Sketch In the Square.

Trafalgar Square.

Warm, 21°C, bright sun, light breeze

A few days in That London to take the lad to see possible universities. We looked round UCL with an interest in Biomedical Science. The city was relatively quiet with much reduced numbers of foreign tourists. I reckon the foreign voices heard in the square were peole who live here coming as inland tourists to london. Many wanted to take photos of the kids after they climbed up on the lion statues.

After a coffee and a walk, we ended up at the National Portrait Gallery (which was closed). Round the back is the National Gallery which had an enormous queue. But… in the square was a big cluster of easels and staff giving out drawing materials. This is “Sketch in the Square”.
It turns out they are from the gallery’s public education department. There was the choice of sitting at an easel (but they were full) or wandering off with a board/paper and medium. I seized the opportunity and took A3 paper, a clipboard and a nice thick 2B graphite stick.

With only a graphite stick (a ‘chunky’) I needed to shade as soon as possible to sharpen the tip on the chunky. There are things wrong with each drawing even though, the second one I did get to use a rubber. Nevermind, if I don’t point out the faults, then maybe nobody will notice. Don’t tell. I think my choice of media was about right, 2B is quite hard but darks can be marked with heavy pressure.

Folks did notice me drawing though. I got some fabulous comments, from a guttoral “Woooowww” to a chat with an undergraduate from Mumbai who asked for permission to take a photo. A couple of nervous teenage girls said ” I just wanted so say how much I like your drawing“… then ran away. I overheard an unseen group talking about putting a picture on their ‘story’. More kids stopped to watch than anybody else.
I loved it, I suppose all those years drawing in front of kids in class took away and self-counscious inhibition. I’d go every day if I could.

Sketch in the Square

Don’t fall of a lion today.

A life in a day

All that remains

Driving out from home, I have to wait for traffic to clear. Too many times, I take a moment to set some music on the car stereo then look up to see all the gaps have gone and I have to wait.
This time, I notice a bird standing on the road just next to the cycle-lane marking. It has a short tail, about 14cm tall and is stationary. it looks confused, perhaps a flegling on its first day out. Traffic though.

In a split second, a black 4×4 passes and with a crunch, it has gone. In that split second, the large wheel reduces 14cm heigh down to a few millimeters. A snapping crunch makrs the breaking of all its bones at once. All that is left is a pad of feathers and a patch wet meat.

That was it, a life gone. All that potential lost. I drove out when clear but that image troubled me for many days. It seemed to symbolise all that is futile. I can remember all of the times an animal has lost its life; dove, a female phesant, a squirrel on the morotway.

Portishead: The Rip

As she walks in the room
Scented and tall
Hesitating once more
And as I take on myself
And the bitterness I felt I realise that love flows
Wild, white horses
They will take me away
And the tenderness I feel
Will send the dark underneath
Will I follow?
Through the glory of life I will scatter on the floor
Disappointed and sore
And in my thoughts I have bled
For the riddles I’ve been fed
Another lie moves over
Wild, white horses
They will take me away
And the tenderness I feel
Will send the dark underneath
Will I follow?
Wild, white horses
They will take me away
And the tenderness I feel
Will send the dark underneath
Will I follow?

Acrylic in A4 sketchbook: 4 pages.

All are acrylic on A4 pages in multiple layers. The method is generally the same – prepare the page with a mid-tone ground; 2 sessions; work from mid-tones towards light & dark, last marks are black and pure white (often just a dot).