Périgord, France – Sept 2018

The village of Montcigoux has a house with a long roof.

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Note also the extraordinary number of electricity cables. The plan is to put them underground. This was in progress. But so far not on this side of the village.

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The queue at Limoges airport Passport Controle took 1 hour. There were only two officials and a huge number of people on the aircraft.

We went to Brantôme, a town on the River Dronne. It’s on an island in the river. There’s a food market on Fridays. At the cafe I sketched the Abbey.

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We walked by the river and found a poem on a stone tablet. I wrote it in my notebook.

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With the help of friends, I am still puzzling out what the poem says. Here’s the latest attempt:

Philosopher, it is there, right at the end of the convent
Whose façade is washed by the River Dronne in flood
That in this enclave, having spent the summer under the majestic elm trees
While leaving your monastic cell to its gigantic books
You would be in free dialogue with your memories.

All suggestions, improvements and interpretations welcome. The verb “jaser” seems to mean “gossip”, but perhaps “faire jaser” has a different meaning. Any ideas? I also assumed that the “G.B.” was the writer “Brantôme”. Georges Brantôme I guessed. But no, the writer Brantôme is Pierre. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de Brantôme (c. 1540 – 15 July 1614), also known as the abbé de Brantôme, was a French historian, soldier and biographer.

I rather get the impression from his Wikipedia entry that the abbé de Brantôme was more of a chronicler than a poet. So who is “G.B.”? I definitely need to go back to Brantôme to have a closer look at that stone plaque. And to buy more of that cheese with nettles in, made by a Dutchman who has settled in France, and sold to us by his son.

“Is it French cheese?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, in the manner of someone embarking on a long explanation, “the milk is from French cows, and it was made in France….”. But, evidently, it was made by his father, a Dutch man, using a Dutch process. So is the cheese French? Is that even a useful question?

Here’s a view of the abbey from the restaurant where we had lunch:

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I sketched in Périgord last year. See this link:  Montcigoux

One of my pictures is now on the wall of the house it depicts.

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Original Watercolour framed

Sketches in Crete – Sept 2018

I was experimental. I had a large sketchbook with rough pages, given to me for my birthday. I turned over the pages and tried things.

As we drove back from Aptera one evening, the sun was setting and fired up the mist between the hills. Back at the kitchen table, I had a go:

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It was stormy. We had some amazing sunsets.

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I did a lot of quick sketches with some special Koh-i-noor sketching pencils that friends brought me from the Czech Republic:

We walked up the Diktamos gorge. It is deep and leafy. Here is an impression drawn that evening, trying to show you the dark depths of the gorge, the high rocky walls, and the leaves. John is shown, sitting on a stone, bottom centre left.

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On the way to the airport we stopped in Agia Triada. I had 45 minutes to do a sketch. This is pen and ink.

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It’s a three hour flight.  One has to do something. I revisited the Diktamos gorge in pen and ink. The game was to use as few lines as possible, by not taking the pen off the paper. This is 3 lines.

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Suffolk Sketchbook, June 2018

I drew a picture from a bird hide, looking over the estuary of the River Blyth.

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Bird Hides make good places for watercoloring. Here is the view from a Bird Hide at Minsmere.

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I had a go at drawing birds too.

 

In the evening, kayakers made their way upriver against the tide.

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I watched the crabbers on the quay.

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All pictures in a Katazome Sketchbook with vintage paper, from the Vintage Paper Company, experimenting with loose watercolour technique.

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Katazome Watercolour sketchbook, from the Vintage Paper Company.

 

Sketching in Crete: May 2018

Aptera was a city in Greek and Roman times. The people went to the Theatre.

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Remains of the Greek and Roman Theatre at Aptera. The Greek period is something like 300 BC. Then the Romans adopted it when they took over 67 – 395AD. The Theatre was a total ruin when we first visited in 2011, with part of it missing and the stones used to make a limekiln. In 2017 the lime kiln was removed and the auditorium circle has been re-created.

From the small slab in the centre, the acoustics are perfect. John gave a rendition of the speech of Richard III “Now is the winter of our discontent….”.  I heard it perfectly, at this distance.

The place where we stayed looks out over the bay.

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Military vessels pass by into the NATO base opposite, including submarines. Some of them go past, and into Souda.

We drove into Souda, to find out where they went. We found only a peaceful fishing harbour.

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The military harbour is hidden.

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I took a new sketchbook on this holiday. It had rough pages which meant I needed to work in a loose style. There were some spectacular sunsets

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Watercolour in sketchbook from the Vintage Paper Company.

We shared the house with a gecko.

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There is a contrast between the peaceful location…..

…and the fearsome weapons of the NATO warships in the bay.

The ruins at Aptera have stood for two thousand years. Civilisations have come and gone in their time.

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Inside the Roman cisterns at Aptera. The city is mentioned in texts of 13th and 14th century BC. These Roman cisterns supplied water to the city. The city was destroyed by earthquake in 365 AD.

These pictures were done on location in various notebooks, using watercolour, pencil and De Atramentis Document ink.

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Agia Traida, view from the entrance, in Stillman and Bern Delta Series watercolour book, using only ink.

 

Sainte-Croix, Vaud, Switzerland

I visited the Hôtel de France, Sainte-Croix in Vaud, Switzerland. Here is the hotel, from the street outside, just after I arrived.

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I had to wait in Geneva train station, for the train which goes to Yverdon-les-Bains. The sun came through the windows and people walked through the lighted space.

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The Hôtel de France is known for its absinthe.

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IMG_3521I sketched the absinthe table. The bottles look like a group of people waiting for something to happen. Like people, the bottles have common basic characteristics, but each has their individual variations.

Glasses, too, have their characters.

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I walked down the ancient salt road to the village of Vuitebœuf. Here is the Église de Vuitebœuf from the rue du Culaz, which I afterwards found out is also on the ‘Via Francigena’ pilgrims’ route Canterbury to Rome (1900km).

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This church was constructed in 1904 to the design of Charles-François Bonjour.

I travelled back to London late Sunday night, on a crowded ‘plane from Geneva.

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Work in progress on the drawing of the Hôtel de France, 19 April 2018. Jackson’s watercolour sketch book, 7″ x 10″

Here are links to previous drawings in Sainte-Croix.

View from a Swiss Hotel

Some sketches of hotel tableware

Sainte-Croix, Vaud

Here is a link to the etching of the Absinthe Table: The Absinthe Table

Suffolk sketches

Here is a view of the lighthouse at Southwold. While I was drawing it, standing on the path by the sea, a woman came up and told me I was very gifted. I said thank you. Her husband said he’d told her to say that, because she’d seen me on the way down, and not said anything. He said she should express her feelings.

He had a pit bull dog. Because his mother was pure Romany. I was not sure of the connection. He said this was Kensington-and-Chelsea-on-Sea. He said that people here told him “you don’t have a London accent”. That’s because he’s not from Kensington and Chelsea, but from a different part of London.

This is the picture:

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Here’s a drawing from Southwold pier:

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This is a sketch from a bird hide in Minsmere. The two ducks on the right are Shovellers.

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This is the sunset at Walberswick:

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It was misty. I drew the Church, St Andrews. There is a ruined part, from 1493, on the right. And a more modern 18th Century part on the left.

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I drew the view up the river. Here it is in the mist.

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Here it is in the dark.

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We went home by train. I sketched the people waiting.

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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