I am sewing a lot of pencil cases at the moment. They are gifts for the generous artists who contributed their work to my new book, Urban Sketcher’s Handbook – Drawing Expressive People, because I wanted to say thank you to them. For all I know they all already have loads of pencil cases, and barely have room for them as it is, but the fabric is covered with drawings of appropriately expressive people (my sketches from the barbershop with my son Paddy since he first started going at about 13) and I’m hoping they have room for one more little bit of slightly useful nonsense. So there I was sewing away like a mad thing from six in the morning (I was up an hour before that to listen to the USk Talks on Instagram, which I wouldn’t miss for anything). And now it was around half past four in the afternoon and I was dying to get out for a walk and a sketch. I put Reuben into his little harness, clipped on his lead and off we set. It was a wonderful walk, but when I reached the quay about half an hour later and settled down for a sketch I realised to my NAKED FURY that I had left my sketchbook at home. Undeterred, I took what I had out of my bag and did my best…
…but it was very cold and windy and my bum was getting soaked from sitting on the damp sand – and the tide was coming in in a rush – so I called a halt before I was carried out to sea, and walked home. (Reuben frisked around while I sketched – can you spot the fluffy shape in two spots above the sea wall?) On the way home I saw the most beautiful sight: six reddish brown cows lay in a meadow, all pointing the same direction, all with the same curve in their beautiful backs. I went home, grabbed my proper sketchbook and my bicycle and was back to capture the cows within an hour.
They had moved a bit, and weren’t in the same perfect synchronicity as before, but I was happy they hadn’t moved much. I whipped out my brown fude pen and drew them as fast as I could. Took out my paints, my brushes, my water container…but what was this? A thousand curses! The water container was empty! What could I do? Then a knight in shining armour happened to stroll past, in the form of Brendan, one of our lovely neighbours, and off he popped to his home to get me water. In the meantime I had JUST enough water in one of my water brushes to paint the cows, which was just as well as they chose that moment to get up and slowly amble off. But I got them. This scene is so tranquil that I am going to rent out peeks of it during these times of ubiquitous negative energy. Lower blood pressure guaranteed!
And just in case your blood pressure isn’t quite low enough, here’s a photo of Paddy (18) doing some weeding for me. He is starting a freelance garden-labourer business with his pal Jordan, and I think he was just making sure he’d have lots of energy for when that first job lands in his inbox.
See you next time…zzzzz