Saturday, 18 August 2012

More Bridges


The good weather coupled with getting caught up with a few things, has allowed me to get out for another walk and some more plein air sketching. This time I went to some local lakes popular with the local angling community. The walk took me through woodland, along open paths alongside the lakes, past fields of hay so tall it must surely be ready for cropping, and past many families of ducks clearly not impressed at my ambling through their territory.

The walk also took me over some small wooden footbridges. One was made of sawn timbers but was surprisingly ornate in it's construction and looked almost out of place out in the middle of an overgrown woodland track. It had seen better days and many of the floor boards were showing signs of rot and I wonder how long it will be before someone puts their foot through it. I was intrigued by is diagonal design, stepping onto it from the side, and off from the opposite side.

Others bridges were less fussy and were nothing more than a few planks nailed together without any form of hand rail. They looked barely capable of holding a persons weight. It is most concerning because if someone were to fall from the bridge they would find themselves immersed in the fast flowing stream right up to their ankles. But I shouldn't joke. This one in particular crossed a stream that could easily have been stepped over, but the ramp up to it tells me it is there to make the area wheelchair-friendly and hats off to the land owners for making the lakes accessible to all.

I decided to set up under the shade of some trees looking up the hill towards Castle Ashby Manor and it's church. The manor is a typical 16th century manor house and was seat to the Marquess of Northampton.

From a technical point of view, I really struggle sketching while standing. Both bridges were done this way. I could have set up my stool but I wanted to try again while standing as it's definitely something I'm going to have to work at. I found the painting easier than last time. Not that I did any better but I felt a little more at ease and a little more in control of what I was doing. I do find it hard to concentrate on colour mixing and tonal values while out 'in the field', but I had a general feeling of 'doing better'. While sketching the ornate bridge a couple appeared out of the woods and made their way across the bridge. I stood my ground and carried on sketching ... and that is progress indeed.

Can't wait for my next walk.  :-)



20 comments:

  1. I have never sketched standing up before. Not sure I could actually! I love these quaint little bridges and sometimes the rickety old ones are the most characterful ones - even if it means possibly falling in!! I just adore your sketches John! I just wish we lived closer so I could join you! :0)

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    1. Sandra, I can't imagine anything nicer than joining you for some sketching. Glad you like the sketches, Thank you. ;-)

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  2. Nice post, John - you took us every step of the way with you.

    I'm not a sketcher, 10/10 to you. Particularly impressed with the watercolour

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post John. I don't think I'm a sketcher either but I'll take the 10/10 for 'effort'. LOL. Thank you.

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  3. Hi John.
    All lovely sketches mate. I`m glad that you were able to get out. You can`t beat it can you John? All the best mate.
    Vic.

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    1. You're right Vic, it takes a bit of beating - I'm really enjoying it. All the best. ;-)

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  4. Well done with the plein-air work John. I've seen people use a board with a strap attached to the top to go round their neck. That might be worth trying if your having trouble working standing up.

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    1. Keith, my recent exploits into plein air have opened my eyes as to how different it is to painting in the studio, and it's lifted my high appreciation of your own work to a new level. The board and strap is a good idea but I'll persevere some more first. ;-)

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  5. Wonderful sketches John. Taking walks one sees so much more and these lovely sketches of bridges is a perfect example. Well done.

    Sue

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    1. Thank you Sue. You are so right that we see so much more when we stop rushing around and just go for a walk.

      Sue, I've had to retrieve the last few comments from you from the spam filter. I don't know why as I can't see anything wrong with them. I thought I'd let you know in case this is happening on other blogs you post to. I'll watch for them in future as I'd to miss them. ;-)

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  6. Must have been a very creative person building the first bridge. Nice drawings all of them! And I think you done well with the beutyful soft greens on the painting. Like it alot! Hope all is well. Take care till next time! bye!

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    1. Thank you Catharina. Yes, that first bridge is very creative and my sketch doesn't really do it justice. Thank you for the nice comment. ;-)

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  7. Well done John, so glad you are out doing plein air. Your work is inspiring and love them all. I'll be receiving my new pochade box soon. Will post a picture, it can be used for watercolor as well as oil and pastels. Keep up the plein air John, you are a natural.

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    1. Joan, I was looking closely at your present box in your last blog post. I was very interested and look forward to seeing your new box when it comes. Thank you very much. ;-)

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  8. John, I just love your pencil sketches and if I weren't way across the pond.. you could probably teach me a thing or two. I've never been very good at it.. and oh you know I'm always partial to your watercolours. ;-)

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    1. What a lovely thing to say BJ, thank you. Mind you, if we were ever able to sketch together I am certain it is YOU that would teach me a thing or two. ;-)

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  9. I generally only sketch standing up when I can lean on something, plus I feel too exposed otherwise... however you've seen the photo from Figueres so I guess needs must :)

    Love the drawings, especially the 2nd wheelchair friendly bridge.

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    1. Thank you Sue. I know what you mean about feeling exposed. lol. But apart from anything else it provides me with a good excuse for not doing great sketches. But I'll keep practising. ;-)

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  10. wonderful bridge studies john ..looks like you've been enjoying plein-air .

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    1. Thank you very much Jane ... yes, finding it very enjoyable. ;)

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