2.2 Wish You Were Here: Aldeburgh

From Illustration 2 Assignments 2 and 4. But mostly from new sketches and paintings on iPad, and fine art prints.

Assignment 4 ‘You Are Here’ from Illustration 2.

Creatively explore the statement ‘you are here’. Produce either a short self-published fanzine, graphic novel or artist’s book; an on-line interactive experience; a piece of street art; or an illustrative object.

This is a very open brief, so it allows you plenty of room for exploration and creativity. ‘You are here’ can suggest a site-specific approach, an historical perspective, or you could be philosophical or humorous or both! Remember it’s an illustration project so, whatever you decide to do, make sure it focuses on developing your illustrative work in some way.

Process of development

I decided to base this assignment on a week’s holiday in June 2017 at the time of the Aldeburgh music festival. The main linking narrative was a diary of my thoughts over the 7 days, exploring a number of questions:

  • Who is meant by ‘you’? Myself?  An absent imaginary friend you wish was here? A voyeur always watching? Unseen presence of different artists who affect one’s perception of the place?
  • Where or what is ‘here’? Which ‘here’ are ‘you’ at? Different focus and viewpoint.
  • When? places change over time – even over a few seconds – short term, long term, historical perspective and layers – the past is always present
  • Subjective perception, exploration and deepening understanding over time
  • Imagination and how I want things to be. The ‘here’ I want you to see (if I like you) Selective erasure (eg cars and rubbish bins)

Although these questions might at first appear rather philosophical (that was encouraged by the brief), they have important implications for other types of documentary and travel illustration. Going beyond just sketching and recording what can never be ‘objective observations’ to make more explicit and interesting the biases and thoughts of the illustrator.

The work itself went through many stages after the holiday as my ideas, and also iPad skills, developed around these questions. It evolved from ‘Aldeburgh reality’ into a journey of imaginative and artistic exploration, often using found textures and images to create stories around the place.

Preparation

I have been to Aldeburgh many times over the last 40 years. Generally just for day trips and very short family breaks, never really looking much below the surface. I had sketched the place for Project 2.1a Drawing on the Familiar, and Project 2.1b Drawing on Location .

Before leaving for holiday I did a review of different types of art that other artists had produced in Aldeburgh from a webs search and my notes on different artists who had displayed their work at Snape Gallery and in the commercial art galleries in the town. I also read up more about Benjamin Britten, the Scallop and as much as I could find on Aldeburgh on the Internet.

Idea 1: ‘Stream of Consciousness’ digital sketchbook.

Initially I intended to improve my iPad sketching skills and do a sort of ‘stream of consciousness’ sketchbook, maybe focusing on a particular style each day to reflect mood, colours etc. I had made a provisional list of areas where I might focus each day:

  • Wide shingle beach.
  • Scallop and furore as symbol of the underlying conflicts.
  • Fishermen and sea
  • Seagulls flocking
  • Tourists.
  • Holiday homes.
  • Castle and vulnerability to the sea.

But on the first day when I tried to this I found the iPad difficult to use for live sketching because of RSI. In addition the weather was too cold for sketching for long. So we spent the morning at the Maggi Hambling exhibition ‘On the Edge’ that I found very inspiring. (see Post on Maggi Hambling). The rest of the day was spent thinking, listening to the radio and reading in the van and talking to my partner about ideas. It was a holiday after all!

I had not really used the iPad for more than conventional painting and compositing. I started experimenting with  iPad styles to see what I could recreate and/or create from my own images. My initial attempts at recreating images were not good.

But when I just started to play rather than recreate sketches, things started to become more interesting.

My ideas about what I was trying to achieve changed – as the first day had not gone to plan in ways that were likely also to be true for the rest of the holiday. And RSI issues sketching on location as originally intended.

The diary became not so much a record of what I did and saw, but my responses to my surroundings in the light of things that I was hearing on the radio and reading. See Aldeburgh Diary of rough notes and photos kept each day.

Aiming to produce a mixture of working from earlier sketches, photographs taken on this holiday, then sketchbook work developed from these later, composited on the iPad.

Idea 2: Aldeburgh in textures: animated slideshow

As I explored Aldeburgh more, I started to notice all the textures and potential textures in the stonework, flakey paint and on the boats. I found a fascinating history of Aldeburgh in the secondhand bookshop. H.P.Clodd ‘Aldeburgh: The History of an Ancient Borough’ 1959 based on in-depth analysis of the town records. I also found a book called ‘The Wild Man of Orford’ by And slowly the two things started to come together as I started to see images of Vikings and Armada fleets in the textures.

The images that gave me the original idea were little pictures in the flint of the Moot hall. It was erected probably between 1520 and 1540 in reign of Henry VIII when Aldeburgh was at the height of its prosperity. In 1594 the coastline was much further to the east with two streets and transverse roads to the beach. The Moot Hall was in the centre, but is now near the sea. Later I started to take more photos of rusty boats, chipboard, old wooden boards etc.

I started to work more on the photos in Procreate, planning to do an animated slideshow with sound effects and music in October when I was back home from work in Philippines.

I started to learn After Effects – particularly 3D animation to separate photos into focal planes that could then be manipulated. The images would be further processed in Procreate and/or Photoshop, sequenced as a narrative, broadly covering parts of history, but mainly aiming for atmospheric effect and developing my digital and animation skills. The animation would be completed in Photoshop, Premiere Pro and After Effects.

I was partly inspired by animation of Yang Yong Liang with his dark backlit images that change over time.

I had started to work out a narrative based on  the diary, but linking notes, photos and also the Procreate images by theme rather than day, and reordering these to give some narrative development. My rough notes and thoughts can be found in:

Edge 1: On the Edge

Edge 2: Seafaring

Edge 3: Moot Histories

Edge 4:Town and Marsh

Edge 5: Wild Man

Edge 6: Nets

Edge 7: Kunst Macht Frei

However because of RSI and the heavy load of work on pc at a time when I had a lot of work pressure, I have not been able to complete this. It is something I plan to work further on at level 3.

Idea 3 Interactive page on my professional website

I then thought of an interactive pdf along the lines of that I was working on for Assignment 5: Oromia: Journey Reflections But I did not really want to just repeat the same model. I was also not sure for the material on Aldeburgh that it would be the best option – the images are not large collages where zooming in is an added value. One of the aims of the Aldeburgh images is to promote my skills as an illustrator – if I develop these and adapt to the market, they have more marketable potential in the longer term than work on Ethiopia for a charitable NGO or overseas audience who have little money.

So I decided to develop an interactive web section on the professional SMUGMUG website I am developing for my photography, illustration, printmaking and art. I wanted to explore the full potential of this as a medium for communication as well as promotion through looking at different layouts, slideshows and text possibilities.

My ideas continued to evolve as I worked on this, working within the constraints of the website format. The final version so far can be see on:

http://www.zemniimages.com/Illustration/From-the-Edge

Diary

Based on a diary, photographs and sketches from Aldeburgh, June 2017. This evolved from a ‘stream of consciousness’ iPad sketching idea to a much more reflective process of including iPad manipulation of found images to create narratives reflecting issues, history and folklore of Aldeburgh. These were compiled as an interactive webpage on the professional photography and illustration website I am developing: http://www.zemniimages.com/Illustration/From-the-Edge.

Tuesday 13th June

Cloudy and windy 20C
Reith lectures. The day is for the living Hillary Mantell. About history and fiction. Lots of imperfect perspective fragments and filling in the gaps.
Podcast
Read Ronald Blythe and look through history photos. Storms and Slaughden.
Sorted sketchbook.
Afternoon go to museum. Old Anglo Saxon, and Roman dig.
See Museum website
Back through churchyard with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. and along leafy tunnel lane.

Experimented with Procreate to program on gouache, pastel and ink bleed brushes.
Went back through carnival sketches.
Feeling despondent – not enough time and too much to learn. About technique and about drawing.

 About the moot hall

Built of red brick with timber insertions. External staircase access to upper storey which overhangs the base, used as council chamber and justices room. Beneath it are iron bars of the cell formerly used as a gaol or lockup. A Sundial was added in 1560 for 7s6d.
The ground floor was at one time partly open to allow space for market stall-holders. The square around it was used as market place with a market cross – now a war memorial. A row of capstans along the beach show fishermen landed their catches at this point because of easy access to the market place.
In 1818 quarter sessions it was reported that ‘the gaol is out of repair and should be adapted for the purpose of a prison consistent with the safe custody, health and necessary comfort of the prisoners.
Restored 1854. Decorated chimneys replicas of those originally erected in 16c.
Two poles at the top of the west hill were probably used to hoist flags and lanterns at night to help as guides in bad weather for fishermen to locate that part of the beach where their catches were to be landed in safety.

History notes

 

Roman

Possibly an important roman station which is why road is to north. Slaughden just fishing. Found roman pottery etc in the marshes.

Aldeburc

Earliest recorded name in domesday book. Burc as fort. Seo ealde burh. The old borough. Burg as earthwork or fortified town. The nearby village name ‘Iken’ is from ‘Iceni’ tribe.

Viking

Attacks in east anglia from at least 10c. 993 anlaf sailed up the river orwell and sacked ipswpich. 1010 danes landed in force. Burial grounds between aldeburgh and snape show were piratical attacks. Need forfort near alde or on site of church.Early british and viking finds together.Foumd remains of a ship within which, under sepulchral chamber was skeleton of chief who commanded it. On his finger bone was a ring of gold set with intaglio that had been treasure of a roman. At his side lay his trusty sword, near his short blade of steel. Locks of auburn hair and fragment of comb. Fragments of a green glass vessel. Over 11 inches. Also early british pottery. The viking chief must have died on a pirate raid, and buried by his followers.

AngloSaxon

Originally part of See and Priory of Ely. Later Priory of Snape.
With manor in saxon times by uluric. Domesday area reduced. 2 chrches with 60 acres.
1099 manor and church of Aldeburc owned by William Martel. 1155 bequeathed to Bemedictnes of StJohn of Colchester. Right to flotsam and jetsom.
Wednesday market
Aldeburgh formed one of several communities in hundred of plomesgate which extended from saxmundgam and framlingham in north to wickham market in south.
King alfred crated counties, hundreds (100 families/land area?) and tithings (10). Tithings were composed of 10 families dwelling btogether and bound for each others behaviour. Developed into parishes, then hundreds. Hundred was basis of geld assessment and rating.
Business of hundred was in a hundred mote or moot. As court of judicature.

Tudor

In Tudor times Aldeburgh was a major shipmaking centre, producing ships for the Elizabethan fleet against the Armada.

1524 granted by Henry VIII to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. 1547 created a borough by Edward VI.
Common seal. 1561. Incorporated bailiffs and burgesses.
‘This ship in the waves of the sea, all sayles bearinge, with a Lyon rampant in the mayne sayle, is assigned and granted unto ye Baylyffs and Burgesses of ye borough of Aldeborough. ‘Azure on Water in Case an ancient ship of three masts in full sail a Ladder affixed to the side amidships proper the mainsail charged with a Lion rampant the fore and aft sails and pennons each charged with a Cross Gules.’

Sea peas

1562 famine caused by blight siezing corn in full bloom made it inedible, saved by miraculous appearance of bountiful crop of pease on sea shore near orford. Seen as gift from heaven.
Seapeas were staple of. The poor. Crop was said to hae sprouted from a cargo of pease washed ashore from a shipwrecked ship loaded with a crago of peat. But it is different from domestic peas – small and bitter. Probably was there all the time. Then people notiiced it in the famine. It enabled people to survive.
Following autumnn was a good corn crop.
But 1594-97 was a series of bad harvests. But provision for the poor was one of best in europe.
1568 petition for a Saturday market – emphasise importance of fishing industry.
‘Yearly adventure and setting forth of so many fisher boats for herring boats as contain 800 mariners, and there are yearly taken 10000 lasts (fish) at the least, and 300 mariners for the sprat fare (season) taking yearly 3000 lasts; and fourteen ships and crayers are yearly manned into Iceland and North seas having 140 mariners at the least, taking yearly in the time of pax (peace) three or four thousand lings and cods. And there is a yearly set forth 100 mariners on mackrell fare, and in addition twenty sail of ships yearly in merchandise, having 130 mariners by means of which in time of wars the Queen and her progenitors have been served with divers ships, and with 100 or 200, and sometimes more, mariners.’
Fir proporion came from neighbouring townsan villages along ‘sailior’s walk from snape to blackheath. But over 1300 men shows importance of aldeburgh as centre of trade.
…the Wednesday market cannot supply half what is required, and the inhabitants have been served with victuals from neighbouring towns and villages… (competition from Dunwich traders)
The inhabitants at their own cost not only defend the borough from attacks in time of war, but also are a shield and defence to such part of the country as is nigh…for our borough is populous and so known to the enemy which is a terror and fear to them, and were it not that ward and watch were kept day and night the town would inevitably suffer. And not onloy this for had it not been for help at critical times by Aldeburgh mariners ships from Lowestoft, Woodbridge and Ipswich, and divers other towns would inevitably have fallen into the hands of the enemy.’ All had been done without recompense, and the ships in the bay had been helped with anchors, cables etc.
Elizabeth granted Saturday market. 9-3 in summer and 10-2 in winter.early hours ‘to stop the tricks of country butchers who brought corrupt and unwholesome meat into the market, and orolonged and deferred the sale thereof until nighttime, and do then bring out and sell the same by candlelight, when thequality thereof cannot be so weel discerned as in the daytime, whereby many people are much deceived and wronged.’
12 inn keepers. Forbiddem to supply mens servants after 8pm.
Shipwrights, barbers, ropemaker, foreign shoemaker, cobbler, foreign victualler and husbandsman. Foreign meanng from nearbyb townsand villages. Traders p43.
Marketplace had 16 stalls, 9 butchers and 5 cobblers. Demand for meat from passing ships.
Competition from saxmundham traders.
Great increase in vagrancy in tudor times. From suppression of monasteries, but also people seeking work and soldiers discharged from wars of roses, serviong men dismissed by gentry who had no money,, ploughmen out of work by enclosures of pastures, and bad harvests. ‘Tramps’.
Whipping post. A female delinquejt , forgas, had to be chastised over many yars ‘incorrigible maide’. Remained in use till 1631.
The whipping of ;’sturdy beggars’ was found to be no solution. Find employment forbthose, and charity for the impotent.
Blinde harry 1586 given 25s and 15s to buy musical instruments. Then apprenticed to a Peter for £10.
Poor relief was complusory by end elizabeth’s reign. Under stuart kings was a duty prescribed by national legislation for local authorities.
Court of Pie-powder. Deal with debt and trspass on local fairgrounds and markets. Justice so swift that people served ‘before dust shaken off feet’.
Made first election to parliament 1571.

Plague

Endemic. 1568 46 deaths, 1569 40. Entire lack of hygiene. Early 17c order issued forbidding ‘casting of muck, ashes, coaldust, sweepings and other noisome things into the streets, lakes, footpaths, etc., of this borough under penalty of 3s.4d.’
Mother bennet 1572 ran a nursing home…p45
Mr loggye new surgeom 1574 but still many shrouds. Cut off limbs etc.
Woman doctor for curing sore heads and legs for poor people.
Men less leg trouble.

Outdwellers

Poorer inhabitants rented out to outdwellers. But these often left without paying.

17c

Troubled period for coast towns of east anglia. Threats of war by spain. Pirates from dunkirk, civil war and 3 dutch wars. Loss of sailors and ships, heavy charges for ordnance, and of men for watching the coast. Cost of constructing jetties and groynes against sea encroachment.
Reasonably wealthy. But laxity in granting unsecured loans.
Festivals, repairetc expenses. Pp48-49.
A lot of expenses for entertaining offocial guests at election time.
1626 plague came again.
1646 smallpox and again 1653

18c

Early 18c admin of poor law relief in hands of church,
First innoculations – but peopl tried to avoid.
1770 appointed a medical officer for the borough.

Victorians

Victorian tmes ‘aldeburgh-next-the-sea’ aldeburgh-on-the-sea-coast’.

On the Edge

My overwhelming inspiration on this first day was the visit to the Maggi Hambling exhibition ‘On the Edge’ at the Peter Peer’s gallery.
Aldeburgh itself is ‘on the edge’ in a number of ways:

  • the extreme vulnerability to the encroachment of the sea that has halved the land originally occupied in Aldeburgh and nearby Thorpeness and Orford – currently generally held at bay with barriers and groynes, but threatened in the longer term by global warming.
  • to the North the skyline is dominated by Sizewell nuclear power station – with periodic leaks though none so far serious.

The holiday was just after the June general election. Radio discussions on election fall out were playing on a popular mood of shock and uncertainty, reinforcing feelings of anxiety from Hambling’s Edge.

Development of the images

The images themselves were made from sharp rusty edges of ageing tractors used to pull the fishing boats.

Over the Edge

Born of volcanic rust

Raven

Sunday 11th June diary

Arrived late on Saturday 10th June, camp and eat.
Sunday morning:
Sun and cloud. 18/19c Windy. 18/19.
Smell of mown grass.
Cuckoos in the morning.
Walk into town in the morning. See Maggi Hambling‘s Edge Exhibition and Walls of Water.

Edge is more political than much of her earlier work on the sea, dealing with the refugee crisis, battle for Aleppo and global warming.

It is called Edge because I feel we are ‘on the edge’. There is a fragility to our existence – both ours and the planet and these works attempt to address that and strike up a dialogue with whoever is looking at them.

The paintings are large, with characteristic dramatic swirls of texture, that then on further looking show fine detail – people, remains of buildings and boats caught up in the chaos. The global warming paintings have a lot of gold, echoing renaissance paintings – but gold is now a reference to greed.
See: article by Andrew Clarke: Maggi Hambling creates new show about life on the edge
At the same exhibition were also the Walls of Water paintings I had seen before. And a selection of her books on sale.

Band on beach. Acoustic guitar. But not many people. Town feels quite empty.
On the walk back for lunch I do video and photos of sea.

Wave Video
Back in the van in the afternoon I did some iPad experiments inspired by Hambling’s Edge and waves. Exploring oil painting brushes, transparency lock and compositing to produce different textures. Trying to capture some of the drama and anger of the Edge.
I also looked at looked at some books of illustration I had brought with me for some ideas on how I might structure a book on Aldeburgh:

  • Olivia Lomenech Gill ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’ a book my daughter had bought me for Xmas. An advert for her exhibition ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was in the supermarket. I wanted to study her style – multilayered paint and mixed media on top with white gouache, erasing, often on brown paper. Pencil sketching and very good drawing. Use of muted colours. Lots of humour.
  • Tessa Newcomb ‘Paris’. Oil illustrations with cut out and exaggeration of shapes. Use complementary colours in overpainting. I was also interested in how she combined text and image.

I then did some further experiments in Procreate with a more patterned and delicate feel.

 

Wind dies down at sunset. Fans of sunlight in the sky. Then cloud again.
Walk along the beach to Thorpeness. Areas of beach fenced off to protect the plants.
Some semblance of calm.
Radio discussions on election fall out. Feelings of uncertainty. This re-ignites feelings of anxiety from Hambling’s Edge.

Further development

Back home I printed out the photos and did some mixed media experiments in my sketchbook.
I also revisited the Procreate images as part of experimentation with ArtRage and did a new series of images inspired by Edge.

 

Pixelmator images from nets

Note: the ideas for this are from the Thursday, but in terms of narrative for the work as a whole, I decided to swap this section to come after The Wild Man. As an attempt to get out of entanglement – and towards the final Kunst Macht Frei.

Thursday 15th June

Notes
Still discussing Kensington fire. See pictures in the paper.
Hot morning so stayed in. Feeling tired. Then cloudy and windy. Starts to be sunny again about 3pm.
Remembering Kovats quote:
Read Kovats drawing water.
Drawing as a mechanism for exploration. Drawing as lines of discovery.
Mapping
3D under the oceans
Preface quote from Salman Rushdie on Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of each other like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale.
Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many others that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more like a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead but alive.
Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1990.p55.
William Kentridge. That which is not drawn.

  • Provisionality. Virtues of bastardy. Receiving the world. Reversing the world.
    To reveal that which is hidden. Excess of making.
    Making 3 things at once, the cat and the coffee pot. Chaos.
    Unwinding, unfurling, contradiction.
    Changing, shifting. Erasing.
    To make a huge fiction.
  • Sighs and traces. Always longing for meaning. Mystery associated with the trace.
  • Drawer and viewer. Filling in the gaps.
  • Wanting to hold, needing to let go.
  • Slow drawing. Meditative.
  • Man is a walking clock. Gathering seconds, gleaning frames.
  • P6 “the migration of images, which is connected with what I am calling the virtues of bastardy and the question of provisionality. That is linked to questions of imperfect translation and construction. I am thinking here of a bridge or a plank over the gap of what you don’t hear or don’t understand, or of what’s not in the narrative and requires the activity of the viewer. I think it’s all part of one topic, but we have to try and find out in what ways they are related. Another concerns that which is hidden….excavating dreams and constructing their sense. And erasure as construction.”
    P71″I suppose I’m interested in the traces of what prompts a reconstruction, not just the trace nor the unreconstructed state. What prods an imaginative leap? I am making a drawing for which you see a foundation or a ground. And the interest for me is not not only the foundation or the ground but also what it suggests. From all the different possible things that could come out of it, I am interested in the end, in arriving at one, even if it’s an incorrect one. So it’s not a matter if saying, ‘Here’s a phrase, which is unclear, because there are words missing, that I haven’t heard.’ That suggests many things; it’s the leap into that suggestion, which is, in away, a leap out of indeterminacy. So indeterminacy is there at the base, but for me the interest lies in the movement into a drawing, into a sequence of movement. Indeterminacy suggests paralysis if you stay there.”
  • Photographs have only one focal point. But when we look we rapidly flip between the two.

Edited from Illustration 2 Projects 2.1, 2.2 and Assignment 4

TASK
Use your sketchbooks to draw a space you are familiar with. Draw the location, the people and activities taking place and use notes to capture your thoughts and feelings, dialogue and other details that can help to bring the drawings to life.Try and capture the day to day life of the space with all its comings and goings, busy periods and quiet spots, activities and events. You can spend a chunk of time doing all the drawings in one go, or work on them over a period of time.

For this project I chose to work on a portrait of Aldeburgh – a seaside town in Suffolk where we go camping or for the day at weekends.

See brochure with map and key landmarks.

I have taken many photos there, see for example:

Landscape Photography: Aldeburgh and Snettisham

The images so far were mostly drawn on a short holiday in August 2016 – just before the Aldeburgh carnival which is my subject for Project 2.1 Drawing on Location. I am planning to continue to add to these drawings and also work them into full images.

Overall assessment

I really enjoy sketching on location, but have not yet had enough practise to develop an effective style and approach. I like sketching with pencil, and also Rotring pen. I have also used watercolour in the past but am out of practice. I have a lot more work to do here.

Ideas I have are to experiment with:

  • pastel and graphite and/or acrylic and/or gouache and graphite, using pastel/acrylic to block out colour background, then different line styles of graphite on top. But I need to improve my drawing skills as it is difficult to rub out. With acrylic I can also use pen. The other two clog the nib.
  • watercolour – using just watercolour spontaneously like Zen
  • ink and wash – but I need to experiment with different line styles as well as colour combinations
  • crayon/watercolour crayon/Inktense
  • thin coloured pens with water-soluble ink
  • iPad

Apart from improving my sketching to produce better sketches on location, I also have ideas for further development as more expressive illustrations drawing on the work of artists like Katz and Diebenkorn whose paintings the place reminds me of. Also possibly work of Aldeburgh artists – though much of this is more commercial eg http://www.aldeburghcontemporaryarts.co.uk 

http://www.thompsonsgallery.co.uk/all-artists.php

Some of the artists exhibitions at Snape Maltings Gallery are more inspiring – including linocuts and abstracted oil landscapes.

But I have to wait now till the weather gets warm again in Spring

Aldeburgh

The top beach near the campsite is very flat along the horizon. With curly sea holly and a few isolated groups of people.

But there are many people running along the beach – difficult to draw. But I took some video from which to practise, and then go back.

Fishing

The main industry of Aldeburgh, apart from tourism, is fishing. The fishing boats still go out. Early in the morning the beach is quiet as many of the boats are out, and most of the tourists still in bed. In the afternoons people are sunbathing by the boats.

A key market are the many tourists who come and buy fish and chips at the wooden fishhouses along the sea front – with their many seagulls.

Main beach

The main beach in the town has lots of possible places to sketch.

Streets

There are many quiet backstreets, fish shops and pubs.

Castle and end harbour

At the end is an old castle that is now a hotel. Next to a yacht marina. I did not have time to sketch this on the July holiday because there was too much else going on in the town. It was also very hot and sunny with no shade. But I have plans to go there next time.

Task

Use your sketchbooks to produce a series of drawings and notes that documents an event of your choice. Try and produce a body of work that depicts the event over a period of time. An event can be defined as something happening within a limited time slot, but you can also choose to interpret the term ‘event’ more loosely. It can be a private celebration or your local football match, a Saturday market or the arrival of workmen to dig the road.
Choose something that offers you the opportunity to explore your particular style of drawing, so think about the dynamic of the event and how this relates to how you draw.

Selected coloured images

Working process

For this project I chose to sketch the Aldeburgh carnival. In the previous project I had mostly used pencil and an A4 landscape format sketchbook. This worked quite well in terms of portability, but also gave me plenty of space to try out ideas and put multiple sketches on the page. I did not normally rub out. But there was the option of printing on paper and then painting over, or working up digitally. I continued to sketch in pencil mostly, but also tried ink. I am intending to work up more of the images below, using some of my photos also for reference.

Overall assessment

I enjoyed this project, and want to do much more of this type of sketching to become really confident and develop my own style. I like quick drawing with a thick clutch pencil, but also with a Rotring pen where I have to draw spontaneously because I cannot rub anything out – though I can alter emphasis and tone with a waterbrush wash. Using simple black and white media, I can draw quickly and there is a lot of potential for reworking images through printing out and overdrawing, or digitally on an iPad or in Photoshop. With reference images and/or video.

Using colour on the actual sketch is harder to get an effective image of people moving and things happening. And also harder to rework.  I would like to experiment with media like pastels and pencil, and also drawing with an iPad on location. Maybe layering and mixing photos and drawings. Again I also have ideas that I want to work on to make some more expressive illustrations based on my sketches.

I am quite happy sketching alone and found people quite friendly – when I say that I am studying and learning I do not feel too embarrassed showing what I have done. In general, where people and particularly children are involved, it is actually less sensitive to sit drawing than taking photographs. The main challenge was the sun – that requires knowing the location and which spots are shady when. And some events are just very difficult – as in the procession where I could not find a good vantage point in the shade.

But I need a lot more practice!

Music festival May

Aldeburgh has many festivals during the year to attract the tourists out of London and nearby towns like Colchester. The first one we went to was an arts and music festival with events on the beach. This was only for a day, so I was not able to sketch that much. Also I think there may be Copyright issues sketching other peoples’ art. But these glass icicle posts and the way they were wired to produce sound music was beautiful – also the piano playing on the beach. This image would make a very interesting surrealist painting – cross between Hopper and de Chirico.

Stalls

With these sketches I started to redraw them, and also print them out as light images and draw over with pen and wash or pencil and Inktense. These sketches are good for practising drawing figures from memory – a similar treatment to the British Museum exercise in Part 1.

I took some reference photos below. But I felt more embarrassed standing and taking photos of people setting their stalls up than I did sitting and sketching. So I only took a couple – though if this had been a photography exercise I could have asked people and done it properly. My partner doing a photography course actually got commissioned to take photos of the stalls – promise of payment if they were any good! The photos are also very flat and lack any energy – unlike what I saw. The photos from later in the day could be used as the basis for interesting watercolours – something I am planning for later. Also collage – with their crowded colour clash feel.

Fair rides

On the way to the fair rides is a children’s boating pool with the statue of a dog. The dog looked really mournful early in the morning dwarfed by the climbing mountain (folded up at the back) as if its territory had been invaded.

The Climbing Cliff and Bouncy Castle were interesting to draw. The main problem was keeping out of the sun. So I could not stay too long.

I tried to do a watercolour of the Sky Ride. It was difficult (but interesting) to get the perspective right. I need to experiment with this one in ProCreate. It would probably work well in pastels with smears for the hair. As well as coloured ink pen – if I was good enough at drawing.

Merry-go-round

One of the easiest places to sit in the shade and sketch was the Merry-go-round which was just next to a shelter with quite comfortable benches. No one minded me sketching at all, and most of the time I was not really noticed. Some people came and started chatting – a few artists as well. There was lots of inspiration here with the many different people who came, peoples’ faces and different relationships. As well as the opportunity to practise speed sketching of the horses themselves from different angles. For these sketches I used a Rotring pen to practise drawing at speed where I could not rub out. I actually really enjoyed drawing in this way – forcing me to be bold and not think too much – not to take things too seriously – just have fun in the moment.

Photo collage and drawing

When I got home I also tried collaging and drawing on collaged photos – ideas of stuckedness and freedom – partly drawing on Gertler’s Merry-Go-Round at the Tate Modern. There are many ways in which I could develop my sketches by redrawing, or again printing and over painting in ink and wash.

'Merry-Go-Round', Mark Gertler:
‘Merry-Go-Round’, Mark Gertler:

Reference photos and video

I took a few reference photos and a short video on my small compact camera. But here also I felt much more uncomfortable taking photos – particularly because of the children I did not know. Sketching was much less sensitive.

Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy always reminds me of Dave McKean’s illustrations for Neil Gaiman’s Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch     See Google Images. I could do something really effective with these images if I experiment with different styles. Possibly like a drawing I did a while ago in the same Pastel and line style of Mr Punch, using the sketches and photos below and other Punch and Judy images from the web.

Donkeys

The donkeys were down the road just by another sitting place. Here I made friends with the lady who ran it, and she really liked me drawing. Again it was much less sensitive to sketch than to photograph the children. Though I did have to be careful not to sit too long and let the parents sit down.

Carnival – the big escape: Ideas for further development

I originally thought of developing these images further for Project 4.2 Self-publishing, together with some more sketches from Aldeburgh carnival in August 2017. However unfortunately I was unable to go that year because our van was not working. So the work below is now something I aim to develop further at level 3 of the degree.

I started by collating my different sketches and editing and combining these in Procreate, colouring them with pastel, ink and/or wash brushes (see Gallery above). My favourite sketches are of the girls on the merry-go-round seeming to fly and/or be chased by other horses dreaming of freedom, and the girl on the reluctant donkey that just wants to chew grass. The style I had in mind was somewhere between Olivia Lomenech Gill and Ronald Searle. Trying to further develop the Procreate techniques I had explored with my drawings in Cambridge for Assignment 2 A Sense of Place.

I then coloured and combined these in Procreate into a set of 10 double page spreads that could be printed in a small square stapled booklet, incorporating also some images from the previous project.

I think this series is potentially interesting if developed further with more images from a future visit at carnival time. Although it does not work yet, it could possibly become a graphic novel ‘Carnival: The Great Escape’  with completely new drawing done specifically for that purpose around that idea of escape: escape to the seaside, escape from the merry-go-round, escape through drink or snoozing. With the Punch policeman in the way and the stone dog watching. I could also think about incorporating photos and collage, playing with ideas of dream and reality as in McKean’s work in the Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch. I need to think more about the narrative to underlie this revision of the illustrations. Maybe instead of dreams of escape we just need to stay still and enjoy the moment.

I need to let this mull for a while and am planning to come back to it later as sketchbook practice at level 3. When I have further developed gouache and other mixed media drawing skills in Assignment 5. There would be a potential market for this – as a book or individual images for stalls at the carnival itself and tourist bookshops in the area.

Carnival Procession

For the actual procession it was too hot to draw and in the shade I could not see over peoples’ heads. So I took photos to draw from later. I have not edited them as photos because there are things in the images that I would want to draw that I could not photograph well. The aim was to capture enough information that I could then adjust later when I come to draw. I use these images later as the basis for Project 4.5b Paper Circus.

Going to the carnival
Float competition
The band
The onlookers
The procession

These are the images I finally decided to put in Edge 4 – but they come from different days. The idea is to follow on from the Moot Histories and have a point of reality.

Lifelines
Dancing Dog

Fish Shop

Pub

bench

other photos

band

crag path

Friday 16th June

The day started cloudy. Went into town and bought cards and a couple of books: The Old Man of Orford and History of Aldeburgh. We finally found time to go to the artist’s studio trail up along the top terrace.

Crag Path

Cycle

Aldeburgh Chirico

The Alley

Dutch houses

Doll’s Houses

Corner abstraction

Crag Med

Marsh
Photos

Panorama

Square

Imaginary

Yachts

Assignment 4: Wish You were Here

Based on a diary, photographs and sketches from Aldeburgh, June 2017. This evolved from a ‘stream of consciousness’ iPad sketching idea to a much more reflective process of including iPad manipulation of found images to create narratives reflecting issues, history and folklore of Aldeburgh. These were compiled as an interactive webpage on the professional photography and illustration website I am developing: http://www.zemniimages.com/Illustration/From-the-Edge.

Tuesday 13th June

Cloudy and windy 20C
Reith lectures. The day is for the living Hillary Mantell. About history and fiction. Lots of imperfect perspective fragments and filling in the gaps.
Podcast
Read Ronald Blythe and look through history photos. Storms and Slaughden.
Sorted sketchbook.
Afternoon go to museum. Old Anglo Saxon, and Roman dig.
See Museum website
Back through churchyard with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. and along leafy tunnel lane.

No items found.

Experimented with Procreate to program on gouache, pastel and ink bleed brushes.
Went back through carnival sketches.
Feeling despondent – not enough time and too much to learn. About technique and about drawing.

 About the moot hall

Built of red brick with timber insertions. External staircase access to upper storey which overhangs the base, used as council chamber and justices room. Beneath it are iron bars of the cell formerly used as a gaol or lockup. A Sundial was added in 1560 for 7s6d.
The ground floor was at one time partly open to allow space for market stall-holders. The square around it was used as market place with a market cross – now a war memorial. A row of capstans along the beach show fishermen landed their catches at this point because of easy access to the market place.
In 1818 quarter sessions it was reported that ‘the gaol is out of repair and should be adapted for the purpose of a prison consistent with the safe custody, health and necessary comfort of the prisoners.
Restored 1854. Decorated chimneys replicas of those originally erected in 16c.
Two poles at the top of the west hill were probably used to hoist flags and lanterns at night to help as guides in bad weather for fishermen to locate that part of the beach where their catches were to be landed in safety.

History notes

 

Roman

Possibly an important roman station which is why road is to north. Slaughden just fishing. Found roman pottery etc in the marshes.

Aldeburc

Earliest recorded name in domesday book. Burc as fort. Seo ealde burh. The old borough. Burg as earthwork or fortified town. The nearby village name ‘Iken’ is from ‘Iceni’ tribe.

Viking

Attacks in east anglia from at least 10c. 993 anlaf sailed up the river orwell and sacked ipswpich. 1010 danes landed in force. Burial grounds between aldeburgh and snape show were piratical attacks. Need forfort near alde or on site of church.Early british and viking finds together.Foumd remains of a ship within which, under sepulchral chamber was skeleton of chief who commanded it. On his finger bone was a ring of gold set with intaglio that had been treasure of a roman. At his side lay his trusty sword, near his short blade of steel. Locks of auburn hair and fragment of comb. Fragments of a green glass vessel. Over 11 inches. Also early british pottery. The viking chief must have died on a pirate raid, and buried by his followers.

AngloSaxon

Originally part of See and Priory of Ely. Later Priory of Snape.
With manor in saxon times by uluric. Domesday area reduced. 2 chrches with 60 acres.
1099 manor and church of Aldeburc owned by William Martel. 1155 bequeathed to Bemedictnes of StJohn of Colchester. Right to flotsam and jetsom.
Wednesday market
Aldeburgh formed one of several communities in hundred of plomesgate which extended from saxmundgam and framlingham in north to wickham market in south.
King alfred crated counties, hundreds (100 families/land area?) and tithings (10). Tithings were composed of 10 families dwelling btogether and bound for each others behaviour. Developed into parishes, then hundreds. Hundred was basis of geld assessment and rating.
Business of hundred was in a hundred mote or moot. As court of judicature.

Tudor

In Tudor times Aldeburgh was a major shipmaking centre, producing ships for the Elizabethan fleet against the Armada.

1524 granted by Henry VIII to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. 1547 created a borough by Edward VI.
Common seal. 1561. Incorporated bailiffs and burgesses.
‘This ship in the waves of the sea, all sayles bearinge, with a Lyon rampant in the mayne sayle, is assigned and granted unto ye Baylyffs and Burgesses of ye borough of Aldeborough. ‘Azure on Water in Case an ancient ship of three masts in full sail a Ladder affixed to the side amidships proper the mainsail charged with a Lion rampant the fore and aft sails and pennons each charged with a Cross Gules.’

Sea peas

1562 famine caused by blight siezing corn in full bloom made it inedible, saved by miraculous appearance of bountiful crop of pease on sea shore near orford. Seen as gift from heaven.
Seapeas were staple of. The poor. Crop was said to hae sprouted from a cargo of pease washed ashore from a shipwrecked ship loaded with a crago of peat. But it is different from domestic peas – small and bitter. Probably was there all the time. Then people notiiced it in the famine. It enabled people to survive.
Following autumnn was a good corn crop.
But 1594-97 was a series of bad harvests. But provision for the poor was one of best in europe.
1568 petition for a Saturday market – emphasise importance of fishing industry.
‘Yearly adventure and setting forth of so many fisher boats for herring boats as contain 800 mariners, and there are yearly taken 10000 lasts (fish) at the least, and 300 mariners for the sprat fare (season) taking yearly 3000 lasts; and fourteen ships and crayers are yearly manned into Iceland and North seas having 140 mariners at the least, taking yearly in the time of pax (peace) three or four thousand lings and cods. And there is a yearly set forth 100 mariners on mackrell fare, and in addition twenty sail of ships yearly in merchandise, having 130 mariners by means of which in time of wars the Queen and her progenitors have been served with divers ships, and with 100 or 200, and sometimes more, mariners.’
Fir proporion came from neighbouring townsan villages along ‘sailior’s walk from snape to blackheath. But over 1300 men shows importance of aldeburgh as centre of trade.
…the Wednesday market cannot supply half what is required, and the inhabitants have been served with victuals from neighbouring towns and villages… (competition from Dunwich traders)
The inhabitants at their own cost not only defend the borough from attacks in time of war, but also are a shield and defence to such part of the country as is nigh…for our borough is populous and so known to the enemy which is a terror and fear to them, and were it not that ward and watch were kept day and night the town would inevitably suffer. And not onloy this for had it not been for help at critical times by Aldeburgh mariners ships from Lowestoft, Woodbridge and Ipswich, and divers other towns would inevitably have fallen into the hands of the enemy.’ All had been done without recompense, and the ships in the bay had been helped with anchors, cables etc.
Elizabeth granted Saturday market. 9-3 in summer and 10-2 in winter.early hours ‘to stop the tricks of country butchers who brought corrupt and unwholesome meat into the market, and orolonged and deferred the sale thereof until nighttime, and do then bring out and sell the same by candlelight, when thequality thereof cannot be so weel discerned as in the daytime, whereby many people are much deceived and wronged.’
12 inn keepers. Forbiddem to supply mens servants after 8pm.
Shipwrights, barbers, ropemaker, foreign shoemaker, cobbler, foreign victualler and husbandsman. Foreign meanng from nearbyb townsand villages. Traders p43.
Marketplace had 16 stalls, 9 butchers and 5 cobblers. Demand for meat from passing ships.
Competition from saxmundham traders.
Great increase in vagrancy in tudor times. From suppression of monasteries, but also people seeking work and soldiers discharged from wars of roses, serviong men dismissed by gentry who had no money,, ploughmen out of work by enclosures of pastures, and bad harvests. ‘Tramps’.
Whipping post. A female delinquejt , forgas, had to be chastised over many yars ‘incorrigible maide’. Remained in use till 1631.
The whipping of ;’sturdy beggars’ was found to be no solution. Find employment forbthose, and charity for the impotent.
Blinde harry 1586 given 25s and 15s to buy musical instruments. Then apprenticed to a Peter for £10.
Poor relief was complusory by end elizabeth’s reign. Under stuart kings was a duty prescribed by national legislation for local authorities.
Court of Pie-powder. Deal with debt and trspass on local fairgrounds and markets. Justice so swift that people served ‘before dust shaken off feet’.
Made first election to parliament 1571.

Plague

Endemic. 1568 46 deaths, 1569 40. Entire lack of hygiene. Early 17c order issued forbidding ‘casting of muck, ashes, coaldust, sweepings and other noisome things into the streets, lakes, footpaths, etc., of this borough under penalty of 3s.4d.’
Mother bennet 1572 ran a nursing home…p45
Mr loggye new surgeom 1574 but still many shrouds. Cut off limbs etc.
Woman doctor for curing sore heads and legs for poor people.
Men less leg trouble.

Outdwellers

Poorer inhabitants rented out to outdwellers. But these often left without paying.

17c

Troubled period for coast towns of east anglia. Threats of war by spain. Pirates from dunkirk, civil war and 3 dutch wars. Loss of sailors and ships, heavy charges for ordnance, and of men for watching the coast. Cost of constructing jetties and groynes against sea encroachment.
Reasonably wealthy. But laxity in granting unsecured loans.
Festivals, repairetc expenses. Pp48-49.
A lot of expenses for entertaining offocial guests at election time.
1626 plague came again.
1646 smallpox and again 1653

18c

Early 18c admin of poor law relief in hands of church,
First innoculations – but peopl tried to avoid.
1770 appointed a medical officer for the borough.

Victorians

Victorian tmes ‘aldeburgh-next-the-sea’ aldeburgh-on-the-sea-coast’.

No items found.

On the Edge

My overwhelming inspiration on this first day was the visit to the Maggi Hambling exhibition ‘On the Edge’ at the Peter Peer’s gallery.
Aldeburgh itself is ‘on the edge’ in a number of ways:

  • the extreme vulnerability to the encroachment of the sea that has halved the land originally occupied in Aldeburgh and nearby Thorpeness and Orford – currently generally held at bay with barriers and groynes, but threatened in the longer term by global warming.
  • to the North the skyline is dominated by Sizewell nuclear power station – with periodic leaks though none so far serious.

The holiday was just after the June general election. Radio discussions on election fall out were playing on a popular mood of shock and uncertainty, reinforcing feelings of anxiety from Hambling’s Edge.

Development of the images

The images themselves were made from sharp rusty edges of ageing tractors used to pull the fishing boats.

No items found.

Over the Edge

No items found.

Born of volcanic rust

No items found.

Raven

No items found.

Sunday 11th June diary

Arrived late on Saturday 10th June, camp and eat.
Sunday morning:
Sun and cloud. 18/19c Windy. 18/19.
Smell of mown grass.
Cuckoos in the morning.
Walk into town in the morning. See Maggi Hambling‘s Edge Exhibition and Walls of Water.

Edge is more political than much of her earlier work on the sea, dealing with the refugee crisis, battle for Aleppo and global warming.

It is called Edge because I feel we are ‘on the edge’. There is a fragility to our existence – both ours and the planet and these works attempt to address that and strike up a dialogue with whoever is looking at them.

The paintings are large, with characteristic dramatic swirls of texture, that then on further looking show fine detail – people, remains of buildings and boats caught up in the chaos. The global warming paintings have a lot of gold, echoing renaissance paintings – but gold is now a reference to greed.
See: article by Andrew Clarke: Maggi Hambling creates new show about life on the edge
At the same exhibition were also the Walls of Water paintings I had seen before. And a selection of her books on sale.

Band on beach. Acoustic guitar. But not many people. Town feels quite empty.
On the walk back for lunch I do video and photos of sea.

No items found.

Wave Video
Back in the van in the afternoon I did some iPad experiments inspired by Hambling’s Edge and waves. Exploring oil painting brushes, transparency lock and compositing to produce different textures. Trying to capture some of the drama and anger of the Edge.
I also looked at looked at some books of illustration I had brought with me for some ideas on how I might structure a book on Aldeburgh:

  • Olivia Lomenech Gill ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’ a book my daughter had bought me for Xmas. An advert for her exhibition ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was in the supermarket. I wanted to study her style – multilayered paint and mixed media on top with white gouache, erasing, often on brown paper. Pencil sketching and very good drawing. Use of muted colours. Lots of humour.
  • Tessa Newcomb ‘Paris’. Oil illustrations with cut out and exaggeration of shapes. Use complementary colours in overpainting. I was also interested in how she combined text and image.

I then did some further experiments in Procreate with a more patterned and delicate feel.

Wind dies down at sunset. Fans of sunlight in the sky. Then cloud again.
Walk along the beach to Thorpeness. Areas of beach fenced off to protect the plants.
Some semblance of calm.
Radio discussions on election fall out. Feelings of uncertainty. This re-ignites feelings of anxiety from Hambling’s Edge.

Further development

Back home I printed out the photos and did some mixed media experiments in my sketchbook.
I also revisited the Procreate images as part of experimentation with ArtRage and did a new series of images inspired by Edge.

Pixelmator images from nets

Note: the ideas for this are from the Thursday, but in terms of narrative for the work as a whole, I decided to swap this section to come after The Wild Man. As an attempt to get out of entanglement – and towards the final Kunst Macht Frei.

Thursday 15th June

Notes
Still discussing Kensington fire. See pictures in the paper.
Hot morning so stayed in. Feeling tired. Then cloudy and windy. Starts to be sunny again about 3pm.
Remembering Kovats quote:
Read Kovats drawing water.
Drawing as a mechanism for exploration. Drawing as lines of discovery.
Mapping
3D under the oceans
Preface quote from Salman Rushdie on Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of each other like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale.
Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many others that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more like a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead but alive.
Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1990.p55.
William Kentridge. That which is not drawn.

  • Provisionality. Virtues of bastardy. Receiving the world. Reversing the world.
    To reveal that which is hidden. Excess of making.
    Making 3 things at once, the cat and the coffee pot. Chaos.
    Unwinding, unfurling, contradiction.
    Changing, shifting. Erasing.
    To make a huge fiction.
  • Sighs and traces. Always longing for meaning. Mystery associated with the trace.
  • Drawer and viewer. Filling in the gaps.
  • Wanting to hold, needing to let go.
  • Slow drawing. Meditative.
  • Man is a walking clock. Gathering seconds, gleaning frames.
  • P6 “the migration of images, which is connected with what I am calling the virtues of bastardy and the question of provisionality. That is linked to questions of imperfect translation and construction. I am thinking here of a bridge or a plank over the gap of what you don’t hear or don’t understand, or of what’s not in the narrative and requires the activity of the viewer. I think it’s all part of one topic, but we have to try and find out in what ways they are related. Another concerns that which is hidden….excavating dreams and constructing their sense. And erasure as construction.”
    P71″I suppose I’m interested in the traces of what prompts a reconstruction, not just the trace nor the unreconstructed state. What prods an imaginative leap? I am making a drawing for which you see a foundation or a ground. And the interest for me is not not only the foundation or the ground but also what it suggests. From all the different possible things that could come out of it, I am interested in the end, in arriving at one, even if it’s an incorrect one. So it’s not a matter if saying, ‘Here’s a phrase, which is unclear, because there are words missing, that I haven’t heard.’ That suggests many things; it’s the leap into that suggestion, which is, in away, a leap out of indeterminacy. So indeterminacy is there at the base, but for me the interest lies in the movement into a drawing, into a sequence of movement. Indeterminacy suggests paralysis if you stay there.”
  • Photographs have only one focal point. But when we look we rapidly flip between the two.