Saturday, 18 August 2007

Penshaw Monument

Sketching in fresh air is great. I should do it more.

I didn't get to spend long on each study, only about 10mins each, if that, as I had the kids & my cousin with me. But I found it very productive.

The first sketch is a basic study of the monument from the bottom right of the field & path. Nothing exciting here.

Then I walked to the far left of the field, changing the angle slightly, and started to look at the construction of the monument. While drawing this, I was thinking about creating a piece using collage of rubbings taken from the monument itself in different tones maybe.

This last piece I love. The monument is made of sandstone, and Penshaw and the surrounding area was full of coal mines until late in 20th century (don't get me started on Maggie Thatcher!) Anyway, the stone has been blackened by generations of coal mining & burning, and is starting now to weather away, leaving the bare sandstone beneath. I am glad that the council has so far decided not to clean the structure, as it's facade tells a story.

Anyway, the third view was drawn crouching below the corner of the monument looking up. I have always enjoyed the way that the monument seems to grow in proportions as you approach it, and the whole thing is over sized. You can't just step onto the base, you need a leg up, and the columns are massive. There's no roof to it, and I don't think there ever was. But a family tradition on seeing it any time is that my Dad always said "It'll be nice when they get the windows in!".

I deliberately drew it going off the edges of the paper, giving the impression that it's too big for me to fit it all in. I intend to make more studies, take some photos and rubbings, look at the colour of the soot and of the stone beneath, and paint a canvas similar in format to this last sketch.

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