Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rush Hour at the Marlow Rowing Club

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)?

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  1. Katherine, the way you've built up delicate lines to render the color and cross-currents of water is just very, very impressive. And your enthusiasm for drawing whenever, wherever is lovely.

  2. The water on this piece made me do a double-take! Wow!!

  3. Wow!! This is an incredible piece! The water and the light just blows me away!

  4. Wow!! This is an incredible piece! The water and the light just blows me away!

  5. This may be one of the best pieces that you have posted to date. The water effect is spot on. Bravo.

  6. may I chime in too with my admiration of the water effects, wow! you've captured the light so beautifully, the composition too is terrific, yet another wonderful page

  7. Wow that water is amazing. Very impresssive.

  8. Thanks for all the lovely comments - much appreciated as ever.

    I think I really must try and do some more water pieces as every time I do water I get pretty much the same reaction. I even ended up running a project on doing water in CP on Wet Canvas!

    I would emphasise - for anybody reading this later - that it's working out what the value differences are (in big shape terms)and how the water is moving which is the big trick.

    My linear drawing technique with the coloured pencils is derived in part from my efforts to be Monet (by trying to replicate his paintings of the Grand Canal in Venice) a while back and also by an artist whose work in CP stunned me the first time I saw it. Lots of lines looping around close up - and perfect rendition of water from further away. Always interesting to see how people do things.


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