It’s fun to take my sketchbook along on a walk instead of the camera, although it doesn’t half slow down progress! But what I lose in distance covered and numbers of images, I gain in terms of the quality of the scene imprinted on my memory. Places that I’ve sat and sketched are much more vivid in my mind, even years later.
To be honest, I don’t take my sketchbook out and about around Vrboska as much as I should do. It’s usually my camera I pick up for those early morning or late afternoon strolls around town. And then afterwards, I’ll spend happy hours in the studio with my favourite views, learning the details that way. Some may even make it into a finished painting, who knows!
Personally, I like to home in on small details, such as an old faded door with an interesting pattern of brickwork on the wall of the balcony. It’s a beautiful old stone house, right on the waterfront and I’d love to see it restored one day. So much character!
Across the harbour an old boat sits on the slipway, just disintegrating away. The peeling paint makes for an interesting texture, and a chance to try out some dry-brush techniques.
Sometimes it’s not about the details, but capturing a feeling. In early May, a garden near the church was a lovely bright meadow of dancing red poppies, so cheery in the sunshine. Sad to say, the day after I took the photo, the grass had been scythed and the poppies were flattened. Ah, the practicalities of preparing the vegetable patch for the season!
Talking of Vrboska’s famous church, I’m always trying to find a new angle on Sv Marija, which has to be the most-photographed object in town. This is again from May, when I caught it with a chorus line of dancing poppies in the foreground.
These simple ink and watercolour sketches evoke the time and place for me so much more effectively than the original photographs. They’ve been through another layer of processing, via my eyes through the rather convoluted pathways of my brain and on down to the brush in my hand. Well, no wonder my paintings never match the photographs!