Sketching in Jesmond

This was the second time I’d managed to get to a Sketch Crawl North East sketching afternoon. I’d tried on another occasion a while ago but had been late due to voluntary work in the morning and couldn’t find anyone. People meet up usually one afternoon a month to sketch in a location. It’s a mixed group with quite a wide range of ages and experience.

For this session on Saturday 30th April 2016, one of the group, Richard, had been able to let us into the Holy Trinity Church in Jesmond. I’d always assumed it was a late 19th century building, especially as it is neo-gothic style, but Richard told us that it was started in the early 1900s but then the First World War had stopped work on it. Most of it was built after the end of the war and, consequently, it became more of a memorial church, with fine stained glass windows commemorating those who had died and been injured.

I decided to take some photos of the windows before I tried to draw anything. Naturally, the memory card in my camera ran out of space after I’d taken about four. Fortunately, I also had my iPad with me so took the rest on that. I would like to return with a telephoto lens one day to get details higher up. The stained glass is wonderful and there are very finely painted details in the window. It looks as if a lot of love and grief went into the making of the windows. The glimmer of an idea occurred to me of using a few of the details in some linocuts at some stage.

Abandoned sketch.

Abandoned sketch.

Eventually I settled on a view to start sketching. I soon realised that my A4 soft-covered sketchbook didn’t work well held by hand and it was difficult to draw straight or even smoothly curving lines so trying to draw the chancel arch and organ was not going to work.

Drums in church.

Drums in church.

I turned my attention to the drum kit and music stands instead. I’d drawn almost as much of them as I’d intended by the time Richard came to tell me everyone was heading down to Pets Corner inJesmond Dene.

View through cafe window.

View through cafe window.

I was happy to switch to the challenge of trying to sketch live animals and birds but when I got there, I realised I needed a pot of tea first so I drew the view out of the café window as I slaked my thirst. It wasn’t a wildly interesting view.

I kept seeing the others as I wandered around from one area to another. It certainly made me feel far less self-conscious about drawing there on a busy sunny afternoon because I knew there were half-a-dozen of us sketching there.

The peacocks were not being very cooperative. They were lying down, preening in such a way as to hide most of their heads. I became concerned about one of the goats which was wandering around with a large bunch of straw in its mouth. It came over to listen to me talking to it, and then one of the others came to listen too. I think goats like being talked to and could happily listen to stories. I had a conversation with a turkey too. I often talk to the turkeys at Ouseburn Farm. I think I may just irritate the turkeys though. They answer back but sound annoyed.

We sketch crawlers met up again at a café to chat about what we’d done and look at each other’s sketchbooks. I enjoy seeing other people’s sketchbooks but always feel that my own sketches look totally inadequate against everyone else’s since they all manage to do fine illustrations, many beautifully coloured, and I just do rather scruffy monochrome sketches. I’m not sure I could cope with trying to keep watercolours under control as well as handheld sketchbook and a small selection of monochrome pens/pencils.

I was very glad I had met up with the others that afternoon, even if I was dissatisfied with my own sketches. It also reminded me that I should try to get back into the habit of sketching whenever I go out or, even better, every day.

The following day, I thought I’d try adding a little colour to a couple of my sketches using coloured pencils. The iPad camera hasn’t captured the colours exactly (it was a cloudy day too) but give some idea.


3 thoughts on “Sketching in Jesmond

  1. Harry Bell

    Good write-up. I enjoyed the afternoon, too, and you may like to know that, initially at least, I was very dissatisfied with my drawing of Churchill Gardens. I kept seeing all the faults. Later I was able to get my head round the idea that I often like the errors in others’ sketches – it’s what makes them individual – and could begin to appreciate what I’d done much more.


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