Friday, 1 February 2013

Belgian Café Ramsgate pen and watercolour sketch this evening.

We stopped off at the Belgian Café for a drink this evening, as ever it is only when I get back home I can tell whether I used roughly the right colours.

I would have done a cartoon today, but there really wasn't anything much funny in the news that I could see.

Walking back through Ramsgate at 9.30 I was struck by how quiet the pubs and restaurants were for a Friday night. I guess with the English Pub so often a thing of the past I do wonder why there is such a disparity between the cost price of drinks and the prices charged in pubs. I am pretty sure the ordinary strength beers have a cost price of less than £1 a pint.

I hope there will be a few pictures taken inside the Belgian Café so you can fit the sketch together if you don’t know it.    

 The materials are Winsor and Newton artists quality watercolours, olive green, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, lemon yellow nickel titanate, yellow ochre, burnt umber, ivory back, paynes grey, daveys grey, rose madder, brown madder alizarin. Sketch drawn with a Pitt Pen size S. The Winsor and Newton field paintboxes that that have a water container incorporated can be found on ebay, you only have to remove the paints that you don’t get on with and squirt in the colours you do. Winsor and Newton field brush sets are also available on ebay. The paper pad pictured is the Boldmere one obtainable from The Works, the Ramsgate branch being in the garden centre.

The only thing you can't buy is brown madder alizarin as Winsor and Newton don’t make it anymore, it  says 2/7 on my tube which has helpfully been converted to 12p, so if you manage to hold of a tube it will probably last some time.

I guess another dark red would do the job. If you intend to paint in surroundings where there isn’t really enough light to see the colours you are mixing up, it is best to have a few colours that you are fairly familiar with, rather than a lot that could be anything.     

I think the idea is to try to paint and draw something that couldn’t be produced by copying photographs i.e. could only be produced by being there doing it and of course something that looks like the Belgian Café looked this evening but doesn’t look like a photo could.  

I guess that I am very lucky to be able to paint and draw just for my own satisfaction


  1. Very informative Michael, might have a go this weekend again myself.
    Brown Madder Alizarin, which I bought at The Range just before Christmas, is it rare down your way?
    We are going back there this weekend; I will have a look to see if they have one on the shelf. You never know, I might be lucky.

  2. Alan if it is the Winsor and Newton Artists quality Brown Madder Alizarin I should very much like another tube and will reimburse you if you manage to get me one.

    1. Sorry Michael, visiting The Range this weekend I found the shelves so depleted and in disarray, as if nothing had been replenished since Christmas. I will keep looking though; you never know I might strike lucky and if so, promise to keep you in mind if I find that colour when we go into town.

    2. Alan thanks for trying, I did manage to get a partly used tube on Ebay a while ago, W&N discontinued it a while ago some of their documentation says use carmine instead and some brown madder instead, I don’t get on with either so well.

      If you do manage to get some there are some other people I know who would like a tube too.

  3. The reason that beer is so expensive is quite simply down to the amount of tax. A pint of beer costing £3 consists of around £1.05 of tax. Say the cost of the beer is £1 per pint, that leaves a "profit" to the landlord of 95p per pint. Factor in your gas, wastage and then the usual costs associated with running a business and there's not a lot of profit in the trade !

    1. Ross, my understanding is that the duty on beer is paid by the brewer and the cost price of around £1 per pint would be duty paid, I was also assuming the cost price to include VAT which is 20%, these figures are in the same ball park as off-licence prices. We are looking at something along the lines of the brewer pays 47p of tax per pint he brews and charges the free house pub around 80p per pint plus 20p VAT which the publican can claim back. Assuming the publican charged £2 per pint 40p of this would be VAT which the publican had to pay the taxman.

      Essentially this means that the publican would be making 80p per pint, there are various complex rules to cover taxation on spoilt beer, but these basically boil down to the brewer taking it back and crediting the publican.

      I guess I am looking back here to the early 70s when I last did any bar work the mark up on ordinary beers was about double the cost price, having just been to the supermarket where some of the weaker bears were retailing for less than 70p per pint, there must be some potential here.

  4. enjoying the watercolours very much. art is always so much more interesting and characterful than photography, street photography excepted. also like the use of subdued colours like brown madder alizarin.

    1. Me too, I find I hardly look at the photos I have taken but the paintings and drawings, no matter how bad, get a lot of going back to


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