Thursday, April 06, 2006

A sketch of the kitchen garden at Chartwell, Churchill's former home

Yesterday the sun shone - and we went to Chartwell in Kent, former home of Winston Churchill and now a National Trust property. I went armed with camera and sketchbook and my partner went with the intention of doing one of the things he enjoys doing best - sitting in the sunshine with a marvellous view of the Weald of Kent.

After a quick visit to the house (again - we go every year at least once, partner is a big history buff) and some negotiation as to which bench in the garden meant he got the best dose of sunshine on his face and gave me the best view(!), I settled down to sketch the kitchen garden from a terrace just above it. Churchill himself built the brick walls in the background of this kitchen garden. There's more information about the recent restoration of the kitchen garden here.

The sketch was completed using a mechanical pencil in a double page spread of my Moleskine sketchbook and I used coloured pencil on top to give a sense of the main colours. I think I'd like to have a go at doing a landscape painting from the terrace we sat on as the bit you can't see is the stunning view of the Weald of Kent which is just above the top margin of my sketchbook.

I've included some photos - the first is of the view I had (except the photo was taken standing up).

One of Churchill's recreations was oil painting. The next is a shot looking down to the studio where Churchill painted and the Weald beyond. The studio is the brick building to the left of centre. The kitchen garden wall is top right.

Finally, one taken from the studio area looking back up at the house. This last view is one which I'm doing in pastel for my partner. He's very patient, as it was started on a sunny day a long time ago and has stayed 'nearly' finished for simply ages! It's quite a busy traffic area and I didn't find it easy to paint from there so I'll probably try and finish using this photo as a reference. There's not a lot to do to it.

You can see more photos on the National Trust website.

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  1. Hello,
    I enjoyed this excursion to an interesting place. The comparison of photograph and your sketch is an excellent example how different from the human eye and how limited the eye of a camera is. Sketching however sometimes is not really "partner compatible" as the quick klick of the camera may be.

  2. Hi Martin! Glad you enjoyed the post. You should have seen the photo before I lightened the shadows! I always try hard to remember how bad photos are at representing true tonal values.

    And when sketching with a partner in tow first train the partner ;) - and you maybe haven't read the preamble to the UK page on my UK sketchbook page on my website. See - it's all true!

  3. Katherine, I think this is fabulous! You've done a wonderful job in making colored pencil lively (always a plus in my book.) I also love the sketchiness of this drawing. It is such a direct response to what you saw before you (another of my plusses!) This joins the ranks of my KT favorites ;D.

  4. Katherine, I knew nothing about this place before your post. Thanks for the beautiful sketch and interesting details.

  5. Katherine this is such a beautiful page! I love your sketchy lines, the colored pencil gives it a wonderful brightness, you make me more and more anxious to give them a go!

  6. Laura, Karen and Cin - thanks for your lovely comments - much appreciated!

    I'm loking forward to adventures with Cin and her CPs!

    Has anybody spotted the man sitting on the seat yet?

  7. As always I am stunned by your sketches and photography, Katherine and must say that it is the perfect set up when the person that is with you, will enjoy the view while you sketch.


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