Bobbywashere Art blog

Sketch from the middle of nowhere

Posted on: October 15, 2008

Study in Kilsney (biro on paper- 2008)

Study in Kilsney (biro on paper- 2008)

Large version:

Inspired from my study of King’s Cross (Scroll down) I thought I would draw something from life which is the complete opposite. It doesn’t get any further away from the chaos of the city than from the middle of the Yorkshire dales (North England) early in the morning.

My journey started at 6:30 in the morning, on with the warm clothes, a sketch pad and my trusted biro pen. Whilst I’m on the subject of Biro a couple of people have asked why I use Biro and not pencil or professional pen and ink, simple I like the casualness of the medium and I tend to find when I use pencils I spend most of my time erasing rather than drawing. Using a Biro every mark has to be confident and relevant to the recording of the end image. It makes me a better and faster observer I find and I like the contrast and amount of grade (tonal depth) I can achieve. 

Anyway back to the journey I got in my car and drove into the middle of the dales from Leeds, I pass Skipton “the gateway to the dales” and up into the rolling hills passing through numerous mini villages until I arrive at my destination Kilnsey (hour and half later). Park in the pub car park which I’ve forgotten the name of now and ask the Land lady if I can sit in the beautiful situated beer garden towards the side of the Pub/Hotel. As I finish explaining my mornings work, the land lady takes great pleasure in taking me on a tour of the Hotels various paitings of the famous landmark I’m about to embark on myself. The best of the lot was a 10ft by 12ft (approx) of the rock face emerging from what looks like a misty monring scene. Beatifully painted but has the look of a painting from photo, but I could be wrong. I order my coffee as I dont want to be too cheeky and the land lady lets me know I can fill up anytime I want, which is a good job as the morning cold was biting my blue numb fingers. 

Zoom of sketch (biro on paper-2008)

Zoom of sketch (biro on paper-2008)

You can see from this close up I have used different marks for diverse range of surfaces, this is for my future reference when I come to paint this rock beast. From the information I have recorded here I can tell the different grass length’s, the organic or living matter such as the trees, bushes etc and the arrangements of the rocks which slant slightly. I hope that makes sense?. 

To view a large version of this sketch or study I encourage you to visit the large version on my flickr page.

A good tip why I encourage other artist not to paint from photos is the chance of missing something. A photo or a series of images with today’s technology can take a couple of minutes or an hour if your a professional maybe. What I witnessed over a period of 3 hours can not be captured via a lens including a video recorder. The eye is a great receiver of light and as the grey morning turned into blue skies and low autumn sunshine the cliff face which I presume is limestone started to glow. The autumn colours contrasting against the glowing rock-face is an experience I can now build into the final painting. If I had taken the photo in the morning I would have missed this event but even if I was there at the right moment the lens fails to capture the brightness. Some of you I know will disagree with this comment but it is my intention to paint the final piece including the transition from subdue to vibrent colours. How am I going to do that well thats for me to worry about (ermm figure out). 

Actual study position

Actual study position

I thought some of you reading this blog might be interested in seeing where in the world I recorded my personal observation. As you can see from these satellite images it is in the middle of no where.  I travelled far to capture this experience and encourage people, who can that is, to visit paintings you admire in person…to relive an experience an artist has left behind. There are plenty of photos on the web of the iconic landmark I have captured but human eyes tend to capture the sense of an environment the lens cannot. Looking at paintings is like looking at the world through another human eye’s or viewpoint. Should point out, although I sound very anti photo in this post I’m not, it is very useful for capturing large amounts of life expereinces through a lens that no painter could possible record in a life time.

Sketch zoom1

The dark snake like line running from top to bottom is the river wharf which runs right through the Yorkshire Dales, I have to say on this occasion it was very high due to large amounts of rainfall and it sounded very close and loud.

Zoom 4

Zoom 4

Zoom 5
Zoom 5

I would be interested to know if you like this sketch or not? or even viewed this rock face in person? I would also be interested to hear if you like this location satellite feature? sometimes what seems a good idea on paper turns out to be annoying in reality. The idea behind it is to help people visiting this blog glimpse the wild environment around the observation, let me know your thoughts?


14 Responses to "Sketch from the middle of nowhere"

a lovely part of England …I live about an hour away from there.
Great sketch, I love the effect that you achieve when you use a ballpoint

Hi 70steen.

Yeah it’s definitely a breath taking part of England (not because of all the fresh air either). Only recently discovered that part of the world and have been on a few adventures between the sweeping rolling hills looking for good spots to study from…Lucky person you 70steen living an hour away from there, very wild but beautiful at the same time.

Glad you like the ballpoint…thinks its bit of a marmite technique not to everyone’s taste.


interesting post Bob!

i like your drawing very much.

Hi Bobby
yes I am very lucky I know… the landscape is very dramatic there and the depth of your pen shows that drama if you get my drift?

Oh and the fresh air that is something to behold .. I love it 🙂

p.s. have you been to the Lake District yet? If not .. it will blow your mind … it is so magestic…

Nice work Bob, be interested to see how the painting turns out – must be tough by memory? How soon before you get started?

Really enjoyed the story behind the sketch and the practical chat about sketch marks, why you like the medium you use and thoughts on sketching from life rather than photos. I’m no painter/sketcher (more used to photography, assembling visual objects to get my ideas across) but while away this holiday did really enjoy having a play about with sketching for the first time. I think you and Dean have got me excited by sharing your sketches. Who knows i may even have a go at picking up a paint brush in the spirit of doing things with Oliver style fun and freedom!

On a practical note seeing as you asked about the sat pictures – I thought quite cool little background addition but just one would have done me.

Hi Nina Kuriloff

Thank you for your feedback

Hello Dean
Thank you for you comment, dean has started to put his own sketches on his blog, check them out, a very loose style drawn from memory not life.

Hi 70steen again,
Yep I get your drift and thank you for the compliment regarding the drawing; glad as someone who has viewed this landmark in person you can clarify what I have captured.

I went to the Lake District last year for the first time and yeah that place is very special in terms of the scenery. Got a bit disoriented and got myself into a little bother with the mountain climbing community. I went up the 3rd largest hill (skidaw) thinking it wasn’t that far. Just had some jeans and t-shirt on…anyway as I got nearer to the submit I noticed more and more people wearing full-on climbing gear and waterproofs. Carried on and heard a few characters tutting “tourist from the city, not got a clue, better call mountain rescue”. It was a sunny day in September. With no water and no energy left aI decided to turnaround about 300m from the top…Believe it’s a hot spot for tourist getting trapped when the fluffy clouds descend…glad to say I made it down the hill fine 🙂 I also travelled round some of the vally on horse back..yeeeehaaaa…No buckaroos’ though.

Hi Dave
Not sure how long this one will take, plan to do some colour studies acrylic on canvas paper before tackling the monster canvas…After viewing the painting in the pub/hotel next to the landmark which was about 10ft by 12ft think this is the kind of painting which will work on a grand scale. Got some 2m x 20 m canvas so ready to tackle the rock beast after I have finished the Miami, Blind Priest and London King Cross featured on my blog further down.

Yeah shouldn’t be too bad remembering the colours and the environment, can get away with it slightly, been colour blind, cheeky but true.

Hi Chantal
Thank you for coming back and good to hear your comments on the journey behind the drawing. Have to say was a very cold morning and dark when I set off.

Reading through my blog again it does sound anti-photo but I’m not, Just got a strong view on artist recreating art from photo’s which I’m, also guility of doing in the past by the way!.

I guess to translate where I am coming from on this point it would be like a musician creating lyrics based on the event of a death to someone close. The words and arrangements may be more poignant if the experience was direct and not inspired by a movie for example or bit like a HipHop artist talking about life on the street but actually was born into a privileged family and has never lived in a ghetto just read about it.

It’s also secondary information, which tends to result in an emptiness or missing a vital ingredient, a rawness even an imperfection which makes any artistic vision unique in my opinion.

Yeah pick up a pencil, pen, brush what ever and create what you see.

Yep point taken on the Sat pics, think I will drop the idea, bit distracting me thinks. I like experimenting though

jezzzz that’s like a blog in itself my comment here, sorry guys/girls 🙂 I’ll aim to keep it short and sweet next time.

lol – you’re okay it’s good to get comment discussions going off the back of a post!

Was thinking about your sketch and wondering what you do about colour reference when it comes to the painting? Aren’t you tempted to take some photos alongside the sketch over time so you have a reference of how the colours have changed over the morning or do you prefer to have it all come from how it was recorded by your mind?

It all depends on the weather, I do prefer where possible to record what I can in person and then go back with the rest of the information logged and stored in my head before pouring it onto the canvas so to speak.

But if it rains or it’s not possible to do a detailed study I will take digital photos to bridge the gaps.

I can assure you all my paintings feature places/people I have visited in person or captured a snapshot in my wondering imagination. It’s more artist who recreate paintings from photographs, it’s not that they are not technically good because some of them are far better painters than me but from a selfish perspective I want to peek into what other people have seen or experienced during there lifetime.

Andy Warhol used photos in his work and it didn’t do him any harm just not for me:)

Bobby Mookini

Nice sketch reminds me of England.

Great sketch.

I have visited the Yorkshire Dales on many occaisions and, although a long time ago now, it is a place with many happy associations.

As the saying goes…’thanks for the memory’!

Hello Dan and Sarah.

I’m glad my sketch evoked a memory from both your past.

Its good when the spectator can relate to the picture in some way and I feel in both these instances it maybe the dry stone wall which is a typical landmark of Yorkshire that caught your attention.

That was the intention of my composition anyway to lead the viewer into the heart of the image through the arrangement of the walls.

Bobby Mookini 🙂

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