This January I had been asked to draw St Peters Barn in St Germans, and arranged to take reference photographs in a day or so. It was clear that I would be unable to set up an opposite as is my normal practice, owing to the cold weather.
If I'm out on location in the winter I generally wear up to at least three layers. When I'm working on the Downham Market square - I can easily give the Michelin Man a run - or more like a steady jog - for his money when I'm all togged up.
With the unexpected arrival of a healthy snow drift I was unable to take photos for anything other than a festive winter's scene.
Hmm, not the clients brief - nice idea though.
|Work in progress - pencil and ink.|
If I recall correctly the snow settled for about two weeks or so, which is how long that particular meteorological spanner was in the works. The snows cleared virtually overnight with the advent of a deluge like rainstorm - much to the disappointment of the county's schoolchildren who'd managed via high weather alerts to get the occasional day off from school.
I recall when eight year's old, walking with my sisters through the snow up hill and down dale (ok - alleyway), to St Peter's Primary School in Surrey, only to congregate in the assembly hall/vestibule and after due diligence by those in authority, to be sent home early.
Oh the joy was almost palpable!
In the 1960's not much would stop you going to school...
My happiness was redoubled that Tuesday morning when finally arriving home - snowballs having been thrown and snowmen made on the way - that I discovered that week's TV21 Comic had been delivered.
|Prophetic headline from mid 1960s|
Back in the 21st century - just so you know - I did manage to visit St Peter's Barn and take plenty of reference shots. I also got a general feel of the place while I was there - I always find I can make a greater connection with a subject when I'm sitting in front of it - a communion of sorts that is absent when working just from photographs.
Still, as the drawing progressed over a couple of weeks there was certainly no spirit or character missing from the drawing as it approached it's conclusion.
Unlike 'Border House' where I recreated a summer scene, we decided to keep St Peter's Barn as an winter scenario with autumnal trees and shrubs. I feel the finished commission acquired an almost 1970's architectural and rustic feel to it.
As is invariably the case I had no idea how the drawing was going to turn out, and am very pleased with the result.
What do you think?