Thursday 31 July 2014

Midsomer Village

While staying in London we took a day trip by train into the countryside. We visited a town that is sometimes used for filming Midsomer Murders. My sister recognized this church from the tv episodes.

As it happened there was a film crew there the day we visited and because I'm nosy I was able to discover that they were filming an interior scene for Downton Abbey. Because it was all happening indoors, the cast were safe from curious eyes (ours) and we reluctantly moved on. We made up for it with a cream tea in a nearby tearoom and then I did this sketch of the beautiful church from the comfort of a bench in the village green. I just completed the stonework once we returned to our hotel.

More pictures taken in the village.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Loping Through London

 I did this sketch in Trafalgar Square early on in our visit to London. I'd arrived early to meet up with friends at the National Gallery and this is my favourite sketch so far as it reminds me of such a special day.

Some photos taken in Trafalgar Square.

There is nowhere else on earth like London and it would take several lifetimes to see it all, but we've had a nice taste of it over the last two weeks.

This was my second visit to Kew gardens - the first being four years ago. It is a nice leafy respite from the frenetic pace of central London.  I did a sketch of my outlook after polishing off my scones with jam and cream in a very pretty cafe just near the gardens. It needs more work to define things better but I simply haven't had time so I thought I'd post it anyway.

I LOVE bumblebees! They are so cute it's as if they are just made up creatures like leprechauns!

This one was supposed to be of the hotel lobby but I misjudged things rather badly and only had room to get as far as the beautiful ceiling and the top of the chandelier. I'm hoping I might get the time and energy to have another go at it before checking out tomorrow morning.

We've been whizzing around London by tube - I became very familiar with the system when over here on a backpacking holiday when I was 21. It's like riding a bike- you never forget how to do it.

This photo belies the busyness of how it often is, also, this is one of the quieter stations. There is nothing quite like the throng of stations and the interconnecting pedestrian tunnels such as Victoria. I'm constantly in awe of how well the system works when at times it seems little short of chaos.

We've also got around a lot by foot. Being that our hotel is right in the middle of some of London's most salubrious locations, we only need to walk down the street to see beautiful streets scapes such as these.

Will post more soon!

Thursday 24 July 2014

Glorious Wales

For a variety of reasons, including irregular access to wifi, I haven't been posting as often as I had hoped to.

We've been in London for about 10 days now and savouring every moment of it. It's a real contrast to the beauty and lushness of rural Wales and Ireland, but fascinating and beautiful in a different way. As promised in my last missive, I am posting some photos that I took while staying with friends in Wales.

I did one sketch while staying with our friends but it looks like a bit of a dud without colour and I haven't had time to work on it further as yet. I have, however, done a couple since then that are respectable and I will post them soon.


Tuesday 15 July 2014

The Adventure Continues

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Ireland. It's such a beautiful country and the people are VERY friendly. It was so great to spend some time with our brother and sister-in-law.
Dublin was pumping with life and there were a lot of colorful pubs around the place.

I loved all the flower stalls that we came across in the city centre.

The three hour ferry trip across to Wales was the smoothest crossing we could have hoped for. Things livened up a bit upon our arrival in holyhead when after a longish wait to disembark there was an announcement  advising us that the gangplank had been misplaced!!!!! Eventually we were disgorged via the vehicle drivers' exit and were bussed back to the baggage claim area. We caught our connecting train to Llandudno by the skin of our teeth.
Llandudno is a gorgeous Victorian seaside resort with the original buildings still intact and stunning. We enjoyed a walk along the amusement pier and joined friends later in the evening for a sumptuous meal at a beautiful hotel.

The next few days were spent nearby with friends on their rural property not far away. I will post photos in my next missive, but I warn you that the picturesque quotient is almost unbearable! They live in such quintessentially pretty British  countryside. Not that my photos have done it justice!

Thursday 10 July 2014

A Few Sketches

While staying with my brother and his wife I did a pencil sketch of their view from their dining room but didn't get a chance to finish it until last night. It's the first time I've used these watercolour paints and I painted by hotel lamp light which was rather subdued.

Today, my sister and I visited Trinity College which is the repository of the famous book of Kells - an illuminated manuscript from around 800AD. Amazing to see how intact and vibrant the text and illustrations are after all these centuries. Trinity College also boasts a three century old library which is a sight to behold. You feel like you've walked into a scene from a Harry Potter movie. We were allowed to take photos in the library as long as we didn't use our flashes.

Suddenly, I found the perfect spot to do a sketch. Luckily I had packed my sketching gear in the morning with the hope that such an occasion would arise.  There was a lull in the traffic and very few people were sitting on the few benches provided so I didn't feel I was in anyone's way. I really enjoyed myself and was astounded to discover that what felt like a ten minute sketch had actually taken me close to 40 minutes to do! Luckily my sister was happy to linger and soak up the amazing atmosphere of the place and she kindly took a few snaps of me sketching.

The photo below shows the back of my head and the view I am working from - the bust second to the left.
I'm afraid I'm unable to work out how to crop and rotate photos on my I-pad so you will have to crick your neck to view the outcome!

Wednesday 9 July 2014

The Emerald Isle

I've been doing and seeing so much whilst here in Ireland, it has been hard to find the time to post on my blog.

After a nightmare trip over which involved three different flights, three long waits at three different airports and over 40 hours of all but no sleep, we arrived in Dublin. After a good night's sleep my sister and I were collected by my brother who lives an hour and a half south of the city with his wife. The view of the seats in front of us had been burned into our brain so it was wonderful to swap it for the gorgeous one above which is the view from my brother and sister-in-law's diningroom window.

We were well looked after and they drove us around to see all the local beauty spots. The windy hedge-lined lanes were dotted with rustic cottages and beautiful gardens and everywhere we looked was beautifully and quintessentially Irish. 

I've really appreciated all the comments that everyone has posted on my previous few posts and I'm sorry I haven't responded. I may not get much time to do so while I'm away but I really appreciate all my visitors!! I hope everyone is keeping well!

We are now spending a few nights in Dublin.