Thursday, May 25, 2006

Eating - and sketching - Alfresco

This is the second sketch I did while in Marlow and is another one for the "sketches of restaurants I have eaten in" collection!

The sketch was done while sat in the Alfresco Brasserie of the Compleat Angler, which is a hotel on the banks of the Thames inbetween the suspension bridge and Marlow weir (quite spectacular). It's got a good reputation for its food and had been on my target list of restaurants for far too long! I'd imagine having dinner there on a sunny evening would be delightful - unfortunately on Tuesday it rained very hard on and off all day. So plans to draw outside had to be abandoned and I drew inside instead. And I wasn't 'dressed for dinner' so I decided to give the restaurant a miss and tried the brasserie instead.

This is a free hand and sight-sized sketch done on an Arches HP block while I ate my dinner. This was the scene at the beginning of the evening - it filled up with people over the course of the evening. It's got all sorts of perspective and structural errors and omissions in it - but it's a good record of what it was like on that evening in that light. If I want to work it up I've got photographs I took while it was empty to correct the drawing of the architecture and perspective.

For the record, I had the Feta parcel with fig marmalade and celeriac salad and then Fillet of sea bass with fennel, butternut squash salad and haricot blanc and lemon dressing and finished with a lemon tart with creme fraiche ice cream - well it took a long time to do! The fact I enjoy good food is neither here not there!

Many people are afraid of sketching and drawing away from their normal environment, particularly if drawing from life in a public place where people are part of the subject. In my experience people are always completely fascinated by what you're doing and always want to know if they're in the picture! I always tend to draw people so that they are clearly a person but wouldn't be recognised. Judging by their comments, the people at the next table were both intrigued and impressed by my sketching but one of them did 'complain' as they were leaving - because he wasn't in the picture! The other thing that happens is that the waiters always want to see if they're in it or not and I invariably get better service when drawing in restaurants! In this instance the waiters were very impressed and even wanted to show it to their colleagues in the kitchen - so off it went into the kitchen as I packed up.

I'd just like to thank the staff of the Compleat Angler for allowing me to sketch there - and for a very fine dinner!

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  1. Katherine,

    This is really teriffic, perspective issues are not bothersome to my eye as the alive, fresh feeling of being there takes the day! I love the handling of the tables and chairs.


  2. Beautiful! Katherine, I've said it before and no doubt I'll say it again---your industriousness is very laudable! Where was He Who Must Not be Bored?

  3. Unfortunately he's at work during the week - and mine was a work trip as well - but I never let work get in the way of a good sketching opportunity! ;)

    Also, I always do the restaurant ones on my own - I got used to going to resturants on my own when I started to drive through France from Calais to Provence to paint (and "he must not be bored" doesn't go on those trips - he says he hasn't got enough books!). I used to drive via as many good restaurants as I could manage - used to make the route planning really interesting!

  4. another wow Katherine, this is just beautiful, the colors especially. Agree with Jan about the alive fresh feeling, the energy of your lines. I sketched inside restaurants while in N.Y. but mine were much more cartoonish, amazed at what you captured here!

  5. This really captures the quiet before the rush - beautiful

  6. Thanks as always for the lovely comments. I must confess I didn't rush to finish my meal - so this sketch took a bit longer than normal!


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