Today was the day I had been promising myself for a long time. Well, it wasn't a day - in the end it turned out to be just 45 minutes - but they were gooooood!! For 3 months it has sat on my shelf teasing me seductively. Perched at eye-level I couldn't help but see it every time I sat at my desk. That black shiny Moleskine sketchbook was just pleading to be taken out for a stroll. I know it will sound very silly but I didn't want to use the Moleskine just as any other sketchbook. I wanted to save it for something special and not soil it's pages just by using it for any random scribblings. In the end, I decided it should be 'the' sketchbook that I take out with me when I start my plein air sketching, and that is what I did.
Wrapped up warm with overcoat, scarf and gloves, I put the Moleskine in my pocket along with a couple of fountain pens, Aquabrush and mechanical pencil. I left the house and walked off towards the village centre. Ten minutes later I found myself sitting on a bench across the road from the War Memorial, which was a big relief because I hadn't even realised I was missing!! I removed my gloves, fired off a reference shot with my compact camera, and took out the fountain pen loaded with Sepia ink. I started to sketch but nothing happened so I took out my Moleskine and opened it to a blank page. That wasn't difficult as they were all blank.
The view before me was of the villages War Memorial. The local parish council make sure there are wreathes of Poppies on the ground all year round. As I sketched, a few couples walking dogs strolled past but after a casual glance in my direction they paid me no heed and that is the 'fear' I need to conquer. I am a big fan of using water to bleed soluble ink to give tone so after I'd finished sketching with the pen I took out my Aquabrush to tease out some tone.
A few paces from the bench put me within sight of the village pub. This time I decided to sketch standing up, which is just as well as there was nowhere to sit. Because I was standing I chose the pencil. I haven't sketched like this before and found it challenging. For some reason I found perspective much harder to deal with than when working from a photograph. Around this time I was aware of how cold my hands were but I knew it was pointless attempting to draw with gloves on so hurried myself along as best I could. The sketch doesn't do justice to this fine old building but the exercise was about 'confidence' not 'art'.
On my way into the village I had noticed several 'emblems' carved in stone and set in walls, usually near a large gateway or entrance. They obviously tie all of the properties together in some way and I decided to sketch one on my way back home. They consist of a Snake or Serpent twisting around 5 arrows. A trip to the library is called for to find out their significance.
As I walked home I reflected on the Moleskine and confess to being a little disappointed. My 2B pencil took well but I find the paper a little too waxy for the fountain pen and waterbrush. It worked, but not as well as I would have hoped. Still, it's early days and my Moleskine has a lot more outing's in store for it, so we'll see how we get on. Today's brief 'sketching walk' was the first of many. ;-)