Sunday 28 September 2014

Pen and Watercolour sketch of Canterbury Cathedral from Café Mauresque

This painting of Canterbury Cathedral took about an hour. Size S Pitt Pen, and the washes are mainly Napels yellow, Paynes grey, Chrome orange and brown madder, W&N arist's quality. My thanks to the charming and friendly staff at and of course for the fantastic view of the cathedral from their outside seating. 
If you click on the photo below to expand it you will see how the cathedral dominates this view

 a very quickie of Café Mauresque
ok you wouldn't recognise it unless you knew it
and another crack at drawing the gate
 'fraid the parking ran out so i didn't get time to colour it in, oh and thanks to the students who made space for me to sit down so I could sketch it.

I have to admit that since I have been doing these sketches the positioning of public seats that actually face good views has become a real issue, a prime example being the cathedral, here in Ramsgate I would say the most iconic view would be of the red brick arches synonymous with Ramsgate, and yet I don’t think there is a public seat facing them.   
This painting of Canterbury Cathedral Gate took about half an hour. Size S Pitt Pen, and the washes are mainly Napels yellow, Paynes grey, brown madder and yellow ochre. W&N arist's quality. just cheated and put a wash on the one of the cathedral gate

Saturday 27 September 2014

Another sketch of T. S. Royalist in Ramsgate Harbour, Feast of the Sea Fest in Ramsgate today and Labour PPC Will Scobie in video about Manston Airport and Pleasurama if I can get it to work. Mebbe a ramble

I may get a chance to get back there and put some watercolour on this one, all a matter of time.

I still seem to be having trouble with the hull proportions but did a bit better with the Ramsgate in the background this time to my mind. Of course with this type of rather tenuous sketch a lot of it is about what the mind viewing it does to what isn't there.

The Feasts of the Sea Fest was was on down the seafront when I went pars and ought to be worth a visit if you are wondering what to do today.

Next a go at embedding this video of the interview with Will

The Manston issue does seem to be moving forward, with the cpo by TDC I am reminded of the person with the hammer and the screw, where having banged in the screw with a hammer they are now looking at the slot in the screw where the screwdriver goes and the hammer and trying to make some sort of connection.  

I guess slowly the people trying to make political mileage out of the situation, the people who were just lonely and wanted to be part of some sort of positive group, the people who just seem to get their kicks out of saying what’s wrong with this that and the other and of course the people who just want to protest will stand back and decide. What? Well I guess first of all what their objectives are, which if they ever were to save Manston Airport probably weren’t to support an air transport hub they couldn’t fly from that UK and EU environmental regulations would probably never have allowed to even get started.    

What about our Labour PPC then? Well frankly he still seems pretty convincing to me and I guess UKIP must be only too aware of how he beat them in the county council elections. In with a chance do you think? Personally having voted for both Labour and Conservative PPCs in previous elections, the deciding factor for me is will they make a good constituency MP? I don’t consider my own solitary vote makes any difference to the national political result but do what I can to help select an MP who is at least going to answer my emails personally and perhaps have some sort of input on local issues.   

On to the latest Manston auction, how much did the stuff fetch? Well as you can see from the link the fire engine made £7,450 and if you click on the green arrow buttons you can see what the rest of it made one way to spend your evening I suppose.

On the bookshop front we are still fairly busy at the moment and have seen a definite improvement in book sales so far this year.

I was sitting sketching the ceiling and drinking a coffee in Waterstones the big chain bookshop at Westwood Cross yesterday trying to ponder where UK bookselling is going.

The physical book as opposed to the download, E-book and so in has definitely not had its day, but a lot of what the big chain booksellers and publishers are doing at the moment suggests a bit of a misunderstanding about what is actually going on.

On the one hand in my bookshop, the non-fiction books that are selling are the ones least like websites, where either the information contained in them just isn’t on the internet or the formatting of the book is not like the formatting of websites. On the other hand a great many on the new non-fiction books coming out, when you open them up and look inside seem to look more and more like websites.

The whole issue of UK bookselling need a lot more thought at the moment, perhaps more later, here are some pictures of the children’s section in my bookshop, which I have recently expanded.    

I guess the key issue here is the manufacturers, publishers in this instance, but I guess it would apply to a lot of products, need a way of getting their products on to the high street so people can handle them and compare them with similar products made by different manufacturers.

The rub here is that it has become cheaper for the retailer to have products on a warehouse and sell them via a website.

One of the up and coming shop businesses at the moment are art galleries and what they do is to charge artists a fee to display their work for a period of time and take a percentage of the selling price of what actually sells.

There may be lessons here to be learnt by the retail world, as far as I know the only general independent bookshop that is much larger than mine, Baggins in Rochester, does this.

Though honestly when it comes to new books selling at what in the rather crazy modern retail world I can only describe as the full price, I would say with the very large W. H. Smith and Waterstones at Westwood Cross Thanet has more retail space devoted to sales than is warranted.  

Looking at the two relatively small Albion Bookshops and Geerings that closed when they opened and considering that my own sales, where the average book price is probably around an eight of theirs, I haven’t seen a very noticeable change in the demand for books in Thanet since they opened.

I short it just doesn’t make sense.      

Friday 26 September 2014

Margate Art Group (Thanet SAA) at The York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current Exhibition is by Margate Art Group (Thanet SAA). A group show with over 75 paintings on display. The exhibition runs -  24th September - 29th September.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Manston Airport and why the cpo is dead in the water, T.S. Royalist in Ramsgate Harbour and a few sketches.

The issue here is the criteria of cpos, which boils down to taking land away from a private company or individual having to be in the public interest, and this having to be decided not at district council level but at UK national government level.

Always in the case of cpos if the public interest is in the balance then the judgment is made on the side of the existing owners. So at best from the point of view of reopening the airport you can only really have a proposal that may or may not work, and may or may not provide significant economic benefit, I don’t think anyone – particularly given Manston’s history of economic failure as an airport – would or could say that any airport project on the site would be guaranteed to succeed. On the other hand you have the site’s new owner with a track record of succeeding with discovery parks, see so there is a no case to say thta thier project would definately fail. 

For a cpo to succeed you would have to go well past the balance of buying the site by cpo for another project by a different owner being more likely to succeed.

The problem here is that sma, quite a few of the TDC councillors and even an MP have managed to deluded themselves into the position where they feel that TDC have some sort of ultimate power to decide whether a cpo can take place, and seem to think that if they manage to put together some reasonable project in a similar risk band to the one the new owner is proposing then a cpo is likely to happen.

All that is happening at the moment is firstly, public money and officer time is being wasted pursuing this and secondly the politicians who haven’t worked out the situation are harming their political futures.

Essentially you have the UK government, KCC on the side of discovery parks with virtually every part of the country trying to get them in their area and then of course Thanet.

Anyway I bunged the above up as a comment yesterday and have now headed this post with it because of some of the conversations I have had with people today, this isn’t anything to do with being for or against the airport but to do with facing reality.
 Two sketches of T. S. Royalist done from the western harbour arm, in both cases the hull came out too short
 I gather she is here until the weekend so I will try to get a morning sketch (when the sun is behind me) from the eastern harbour arm where i should get a clear view of the whole hull and hopefully manage something a bit better.
 A quickie in Turner contemporary as I am working on trying to improve people's faces in sketches and on the whole there is no hassle sketching in art galleries
 A couple of sketches from Cafe G in margate
 I was particularly pleased with the sketch of the person reading a paper which was on the sofa beside her, a difficult angle to capture. Of course there is the Emanuel Kant factor here which is that the artist, me, is trying to do. what? I suppose get the viewer, you, to take the pictures that are already in your head and draw something that is a catalyst to memori, imagio feminas in this instance, sorry about the odd mixture of Latin and obscure english, but I don't think English alone has a tense for expressing the the priori concept of a non existent woman as a direct object.
 here the opposite of the width problem the thing on the top of the custom house came out too tall

Wednesday 24 September 2014

A few more goes at sketching a likeness.

This lot didn’t go particularly well as it was rather an interrupted day, even a visit to the dentist, although at my age this mostly involves taking them out and the dentist sending them off to the tooth fairies for repair.

Anyway more from the fantastic fiction site, as I am no where near the end of authors beginning with Abb I think I am going to switch over to authors that I have actually read pretty soon.

Perhaps I should have a go at the photos of councillors on the TDC website, my guess is that it is going to be several hundred sketches before I am anywhere near being able to reliably nail a likeness.

Much of the problem is related to doing what are described as field sketches although in actuality these are nearly always town sketches and as they tend to include the people who are in the frame it would be nice to be able to get a reasonable likeness.    

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Some thoughts on the Manston Airport site sale to Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave of the Discovery Park consortium at the Pfizer site in Sandwich.

I guess my first reaction as a local businessperson is thank god the uncertainty is over, frankly aviation activates at the airport have never done much harm locally, but the ongoing years of uncertainty about what the airport may turn into have.

I can’t see any circumstances where any local politician could turn down the reasonable potential for 4,000 local jobs and retain any credibility.  

Here is the video

Thanet District Council say the have already spent over £15,000 on external advice over the Manston cpo, but they won’t say how much in terms of officer hours, this expenditure seems to be based on one rejected petition and one flawed petition with no public consultation. 

I guess the truth of the matter here is that TDC were never the right level of government to attempt to buy an airport KCC perhaps as the would have represented the potential catchment area.

Of course the main concern with any use of the Manston site with any use is the drainage issue because is sits on one of the underground reservoirs that supply Thanet with drinking water. But this new use will trigger a planning application with a full environmental impact assessment so hopefully after all these years the work that various airport operators failed to do on this front will now get done.   

I don’t really see any future for a TDC lead cpo without KCC support and it appears that KCC are supporting the discovery park. Although frankly I don’t really see how there could be any grounds for a cpo directed towards a UK company that has just bought a site and has reasonable plans to create 4,000 jobs on it in by investing £1bn the next 20 years.

I asked the council leader for her reaction, here is her response

From: Iris johnston
To: michaelchild
Sent: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 20:51
Subject: Re: Manston

Thank you Michael,

I was informed of this at 8am this morning and have had two meetings today with new owners. They have gone away to discuss a number of issues but do not support the reopening of the airport. 

Thanet of course needs good well paid jobs and obviously we will need to know more about the companies that are possibly coming. No names were mentioned today and in fairness I understand the deal only went through on Friday.

A lot of information required,

In the meantime TDC have a responsibility to see the market testing and Q and A from the back to back investors finalised. This will be in a report on the 16th October to Cabinet. Due diligence etc was agreed on 31st July and I am absolutely honour bound to see this through.

The company connected to Discovery Park have as far as I can see have a good track record but I haven't seen a business plan re Manston.

Sent from my iPad

I will ramble on here as I think of things to say about this.

Fantastic Fiction, Sketching a Likeness with a Pencil and the literary parlour game called 'Humiliation'

The trouble with art, in the D.I.Y. sense is that it just isn’t like riding a bicycle, there are lots of aspects of the primary artist’s skill, which when you really get down to the nuts and bolts of the thing, is drawing something so that someone else can recognise what is you have drawn, that just get worse and worse if you don’t practice them regularly.

What I mean here is that if you reach a point where you can draw reasonable likenesses of horses (that’s Red Rum) reasonable likenesses of people (that’s the queen) and like old Stubbs you just draw horses for a while, you go to draw the king with his winner and it’s just any old king.

As I guess most people know I work in a bookshop and so I thought that while I ought to practice drawing likenesses as my ability here has gone right off, but as I like to think I am a conscientious bookseller I would start with authors.

The main website for fiction is Fantastic Fiction the authors are in alphabetical order, I have just done the ones that have photos where you can see the whole face with a background with some contrast. Embarrassing really as not only do the sketches not look much like the authors but David Lodge’s parlour game called 'Humiliation' comes to mind as I don’t think I have read any of them either.

All of the sketches were done using a B hardness 0.5mm propelling pencil on a £2.99 pad from The Works, you may have heard plenty of instruction about drawing faces, like drawing an egg first, these are about A5 size, being half of an A4 and even at this size one of the main problems is smudging your drawing with your hand. So for the most part I find you have to work from the top left corner to the bottom right, assuming you are right handed like I am.

The pictures will probably expand if clicked on compulsively, so you can see just how bad they are, I have pencilled the authors names on the pictures as I didn’t want to put them up in text with them not looking much like the people I had drawn as the search engines would have picked them up.

Hopefully a few weeks of practice and they will look more like the victims.                    

and so it goes on, even some I've read