Useful to have the option of next day delivery as I needed these Pink Pig sketchbooks in a hurry. It’s not that I’m short of sketchbooks but the new format for my Dalesman articles is A5 portrait.
I ordered a batch of Pink Pig’s Posh Eco sketchbooks with smooth Ameleie 270 gsm watercolour paper. Hope that the fresh sketchbooks inspire me to get back into regular drawing.
My friend John Welding has, so far, been out drawing every day for the Inktober challenge. He’s been using a Pilot Parallel Pen to good effect so when I spotted one in the studio, I thought that I’d give it a go. It must be one that I used for calligraphy as it’s filled with red ink.
I’ll stick to my Lamy Safari and Vista pens but it’s good to occasionally try different media.
We had a couple of nights at the Raven Hall Hotel, Ravenscar, earlier this month. This is the view through the fanlight window of our third floor room, room 303, which is the one up in the pediment of the Georgian facade, looking out across Robin Hood’s Bay.
4 p.m., Wednesday, 4th October: From the ramparts of the cliff-top gardens of the hotel, we had some difficulty spotting the seals below because, from six hundred feet above the grey sea, it was the similar-looking bobbing knots of seaweed and diving sea-birds that caught our eyes.
But we did see one grey seal which appeared to be relaxing, floating on its back, while another seal bobbed up its head nearby . . . or was that another knot of seaweed?
At the time that it was built, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Raven Hall overlooked a scene of industry; we looked down over the hotel’s golf course to the preserved ruins of an Alum Works that stood on the cliff top.
5 p.m., Wednesday, 4th October: The promontory of Bay Ness, beyond Robin Hood’s Bay village, vanished as the mist rolled down the slope and out across the headland.
Next day, in complete contrast, we sat out in the sun at Swell’s Café in Robin Hood’s Bay village. As I drew the cliffs of Ness Point, the tide came in surprisingly quickly, covering the black rocks that I’d been drawing before I could add a watercolour wash. Six or seven holidaymakers and dog-walkers were caught out and had to pick their way over the sea defence boulders to get back to the village from the cut-off bay.
The sides of the Hackness Valley, which I drew from the Everley Country House Café, are topped with conifer plantations, with broadleaved hedgerows and sheep pasture on the slopes below. The flat valley floor is given over the arable farming.
The land use corresponds to the underlying rock: the conifers are planted on poor soils on the steep upper slopes of Jurassic gritstone while the gentler lower slopes and the flat valley floor have been cut into the underlying Oxford Clay.
I drew the magnificent pile that is the Majestic Hotel on a short break in Harrogate last month. Forty-five years ago, in August 1972, as part of my final project on the Graphic Design course at Leeds College of Art, I organised an exhibition at the Harrogate Festival about the life of Yorkshire composer William Baines (1899-1922) and a recital of his music by pianist Eric Parkin at the Majestic.
On our visits to Harrogate, we invariably head up through the Victorian park of the Valley Gardens and continue through The Pinewooods (left) at the top of the slope to Harlow Carr, RHS gardens.
With its vegetable and flower gardens, woodland walk, meadow area and alpine house, there’s always something to see, whatever the season. There’s even a woodland bird hide.
7th September, 10.50 a.m.: Two buzzards land on the grassy embankment of Whitley Reservoir. A smaller bird – it looks like a kestrel – swoops down on them and they fly off after a minute or so.
11th September: The view changes every few minutes as grey curtains of rain sweep down from the hills across the Calder valley.
18th September: Just one more drawing of the view from Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour at Whitley, a regular date to meet up for a coffee with Barbara’s brother.
28th September: But we do visit other cafes: here’s the view from the Seed Room Coffee Shop and Bistro in Overton, looking across the Smithy Brook valley to Thornhill Edge.
14th September: And we do get even further afield, I made a quick sketch of the old lime kilns at Rheged visitor centre, Penrith, on a brief visit to the Lake District. Two grey wagtails flitted about on the rocks by the nearby pond.
Rheged was a good stop for us: after an hour driving through the Dales and along the M6, it gave us an opportunity for a short walk around the centre and along the adjacent country lane. You can’t do that at some motorway services.
However ingenious it might be, drawing on an iPad doesn’t have the familiar feel of pen and watercolour on paper. On an iPad, I feel that any mistakes I make betray a shortcoming in my technique while in a real-world drawing, such as this autumnal tree I drew yesterday, the ‘mistakes’ – wayward squiggles, ragged lines and minor smudges – are very much part of the medium.
On Friday,at the Thyme cafe, Cannon Hall Garden Centre, as a change from my usual pen and wash sketches, I launched straight into watercolour: the pale featureless sky first, then the lighter background foliage and finally the darker patches as the watercolour dried.
I’m a bit out of my comfort zone in pure watercolour though so, visiting friends yesterday, I drew my mug in pen and resisted the urge to add colour.
For the past few months it’s been rare for me to settle down to do a drawing but on Monday morning we had a longer than usual wait at the doctors’ so I had time not only to draw my hand but also to add some colour.
One of the reasons that my drawing time has been a bit limited is that since I bought my Fitbit Alta HR step-counter and heartbeat monitor (the blue strap on my wrist) in July I’ve been enjoying hitting my target of 10,000 steps a day.
According to Fitbit, in those twelve weeks I walked 892,355 steps which they estimate is equivalent to 444 miles. That’s getting on for twice the length of the Pennine Way!
I think that is pretty impressive but apparently the record for completing the trail is a little less than three days, and that included a leisurely eighteen minute break for fish and chips in Alston!