Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Travels in Lanzarote: Day 6. Five in One Day!

As you will have noticed, most days so far, I just did one sketch while we were out and about together, rather than go out actually sketching for the day. Day 6 was another chilly day, but it was sunnier than usual over our hill, so we hatched the plan that John would go out for a walk on his own and I would sit on the hill and sketch. I even took an A3 sketchbook with me. Serious stuff!

I took a regular spiral-bound drawing pad, rather than my posh Bockingford watercolour one, as I thought I might need to do some drawing to warm up a bit before tackling that. I was excited to have a nice long period to work.

For the first sketch, I thought I would try again with Derwent Inktense Blocks, as Derwent sent me another set at Christmas, as a pressie. I've tried them before, in the Lake District, but not really got the hang of them. On that occasion things got very muddy, as they carry so much pigment, so this time I tried to use brighter colours and not put too much colour onto the paper in any one spot. I felt the result was a bit too bright, so I dampened it down with some white conte, but I'm still not sure about it. It does look better reduced down like this though.

The gullies and terracing were hard to draw accurately, without getting fussy and over-realistic, so next I tried to be more instinctive, responding to the patterns, textures and flow lines, rather than drawing exactly what was there. I limited myself to 3 colours of Inktense block, in combination with a graphite stick, then painted the sky, for contrast.

The result had interesting elements, but I wasn't especially happy with this one either. It was at that point that a German walker came along with - wait for it - a massive, 1980's style video camera on his shoulder and asked to film me. Not great timing, though I smiled and pretended I wasn't feeling quite grumpy.

That was when I decided to allow myself some 'comfort-zone' time and got out a stick of black conte:

I then decided I needed a slight change of scene, so walked a bit further up the hill, to the view point over Playa Famara. The sweep of the cliffs down to sea level is so dramatic and unusual, I was pleased to get the chance to capture it.

Unfortunately at that point the light disappeared, on account of a massive, all-encompassing cloud. The big drawback to the beautiful area where we were staying was that the big hill above Haria regularly attracted cloud to itself, while everywhere else on the island seemed to be sunny!

Though I was still feeling quite grumpy when I stomped back down the hill, I must admit that the work looks much better now. A good lesson - always reserve judgement until another day. When you are on the spot, all you see is the things which aren't working, or which fail to express what's actually there and, when you're a bit grumpy, it's really easy to fail to see the bigger picture.

I didn't want to stop sketching yet, as it was only lunchtime, so we drove a little way north, beyond the cloud of our hill, to where there was a gorgeous volcano, 'La Corona' - The Crown, named because of the jagged edges around the rim. John went off to walk up it, while I sat at the bottom and ate my pack-up, then painted the sketch above.

The little shrubs created a wonderful dotted pattern up the sides and I loved the way the whole thing was so sculptural.

I'd just finished painting when John got back. The cloud was back, but I felt I'd done a good day's work, so we went to get a beer.


Candy Gourlay said...

They all look amazing. Made me wonder what the difference was between drawing at rest and drawing at work for you?

Lynne the Pencil said...

Good question. It's a very fudgy line. I think it has a lot to do with why I am doing it and what the work is for. Has someone invited me to paint something for reasons of their own, like during my residency at the Morgan Centre, or have I been asked to do a sketch to illustrate a point in my Sketching People book, or am I free to choose to paint or not paint, as the whim takes me? I think that's the crux of it. But on the outside, I'm guessing it pretty much looks the same :-D