Sunday, 19 April 2015

A Pen and Ink Sketch of The Sun Hotel in Canterbury from Canteen, a Photo from the Loo in Canteen, some Books for My Bookshop and a bit of a Ramble.

So here is the painting of The Sun Hotel in Canterbury

And here the photo from the loo in Canteen (a useful café on three floors with good quality food)

And here the books I bought for my bookshop in Canterbury today.

Once again apologies for the lack of contentious posts at the moment, this has been partly due to the council turning the shop opposite me into social, which has been very noisy making it hard to concentrate. God alone knows what type of poverty crime would have to be involved to wind up living in a flat with bedroom windows next to the pavement in King Street where the takeaways are licensed to stay open until 4am, abject doesn’t get halfway there.   

On the politics front, I guess I should never have said I wanted to save Manston airport, this seem to have been translated into wanting to be in the flight path of an airfreight hub that passengers can't fly from. I think the politicians seem to have misjudged the difference between wanting to save a local airport that we locals could fly from, to wanting a cpo for a freight hub, which as far as I can see from the figures is supported by about 2,500 people in the UK (the number who signed the UK parliament petition) about 250 of which live within an easy drive of Thanet, the most who have ever turned up at anything local supporting the cpo.

Of course there are also all those locals who think this is supporting a regional airport, and don’t realise that the cpo would be for an airfreight only hub. As one of those who is first out with the camera when a plane flies over, running a bookshop with a large aviation section and regularly visiting the museums, I am now observing something a bit like the ordinary churchgoer’s reaction when the evangelical born again Christians turn up, when the pro cpo for a freight hub lot turn up.

The big question for candidates as TDC councillors who say they will instigate a cpo as soon as they attain office is: Given that RiverOak have said they will not pay the Manston site owner compensation if the cpo fails, who would be liable for the compensation in the case of a failed cpo? 

My guess is that it would be us the taxpayer.       

Friday, 17 April 2015

Trish Bullman at The York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current Exhibition  is by Trish Bullman A collection of Stunning works amazing pieces from old maps, fish made from bottle tops, paintings......... The exhibition runs -   15th April -22nd April Exhibitions change weekly on Wednesdays.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Herne Bay today

Does anyone know of any café, pub or restaurant in Herne Bay that has a view that would be good for sketching from?

It was too windy to sketch outside today and I just couldn’t find anywhere inside to sketch from, so no sketch.

Some interesting shops still trading in Herne Bay

Including a toy shop

I bought a few books for my bookshop

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Pen and watercolour sketch of Ramsgate Harbour today

 As you see I have been a bit naughty with aligning three converging views of Ramsgate Harbour
 Here's a photo of the same view for any art critics.

 I had lunch today at Harbour Chocolate Lounge Bar in Ramsgate, which seems to have grown up into a grown up cafe come bar. I only got as far as doing a pen sketch but this afternoon all of the electric power in our part of Ramsgate went off because the transformer behind Poundland blew up. So I closed my bookshop, went back and finished the sketch.

The last page of this sketchbook, so below are a few sketches from it that I don't think I used on the blog, points if you can identify the victims or veiw  

Monday, 13 April 2015

A tourist guide to Thanet, published today after 250 years out of print.

As a publisher I guess I should get straight into the hard sell, so here is the link to the page with the buy it now button on

This is the first time I have published a book with nudes on the front, so it may have more appeal than the average reprint of an antiquarian local history book.

Here is the whole picture, including the bit on the back of the book, note the person on crutches with his mug, drinking a pint of seawater before total immersion in the sea, supervised by a professional ducker would have been part of his cure and his reason for being in Thanet at all.

Note the man on Ramsgate’s East Pier with the telescope, over 100 years later in the Gossiping Guide to Thanet there is mention of religious organisations trying to put a stop to the people emerging naked or scantily clad from the bathing machines, combined with the people viewing this through telescopes from the pier.

Here are my publishers notes for the book.

There are local history books, which for the most part try to convey what was happening fifty, a hundred or more years before they were written, but usually say very little about the what was happening when they were written. There are also old guides aimed at telling people from another place, what the place they were going to visit was like at the time of writing.

Taking the past as a foreign country and using old guides, it is possible to get some sort of glimpse at what things were like here in Thanet and with this guide what they were like 250 years ago.

It is however important to realise that for the most part this is the past of the wealthier people, at this time many of the local agricultural workers in Thanet were still living in chalk hovels.

It is also important to realise that much of the ordinary, that is and was common to everywhere, is left out. 

A useful indicator here are the price lists in the back of the guide and the price of the guide 1/- (one shilling) at a time when an agricultural worker, working in the fields from dawn to dusk would have been earning about 1/- per day. 

This is probably the first tourist guide to Thanet, the cover picture “The Bathing Place at Ramsgate” by Benjamin West probably dates from the 1780s so is a little more modern than the guide. However out of the pictures of Thanet that date from around the time of this guide, it seems to come closest to conveying the reason fairly wealthy Londoners made the fairly difficult and uncomfortable journey here. Some of this is related to the primitive medicine of the time, when London doctors prescribed the drinking of seawater, being immersed in the sea, being ducked and of course the fresh air as the cure for various maladies.

Margate pier went through various stages of lengthening, decay, storm damage and repair depending on the trade with London, which was mostly exporting grain and vegetables grown in Thanet to London and importing coal to heat the buildings to here. The sailing hoy, a sloop rigged vessel of a bout 60 tons, was the main vessel to ply the Thames at this time and the visitors to Thanet either came here by hoy or by coach from London.

Travelling from London to Margate by sailing hoy would have been by far the cheapest way of getting here, as the hoy was reliant on wind and tide, the journey could anything between about eight hours and several days, with seasickness being the main problem. Several cartoons were published of passengers suffering on hoys and I would guess those who could afford it came here by coach.

For the most part the hoys sailed between London and Margate pier and would have avoided going round The North Foreland to Ramsgate because of the added danger and discomfort. 

At the time this guide was produced Ramsgate Harbour was being constructed, it was finally finished around 1791, its main use being as a harbour of refuge, during bad weather, for the shipping anchored in The Downs opposite Deal.

Sorry the quality of writing isn't up to much at the moment, there is a lot pneumatic drilling going on in the shop opposite that the council are turning into social housing.   

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A couple of sketches in cafés, Turner contemporary in Margate and Evolution in Ramsgate, a bit of a ramble about art and chocolate.

We went to Margate after lunch today as the children wanted to go to the chocolate festival which was supposed to be based around a pop up shop in the High Street.

I didn’t think it would be my sort of bag, so I went to Turner Contemporary, had another look at the exhibitions there and then did the sketch above in the café there.

I find the more times I sketch in a place now the better the likenesses of the people there seem to be, something that doesn’t make sense to me. As I blunder along the artistic learning curve I learn a few basic rules, one of these is that if you are sitting in a café drawing the people at other tables receding into the distance then all of the heads should be the same height. As the people in the distance get shorter as they get further away, it is their legs that get further up the page, not their heads further down the page. And of course the bigger heads should be in front of the smaller heads, the trouble is once you know these things, you can get some strange effects by not playing by the rules.

The children came back saying the pop up shop was closed so no colour. 

On great advantage of sketching in Turner Contemporary’s café is the people don’t move about much,, once they sit on a chair they tend to stay there for a while.

This isn’t the case with Evolution Café in King Street Ramsgate.

I had lunch there again yesterday and even managed to remember to take a photo of my lunch. 

Anyway here is the sketch drawn over lunch there, the people there seem to move about more and become much more animated.

The likenesses are not so good in this one, although I am not sure of the reason, it may be they will getter when I have sketched in there a few more times.