Lambton Adventures with my Sketchbook (of course!)

October 16, 2014 | Leave your thoughts

Four weeks ago I went up to Lambton Newcastle to run a days workshop about Travel Sketching for Newcastle Art Society. I headed up on Friday afternoon in order to case the joint – not only for that workshop but also a second one on Architecture Sketching which I will be running next week.

I decided that I would pretend to be a tourist and have a little travel adventure exploring Lambton. Of course I was thinking about the recent ideas from my Brazil trip… and I decided to fill my pages in a carefree manner – piecing various aspects together randomly in an exploratory manner.
I also decided to draw a map – this was completed after my adventure but before I left the area to check in to my B&B (important point: before leaving). It was so fun to put this together – I had had such a great time that the map, rather than being a chore, was the icing on the cake. I do love having maps in my sketchbooks but sometimes they are a chore – in the sense that they take time (and are often homework), you have to be careful and you have to spend time planning how to simplify what is a very complex subject matter… and as for the matter of accuracy… well you just have to have a healthy attitude (or else you end up having to trace)

I was still recovering from my terrible virus I got in Brazil so the 2 hour drive tired me a little and the Lambton Pavilion is exactly the type of subject I try to avoid when my energy and ‘calmness’ levels are low. It is a precise, delicate geometric open structure… ah! very challenging – you must be careful and deliberate and accurate. So – in direct continuation of my Brazilian sketchbook I decide to start with the sky rather than the building, ’embrace the wonkiness’ and just play.
The architect in me was cringing a little at this attempt – it really didn’t describe the pavilion accurately – so two more sketches were in order. First a detail of the posts (far nicer subject to draw) and then another more elevational view(easier). I will come back to the pavilion in my next post and explain more what we learnt about it during the workshop.

I had done some research on what was significant in Lambton and apart from the pavilion, it was Lizotte’s the turquoise building which was previously a theater – really? But hey, google can’t be wrong can it? It must be significant.
While doing this quick sketch and getting muddled with the trunk I suddenly noticed the palm trees and worked out they were specifically planted either side of the gate to the park.
Ah ha! this is the type of discovery that comes about by sketching – and really struck a cord with me in reference to Richard Alomar’s Paraty activity (this will not be the last time I refer to the ideas I gleaned from that).
The excitement was getting too much for me (sarcasm… or simply a hopeless case of justification?) … I needed to find somewhere to have a cup of tea.

And I found one – had a great cup of ‘well being’ tea at 2 Blend Cafe in a groovy square cup with an interesting handle (must not have been feeling myself, I do not use the word groovy very often!)

I was so energised by that tea that I went out and sketched a small cottage on a nearby side street. You might notice my comment about having a strong focus – the roof – and how it simplified the sketch and amazingly tied the two spreads together. Great example of the unplanned compositional delights I get from sketching.  I also love the palm trees in the background – a reference point to the gate of the park. (BTW Just ignore my silly comment “Doing a Fred”! )

I was really buzzing by the time I had finished this little adventure.
It summarises many things about why I love sketching – the unexpected discoveries that you make and the way the pages develop into a narrative. I was also using a few different ‘foundational concepts’ – varying how I used lines and shapes, simplifying what I was attempting to sketch and playing with a few compositional ideas.
All these things are what I will be sharing in my upcoming SketchingNow Foundations Online Course. Rather than being “basic” these concept are the core – I use them all the time. Always trying to refine and strengthen my work by being better grounded in the core.
I have had a big deadline this week… but starting next week I will be sharing a little more as I prepare for my Foundations course. I can’t tell you how excited I am – so much looking forward to being able to share my approach to sketching in a structured way and in a way that I can engage with others more. Thanks for all those that have already signed up. Nov 12 is not that far away…
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I hope you can join me SketchingNow from November 12
Foundations – 12 week course. Essential Concepts for Spontaneous Sketching

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