If I ever need our car, I usually drop my wife to her work, do my thing then collect her at the end of her day. It’s a plan that works well, plus here in Norway having two cars is discouraged, having one car is tolerated….just! But it’s too hilly to ride my solid steel framed old Dutch bike (which otherwise would be perfect)… I miss my lightweight mountain bike – it’s sitting in my shed back in England, probably buried under 10 kilos of dust and cobwebs…. crying shame!
Anyway, I’m rambling on (easily done), so back to me in a car…. the route to my wife’s work takes me past a place I’ve always felt drawn to, it’s not a pristine or glamorous collection of distinguished buildings but an untidy collection of junk, little boats and a shack on a small jetty near a bridge in a place called Hjarlsford (need to check my spelling) Stavanger, Norway. My wife (she’s called Jo) and I nearly always make a comment about it and it was her idea to stop by and paint there, I tend to agree with her. So, for day four that’s what I did…..but did it go to plan? In a word… nah! But that’s the way it goes, the idea that everything painted is a masterpiece that must be framed and viewed by the public is not quite accurate (in my case at least)!
The weather was bright and sunny and the sun was casting lovely shadows making plenty of light and dark contrasts. I did my pencil sketch using an HB regular pencil from the little pen & pencil tin that lives in the bottom of my ‘way over the top’ sketch kit bag (Size matters – I’m working on it)….
I wasn’t over enthusiastic about my pencil sketch but had a feeling adding the sketching pen over it may give it a bit of character, I’m still not convinced. I was working in the drivers seat of the car by the way, protected in my cocoon from anyone from the shack coming over and talking to me then spotting how crap I am…. also…. it started to dawn on me that I needed to pee….. this is disaster….. I can count on one hand the amount of public lavatories I’ve seen in my five months in Norway, so I soldiered on and got a layer of watercolour on. I used the same Schminke paint as yesterday and realised there are one or two colours I haven’t really put through their paces…Delft Blue being the main one. I used it for the sea and it is so strong a tint I was bowled over! But it kinda ruined the sketch. It’s a great colour and I can see why Schminke add it to the colours in this set (I did bin their white and perylene green for caput mortuum and cadmium green dark – a colour combo I liked the idea of). I guess it was at that point I gave up in my head, it all looked wrong and I couldn’t really imagine it being salvaged 🙁
Anyway, I continued to tweak the sketch a bit more but my efforts felt doomed, I’d mentally written it off a long while ago. I did like the scene so much though! I took my usual reference for later photos (as is my newly forming habit), and was at least pleased I didn’t overload myself with tech stuff today although I’m still concerned that I’m carrying the kitchen sink around with me. The set up of working from the car has promise but it is a small car and I was a bit cramped, also worried about spilling colour on the fabric seats. Maybe I’m making excuses here too… people are going to have to see me working and I’ll have to tune out nerves and thoughts of any negative comments. So….with the sting of failure in my head I drove home for a nice cup of loose leaf breakfast tea, a cuddle with Tanzie the labradoodle and of course…. a quick pee!!
The rest of the day was a strange affair, I got on with my chores, walked the dog, had lunch but at the back of my mind was always this ‘crap sketch, crap sketch, crap sketch’ mantra. The feeling that I’d vowed to post it anyway and that it would turn anyone (is there anyone) reading it right off continuing. In order to restore my confidence I decided to put some practice of sketching people in front of me. I used some reference photos of people I took on Sunday especially for this purpose and minimalistically sketched them out using a mechanical pencil. I needed to correct one or two things, usually heads being too big for the bodies. Then I added the colour. Some changes were made because, apart from the lady in green, everyone was wearing blue so I added a purple tee shirt in there. Okay so it’s not quite what I’d planned to do, it was done in the safety of my house on the dining room table but it can’t do any harm to practise surely and hey… no crime committed! So here it is…. I have also vowed to look at the reference photo for the botched sketch earlier, get my shapes and coulors right and post it on here at a later point…. a rainy day perhaps….and there are no shortages of those here in Stavanger! Well…. until tomorrow – John