Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Whenever we go travelling, I pack my watercolour kit and various sketchbooks of various sizes and make time for sketching.

Our ritual, as soon as we arrive at a new place, somewhere we will be staying long enough for Anne to write and me to paint, is to set up the space to suit us both. Our cabin aboard MV Ventura was perfect for our needs. And what a view!

Our cabin | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Anne bagged the ‘dressing table’ as her office space, and I took over the ‘lounge’ area. Some shelving beneath the TV held all my equipment and I used the small coffee table for my palette and to rest my sketchbook.

We were aboard MV Ventura for fourteen days and seven of those were at sea. This gave me plenty of time for sketching.


Water, water, all around …

For the first two days, crossing from Southampton to Lisbon. all we saw from our balcony was the sea. And ships. And even more ships and drilling rigs whenever we went into port. With my marine insurance background, I found this fascinating and took many photos. So much resource material, so much inspiration for my sketching, but never enough hours to paint everything!

Drilling rig | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

However, I did sketch a few cruise ships and captured the landscape when we were in port.


Sketching Queen Victoria

One of Anne’s friends cruises regularly. We met her and her husband for lunch in Madeira a few years ago. We were staying in Funchal over Christmas and New Year; they were due to arrive on New Year’s Eve, in time to see the fireworks that night. This time, they were aboard Queen Victoria and – because our itineraries had us both in Madeira on 31 December, we planned to meet up at the same restaurant for a catch-up. Imagine our surprise to wake up the day before, to see their ship just across from ours.

Cunard moored | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

As it turned out, we should have made the effort to meet that day. Once we got to Madeira, they were moored off and the sea was too rough for them to be allowed ashore on the tenders.

This sketch is of Queen Victoria sailing off into the sunset.

Cunard sailing away | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Sketching in Tenerife

We’ve visited Tenerife before and we were not inclined to go ashore that day. The sky above the mountains was black, and we’d not been attracted by the various tours on offer. Instead, we enjoyed relative peace and quiet aboard ship. Anne did lots of writing and when I wasn’t taking photos, I was sketching . Bliss!

Tenerife | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

Sketching in Madeira

We’ve also visited Madeira many times but never aboard a cruise ship. The day we arrived (31 December), it was a full house.

Madeira | Postcard from MV Ventura: Sketching at sea

We walked ashore in the morning and returned to the ship in time to avoid a downpour. As you will have seen from a previous post, the rain abated, almost, and the New Year’s Eve fireworks were spectacular.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. My previous postcard focused on edible art.

Next week’s blog shares more of the art we discovered ashore. If cruising appeals to you, visit the P&O website.


Sketchbook Notes: Salcombe Yacht Club’s Christmas Camellias

Salcombe Yacht Club’s Christmas Camellias are to be found alongside the steep path that runs from the gate at the side of the yacht club gardens up to Devon Road. This view of the bell tower and out to sea can best be seen by very tall people standing by the bench, just below the archway.

Anne’s been nagging me to paint an image for a Christmas card for ages. At last, we have one!


AFFORDABLE ART – an excellent Christmas gift!

59 of my 135 original paintings are available as fine art greetings cards.

Just think: for less than 1% of the sales price of an original, you can invest in a fine art greetings card. Send it to a friend or frame it for yourself. Whistlefish sell frames that fit … about £10 each.


malmessenger-advert-2016-17FINE ART GREETING CARDS: STOCKISTS

Malborough Post Office stocks all 59 designs, and selections of my cards are also available at Bonningtons (the newsagents in Salcombe), Salcombe Information Centre, Salcombe Yacht Club, The Gallery Project at Avon Mill and at Noss Mayo, and in Bloomers (the florist in Kingsbridge).

If you would like to stock my cards, please click here to contact me.

Sketchbook Notes: Scoble Point Moorings

From Easter and onwards through the Summer, in the late afternoon, a strong clear light strikes this part of the Salcombe estuary. The red and white hulls appear to radiate their colours more intensely until the sun drops below the skyline.

Even the mooring buoys know the day is done and the moon will bring another tide.

This is my initial sketch for Scoble Point Moorings.


Why bother with a sketch?

While a photograph can capture everything, that’s too much information. I need to frame the subject and to simplify what might have been a busy scene. Which craft will I include? Which should I leave out?

Sketching is therefore essential. It enables me to distill the principle points of interest and to identify the tonal areas of the composition and rebalance as necessary.

The sketchbook also serves as a diary, along with my iPad on which I take photos and, of course, my camera. I am grateful the software remembers when and where I take my photos.

So, with the various source materials in front of me and the sketchbook open, foremost in my mind is the tip: ‘look twice, draw once’. Sketching teaches you to watch! It teaches you to aim for brevity.


Notice that, in the final composition, I have rearranged the positioning of the various craft, but I took great care to plot the mooring buoys as shown on this photo of my original notes.

And, although my sketch was in watercolour, I decided to using oil paints for this subject – and what was a fascinating journey that was for me.


Where can you see this painting?

Scoble Point Moorings is on display at Salcombe Art Club in the Main Exhibition, along with four more of my paintings: Hope Cove, MerlinsSouth Pool Sunrise and Splosh of Frogmore.

The Exhibition is open every day from 11am until 5pm, until 24 September.

I will be at the Exhibition, stewarding, on these dates: 10 May (11am-5pm), 24 May (2-5pm), 14 June (2-5pm), 12 July (2-5pm), 9 August (2-5pm), and 20 September (11am-2pm).

If you are in Salcombe this summer, why not drop in?


The Sketchbook Notes series

This is one of the Sketchbook Notes, a series of posts explaining what inspired me to produce a particular painting.

If you own one of my paintings, or are just curious about an image, let me know; I’ll then write a blog post especially for you!