I know I started last week’s post by professing my love of camping but I had no idea how sorely or how soon this was going to be put to the test! We were hit by the tail end of Storm Ellen and had to endure some torrential rain and some extraordinarily high winds. It got so bad at one point that, as we hunkered down in the tent, I even took to making some recordings of the noise! Here’s a quick sample – just so you can be pleased and relieved that you – hopefully – have a proper roof over your head!

Ahh, the idyllic sound of torrential rain on a tent….

In between the gale force winds and torrential rain, we did also have some delightfully bright and blustery days. Here are a couple of quick sketches of Kimmeridge. We were recommended a visit to this part of the coast in our search for fossils. When the tide goes out it reveals a large expanse of flat layers of rock. The cliffs are constantly crumbling and we narrowly missed a few rock falls.

Kimmeridge beach

I still feel that I’m getting used to the new sketchbook, even though it’s made of the same Saunders Waterford 300gsm rough paper that I most commonly paint with. The pages are nicely stitched and are able to lie flat when opened out – which is perfect for these long landscape formats.

Kimmeridge beach

And here’s my pick of the bunch of the many fossils that we found whilst at Kimmeridge, a sizeable slab laden with ammonites:

One of our fossil finds

It was quite a relief to pack up our camping kit with only a few tears on the tent that will need repairing before our next outing! My holiday has since continued as a more traditional ‘staycation’. This basically means staying at home and doing lots of chores and DIY, hence not having much time to spend painting!

One of our outings since our return was a little trip along the coast to Worthing, where we had yet another bright and blustery walk along the seafront. Here’s another quick sketch looking West along the seafront with Worthing pier in the distance.

Worthing seafront

I think that my sketchbook is going go become increasingly important to me over the weeks ahead as I’m feeling quite lacking in inspiration to tackle anything more substantial at the moment.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I really ought to spend more time with my sketchbooks for all manner of reasons. I do, however, feel quite distracted at the moment by lots of domestic matters: my partner’s return to work teaching; my daughter’s imminent return to school and my own return to ‘home working’ – which I’ll most likely be doing until the new year.

With all this going on, it feels like my painting has been forced to take a back seat for a while. Hopefully my sketchbook will provide me with a means of keeping my brushes wet!

8 thoughts on “A few more holiday sketches

  1. Hello John! Sorry your vacation was. Flop. Shit happens sometimes though! I’m still ‘guarantined’ but I made my first venture to a grocery store today and it was a thrill for a change! It was a smaller, fancier one and it was actually fun to pick out my own foods! Also have now gone out to eat twice since we could opt to eat outdoors with tables well spaced. Another ‘first ina long time! Other than that, I’m taking a break from watercolors too though I just did a card for a neighbor who lost both parents within a week! Other than that I’ busy doing miniature books! Struggling to learn how to use my new Gelli printing plates and acrylic paints. It’s more of a craft than fine art but spurs on my creativity and the mini books (one is 2inches square, the 2nd one 3 inches square. I have workmen here too when it’s not raining, regrouting between the bricks in my way too large rear patio, and one inside at the corner where I am trying to do the printing so that project keeps being disrupted meaning life’s a bit disruptive now!
    I enjoyed the sketch of the beach with se pole and that great dark hillside filled with fossils. Nice to see more colorful paintings from you!

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    1. Thanks for this Margery and so pleased to hear that you’ve been able to get out and about a little bit – good for the soul I’m sure! Also good to have some new creative projects on the go too. I’ve hit a bit of a wall at the moment. A combination of lack of inspiration and enthusiasm plus lots of other things that I need to focus on (the past few weeks have mainly been spent on researching and investing in new equipment for an improved home office arrangement. I’ve been struggling by since the pandemic started but, as this is going to drag on for quite a while yet, I’ve decided that I need to make some serious improvements (which has also involved quite a bit of DIY – which I always see as a different type of creativity!)

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  2. It’s always interesting to see how the weather and Covid-19 are working together to create havoc in our lives. In the US, we have Hurricane Laura and the wildfires burning through California. Activities normally done away from home occur far less these days, and boredom and repetition dull the creative mood a lot! It’s hard to stay motivated. I think your sketchbook will prove helpful as it is something to play with rather than aim for a masterpiece. Looking forward to seeing more work.

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    1. Thanks so much for this. The weather and Covid are proving to be remarkable levellers in so many ways! I can’t imagine anything else that would lead to so many of us simultaneously experiencing the exact same challenges wherever we happen to be in the world! For me I’m currently experiencing a bit of a creative slump. By now I’ve usually been able to replenish my well of inspiration with various trips and holidays. With few travels and generally surrounded by the overly familiar I’m finding that my well is fast running dry! Hope that you’re finding ways to navigate these challenges!

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      1. I like to travel online – such as picking a place an then looking at images of it. Eventually I create a painting based on where I “visited” – fun thing to do! Google Earth is another good way to “travel”.

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      2. Thanks so much for this – really good idea. I’ve tried similar things in the past (most recently when I was searching for palm trees and train stations). I mainly did this on pinterest though. I like the idea of exploring some of the places that I haven’t been able to visit this year though! Thanks so much for the advice, it’s much appreciated!

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  3. Luckily my camping days are over so it’s great to hear the recording and remember what I’m missing! My son was camping just outside Bere Regis over last weekend so he caught the tail end of it himself – but nothing like that. Great sketches of Kimmeridge; I know the area quite well. I hope the so-called new normal suits you once everything settles down; I have a similar situation here except that it’s my wife who’s working from home instead of going into the office. I work at the end of the garden so it doesn’t make a great deal of difference to me!

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    1. Glad that the recording made you appreciate what you’re not missing! I was really taken with that area and the coastline there and it’s definitely given me a taste for some further exploring. Now that I know my new normal will be going on for some time now, I’m busily trying to sort out my home office (starting with a second hand Herman Miller chair, a Setu one, sadly not the aeron!) It’s nice to do a bit of DIY again to be honest. I should probably be missing my painting more but it’s nice to have a bit of a break / change of focus!!

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