Posted by: glandorescilly | 09/05/2011

ArtScilly 2011 – Glandore Sketching Morning

We were blessed with a gloriously sunny day for Stephen’s informal sketching morning as part of ArtScilly 2011. The wind was quite brisk but it was a warm southerly, gusting to about 30mph, so Porthloo Beach was relatively sheltered. After breakfast, he gathered together all the equipment for the participants – clipboard with lots of inexpensive paper, brush pen, water pen and water spray bottle. He’d originally specified six participants but, in the end, he had seven ranging from complete beginners to keen amateurs.

By 9.45am, the first participants were arriving and Stephen chatted to them in the Gallery, doing brief demonstration sketches with the ink brush and water pen to show what they would be doing. As an aside, he suggested that I might make a cake so they could have coffee and cake when they returned from their outing … though I suspect he was hoping I’d make a large cake and there would be some left over for us šŸ˜‰

Once all seven were present, Stephen took them out onto Porthloo Beach just after 10am and they spent a while sketching in the shelter of Newford Island, out of the wind, before crossing the sandbar onto the island and sketching from there. Fortunately not only the weather was favourable but so was the tide. When they went onto the beach the sandbar was covered but the tide was dropping quite quickly and, before long, the bar was dry so they could cross without getting their feet wet.

Porthloo Beach, St Marys, Isles of Scilly. 8-05-2011

Porthloo Beach, St Marys, Isles of Scilly. 8-05-2011

In their absence, I made a Victoria sponge with strawberry jam filling and set out plates/forks, teapot, cafetiere, mugs etc on trays ready for their return. I also created a brief Feedback form so we could ask for their comments about the Sketching Morning – whether they enjoyed it, what we might have added and what level of experience they had as an artist. Feedback is very useful for us to help with planning next year’s event.

When they returned just after 12.15, some participants were quite chilled by over two hours out of doors in the wind and were grateful for hot tea and hot coffee to warm them up. The Gallery itself gets quite warm when sunshine pours through the big windows so it wasn’t long before everyone had thawed out. The cake was well received as well šŸ™‚

Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake

Six out of the seven participants filled out the Feedback Form which was valuable for us. We had three beginners who all said that the Sketching Morning was perfect and they couldn’t think of anything we might have added. They particularly enjoyed Stephen’s informal approach, his willingness to talk and explain various ideas, his tips on using the materials and his ability to give them confidence rather than allowing them to feel daunted by the new materials. One wrote that Steve made her feel relaxed about being a beginner and able to make mistakes without being judged. She said it was ‘great fun’. Another said she felt she could not have had a better morning, gave it ten out of ten and added that she couldn’t wait for the next one!

The keen amateurs particularly liked his helpfulness and enthusiasm, his instructive comments and advice about how to get the best out of the new and unfamiliar materials, and the freedom to enjoy playing around and experimenting with them. They also felt that the Sketching Morning was pitched just right for its mix of artists’ abilities, offering a relaxed and informal introduction to sketching with the ink brush pen and water brush.

Once all the participants had gone, we cleared away and had lunch. Stephen relaxed by watching the Turkish Grand Prix on the TV then shouldered his painting Rucksack and headed off to the beach path below Harry’s Walls to continue painting the colourful cluster of Echium candicans with the Hawthorn decked in May blossom as a backdrop. He didn’t return until gone 7pm and was very pleased with his progress on what is a complex and detailed painting. He’s hoping to keep it for his next Exhibition at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses in November.

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