Towers East and Towers West

I continue to work on my “Towers Project”. The idea is to document the towers of Finsbury, Islington and Camden, or at least the ones I can see from my window.

I did a “Skyline” previously which you can see on this link.

Here are two smaller etchings, Towers East and Towers West, both 10.5cm by 15cm. I finished Towers West yesterday.

 

These two together form a panorama. I used Towers East in a Chine Collé course. See this link.

The two prominent towers at the front are part of a Peabody Estate, the “Roscoe Estate” on Roscoe Street. The one on the left is “Peabody Tower” and the one on the right is “St Mary’s Tower”. The low house at the very front on the left is Fortune House, on Fortune Street. I have drawn Peabody Tower in an urban sketch, see this link.

These etchings are aquatint on copper. Here is work in progress on “Towers West”.

 

I drew the picture in hard ground using an etching spike, then etched it in acid called “Edinburgh Etch” for 20minutes. The resulting print is shown above on the right.

Then I put resin dust, called Aquatint, on the plate, and set it with a gas burner. I paint varnish on top of the Aquatint, to make the shapes, then dip in acid, then paint more, then dip. Towers West is 6 dips. The sky is a technique called “spit bite”: I just paint the acid on, wait 20 seconds, and wash it off.

Here’s the copper plate for Towers West:

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Towers West, copper plate

Sketch notes from maritime Holland

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This is Noordermarkt, as seen from Café Hegeraad, in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. It was a lovely autumn day, warm with a light breeze. I had the apple cake and a coffee. I had arrived from the overnight Stena Line ferry, then a sequence of trains from the Hook of Holland.

My destination was Surinamekade, to meet the boat “Lady of Avenel”. I walked through the renewed Central Station where I retrieved my bag from the luggage lockers. Here is a picture from the boat.

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The “Race of the Classics” had just taken place, and they were saying goodbye to the last of the participants. The captain and crew went off to an award ceremony. On my own on the boat I drew a picture of three of the other classic boats moored up behind us.

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In the morning, we set off along the “North Sea Canal”. I drew a complicated picture of “Lady of Avenel” from the quarterdeck, which took a long time.

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Then, in a lock, I drew a quick picture of “Iris” who followed us in. This was much more successful.

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We reached Scheveningen.

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There was a long wait in the morning, while the storm of the previous night departed.

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Then we left harbour, for the 36 hour trip across the North Sea.

We were taking ‘Lady of Avenel’ to her winter mooring at Heybridge, Maldon. See the blog post on this link, for pictures of her there.

Towers of North London

I have a project to draw all the towers I can see from my window. These are the towers of Finsbury, Hackney and Camden in North London.

To identify the Towers, I made an etching of the sky line. This is the view from my window. I look North.

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This is an aquatint, made at East London Printmakers. Later I am going to put all the names on.

Here’s an earlier stage of the same picture.  This is the hard ground etching.

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This is Charbonnel Doux printing ink on Fabriano Unica Printing Paper from Great Art. Copper plate etched in Edinburgh etch for 25 minutes.

 

 

Montcigoux

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The red tiled roofs are a characteristic of the area. The low roof of the Old Forge is rickety. Mme Sauté cultivates tomatoes in the plastic greenhouse on the left.

Here is Steve’s house. His Audi is parked conspicuously, because he is expecting a visitor, and he told them to look out for the car.

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See all the overhead cables. There is a plan to put all these underground: both the electricity and the telephone cables.

On the Sunday I set out to draw a picture of the Old Forge from another angle. An elderly man trundled his walking frame all across the grass to come and talk to me. He described how Steve’s house had previously been the grocer, café and ballroom. There were dances there. The man had a long career. He was the son of the gardener in the château. He had installed electricity in the local town, Limoges. There was a whole narrative about the maquis,  which word I couldn’t understand in context. I knew it was a description of the land in the South of France: the dried out grass and low bushes. Then, as he was talking, I remembered it was also the word for a fighting force. He had fought all the way up to La Rochelle. This was Resistance fighters in the Second World War.

I had managed only the pencil outline of my picture.

I finished it on the Monday. By then it was raining.

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When I got home I painted one of the tomatoes Mme Sauté had given me.

 

Outer Hebrides 2017

I took my sketching things on a swimming expedition to the Outer Hebrides with Swimtrek. We were on the wonderful Lady of Avenel 102ft square rigged brigantine.

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It was raining when I drew this picture, as you can see from the way the pen has drifted a bit, round the chimneys. I coloured it inside the café called “Kranks”.

There was a lot of weather.

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I drew pictures while balancing on the quarterdeck. The picture below was painted with sea water.

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Here is a drawing of the beach at Vatersay. We swam to this beach, and surfed in the waves on the other side. The small dots on the beach are cows.

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Here is an attempt to draw the sails.

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For more drawings of this expedition please see the “Outer Hebrides 2017” gallery.

For drawings from last year’s trip please see the “Outer Hebrides 2016” gallery.

 

Shetland Sketchbook

Here I am on the banks of the River Dee, looking across to Aberdeen.

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I had just left the overnight sleeper train from London, and was in Aberdeen waiting for the overnight ferry to take me to Shetland. In the River Dee, I saw dolphins. I walked to the Torry Battery, built 1858-1860. In the picture on the right is the “Aberdeen Harbour Operations Centre”.

The ferry docked in Lerwick, Shetland mainland. It was raining.

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I drew this picture in Fort Charlotte, sheltering from the rain under the thick walls of a gate. The shelter was not perfect, as you see from the water splattering the picture.

Bus number 9 from the Viking Bus Station took me to the West Mainland, where I was staying in Burrastow Cottage. Here is a drawing of Burrastow House. The cottage is the small building, in the background on the left.

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I did a lot of walking.

In Lerwick I bought a landscape sketchbook. So I experimented with using both pages. There’s a lot of landscape in Shetland.

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Above, I tried to show the bright yellow flowers, very vivid, in the low light.

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The picture above shows the bay and the village of Walls.

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Above is an attempt to draw the huge cliffs near Burrastow. The peninsula is the delightfully named “Wards of Mucklure”.

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I drew the sea. Above is the view from the door of the cottage. Out there, one day, I saw an otter.

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Above is what the island of Foula looks like, viewed from Cairn 4. I numbered the Cairns.

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I also drew the plants.

That picture of the drain hole shows iris plants above dark water. The picture on the right shows flowering sorrel, and iris leaves.

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This is a picture of “The Ned” near Westerwick. It was much more dramatic than the picture. More dark and more light. Maybe the pencil sketch catches it better:

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Here is another sketch of the sea. I tried drawing quickly. Sometimes it seems to work better that way.

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And here is a sketch on the way back to London.

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