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  • Writer's pictureWill Topley

If paintings were plants…

If paintings were plants then drawing would be the root system.

Usually I draw something out on paper with a pencil before starting a painting. It may be to establish the composition or to understand what is happening in front of me but even if the drawing takes a couple of days it saves time in the end. I also like to sketch when I go out, the desire to do this can become something like a need and I find it enhances many things. I love doing portraits and drawing people as they go about their business is a great challenge. You never quite know where the pose will settle as they move from one action to another. Concerts are great places to draw, the players move from one position to another and back again and you can usually fine a pose that they return to.

Here is Maggie Faultless playing Purcell last year. She is a top class violinist who plays in old Churches under the title Music for a While

Last night we went to see Donazetti’s La Fille du Regiment.

The performance was in English and directed by Jeff Clarke. The action was set in California and characters were transformed from being soldiers in an army regiment into bikers from a gang called “The Regiment”. In the first half I drew a scene from the Opera trying to catch the auditorium which is wonderfully intimate with a capacity of less than 100. The performances take place in an old Italian Cloister in Iford Manor gardens, a famously beautiful garden in a wonderful location in the Wiltshire countryside.

Donazetti La Fille du Regiment web

Act 1 La Fille du Regiment I draw in a leather notebook filled with loose pages and was using an ebook reader light called a Kandle. At the start of the second half someone in the row behind and 2 seats along told me she found the light distracting so I just watched the performance without doing any more drawing. I had wanted to draw some details of the action, particularly the bit when the bikers come on with motorbike chromed handlebars attached to forks and front wheels – what a sight! I’ll have to give the light idea more thought but I hope to find a way to keep the light from shing out at people. It could of course be that she was just jealous.

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