I had to go up to Oxford yesterday and decided I needed to come up with a strategy to avoid the rush hour on my way back to London.
I studied the map and eventually decided to visit the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham on the way back down the M40 but then got distracted by the sign to Marlow as I wasn't sure about the opening hours for the gallery! I checked this morning and it turns out I needn't have worried.
Anyway, Marlow is a very fine and relatively unspoilt English town situated on the banks of the River Thames inbetween Henley and Maidenhead. I parked up and took a walk through the town and only managed to buy two new books en route to the river which I thought was pretty good for me!
I arrived at the bridge over the Thames about 5pm and was amazed at the amount of traffic in and out of the Marlow Rowing Club - whose rowing HQ is right next to the bridge. Rush hour was truly alive and well amongst the rowers on the River Thames - and what's more was running extremely efficiently - no traffic jams here!
I stopped to sketch them in the trusty Moleskine - which was a huge challenge as they were all extremely athletic and never stopped moving! I decided not to attempt the first sight I saw as I came across the bridge - four ladies hefting their boat out of the water and up above their heads to return it to the boat house. What I wanted to sketch was the dazzling light on the water and the strong shapes of the jetty, boats and rowers against the water as the sun moved lower in the sky.
So techie details - this sketch is mechanical pencil on a double page spread of my Moleskine with coloured pencil added later. The initial sketch took no more than 10 minutes standing on the bridge - and I focused in particular on the light on and the flow of the water as the ripples were being influenced by the jetties and the craft as well as the very strong currents. When I got home I added the colour of the water and the oars with coloured pencil.
BTW, do take a look at the website of the Rowing Club - it's very impressive. I now understand the speed and efficiency of rush hour!
And maybe rowing on the Thames is a suitable topic for the Big Draw month in October (see last post)?
Technorati tags: art , drawing , coloured pencils , moleskine , pencil , plein air , sketching , sketchbook