Carla

Tonia said...

Your drawings look amazing, so jealous! It's this time of year that I wish I could draw: the tree branches look like lace against the sky.

Jane said...

Love the bare bones of the trees at this time of year. Nothing more scary than a pristine new sketchbook - especially if, like me, such things were treated like treasure during a fairly frugal childhood and had to be made to last. Great photos and sketches.

rossichka said...

Hello, Gretel! You did the right thing - to follow your necessity to sketch! You sound happy and this is the most important thing. Lovely sketches! It's interesting how they'll "transform" in future. I'll be looking forward to your next sketch days in the "open air"!:)

Caroline B said...

I'm very jealous of your opportunity to go off alone to sketch - a very rare occurrence for me. It is always a good feeling to just let your pencil flow.
By the way, so it is you that's been hogging all the sunshine away from the rest of us is it??

Frances said...

Funny, I am also trying to be more regular with my sketchbook and pencils. Not to be self-critical while doing this drawing ... Just do it!

Your drawings are lovely and do capture that view. I also really like the row of trees with their rounded tops ... as if the branches were doing cartwheels. Well, that's what came to my mind!

Bravo to you for facing the chilly breeze.

xo

Over the Garden Wall said...

Lovely, perfect English winter walk,seen through the eyes of an artist.So pleased to see you fit again.

Rowan said...

Drawing isn't among my talents I'm afraid - I only wish it was. I do know what you mean about being out a couple of hours and only doing 2 miles, I'm the same if I take my camera.

Heidi said...

Love it! What a beautiful day! It's so true, you need a dog or a sketchpad to 'legitimize' standing around in nature or else one simply looks furtive!

Hugs,
Heidi
a.k.a spinyurchin

Carol | Large Canvas Prints said...

Beautiful landscapes and nice photos! I like the place where you all took these images.

Sue said...

An A2 sketchbook? You're very brave! All mine are A5 tops! I'm a furtive sketcher and a scaredycat! LOL

Claire said...

Cooee, all safe and dryish here. Floods are waaaay up North but come right into your home when you turn on the TV........
Thanks for popping by and checking,

Claire :)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A very profitable afternoon's work ! And it's easy to see that you really enjoy it .
The winter outline of trees is so striking in any light . I'd love to see more .... you'll have to go out again .

LiBBy said...

I love looking at your sketches!