Wednesday, 15 August 2012

WIP The Cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral

Doctor Foster went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain
He stepped in a Piddle [puddle]
Right up to his middle
and never went there again.

This old nursery rhyme is supposed to be about King Edward 1 who, whilst visiting, fell from his horse into a puddle and was so angry that he never visited the City of Gloucester again.

That was all I knew about Gloucester until Giselle, my youngest granddaughter, went to the University of Gloucestershire as an undergraduate.

The WIP needs some explaining. The Picture will be 18 inches high and 24 inches wide (450 x 600) which is massive for pen and ink work



The cloisters are in an 'L' shape and you are viewing it from the apex of the 'L'. One leg of the 'L' goes off to the left whilst the right leg is largely un-draw. In other words The red/blue windows lie in the left leg ... the blue windows lie in the right leg.


What attracted me to this is the light. The left leg is in almost total darkness, the only light coming through the stained glass windows. The right leg starts in darkness, as you can see, and then is bathed in brilliant light ... the contrast, hopefully, will be startling.


Then there are the columns and their fan vaulting of which there will be much in the right leg. A real challenge, which I hope I'm up to.

The main problem is the blackness of the left leg. The reference photo shows it as totally black, and that would be no good to me in pen & ink. So I had to lighten the photo to reveal  barely visible detail. I then drew the windows and fan vaulting from those scanty details. Then I have started shading & shading until the detail almost disappears in darkness. 

The size of this picture should be it's crowning glory ... the blazing light streaming across the cloisters ... fingers and eyes crossed!!




31 comments:

  1. Such an amazing viewpoint, John! I love that you chose the angle of the 'L' shape on which to focus and I can already see that this will be mesmerizing. Love that you are using color for the windows too. So stunning!

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    1. Thanks Sherry. I never use colour ... until now, it seemed to make sense here!

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  2. Beautiful composition and drawing. Will be interested to see your progress.

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    1. Thanks Jean ... I hope it doesn't get splattered with tears!

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  3. My goodness! That size really will be a challenge in pen! But I imagine that when you pull it off, which of course you will, you will be able to reduce it down to prints without losing detail. I can't wait to see this one when it's all complete :0)

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    1. Thanks Sandra, not sure if I will take prints or reduce.

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  4. I like the piece now--unfinished. It's structure in terms of the process you are using is so instructive. Thanks for showing it in this state. As it progressive the light effects will emerge nicely. You are so fortunate to be living in an area with so many forms of ancient architecture. Nothing like that here in the US. Only imitation. I'll definitely be checking the progress. Just remember to keep the white areas open if you're planning to reduce the size anything beyond 75%. It'd be a shame if those beautiful complex dark areas fill in. Best

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    1. Thanks Bill, your remarks much appreciated. Not sure if I will reduce/reproduce, sometimes it's just for me.

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  5. Oh my, this is stunning already. When I'm working in pencil I know I always have options to go back into an area to darken it or lighten it according to how it's fitting in to the overall picture. Lightening is impossible in your situation, and darkening will be far from easy. The challenge of getting it right first time is immense. Hats off to you. ;-)

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    1. Thanks John - you're right it is always a risk with pen & ink. The times my concentration has lapsed and I filled in a bit I had left white, are too many to count.

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  6. This is amazing already, John. I don't know how you do this!! The windows are outstanding. The colors in the window will just add to the beauty of this piece!!! I can't wait to see more!!!

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    1. Thank you Hilda, your encouragement is priceless

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  7. I am always wowed by all you do John. And the poem is very cute too!

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    1. Thank you Lynn - I'm overdue visiting you ... I've been so snowed under

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  8. Oh its lovely. I love the colors. Is that ink or watercolor? fun seeing in the process of being worked on.

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  9. Holy cow, John! This is such a masterpiece. I love the color - Like Cris, I thought it was a watercolor painting at first too. So pretty!

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  10. I like these wonderful Cloisters!
    Heroic feat! Only an outstanding artist as you ,can afford certain challenges and win gloriously!
    Dear John,always so interesting read your words!

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    1. At the moment the battle is still being fought, Rita, victory isn't won just yet. Thank you for your kind words

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  11. I am so happy to read of your approach and thought process as you show us this intricate and massively complex piece. Its such an interesting viewpoint and the brilliant light to one side will surely make it spectacular. Doing the stained glass in colored ink - oh my, it will be a truly dramatic accomplishment!

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  12. John, I forgot to ask if Priscilla will appear in the Cloisters.

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    1. Coloured ink was risky and could have looked silly amongst all the black ... but I think I've got away with it.

      Not sure if Pricilla will appear. Travelling between York and Gloucester was a major task in 1900

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  13. Oh my...you are so brave...but I have every confidence that you will knock this out of the park (as always!) Great to see the progress shots. I am tuned in the see the next phase. wow!

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    1. I'm not sure I'm brave ...foolhardy, maybe. Thanks for commenting, Celleste ...loved your 'Turner-like' mood picture wow!

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  14. Most impressive, John! I look forward to seeing more ... and don't step in any piddles!

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  15. Thanks Kathryn ...will try to keep out of them :0)

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  16. Amazing and beautiful work.
    I am a first time visitor and really enjoyed your blog.
    I was raised in England before immigrating to America so your take on the Olympics was spot on for me.

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  17. Thank you, Julie and welcome. I've just been wowed by a visit to your blog!

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  18. Wow... you are both very brave and very talented! Can't wait to see more... (and what a fun poem about Kind Edward I!)

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  19. Thanks Minnemie, makes a change: it's usually you reciting poetry :0)

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