Reviewing my A6 postcard-sized Pink Pig landscape format sketchbook for this winter, you might think that my life has been dominated by a search for the perfect scone. It has, and we’ve got our visits to Nostell timed to coincide with when the scones emerge from the oven, however these freshly-baked scones, were at the Rich & Fancy Cafe on Queen Street, Horbury.
But I don’t insist on Bake Off standard cakes to draw; I equally enjoyed drawing the salt and pepper pots and the sauce and vinegar bottles on my brother-in-law’s dining table. These drawings are all larger than they appear in my sketchbook because I like the texture of pen on cartridge paper, which I lose at screen resolution. Drawn with my favourite pen, a Lamy Safari with an extra fine nib filled with brown Noodler’s ink.
I’ve got another Lamy Safari filled with a cartridge of Lamy black ink, which I blotted with a water-brush to get this wash effect on a brooding morning at Charlottes. Again during a coffee and scone break. A pattern is emerging.
Drawing this relaxed-looking armchair set me off; whenever I’ve had the odd moment during the last week, I’ve looked around for a chair to draw.
At Frankie & Benny’s, I focused on the chair itself and omitted the surroundings, such as the table leg in front of it.
As has so often happens, I started at the top but didn’t appreciate that I’d need to draw at a slightly larger scale to accommodate the detail of the chair’s back, so it has turned out taller and narrower than it should be.
Every detail of Frankie & Benny’s has been chosen to evoke the atmosphere of a 1950s New York Italian American diner: furniture, fittings and cut-out metal lettering. The F&B logo is brush-lettering, similar to the Walt Disney signature of the same vintage.
In a local independent cafe, Rich & Fancy on Queen Street, Horbury, the lettering on the blackboard is hand-drawn, and the chair is less chic and cosmopolitan.
Pizza Express goes for a retro style that might have earned a Design Council label in the 1960s.
Back in the studio, I was at last able to study a chair which wasn’t partially obscured by a table, a customer or a waitress.
The folding Ikea chair gives me a better chance to observe the negative spaces between the tubular metal framework and the plastic seat and back: triangles and shapes that remind me of a wedge of cheese with the nose cut off.