Travel sketching in Vietnam

In April this year I was lucky to travel in and around north Vietnam on an exciting textile tour with Creative Arts Safaris – an inspiring company based in rural Pushkar, India.

I had the pleasure of drawing every day! There was so much to take in – sights, sounds, and all the people we met on our travels from Hanoi to the mountain towns and villages way north, near the border with China, and east to the coast and Ha Long Bay.

I decided to capture each day’s numerous experiences on one double-page spread in my sketchbook. I worked there and then, sometimes very quickly, and also from the hundreds of photos I took en route. Here are a few of those pages and if you fancy some Travel Sketching with me in India in 2020, find out more here! 

Food, tea, fish and snails from the market, my new much needed fan, and a few of the really delightful wooden puppets that are the stars of the traditional water puppet shows. 

Leaving a morning downpour in Hanoi and heading north. Stopping off for refreshments along the way, the landscape starts to become more hilly. We spend the afternoon in a stitching workshop and get the chance to make some exciting purchases!

     

The women and girls in the mountain regions work really hard making and selling their traditional textiles. Here this group of young girls take some time out to draw with me and they adorn my sketchbook with their colourful and lively drawings.

 

Mapping our travels north and enjoying a very strong Vietnamese coffee.

Exceptionally quick sketches from a rowing boat!

Yum! An abundance of pineapples and this is how to prepare them!

Relaxing on the boat in Ha Long Bay – it was overcast, which lent an even more mysterious atmosphere to the stunning limestone casts surrounding us.

Sewing with Mrs Yen, bananas all around us at our lunch stop, and then heading back to Hanoi.

Adventures in Art Journaling in Salisbury

Devised as Air BnB Experiences

22nd and 29th August, 5th and 12th September 9.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

I am running four Adventures in Art Journaling workshops in Salisbury, as ‘Air BnB Experiences‘!

The workshops offer a fun, creative and uniquely personal way to experience Salisbury through drawing and creative lettering.

No previous experience is necessary!

 

We’ll meet for a coffee and an introduction in The Red Lion, a Grade Two Listed 13th Century Traditional Coaching Inn, and get inspired by looking at different examples of art journaling and doing a fun warm-up exercise. I’ll provide you with a sketchbook from Salisbury’s independent art shop, Noble Art Supplies.

 

 

Create your journal page by drawing details of the things that catch your eye, make a map, capture a moment in time and reflect on the sights and sounds of the walk. I’ll support you all along the way and at the end we’ll have a chance to share our journal pages with each other, and hopefully, like me, you’ll feel inspired to carry on journaling day after day!

Click here for more details and to book a place!

 

 

 

Getting Creative along the Ridgeway National Trail

I was delighted to be invited by Sarah Wright from the Ridgeway National Trail to run an outdoor art journaling workshop on Whiteleaf Hill in Buckinghamshire, on 29th June, as part of ‘Get Creative along the Ridgeway National Trail’ – a day of talks and workshops, designed to encourage people to enjoy and find inspiration along the national trail.

I chose one of the dampest days in June to do a recce of the walk from St Dunstan’s Church in Monks Risborough, up to Whiteleaf Hill. Nevertheless it was a beautiful walk and the misty views were well worth it – along with equipping myself with knowledge of the route and identifying good points along the way to stop and draw. When I got home I made a start on my own art journal page, capturing some of my experience that day on Whiteleaf Hill. I added to this page on the day, whilst listening to the talks.

On the day itself, we were treated to a morning of talks: ‘Poems and historic routeways’ by author and one-time poet in residence for the Wessex Ridgeway, James Crowden;  ‘Painting the Ridgeway and the Nash brothers’ by artist Anna Dillon; ‘The Great Nature Writer, Richard Jefferies’, by Mike Pringle, Director of the Richard Jefferies Museum in Swindon, ending with ‘The Ridgeway’s Future’ from Simon Kearey, Chair of the Ridgeway Partnership.

In the afternoon I led my outdoor art journaling workshop with nine lovely people, (including my new friend Tim Baynes who has written a fab blogpost here) all of whom already had either a drawing and/or painting practise. We started with a one-line drawing warm-up exercise in St Dunstan’s Church and then went out to walk up the hill. En route we had a couple of very quick sketch stops, and to take photos, listen, look and make notes. I challenged everyone to make 10-second drawings!

My aim was to offer fun and easy approaches to drawing, to ultimately complete a journal page reflecting a personal experience of Whiteleaf Hill and the Ridgeway. For example, breaking up the page to capture details, rather than feeling the pressure to draw a whole scene, or adding a map and some lettering. I made a couple of resource pages for people to refer to and take away on the day.

Under the shade of the trees on Whiteleaf Hill, everyone had an hour or so to work on their pages. Whiteleaf Hill is teaming with wild flowers, impressive trees and the views from it are stunning, so there was plenty to explore and be inspired by. Everyone created  wonderful pages, which we shared at the end of the session, along with people who had participated in photography and poetry workshops, which were also on offer that afternoon.

Thank you to everyone who took part and made the day and the workshop so enjoyable for me – I came away totally inspired and want to revisit the Ridgeway National Trail again soon. I am familiar with many of the stretches in Wiltshire but am keen to explore the rest. Maybe a long walk over a number of days, with drawing along the way is in order!

There’s lots going on along The Ridgeway and you can hear all about it in a free newsletter. Email ridgeway@oxfordshire.gov.uk to join the mailing list or visit www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ridgeway

Twitter and Instagram: Follow it all @TheRidgeway1972 or  pick up the phone the National Trails Team is on 01865 810224.

 

 

Nature journaling at Langford Lakes

My friend and fellow artist James Aldridge and I visited Langford Lakes Nature Reserve in Wiltshire to spend some time drawing from the many hides dotted around the lakes.

I hadn’t been to the lakes for years so was excited to explore them again, this time with sketchbook and pens.

At the moment I’m quite interested in capturing my experience of a place by making composite drawings of the elements that take my eye, laying images and textures. Here’s the drawing, which I’ve continued to work on at home, and a few photos from the day itself.

Things to remember for next time – take binoculars, a flask of coffee and a picnic.

Things I’ve done since – ordered myself a lovely set of Stockmar beeswax coloured blocks, having borrowed and enjoyed using James’s on the day; made a start on making a mini pond in my tiny court yard garden – I don’t expect it will attract a Great Crested Grebe but hopefully a few water-loving insects and animals…then I can draw them!

January 2018 drawings

The first month of the year gone already! I found it went rather slow, and I wonder if it’s partly because I spent many hours of it doing these observational drawings. Becoming absorbed in a drawing is the best way I find to become relaxed and focused, so a relaxed and focused January can be found here!

Enjoy, and if you have any feedback, comments or questions I’d love to hear from you.

12, 13 & 14 Jan 18

Jan 12, 13 and 14 2018

22 & 23 Jan 18

3 & 4 Jan 18

Jan 3 and 4 2018

All change!

A quick post to share with you some new images on my new look blog site!

I have updated my drawing diary 2017 and sketchbook pages, and added two new pages ‘cards and prints‘ and ‘workshops‘.

I hope you enjoy these pages as much as I have enjoyed making the work and putting the pages together.

Jo

Drawing Diary development

 

I’ve been really pleased to receive such a positive response to my posts on Facebook and LinkedIn about my 2016 Drawing Diary. I want to say thank you for all the feedback and support, and I thought I would follow up with a bit of background about how it all came about.

Although an artist at heart for as long as I can remember, it started to dawn me about two years ago that I wasn’t making any art of my own at all. For the past twenty years or so I have been working in community arts development happily facilitating the creative activities of artists and communities. Over the years I tried to include some sort of personal creative activity in my life, but never managed it enough and eventually I got so busy with work that I wasn’t making any art at all. I realised that this felt like a significant lack in my life, so I set about thinking how to change things.

This began with investing in some professional coaching from Lou Hamilton, whom I had met a few years earlier when she shot a film in Swindon where I helped out for the day.

Talking with Lou set me on a path of daily drawing in the summer of 2015. I started to get up earlier to spend half an hour drawing outside before work. Almost immediately I felt the benefit. In carving out that time and simply ‘doing’ I felt like I was accomplishing something for myself and for that daily half hour I was totally absorbed and not thinking about the stresses of work or the day. I was starting to meet a deep-felt need to create and just do what I love doing. I also started to share it online and was grateful for the encouragement I received.

I also started to think about changing my work situation to enable new creative things to happen, but I wasn’t sure at that point how that would manifest.

My personal creative interests have always been around visual art, textiles and design. I love the natural world too so my sketches that summer mostly captured the goings on in my little courtyard garden, as above. I started to think about what I might draw once the winter approached.

A few years prior to this time I had become aware of and enjoyed the sketches posted from around the world on the Urban Sketchers website. In a world of photos I loved the idea that daily life from around the world was being captured and shared ‘one drawing at a time’. I started to follow a few people on Instagram and Twitter and towards the end of 2015 I saw a post from someone I’m sorry to say I don’t know the name of, who seeded the idea of making a five-minute drawing each day, of something that represented that day.

So I decided at that moment to start my own drawing diary and was intrigued about how it would go. The notion of a drawing diary works for me on many levels. I am quite a reflective person, so whilst I do either draw straight from life – (if I can, there and then) or take a photo of something that has caught my attention and draw it later – I do also like to take the time to think about my week as a whole and capture a sense of it across the two-page diary spread. I also like to consider how the page looks in terms of colour, pattern and to an extent composition, however the composition element is often accidental. I draw with a set of fine liner black pens and a set of coloured pencils. The pencils have special meaning as I bought from a sale of goods by experimental textile artist Valerie Campbell Harding, who died in 2006. They are Berol Karisma Colour Pencils, which unfortunately aren’t produced anymore. I think it’s good to use them though.

For a while I wasn’t sure if I would continue with the drawing diary in 2017, as I found that it took me much longer than five minutes a day – sometimes an hour a day – and that I wasn’t finding time for any other type of drawing practice or other creative outlet. But the feedback I got from Facebook friends and on Twitter encouraged me to carry on and I just thought that with some good time management and some clear ideas about other creative projects I could continue to fit it all in.

The greatest thing that has happened is that this daily drawing practice has allowed bigger thoughts to bubble up about what I want to do in the future, and how I want to use my own creativity professionally. In the early summer of 2016 I changed my job, becoming a freelance Arts Manager, and allowing more flexibility in my working week. Moving to a role within an Arts Centre – Town Hall Arts in Trowbridge – and meeting new people and other visual artists has been really inspiring and has opened up new opportunities. In early March I will be delivering my own ‘Adventures in Art Journaling’ course at Town Hall Arts and soon I will be doing some voluntary work with Creativity Works, both of which I am looking forward to. I am pursuing the idea of leading workshops with young people, particularly looked after young people, and I’m mulling over of some new sketching projects for myself, which include:

o   Capturing childhood memories of winter, in the village I grew up in

o   Mixed media work that represents my mum and dad

o   Objects/belongings that mean something to me

o   A visual record of local, national, international news items

Going freelance and bringing more flexibility in to my life has given me time to set up Urban Sketchers Swindon, and since September 2016 we’ve been meeting on a monthly basis to draw on location in the town.

I plan to do more blogs, and maybe even some vlogs(!) so I will let you know how I get on with all the above. I hope you enjoy this one, and if you have any questions or thoughts about it, or anything related to it, do let me know. Thank you.

Twitter: @missjobeal

Instagram: MissJoBeal

 

 

 

Link

I have created this blog to share all my work in one place. I hope you like it! Not sure when or what I’ll blog about but I could start with the chat I had in The Range today, with an older lady, about pens, coloured pencils and the art we like to make. I guess that was about sharing too.

week-45

Week 45. Views from the kitchen, mostly.