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.

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).

Sleep Paralysis

The Howling Stump.

This photo, from 2009 is of a hawthorn tree in Leicestershire. I used to pass it on cycle rides to Market Bosworth but it was only visible in the winter when the hedges were clear of leaves. It looks to me like it belongs in a story of haunted houses.

Sleeping can reveal that I am aware of how my mind deals with sleeping or waking. Falling asleep is like flicking a switch, the switch has to do several things at once. It will switch off hearing and bodily movement. The mind has to do the opposite switches when we wake up. Something seems to break the sequence when we’re in REM dream sleep.

Sometimes, we want to wake from a dream and have to struggle. Sometimes, we wake but the switch to allow the muscles to move doesn’t come on immediately. This leaves me in a state where I am awake but can’t move, not even to open my eyes. This is a state of Sleep Paralysis. I get this about once a year.

Fuseli Night Demon

It’s not just me, this theme has attracted artists like Fuselli. SP seems to reflect the times, demons in the past and UFO alien abductions more recently (especially in the USA where aliens ISNA more popular theme). Others have recounted the feeling of crushing or a sentient presence in the room. I don’t get any of that but the strangest I have had is a loud grinding buzzing sound inside my head.