DRAWING LIGHT AND SHADE…

and the dramatic potential of the humble pencil…

My recent post on line drawing was so well received that I thought I would follow it up with this look at a set of my more studied drawings from 1996.

The images here will be familiar to some, as they form the basis of one of my most successful and enduring themes, which I returned to many times over the course of decade or more. It all started with a casual photo-shoot on the sunny south terrace of our Spanish home, when my wife Dido (the blonde lady in these pictures) and Lynne, an old ballet pal of hers, performed a variety of impromptu poses for my camera. Mostly, they involved dance (see this related post), but they also acted these three, far more contemplative vignettes.

Unlike line drawing sketches, these take account of light and shade as much as form, giving them a more obvious dramatic content. But, as with line sketching, often, what is left undrawn, is as important to the feel of the picture as what is drawn. In the case of these works, it was my intention that the whiteness of the untouched paper in contrast to the painstakingly executed figures, and the shadows they contain and cast, would accentuate the feeling of the harsh Spanish sun, saturating the tender friendship of the two girls.

All in all, I think they succeed pretty well, and for me at least, remain precious moments captured in lead.

Dido and Lynne 1 – 1996 – pencil on paper
Dido and Lynne 2 – 1996 – pencil on paper
Dido and Lynne 3 – 1996 – pencil on paper

VIEWS FROM THE ROCK…

anD ONE OF THE ROCK…

Normally, we fly to and from Malaga airport when traveling to our Spanish home from the UK, but due to COVID-19 flight disruptions we were forced to fly in and out of Gibraltar this past trip. Not having been to Gibraltar for more than twenty years, and with mostly bad memories of the place, we were not too happy about this particular expedience. However, we found it almost unrecognisable in the harbour areas especially, where there has been billions of pounds of investment in new port-side developments. We also sensed an energy and a confidence about the town which was missing before, making it a far more pleasant place than we remembered to spend time in.

Sadly, Gibraltar’s gastronomy has yet to get the same overhaul as much of its architecture, and remains firmly stuck in the Britain of the 50’s and 60’s. Those wishing for a decent meal, that isn’t fish and chips, or a full English, are best advised to walk across the border into the Spanish town of La Línea de la Concepción.

Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our little break, which offered plenty of nourishing fair for the eyes, if not for the stomach…

1) LOOKING SOUTHWEST: We stayed at the famous Rock Hotel, which offers splendid panoramic views of the bay, Algeciras, and across the straights to Morocco, where sits the mountain in this picture, Jebel Musa – widely believed to be the Rock of Gibraltar‘s fellow “Pillar of Hercules…”
2) LOOKING NORTHWEST: Algeciras – one of Spain’s busiest cargo ports – lies across the Bay of Gibraltar (Bay of Algeciras for the Spanish) and together with Gibraltar’s own, far smaller harbour, offers a constantly changing vista of animated shipping. A ship spotters paradise…
A small container ship leaving Gibraltar shortly before sunset, heading for the Straights and the Atlantic Ocean beyond…
3) The La Alameda Botanic Gardens were just across the road from the hotel, and although dating from 1816, were new to us, and were a particularly exotic and lush surprise…
4) Although relatively small, the gardens are beautifully laid out, and crammed full of flora and fauna from all over the world…
5) Of all the airport lounge views we have ever seen, this takes some beating.