Category: Sketching Day

December Sketching Day

Llanymynech Rocks, via Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust at

Wrap up warm! Our next sketching day is next Sunday, Dec. 2nd, at Llanymynech Rocks, by Underhill Farm in Pant.

We’ll meet at 11am in the carpark at the end of Underhill Lane and head up to the quarry for the day. It’ll almost certainly be cold, so come prepared. Steve and Irene will have the kitchen open, so there will be hot drinks at Underhill Farm during the day.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Dance Watch

Watch Dance Class – a rare opportunity to sketch people and movement from life

National Dance Company Wales are holding Watch Dance Class on Monday, November 19th, in which artists can come and sketch, draw, photograph etc the dancers in motion. The event is 12.45 at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury and is free to anyone coming to see the evening show at 7.30.

I’ve heard about this event from other artists, and they say it’s fantastic. It’s a great opportunity to spend time working from live models, and a rare opportunity to sketch people and movement from life.

Anyone interested in going, contact National Dance Company Wales via their website at

Simply a line going for a walk

Saturday in Llanarmon D.C. – sunshine and sketching!

          “Drawing is simply a line going for a walk.”

                                                                          Paul Klee

What better way to make the most of a day of glorious sunshine, than to collectively heed Paul Klee’s advice and take our lines… for a walk?

From Llanarmon D.C. to Hendre Quarry is about 2 1/4 miles country walk through river-side forests, across little streams, over bridges and through cattle fields.

Starting from the Tithebarn Studios, where Diana was invigilating the Tithebarn Studios Group exhibition for Helfa Gelf, a small group of us walked from the centre of the village, up the hill leading out of the village past the Church of St. Garmon, with its Bronze Age burial mound and 2,000-year old yew trees. Leaving the road, we turned down the footpath that lead past the Old Ty Coch Barn, and through the bluebell woods of Coed Fedw. From the woods, the path lead through a sun-dappled pasture to a short lane leading to the village of Tregeiriog. Over the bridge to the other side of the River Ceiriog, then turning right at the bus shelter, we followed the road up the hill, past the Old Tregeiriog Cemetery, and down towards Pontricket Farm. There we left the road, following the tiny lane with its nine-foot high hedges on either side, back over the river, and up past Farthing Farm and into the quarry.

Hendre Quarry itself is a compact heritage landscape, full of old buildings, railway archaeology and evidence of the industries that once powered the Ceiriog valley. You follow the line of the old quarry tramway track down the hill to the entrance the quarry itself. The granite quarry is a truly impressive excavation into the hillside – totally hidden from view until you get down into it. From the quarry you can walk down past the crushing mill to the old gunpowder works, past the remains of the locomotive shed and the company offices. From the quarry, the Glyn Valley Tramway took the granite down to the Great Western Railway at Chirk and the Shropshire Union Canal at Gledrid (near where the roundabout is now).

Anyway, enough history – basically, this is all to hammer home that there’s tons of stuff to draw down at Hendre: ruined buildings, fantastic cliffs in the quarry, the rolling river with its ancient bridges – anything and everything an artist could wish for. Unfortunately, we’d started our walk a bit too late in the day to spend too much time at there this time – but we did have at least enough time to take some photos and some notes – and plan our return.

Anyone else fancy a day at Hendre Quarry before the summer vanishes completely? I’m happy to lead another walk down there – perhaps this time starting from Pandy (by Jan’s studio) so that we can spend more of our time sketching and painting. Now that we’re planning our “Ceiriog” exhibition at The Hand, it would give people interested in hanging works a chance to spend a day getting inspiration.

Helfa Gelf Sketching Day in Llanarmon

Sketching Day in Llanarmon D.C. to mark the first weekend of the North Wales Helfa Gelf/Art Trail – Saturday, Sept. 8th, 11am

Here’s an upcoming date for your calendars: It’s going to be the first weekend of the Helfa Gelf/Art Trail across North Wales starting Friday, Sept. 7th. Inside Out artists Diana Baur and Rosie Davies, together with Rob Davies, are going to be exhibiting as the Tithebarn Studio Group in the Tithebarn Studio in the middle of Llanarmon D.C.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to schedule an Inside Out Sketching Day in Llanarmon D.C. on Saturday, Sept. 8th. We’ll meet up at the Tithebarn Studio at 11am, and base ourselves in and around the village, the church and the river. If the weather’s fine, John has offered to lead a Sketching Walk to some nearby hillside locations. In the afternoon we’ll break for tea at The Hand Hotel.

The weather should be fine, but if not, there’s plenty of cover to draw, paint and photograph from. If anyone needs directions or more information, get in touch – otherwise, we look forward to seeing you in Llanarmon!

Sketching Day & Sketching Walk

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog – Saturday, September 8th

(at the end of the B4500 from Chirk)

Meet at the Tithebarn Studio in the centre of the village at 11am

Tea at The Hand Hotel

Show Yourself

“Fleece Navidad” – Mona Majorowicz. Mona’s an American artist who does fantastically colourful portraits of farm animals. Her website’s well worth a visit:

What: Inside Out at Oswestry Show

When: Saturday, August 4th

The Inside Out Art Group has been offered some exhibition space at this year’s Oswestry Show, thanks to Louise Hudson at D.R.E. & Co. Accountants, Lower Brook St., Oswestry. We will be setting up a small selection of works, a couple of leaflet/postcard stands plus a video monitor with a slideshow next to their marquee.

This is a great opportunity for people to publicise their work. We’ve got a selection of (weatherproof) work ready, so all we need now from people is postcards and leaflets to put in the racks, plus images of your work to put in the slideshow. Slideshow images should be jpgs at least 1080 x 800 pixels (higher resolution welcome) of your work, of sketches, or of you at work. Please send no more than 10 images, as we want to give everyone a chance to have something in the slideshow. I need to have the images by July 25th – that gives you two weeks to make your selection and email them to me.

You can email the images to me or Diana, or leave a CD or memory stick at my studio in the Cambrian Studios Building. You can also drop off leaflets, postcards and flyers there as well, or bring them down to Llanarmon.

We’re also going to be holding a sketching day during the show on Saturday. Just turn up at the showgrounds (there’s a £3 entrance fee), find the Inside Out stall (look for the orange and blue balloons) and come and get an Inside Out Artists badge – this will entitle you to free tea and cake all day long (I’m kidding – it’s just to help publicise the group and get people heading over to our display!) I’ll have my camera attached to our video slideshow setup, so if you’re doing sketching throughout the day, I can take photographs of your drawings and put them immediately into the slideshow.

Look forward to seeing you all at the show!

Food for thought

Big Bo Peep – street performer, Oswestry Festival of Food and Drink.

Headed into Oswestry this lunchtime to catch the second day of the annual Oswestry Festival of Food and Drink. Got in around noon, just in time to sample everything the festival had to offer: vegetable samosas, turkish meatball pie, pork pie with leeks, Berriew cider, four different kinds of local blue cheeses and Stonehouse’s new Sunlander bitter. Bumped into loads of people, met some friends, picked up a few unexpected illustration jobs, and then sat with a glass of the Sunlander under the trees at the bottom of the Bailey and did a bit of people watching – and sketching.

There was a small crowd of kids with guitars playing to the crowds and a street performer that caught my eye: a woman dressed as little Bo Peep on stilts. Big Bo Peep? Anyway, she cut such a curious figure among the crowds that I felt like I just had to draw her. Does anyone know who she was? I half wondered if there were sheep on stilts wandering around the upper end of the Bailey!

I had such a good time drawing in the sunshine – it made me think: we should really have tried to organise a sketching day during the food festival. We talked back in March about doing some art on the streets in Oswestry – maybe next year’s food festival, or the Festival of the Word? I can’t help feeling that we’re missing a bit of a trick here. Perhaps we could get some of the students down from Glyndwr, too. Anyone got any interest in doing some festival street-art in 2013?

Sun and Sketching in Ruthin

Tea and sunshine in Ruthin.

Well, not all that much sketching, to be honest – we were all too confused by the big bright yellow thing in the sky! Who would have guessed that today would have turned out to be this nice?

Expecting the usual deluge, five of us headed up to Ruthin with a day planned that would keep us safely indoors, out of the cold and the pouring rain. However, the day did not go according to plan. Not at all. Suspicions that something might be wrong were first roused by the distinct lack of grey cloud overhead as we motored through Llangollen and over the Horseshoe Pass. Our worst fears were confirmed when we arrived at Ruthin Craft Centre and sat outside with teas and coffees, wondering what the increasingly blue, cloudless sky above portended. By the time we had finished wandering around two excellent exhibitions – Wendy Ramshaw’s gates and jewellery, and Richard La Trobe-Bateman’s bridges and chairs – not only was it not raining outside – it was bright and sunny… and warm. What was this? Was this the strange, unfamiliar thing we used to call… summer?

Undaunted by this unnerving turn of events, we boldly marched up through the centre of Ruthin to the Gaol – a quirky curiosity of a building: part social history time capsule, part architectural oddity. Inside and out, it was a treasure-trove of unusual and unexpected details, and we all spent two hours rambling through the museum and the yards, photographing, sketching, jotting notes. From there we wandered up the hill to the market cross, and then – at Julie’s suggestion – to Ruthin Castle for tea. The sun shone, the peacocks strutted on the lawn, and we braved the chaos of a wedding reception for tea, bara brith and welshcakes on the side lawn of the hotel.

If – distracted by the unexpected appearance of the sun and the warm weather – we ambled and looked rather than sketched and drew, it was all still in the pursuit of a fantastic day. Ruthin is well worth another Inside Out sketching visit – a visit this time to draw and paint the narrow lanes and half-timbered buildings, the Victorian County buildings and the green vista of the hills beyond the town, the rose-shrouded ruins of the Castle. And if the weather closes in on us then, there’s always the Craft Centre and the Gaol!

The Week in Sketches

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I’m a whole week late posting these sketches from our Sketching Day in Chester last Saturday. The weather was perfect, and the city’s so full of interesting things to draw it was a real wrench to leave. I spent most of my time drawing the gargoyles and finials on the cathedral  roofline (glad I brought my glasses), but also nipped down into the basement of Spudulike to draw the remains of the Roman hypocaust underneath the restaurant! After three, the rain started to mizzle down and I went to the Grosvenor Museum to see if I could draw some of the Roman gravestones in the gallery, but it was too full of kids and tour groups (it was a Saturday, after all), so I didn’t get a chance. But it’s well worth remembering the Grosvenor as a venue for a cold wet winter mid-week afternoon for some excellent sketching.

So then this Saturday (yesterday), Al “Design by Alex” Johnson and I went up to Llangollen for a day’s drawing and painting. Again, we had fantastic weather – the mist that was hanging over Shropshire in the morning burned out of the Dee valley by ten, and the sky didn’t have a cloud in it. Llangollen was bustling as ever, so we headed to the Llangollen Railway station to see what was going on there. We drew from the station platform for about an hour and then were invited by one of the volunteer conductors to go to the work shed and draw in there. We introduced ourselves to Roger, the weekend foreman, who very kindly showed us the shed and left us to it for the rest of the morning.

The work shed is vast – and absolutely stuffed full of locomotives in various stages of repair and construction. They Llangollen Railway work shop turns out to be Llangollen’s second-largest employer, and has a full-time engineering staff of twelve. They’re actually building two completely new steam locomotives there, one of which – named the “Unknown Warrior” – will be on the rails for the 2018 centenary of the Armistice.

Anyway, there was tons of stuff to draw – engines in various stages of coming together and being taken apart, piles of huge tools and parts, lines of wheels, buckets of rivets, you name it. We had an absolutely fantastic morning, and broke for lunch – eating butties and lamb oggies sitting out on the rocks in the middle of the River Dee itself with a view down towards the Llangollen bridge. Quite frankly, a point of view that beats even the terrace of the Cornmill!

We went back to the work shed after lunch, and met up with Roger again, who this time said: “You do know there’s a yard as well?” So then he showed us the yard – another huge space beyond the work shed filled with wagons, carriages, diesel and steam engines out on tracks, either waiting to be worked on or waiting to head down onto the main track for one of the weekend runs.

Again, there was almost too much to draw – but we managed to fill up the rest of the day drawing and painting to our hearts’ content.

I cannot recommend the Llangollen work shed and yard to anyone who has a chance to get up there. Doesn’t matter whether you’re drawing, painting or taking photographs, the shed and yard is a huge source of inspiration. And if you’re not a train-y person, don’t let the train-iness of it all put you off: there’s just a ton of stuff to look at: buildings, textures, nature vs. man-made, shiny new vs. decay, people working, visitors to the railway, etc. etc. etc. It reminds me very much of the reasons why Diana and I suggested “The Way” project last year, and actually revived my interest in all those ideas once more.

Huge thanks must go to Roger the volunteer foreman, the workshed engineers, the station conductors and all the staff at the Llangollen Railway for being so enthusiastic and accommodating. They didn’t bat an eyelid when we asked if we could do some sketching there, and went out of their way to suggest places we might find interesting and arrange access.

If you do go up yourself, introduce yourself to the station conductors first, and see if it’s possible to get to the work sheds: if they’re having a particularly busy day, or if there’s a special event on (there’s a big steam/car/train thing at the end of April for example), they warned us that it might not be convenient or possible to sketch in the sheds. Also, while weekends are usually fairly quiet at the sheds, they sometimes have jobs on that need to be finished, and they said they wouldn’t want people wandering around while they’re welding or moving rolling stock around in the yard. So do check with the conductors and the workshed foreman first. Also, they ask that if you’re planning to use any of the images commercially, that you check with their office first.

No question about it: the Llangollen work shed and yard definitely goes straight into the Inside Out “Top 10 Sketching Venues” list! Al and I will be going back there again as soon as we can – maybe we’ll see you there!

Sketching at Radio Saturday Evening

Sketching this Saturday at Radio Cafe!

Don’t forget, there’s sketching at Radio Cafe in Oswestry this coming Saturday between 6 and 9pm. Bring your art stuff (and a funny hat if you can stand the embarassment) – the cafe’s just at the top of Bailey Street, by the market. There’s tapas, cocktails, wine, beer, teas and coffee on sale. Great atmosphere and a great way to spend a dull winter weekend evening.

Whittington Castle sketches

Here are my Whittington Castle sketches from Saturday. I started out drawing the contrast between the areas of surviving external masonry and the restored areas of rubble core between them (bottom sketches). In the afternoon I drew a section of the rooflines over the inhabited portion of the castle (top right sketch).

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