East Quantoxhead, what a lovely discovery. A place to visit again and again as there is so much to enjoy. The most wonderful outdoor cafe in the crumbling ruins of an old church, a picture postcard village with duck pond and farm with ancient barns and a grand church. But for me the best bit was the cliff walk which enables you to look down at a beach which is a favourite with fossil hunters. Its outstanding feature is a limestone platform which has been worn by the waves into undulating lines, one of nature’s works of art.
These are my initial sketches. Again, I’ve interpreted the brief broadly and drawn pictures of the views that most interest me rather than taking the shift 90 degrees approach.
I feel the fence creates an interesting lead into this picture and that there is a good balance and the composition works. I also feel I use ink too often and need to vary my approach!
This view of the upper cliffs is quite striking and the fence creates a nice detail. But I think I’m getting fixated on the limestone platform…
There is something in this drawing but the composition could be improved to create a better balance between the foreground, limestone platform and the sea and sky. Using the gesso has helped to create foreground texture and give the rocks a texture which suits their nature.
This use of gesso with wax crayon had surprising results. While my photo looks better than the sketchbook original because it has pulled out the vibrant colours, I am pleased with how the dune grasses and shrubs either side of the path have worked. They, together with the path, feel like the focus on the drawing rather than the limestone platform. My balance of sea and sky is all wrong… and a simple view of sea and sky might be better at the end of the path than the very busy rock.
This is a crop taking out the sky. I think it works better but the overall picture is till too busy because of the combination of detailed foliage and the rock platform. There is something in both this viewpoint and the technique though.
Detail of the rock platform viewed through foliage. Graphite worked well with the gesso and ink. Lots of interesting texture here… although too much going on (as usual!). Later I put bees’ wax over the picture and gave it a polish. It certainly made it smell nice! Some of the graphite rubbed away, but that was OK as it somehow made the picture more cohesive. Some of the graphite rubbed off the gesso lines completely returning these to white. You have to click on to the picture to see but these feel a bit fossil like which is entirely appropriate for this beach!
I drew this picture carefully with the gesso and then simply rubbed charcoal across it. I’m wondering now if I could smudge the background sea? If I was to do this again I would draw less foliage and make more of the limestone platform. An interesting experiment. It’s a bit like frottage but the texture rubbed is an integral part of the drawing. Fascinating!
This is an experiment with printer ink. A messy business but useful discovery. I tapped out some ink from a black laser ink cartridge into a bowl and then applied it with a small brush. A fixative spray seems to keep it in place. It is different to charcoal, somehow denser – and light smudgy layers can be first applied with a fan brush. This ‘play’ in my sketchbook makes me think that a dense, realistic drawing using printer ink could be framed with a lighter more abstract drawing…
This drawing takes an earlier viewpoint and uses gesso, which has been swept lightly with a fan brush and printer ink, then I’ve rubbed lightly on top with Conté crayons. There is too much foreground and a better balance of sea and sky is needed but I feel this drawing has masses of potential and is beginning to show signs of a ‘less is more approach’. There are some interesting marks in the left foreground that could be made a feature and a sense of brooding atmosphere.
This crop begins to show how a more balanced use of sea and sky might work. Plenty of potential.
Last but not least, this house with dovecote and doves on the roof was deserving of a sketch. I liked the negative shapes around the roof and the angles and, of course, the doves. I will not develop this further as buildings aren’t ‘talking to me’ at the moment!
Well, plenty of material to move forward with… perhaps too much!