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“Leaves, Tracks and an Octagon House”

 

(please click pictures to see larger)

Oak leaves and tracks in the snow, January 9, 2013

The sketches above are from my walk on January 9, 2013. I didn’t need to wear my snowshoes this time and I walked further than before, making it to “Oak Lane” today.  It was there in my favorite lane, that I leaned against a tree to sketch the oak leaves on the ground. I also saw interesting little tracks that I can only guess are squirrel? I have grey and red squirrels here, these look a little big for red squirrel but I’m just guessing. The top track is life size at 1″ x 1″.

The Octagon House in Akron, NY

I went to Akron NY this weekend to go sketching a bit with my friend Nancy. I want to practice drawing buildings and houses more and Akron has some interesting old ones. This Octagon House was built in the 1840’s by Charles B. Rich for his fourth wife. It’s a museum too and someday I want to go through to see all the Victorian era furniture and decorations. It was a challenge to sketch standing there on the sidewalk opposite, leaning against a stop sign! I sketched it in pencil then put a little watercolor on; at home I used my ink pen to draw over and then painted from the picture I took. It was such a grey dull day but can’t complain about how warm it was.

A building on Main Street in Akron, NY.

This is a business on Main St. in Akron I started to sketch from a cold bench across the street. I’ll try to work on it this week to finish it up. I guess it looks like many old businesses do on any Main St. in America. It was popular to have a facade that is really taller than the building itself, kind of like an old western town movie set!

I also worked on a little watercolor landscape study from a photograph I took while in Northumberland, England, but want to put a few finishing touches on it.

“Creative Journaling” Class – March 2011

Me drawing and writing in my journal along the coast of England

Meeting each Saturday in March (5th, 12th, 19th, 26th) 10 am – 12 noon

Get Creative with Journaling! A class for all ages. We’ll combine sketching, painting and writing with experienced guidance from our instructor to create a journal of experiences and special days. Learn drawing skills, how to add decorative borders, creative designs and lettering to your journal. Learn creative writing tips; dabble in poetry writing and techniques for creating a very personal record. You’ll also be introduced to the use of watercolor pencils, watercolors, permanent ink pens, and water brushes to create images and illustrations to share. We’ll even make our own all media journal! Creative Journaling is becoming increasingly popular; it complements internet blogs or conventional diaries and provides a highly visual and descriptive book to treasure for years to come.

$75 for 4 classes, a $6 materials fee payable to the instructor the first day covers the cost of a journal and water brush.

•Following this class (after a lunch break) is “Nature Sketching”, a two-hour class that ties in beautifully with Creative Journaling. Sign up for both and save $5 on both classes!
•Sign up now for a second Creative Journaling class in April with another version of the journal, learn more ways to enhance it and make a feather pen and save $5 on each class!
•A complete materials list will be emailed to you after registering. Contact Mary with any questions.
•Read more on my blog about my sketching adventures in England and New York, just click links in the right hand column. You can sign your email to receive automatic updates when there are new posts.

To register for class go to http://www.burchfieldnac.org/Spring_Classes.html to download form.

Phone: 716-677-4843  or  www.burchfieldnac.org

Learn how to sketch biuldings.

Drawing a window and creative borders on my journal page in Alnwick, England

"St. Paul's Church in Alnwick" Oct 14, 2010

St. Paul's Church

St. Paul's Church

Just a quick little post to share a sketch I did the other morning while in Alnwick, (Northumberland England). While I was waiting for Gary I had about 30 minutes to walk to St. Paul’s Church to see if I could find something interesting to sketch. I was first drawn to the architectural feature that is over the door, like a large chimney pot with a crown. (Not sure what it is)

I walked around the church, pea gravel crunching beneath my feet on this cold October morning, and I met the grounds-woman Dorothy. She talked to me about the church and the plants, then I found a spot at the very entrance where I first entered and caught sight of the view I liked. I only had a short bit of time left to sketch and my hands were freezing and stiff, but I held my sketchbook with one hand while I stood there. I used a permanent ink pen so any lines I made were there to stay.

As I drew the biulding, I realized my eyes were fooling me and after reviewing the horizontal alignments I saw the roof was pitched much more dramatically than I thought. This is what I love about drawing buildings, you must draw what you see and take real measurements and alignments to check it.

When I got home I just touched up a tiny bit by adding more lines to indicate stones and darkened in the areas of the windows a bit. I hope you enjoyed this sketch, more coming soon!

“Green Batt House Gate” Alnwick

Green Batt Gate

Green Batt House Gate

This is an old gate in Alnwick, Northumberland, that I drew while waiting for Gary one morning. I don’t know how old it is or what the history of the name is but I liked the gate, green trees inside, golden sandstone blocks all worn away and the tread worn threshold stone below the gate. It’s just on a side street above the main shopping area of Bondgate Within in Alnwick. I leaned against a wall and many cars and passers by gave me a glance wondering what I was doing there.

Green Batt Gate + moths

Green Batt Gate + moths

Though it doesn’t show you much, I included the sketch in it’s early stages because I started it on one day and went back to finish on another. I wasn’t happy with the first sketch outline as I knew I had my comparative measurements off. So when I returned I decided to just draw over what was there with the pen and oh well! So it came out well, I bet you can’t really tell too much of where I drew over it? I like to show you my mistakes because they’re not really mistakes; every artist starts a drawing and needs to alter it to ‘make it right’. Drawing in permanent pen can make this difficult but also spontaneous, “wysiwyg” or “what you see is what you get”. You learn little things to cover up the mislaid lines or how to work with them. I was in a hurry when I laid down the initial lines but glad I was able to return to finish it!

I’ll save the information about the moth sketches for another post, just thought I’d show you how my pages get all kinds of things drawn next to each other!

“Morning Walk in Edlingham” July 13, 2010

Well I must admit I’m getting way behind in my posts, I have lots of new pages to share and adventures to tell about, but keep running out of time (or energy!) to keep up. Here’s a short story about my morning walk in the tiny village of Edlingham on a sunny morning in July.

Edlingham Castle from across fields

Edlingham Castle from across fields

You can read my notes written on my sketch page too. The drawing above I sketched while standing on the side of a road, I just pulled out the watercolor pencil I needed as I worked. First I did a quick sketch with permanent ink pen then touched in with colors. Edlingham Castle is a great ruin to visit and explore, I love wondering what it must have looked like ages ago.

Meadow Cranesbill

Meadow Cranesbill

There were Meadow Cranesbill flowers growing along side the road, very pretty! I guess they’re named such because as the flower head looks a bit like a crane’s head and bill.

Black Faced Sheep in the Field

Black Faced Sheep in the Field

This is how pretty it is around Edlingham, black faced sheep and huge shadows passing over hills of many greens.

Sheep with lambs

Sheep with lambs

Now these sheep are ok as sheep go, but really not my favorites; I think they are a variety from France. I tend to refer to them as “uglies” ohh I know that sounds harsh…but they look like ‘beefy’ sheep thugs wearing wool sweaters.

Burnside Cottage, Edlingham

Burnside Cottage, Edlingha

I made my way up the lane to near where the busy road is and sat on a gas meter to look over the hills. As I made my way back down there is a sweet cottage called “Burnside Cottage” right by a stream; Burn meaning stream. I stood across the road and just up a bit from it to do this ink sketch while standing. The light changed as I worked but I was interested in an ink drawing so it didn’t matter. I did take a few snap shots of it so if I want to go back and color it, which I think would be nice, I could. (forgive the quality of the picture, it’s not scanned, I only have my camera to photograph my sketchbook with then I try to edit them a bit on the computer to brighten them)

Song Thrush

Song Thrush

At the very end of my walk I was greeted by the song of the Song Thrush.  And here is a little poem I just made up in honor of the Thrush:

The Song Thrush
The Song Thrush
Hides in the bush.
The air is ringing
With his joyful singing.
Take to the air
Snails beware.
The thrush he is a winging!

(c) Mary McAndrew 2010

Don’t forget to visit my shop on Zazzle where you’ll find my most recent photos of landscapes and nature from my hikes in Northern England, CLICK HERE.

“Edlingham 11th c Church + Gravestones”

Edlingham Church

Edlingham Church

Today I did something a little different, I went to the 11th c church next to Edlingham castle and instead of sketching it (architecturally) I went inside where it was dark, cold and damp. I only had the natural light to sketch by and you can see the day was overcast.

Skull 1737

Skull 1737

I know this sketch looks really spooky, well it was supposed to! Sometimes the old gravestones had rather grim or skull like faces carved on them. Was it a fear of the afterlife? I found this one on a huge wall gravestone, inside the church. I find it fascinating to read the dates on really old stones and imagine what was happening  back in history at that time. I’m a terrible historian and need to learn more, this helps to inspire me.  The skull I sketched using charcoal is life size, about 3″ across, and they put some kind of black paint into the eyes, nose and creases. It was so dim in the church I had a really hard time seeing my drawing while I was doing it!

There were words carved in the center (written to the left of skull) and the date at the end, I love the style so I copied it. The funny thing was they had a ‘type-o’ way back then and changed the 3 to a 4 later, why I don’t know. You can see the chisel marks in the eyes.

carving on columns

carving on columns

Just some interesting ‘beading’ on the columns inside the church.

Gravestones at Edlingham

Gravestones at Edlingham

I then went out to explore the graveyard, looking at more dates and admiring the carved stones. I guess I get interested in the heavily carved stones with the lichens and mosses growing on them. The greenish stone made me sad, I wrote some of the words down on the page, “John Cowans of Edlingham 1894-67 yrs  Erected by his 10 sons. 1898-Mary Cranston wife 69 yrs. I imagined his 10 sons, standing proud together as a family, erecting such a big and impressive stone so long ago. Where would we be without family love, pride and memory?

“Windows + Doors of Alnwick”

Alnwick Doors + Windows

Alnwick Doors + Windows

Some more sketches of architectural elements from about Alnwick (pronounced Annick). The page above is my entire sketchbook page, I drew the boarded window, then much later added the doorway. I kept the page just for windows and doors or things like that. Then even later than that I played around with decorating the page with scrolly bits and made up lettering for the word “Alnwick”

Window in Alnwick

Window in Alnwick

I did this sketch using an inktense watercolor pencil and my waterbrush while standing looking over a stone wall into an abandoned yard.

"Number 8"

"Number 8"

This “Number 8” was done with a permanent ink pen when I was sitting in the car waiting. People might think that I’m secret police studying their houses! I drew some of the leaves at top (vines) and bottom in the hedge then left it to finish later by repeating mostly. This was a little cottage with a white door, dark stone walls and pink roses and greenery all around, very sweet!

Alwick

Alnwick

Playing around with the name “Alnwick” using my watercolor pencils.  I like to make up my own lettering, it’s fun to do this on your pages. Check out some note cards and prints I made using my photos and drawings of architectural elements here.

“Bailey’s Cafe, Alnwick”

Here’s a quick little post about a building sketch I did in Alnwick, Northumberland England. Alnwick is an old town, perhaps 800 years or so, and therefor filled with interesting architectural elements. It has it’s very own castle on the edge of town and a huge stone gate that once was part of a wall around the town, now gone for building stones.

Baily's Cafe sketch

Baily's Cafe sketch

I sat on a cold, hard, stone wall on the busy “Bondgate Within” street, a street with shops, small hotels and the upper part still filled with bumpy cobbles. They do have new benches but none gave this straight-on view of the shop I wanted to sketch. I only had enough time to start my sketch when Gary showed up and we were off and running again; this was on June 17.

Baily's Cafe sketch finished

Bailey's Cafe sketch finished

Click here to see sketches of buildings in my shop as note cards, more coming!

We returned on July 20 and I, with sketchbook in hand, said I’d be drawing while he ran errands. I had about 35-45 minutes to finish this sketch, so I found the same hard, cold rock on the stone wall to sit on and got busy. This is with a permanent ink pen so whatever marks I made were not erasable. I first tried to put the rest of the lines in for the main building row and the dome. Then I added windows, lamps, people and cars. I didn’t bother to add the distant buildings and cars till the end, but glad I got them in, they really add some depth and interest to the drawing. What I loved about this building was it’s green patina dome, I would really like to do another sketch of it using my colors.

“View of Cheviots and Rothbury” May 9,2010

This evening we went for a drive up towards Beanly Moor which looks over a gorgeous valley with the Cheviot mountains in the background.

Road by Beanly Moor

Road by Beanly Moor

You can park your car on the side of the road here and just walk up to Beanly Moor, a beautiful and wild area filled with heather and bracken with wonderful views.

Shepherd and his dogs

Shepherd and his dogs

I love seeing the shepherds with their dogs, they don’t go on foot or by horseback as they used to, nowadays it’s a quad bike or 4 wheeler as transport across fields and the dog seems to LOVE riding on back!

View from hill by Beanly Moor

View from hill by Beanly Moor

We walked up the hill and watched the sun set here, I just love this view. I dream of having a house in a setting like this, with a view just as peaceful.

Cheviots from Beanly Moor + Rothbury biuldings

Cheviots from Beanly Moor + Rothbury biuldings

I pulled out my watercolors and used my water-brush to do a little sketch. It was a bit hard because though it’s sunny, it was cold!  At the bottom of the page is a pen and ink sketch I did the next day, of buildings in Rothbury, a small town in Northumberland. I was freezing while sketching this, but I liked the windows and stones and though angles are tricky, I like to do them because it’s good practice.

Church in Rothbury, Northumberland, England

Church in Rothbury, Northumberland, England

You can see the day was cloudy and cold, I sat on a bench looking out across the town square. You can see the hills right in the background, I love walking near Rothbury.

Rothbury church

Rothbury church

I hope to get a nicer photo of this church on a sunny day then do a painting.

Click here to view my Landscape Paintings of England in my shop.

Click here to view my Landscape Photos of England in my shop.

“My Journey Begins…Slowly” May 2010

MAY 3, 2010

Well as the title says, my adventure to England started slowly. I got to the Buffalo airport in plenty of time, even after dropping my favorite polar fleece jacket in the hall and having to retrace my steps all the way back to the check-in point, I still wasn’t late to the gate. Yes, this does happen even to those of us who are SO careful, just pop into every restaurant and shop along the way and ask if anyone’s picked it up. Well there it was at the last one; I really need that for the plane ride!

Then I get to the gate and they say the planes are all delayed because of rain in NJ, so the flight before mine hasn’t left yet, “would I like a seat on that one to get my into Newark early?” Um…YES! If they’re running late then better go early. It finally gets in, an hour late, and we board, but first I’m told my bag will be too big to fit overhead in the bins! Darn, just bought this bag because it was extra trim and I carry all my camera and laptop equipment in it, things I’ll never stow out of my sight. SO…..I went to the side and pulled lots of things out and stuffed them in my field bag that I was carrying on my shoulder, camera bag went in my hand. It’s only an hour flight to NJ…I can live with it all by my feet. Well as you can read on my sketchpage below, we were boarded, then sat on the tarmack, then pulled back into the gate and we had to get off for an hour. It was a bit confusing as to what was going on because everyone seemed to get into a huge long line at the counter. Well I just went back into the plane and asked the pilot, he said come back to this same plane in less than an hour, we may leave early.

Well I got to Newark airport finally, went immediately to see the departures board (learned from past experience that they can and do change gates at the last minute), I was SHOCKED when I saw in big red letters, “CANCELED”!! “Yikes! What is going on? What do I do?” It’s not like there are other flights to Scotland that night! I made my way to the gate and they said to go to the Service Counter to get help. Need I tell you there was a line stretching down the hall from about five other international flights that were canceled? We stood in line for 2 1/2 hours waiting our turn to be told simply that the Iceland volcano was erupting again and we had to rebook our flight to tomorrow night if we wanted. Thank goodness a nice Scottish family was in front of me, their daughter had an international cell phone and she let me call Gary so he’d know I wasn’t going to be at the airport in the morning. We all talked and decided that when we got our luggage we’d find a hotel together, it felt nice not to be alone in this!

"View from Terminal C Window, Newark Airport"

"View from Terminal C Window, Newark Airport"

May 4, 2010

The sketches from Terminal C are from my second day of trying to leave, I did them while standing in line again waiting to re-check my bag and go again through security. Last night the woman at Continental said I could just leave my bag and it would be transferred to my new flight, but lucky I got it, when we went down to baggage we saw ALL the bags from canceled flights just lined up, no one checking the tags when people picked up baggage! It was really nice to have my sketchbook with me, like an old friend to keep me company; so boring standing in line like that.

Later I sat at a table to eat my soup and I colored the Terminal C with my watercolors. At 4:50pm I sketched the plane below at Gate 134, it wasn’t my gate at all but it had a nice view out the window of all going on. You can see the Air-Tran in the background, that’s what I had to take to get to P4 to get a shuttle for the hotel and then re-arrive at the next day. I think drawing airplanes and the other things around it, is difficult because of the angles. I was using a permanent pen so whatever mark I made was it, no erasing. I like the telescoping hood that meets the doorway of the aircraft where you board.

Well around about 6pm the attendant at our gate (flight to leave at 8pm) said that our flight had been canceled! Oh no!! Not again! Darn this volcano, what was I going to do? It was still cheaper for me to stay the night rather than take a flight back to Buffalo for $350 some dollars which is not covered by the airline. Anyways, usually the ash situation settles within a few days and I REALLY didn’t want to return home!

"Gate 134"

"Gate 134"

May 5, 2010

FINALLY~! I’m sitting on board, you can see the tiny sketch I did looking out my window. I was stuck at that airport for three days, two nights at a local hotel, but all day long at the boring airport. The canceled flights were to Scotland, Ireland, England and most of the people who were stuck like me, were from there and SO nice!! We always asked each other when we saw each other at breakfast at the hotel, or around the airport, what news we’d heard. The biggest problem was not hearing what was going on with the volcano on the news. We had to rely on talking to family or friends in the UK to hear what direction the ash was moving. Lucky my hotel had Wi-Fi so I could be online with my laptop.

"Sunset After Take-Off"
“Sunset After Take-Off”

Finally in the air, after so much trouble and waiting. I did this quickly with one water-brush and my pan of watercolors.I find the sunset in the air so unusual, sort of like it’s upside down, the sky is so beautiful blue, the area below is just dark, dark and the glow just above it from the sun.

I’m looking forward to my summer of lots of sketches, photographs and paintings while visiting England and the rest of the UK.I hope you’ll tune in for more updates to see my adventures, just sign your email in the little box at the top right column, then click accept when you get the email notice.