Sunday, 5 May 2019

5 in 5 - May 2019 - Travels with a Sketchbook

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of 

each month I post 5 photos that I have 
taken in 5 minutes.

I recently had the joy of spending a week on the Isle of Bute, attending a four day course with artist Ruth Slater. My friend and I stayed in a cottage in the grounds of Kames Castle, a beautiful setting with lots of inspiration for sketching. We also had three days to explore the island and it's many historical and interesting features, and one of the things that got me most excited was going out with a local photographer to look for otters and osprey.  We were lucky on both accounts, and I got some wonderful photos. But for this post I am going to share 5 photos of my sketchbook.

Although I have always loved art and drawn I have never worked with a professional artist before, so this was a wonderful opportunity to learn and expand my skills. I love Ruth's style and the fact we worked in a sketchbook was even better.  We started each of the four days at 9am and worked for two and a half hours. Ruth then gave us ideas to continue our practice, and would leave us to our own devices. After a quick lunch my friend and I would then go around the island, both enjoying the sights and experiences but also using the opportunity to practice and gather photos and inspiration. I came home with a big supply and enough enthusiasm to last me a long time. Unfortunately life interrupts the creative flow, but I have tried to make notes and organise myself so that it is there ready and waiting when time or opportunity allows.

On our first day we were invited to sketch the castle door, taking notes and paying attention to the small detail. I need to go back and work on this more, but it was good practice in paying attention and not allowing your brain to fill in gaps and make assumptions. 

Day two was a study about birds. This connected with me more as we included mixed media and my work had more flow to it. My plan is to practice so that I can loosen up more, for my sketches and paintings to feel more fluid.

I found a magazine picture of an osprey, so continuing the bird theme, I decided to use this for my practice piece. 

The next day we went for a walk around the grounds and this really connected with me. I used a technique I learnt from Alice Fox, where I took my pen for a walk. I placed it on the open page and just followed the route, turning the page when I came to the edge and following the contour of the garden path.  What amazed me was that I did not look at the page during this walk, except to mark in the window, apple blossom and cottage at the place where we stood. Yet, despite not looking at my page, my pen ended up in exactly the right place when we rejoined the original path. It sent shivers down my spine because the chances of this happening are pretty remote. The pen could have finished anywhere on the page, and it makes me want to do this more as the first time I did this the same thing happened. How can that be explained when I do not look at the page as I draw?! 
This is another page to work on, and we tried a new technique for putting water colour down. This helped me create a more softer look which I will practice more.

As part of my homework and practice I made a sketch and took notes while there, and photos so that I could see the colour and confirm details. I also took a photo of me standing next to the stones so I could remember the scale. There is a long way to go, but I can see the difference from my first painting and I like how this is becoming more loose.

The week away was amazing - with stops on the way there and home to break the journey and make our time more interesting.  After leaving the island we visited three studios which were part of the Ayrshire Art Trail. And we stayed overnight in Saltaire in Yorkshire so that we could visit the mill buildings which have been transformed into a beautiful art space and home to David Hockney's art. Books and art materials were added to our supplies, and I am now feeling very blessed and enriched for this creative time.  Thank you for visiting and I'd love you to join in and share your own 5in5 photos:

 As always, I invite you to join in this 5in5 monthly challenge and I hope some of you will do that. Trying a new way of doing things can spark new ideas and add interest, so here's how it works: 

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a mobile timer for 5 minutes.

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool 
You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos and if you want to know more about 5in5 there are details here.

And one more thing - when you use the link tool, please click on your post title.  This will show the web address. Please right click, copy and paste this as your link.  This will take readers directly to your '5 in 5' blog page and be easier for them to find.

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