My wife couldn’t come away with me to Southwold this year (a quite coastal town on the east coast of England) so I had four days on my own in a lovely little cottage right in the middle of town, next to the lighthouse. I decided to use this short period as a “retreat” both for drawing and Christian reflection (don’t worry, I won’t write about the latter here!).
I had just bought a new sketch stool and had all my supplies in a
small rucksack. The weather for once was fantastic for the whole period
so I was able to be out morning and afternoon sketching in this
extremely picturesque little town and its coastal surroundings.
On the Sunday morning I went to the 11th century Parish Church of St
Edmund and then drew one of the many “greens” in the town, with the
lighthouse visible behind a row of cottages.
Then later in the day I went out to another part of town and drew “South Green”
This is a double-spread in my Moleskine watercolour notebook of
course. It was glorious sitting in the sun doing all the details of
this interesting view.
The next morning I went back to the old church to try to do a church interior (Stephanie Bower
is so good at these) and I wanted to see if I use her approach to this
complex scene. Unfortunately I couldn’t! Its come out a bit messy and
confused but at least I learned some tips for next time.
As a bonus, a pianist came in to the church to do his practice and it
turned out that this was no ordinary pianist but a concert-level
musician who played Liszt’s etudes while I was painting – what an
experience to be sitting in the ancient church with these sounds washing
Later in the day I went down to the little ferry (one man and
row-boat!) across a river to cross over to the little village
Walberswick where there was so much to draw – here is one of three I
After that I went home and after a short rest went out to the local
pub where I had a pint or two of the local Adnams ales sitting outside
on a bench in the sun and reading a paper.
The next morning I went back to the church and tried to do the
entrance from outside in the church yard with local people passing by
all the time and trying to glance at what I was doing.
Above the doorway you can see a statue of St Edmund the Martyr who
was tied up by invading Vikings and then shot with arrows and beheaded.
Back to the harbour again and couple another river scene
Then on the way back to my cottage I sketched “Gun Hill” with its row of cannons
In the evening after another couple of Adnams ales I went back and
sketched the view from the window my my little house with the lighthouse
again visible behind cottages.
And that my friends was what I did with four days on my own in the
delightful little town. I will finish with just one more sketch