Friday, 30 September 2011

End of week ramble, lunch at La Magnolia Ramsgate and some thoughts on sketching.

I don’t very often eat out in Ramsgate, but yesterday my wife and I tried the set lunch at La Magnolia, the view of Ramsgate Royal harbour from this restaurant is very good indeed, best from the outside seating which is where we sat.

I did the quick sketch above in between courses, as it was what was straight in front of me where I was sitting, sorry I didn’t get time to include the tidal ball which is the only thing totally missing. 

 I went for the set menu at £8.95 and had half a pint of orange juice, prawn cocktail and a Margherita pizza, this was all above average standard and I though represented good value for money, it also all came very quickly essential if you only have an hour for lunch.
 My wife decided that she couldn’t manage the two courses that comprised the business lunch special and had a Margherita pizza £6.95 and a pint of orange juice, I couldn’t see the price of the soft drinks on the menu and when the bill came the orange juice was £4.50 which seemed a bit on the steep side to me.
I took the picture from where I was sitting after I drew the sketch, mostly for comparison and as I thought I would probably do a post about it.

Painting and drawing in public takes a bit of getting used to, to get anything that looks vaguely ok I find I have to be very relaxed and doing it in public tends to make me less relaxed.

You may have noticed the huge amount of local art that has appeared recently, much of it showing local scenes, and yet you don’t seem to come across people actually doing it very often.

I drew this with a waterproof sepia felt tip (Faber Castell Pitt artist pen size B) you can get a packet of four different sizes of these in WH Smith, as with their black ones you can watercolour straight onto this without the ink smudging.

The sketch pad is from The Works at Ramsgate Garden Centre, it is just a little bit smaller than A4 has an elastic band to stop the pages blowing about and the paper is just thick enough to watercolour without going all crinkly and spoiling the pictures. I think they are either 2 or 3.99.

The brushes Winsor and Newton reversible ones (the brush bit goes in the handle so you can put them in your pocket. I got a set on ebay for about £10.

A set of paints, with a pot of water that will all go in your pocket is easier than you would think.. 

Turner managed to achieve this in the 1700s.

Decent paint is expensive, if you want the colours to look ok you need to use artists quality, it comes either in lumps called pans or half pans or in tubes and costs between about £4 and £8 a colour.

You don’t however need many different colours, I think turner used about five or six and so do I. Frankly if you try to use a lot more you will just get confused and not be able to repeat what you have done, so you don’t actually learn much. 

The rest is mostly for my ten year olds who have just received watercolour painting equipment. 

The basic techniques with cheats for anyone who can’t paint or draw are as follows.

Sketch it in with a pencil, rubbing out the bits that are wrong, until you get something that you are happy with. A propelling pencil is easier as you don’t need a sharpener and the ordinary W H Smith rubbers seem to work ok, a lot of artists use putty rubbers, I can’t get on with them.

Go over the sketch with the felt tip and then rub all the pencil out, or just paint around the pencil depending of what sort of effect you want. You can of course miss all of this out and just paint straight away onto the plain paper like the sketches of Turner and Warhol I did the other day. I can do this with faces, something I find easy, but need a few cheats for things.

Get the paper wet all over with your largest brush.

Mix up a browney yellow with some water, I used Yellow Ochre, slosh it about all over the paper so it gives it a bit of a tinge, if there were any bits you wanted to leave white it is best not to get them wet in the first place, this doesn’t work too well in sketch book where you can’t stretch the paper and things tend towards the crinkly and runny.

Mix up some blue with water, I generally use cobalt blue, and slosh this about where the sky is going to be blue, then eat your prawn cocktail. By this time things should be drying off a bit. Go over the bit that isn’t sky with some more of the yellow, if the paper is still a bit on the wet side you should get the hazy effect where the things meet the sky.

Eat your pizza, by this time the thing should be pretty much dry, so you can add some detail, the brownish bits were dark brown paint I used sepia watercolour paint, I think Turner used sepia ink watered down, probably not the wisest think to carry around in your pocket. The red bits are rose madder, which is expensive. The black bits are black watercolour paint, you can use India ink or an India ink felt tip.   

I will ramble on about this if I get time.       


  1. I wont be going there £4.50 for an orange juice. Mind you I couldnt get there due to the steps and my wheelchair dont mix!

  2. Michael, £4.50 for an orange juice!? This is Ramsgate - not a West End Hotel. You do not have to pay exorbitant prices. Offer them one third of the price, leave your name and address and advise them to sue for the rest. You won't hear from them again.

  3. 1 pint of orange juice £3, half a pint £1.50. Seems pretty standard to me (unfortunately). It would probably have been cheaper to have a beer !!

  4. I was walking past the other day and took a look at their menu. In fact £4.50 is the price for two orange juices [£2.25 each].

  5. This was for a pint of orange juice in a pint glass, it looks about the same size in the photographs as my half pint one, presumably because it is further away.


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