Thursday, 16 July 2015

Sketches of Foreign Parts 2

I am, I must confess, a little tardy with this follow-up entry. The first in this series was published in December 2013... But hey! Better late than never! Oh and the "foreign" bit only applies if you do not live in any of the countries depicted... There are several places depicted where I'd quite like to live come to think of it!

El Caldera de Taburiente on the island of La Palma, on of the Canary Islands. The caldera is a massive crater, 17 miles (28km) in diameter. (Disconcertingly another guide on a later visit said it was 17 miles around... One of them was out by a factor of 3.142...) It is said to have been eroded out rather than being a volcanic crater. It reaches depths of 3500 feet (724m). I drew this in 2005 on our second cruise and had borrowed the pencil off the Receptionist onboard! One of the very few sketches I've drawn with a normal pencil rather than my propelling pencil.

This is a bit of a weird one. In 2007 we called at Valencia on the old Island Star cruise ship and we took a trip that included a visit to the Sagunto caves. You are taken through the caves on a boat and it is too dark to take photos and flash would blind the boatman leading to bumped heads on overhanging rock or greater disaster. I bought some postcards of the caves (some of which hilariously show boatmen covering their eyes...) and drew this from one of them after we had got home.

I remember we heard a really disturbing echoing boom whilst we were underground on the boat. "What was that?" gasped a young girl.
"Orcs!" I whispered kindly.

This was also done from a photo of Taormina in Sicily when I was trying to get over my reluctance to draw people. Well, not so much reluctance because I don't want to - it's more reluctance because I am hideously bad at drawing lifelike figures... This did help a little and a friend who is also an artist praised it saying that as a quick impression of a place and atmosphere it had some merit. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to produce photographically correct portraits though!

Santa Margherita in Italy, drawn on site. One of the ones I am most proud of - it stands up to the photo quite well. An old chap who was looking over my shoulder called his grandson over and the lad, who was probably around twelve or thirteen, took one look and went "Whoaaaagh!!!" in admiration. A quite satisfying moment, I must thrash myself with a rusty chain...

We took my Mum on a cruise in 2008 and called at Villefranche - one of my favourite spots on the south coast of France. I drew this whilst Fran took Mum around the small market. There comes an age where old people should have reins like you can get for toddlers... We lost her twice that holiday, having to go hairing after her once having spotted her wandering off in the opposite direction and once when she had taken it into her head to hide behind the back of a market stall to try something on...

Mahon on Menorca is a lovely place and the approach from a cruise ship is just gorgeously picturesque with lots of whitewashed houses facing the long inlet that you sail up. This was a very steep hill with a set of steps cutting the corner. An interesting exercise as far as perspective goes. Electricity was distributed by passing a cable across the street. It would have cleared a small lorry - not sure about a large one...

And lastly for this entry this is from the same visit to Mahon and done from the ship's rail once we were back onboard. Mahon is one of those wonderful places where you step off the ship and are immediately in the town. A long curving road leads up the hill to the town centre, but a wide series of steps gives the walker a more direct if no less taxing route. The table umbrellas of a refreshments stall are seen at the bottom.

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