Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The choir

Over a week since I've been here - I'm still nose to the grindstone and it feels like I've blended permanently into my computer chair, but on Sunday I went to church to listen to the Holy Cross Anglican choir of Soweto who came to sing for us. Warm, spine-tingling, deeply holy - hard to describe the feelings that this harmonious group engenders, from sorrowful to soaring joy. I sketched as I listened, but of course only one person at a time, so if I drew one person dancing and swaying, they were all dancing and swaying, or clapping or happy or sombre. Services in Soweto apparently go on for hours, unlike in the Northern suburbs, where everyone is impatient to get to their golf, or lunch, or Wimbledon on TV - so the choir had just warmed up, said Thandi the leader, when they had to wind it up for us - but a wonderful start to the week, in which there are yet more illustrations to be drawn... until next time!

13 comments:

Cathy said...

This sketch is impressive! There's so much atmosphere and emotion in it! Thanks for explaining how you did it... I would be too scared to sketch a whole crowd like this!

Charlene Brown said...

I enjoyed reading about your Soweto choir experience almost as much as seeing your always appealing characterizations. Beautifully drawn and described!

Ginny Stiles said...

Oh Cathy...I've been a follower of your blog now for several weeks and finally posted a link to yours on my blog (ginnystiles.blogspot.com). Please drop by sometime. I love your work and am so inspired to try to do more "people sketching". You will see one attempt at figures among the blogs. Not everything I do is sketchbooks but I have a LOT and you'll see I teach a class to help others get started. I plan to give the class in September your blog site so they can learn from you too! I'd like to know a little more about your materials...favorite pens and what your "gear" looks like say when you sketching in a church. Do you add the color later? Are you just using a pen or pencil while in a public spot like that? What size sketchbook? Do you have a favorite? Although I probably would not be able to find it in the US. I fell in love with a "Langdon" sketchbook in England and they don't make them here. I like spiral bound. I love getting to read things from another culture too. So fun! Thanks.

Pat said...

Hi Cathy, sounds and looks like a grand time. Food for the soul. I hope life becomes less hectic for you soon. Your choir sketch is wonderful. I would love to sit for hours and sketch and listen to them,too.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Must have been a wonderful sound - all the emotion is in the drawing... you can see them all swaying and giving their all. So clever of you to create a full page of figures one at a time, putting them alongside or behind as you go. Adore your people sketching. Its something I really need to practice - wish you were my teacher. I like lots of Ginny's questions - especially like to know if you put the colour on at home from memory.

Gillian said...

Mmmmm! Would love to have been there! Went to a retreat when we lived in EL, where there was singing like that - gave me such goosebumps!

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks everybody for your comments and questions - Ginny, I'll do a post soon on what I sketch with - basically I keep a moleskine in my bag all the time, with a couple of fine pens - Unipin is waterproof for adding watercolour over later, which I do most of the time. If there's plenty of time and space I'll colour them on the spot. Sometimes I pencil in notes on the sketches about colours, otherwise, if they're simple as in this sketch, from memory. Will write in more detail soon I hope, with photos... back to work for now!

Ginny Stiles said...

Thanks Cathy...I got your note on my blog too. I appreciate you taking time to visit!!!! I'll be checking back for more info on your sketching techniques and materials. Another thing I want to talk to my students about are WHAT do people DO with their journals. I have a ton of them and I have some ideas of course, but it would be a fun question to ask avid journal folks. I just got a copy of An Illustrated Life by Dan Gregory. Have you seen it? It's ALL about journals. Wow what a variety!!!

Diane said...

Beautiful story, and lovely sketch.
I like how you explained about drawing one person at a time, but then the overall feeling looks like so much Fun!

I hope you are able to give a color copy to the choir director.
What a wonderful keepsake!

MrsDoF

Kathy McCreedy said...

Hi Cathy,
Great drawing and story... one can almost feel the energy that was in the room on Sunday! Thanks for sharing your lovely drawings!

Suzanne McDermott said...

You do such fabulous group portrait sketches! I can hear the voices!

Laureline said...

This is such wonderful story you've told in words and images. Cathy, I've said it before and I'll say it again---you are one of my very favorite artists. It's a real joy to come here and see what you've been doing.

africantapestry said...

A lovely sketch Cathy! You've captured their spirit so uniquely! good luck, see you soon!
ronell