Last sketches of the old year

These oddments are the remainder of December’s sketches.

2015 12 odd sketches (8)

Several were done on the train with my daughter as we went Christmas shopping – one of these pictures is of me but not by me, the others are by me but not of her!

2015 12 odd sketches (6)

2015 12 odd sketches (7)

I have tried to risk my own embarrassment and just get on with drawing people I see.  People do notice and look a little askance.  I wonder if someone will become irritated.  I try to be covert in my drawing – perhaps this is the problem.

2015 12 odd sketches (2)

A thirty second view from the train window.

2015 12 odd sketches (3)

Two drawings came from another train journey with my son.  We play a game – one of use draws a random line, the other completes this to a picture.  These two pictures, one mine, one his, took on a kind of Star Wars theme.

2015 12 odd sketches (5)

2015 12 odd sketches (4)

These next few were done in Singapore.  The first is again of the ludicrous Marina Sands hotel.  This time I was standing on a bridge linking giant artificial trees (one shown in the sketch) that disguise the exhaust vents for the power units for the Garden in the Bay.

2015 12 odd sketches (9)

This was the ten minute line drawing of the Sultan’s Mosque.  This was the sketch I had to abandon as I had to get back to catch a plane.

2015 12 odd sketches (10)

This was my one attempt to draw, sitting at a café table in humid heat, looking up at the old decorated buildings in Chinatown.

2015 12 odd sketches (13)

These people were sitting waiting for our plane to board at Singapore airport.  Both sketches began with pencil construction which I later erased.

2015 12 odd sketches (12)

2015 12 odd sketches (11)

And lastly, my son, today, muffled against the cold, sitting outside the pub waiting for his burger.

2015 12 odd sketches (23)



quick views of Singapore

I was privileged to be flown to Singapore for a weekend to talk at a conference.  I was welcomed by a Singaporean doctor and his team and we lunched in a restaurant focusing on what I learned was Straits fusion cuisine.  My hosts were Peranakan, ethnic Chinese whose ancestors migrated to the Malay peninsula before and coincident with British and Dutch colonisation.   The restaurant was rich with artefacts and photographs of their history. I knew very little about Singapore before arriving and little enough now.  I understand this was a fishing village 200 years ago.  The colonial age, which built this city as a port serving British interests, seems to be viewed without rancour.  Raffles, the colonial founding figure, seems celebrated, with myths built on the hotel of that name and alcoholic drinks.  As well as the British, Chinese, Malay natives, Tamils and later other Indian peoples have made this place their home.

I was staying in the commercial district which is resplendent with soaring buildings boldly stating domination and decadence.  This was the view from my hotel window, drawn in the morning when I was supposed to be updating and revising my talk.

2015-12-20 Singapore (3)

I was fascinated by the ridiculousness of the Marina Bay hotel and casino, with three towers angled in relation to each other so the boat poised on top of all three is bent like a banana.  One evening I drew this from the side of the harbour as dusk fell and again later sitting at a café looking across the water at the buildings lit up in the dark night.

2015-12-20 Singapore (2)

2015-12-20 Singapore (4)

These were little sketches in a small book, drawn in pen and tinted with conte crayon, my smallest field kit which fits all in one pocket.  On my last day, I had time to walk around and good intentions to draw.  I walked through the stunning Gardens by the Bay, a new self-acclaimed environmentally sustainable landscaped park including two large glass domes housing  a vast hot-housed floral display and a cool highland rain forest respectively.

2015-12-21 02.12.38

I continued through to China Town but was so hot, I could not settle to draw anywhere.  Later, I wandered at random on the train to the area around Arab street and the Sultan Mosque. This is tucked away now amid sky-scapers and appeared to me cool, vibrant and visually interesting area with diverse small shops and cafes.  By then, I was on a tight schedule to get back for my flight, so my drawing was limited and incomplete, and not worth including here.



Scanty sketches

It is weird getting to grips with time zones and body clocks.  Its just after nine in the evening back home but I am up before dawn in Singapore, tired but sleepless, and … hungry, waiting for breakfast to open in the hotel.  Apparently, circadian rhythms have been built into our make-up for around three billion years, since before our ancestors had cellular organelles, let alone stomachs and brains.

2015 11 Lapworth locks 1These drawings are a few weeks old.  The first two are from a short cycle trip up the canal with my daughter at the end of November.  Her drawing looks straight across the well of the lock to fields and farm buildings beyond.  Mine looks along the canal and path to the gates and pond behind.  Both of us used conte crayon but hers is laid over pencil, mine over ink.  We only managed one sketch apiece that day.

2015 11 Lapworth locksThe most recent drawing I have done was a couple of weeks ago, cycling out to a nearby business park set in landscaped paths, ponds and woods which they call a nature reserve.  This is one of the units seen from the sunken cycle path and set against a dense grey winter sky.

2015 12 05 Blythe Valley Business Park (1)And that’s it.  Life is busy and sketching is taking a hit.  And … I’ve bought a guitar.