Sunday, August 22, 2010

Afternoon in Newtown

Yesterday was the second gathering of our new Joburg Sketchers group - only two of us turned up this time, but we had an absolutely lovely afternoon in Newtown, in Johannesburg's inner city, a hub of city life and industry in the early 1900's, revived as a home for artists, musicians and actors with the establishment of the Market Theatre in the 1970's, and has once again been rejuvenated with the building of the new Nelson Mandela bridge making access easier. I absolutely loved it - I'd chosen it as a place to practice some building sketching on, with some of our oldest and newest architecture visible from there, but was so attracted by the colour and people that I didn't end up fitting many buildings in (nothing to do with the fact that I find them so hard to draw of course!) After sitting outside the Market Theatre drinking coffee, me drawing the stalls, John my sketching companion (very competently!) some buildings - we moved across the square to another small market in the shade of enormous old trees, which I can't find any information about, but which, if they could talk, would surely tell tales of much of the areas tumultuous history.
I haven't captured the scale of them, the palm tree is much taller, the far one much broader - I'm sure children could slide down the base of its trunk which is probably the area of the average -um, I don't know- bathroom? I added colour to this one afterwards, leaving the background 'sunbleached', well that's my story anyway!
Everybody moved around a lot so the centre figure got really muddled, but these two women sussed out that I was drawing them and kindly sat still under their gorgeous rainbow umbrella - I've emailed a copy of it to Ntosh on the right. This tree scene I felt could be almost anywhere in Africa, it was reassuring and relaxing to find it right in the middle of the biggest centre of commerce on the continent - can't wait to go back and sketch some more.

35 comments:

Shirley said...

What a productive sketchcrawl and absolutely lovely paintings! The color is so joyful and the detail fabulous!

Marie Theron said...

Your sketches delight me, Cathy, they are lively and full of keen observations! Is that the "scary city" I was born in and have avoided ever since? You have given Johannesburg such humanity with your blog and stories!

Artes da Cris said...

Love your sketches!
Ana from Brasil.

Art with Liz said...

This place looks amazing Cathy! You've certainly captured another side of that "scary city" as Marie calls it!

travelingsuep said...

These are fabulous Cathy.

I am so inspired I think I will invite myself to visit next year and tag along with your new sketch group.

wawos said...

Hat's off. From today i will be follow your blog. Very nice!

Ciao.

RHCarpenter said...

I always feel like I've been right there with you when you go out and do your sketches! I really like these - how wonderful to be surrounded by such color all the time - bright yellows and oranges and pinks...thanks for taking us along again.

Felicity said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Cathy, I hope you get back often! Beautifual sketches!

Cathy Gatland said...

Thank you Shirley, there was so much to look at and sketch there.

Marie and Liz, it still is scary in parts - why I hadn't ventured into town until I found another sketcher to go with me - but this part was just amazingly vibey, warm and friendly.

Sue, really??! You're planning a trip here? You will be so welcome to join us, just tell me when...

Thanks for following Wawos :)

Rhonda - there is a lot of brown and grey at this time of year too, but they make the colour stand out even more - lovely to have you along!!

Thanks Felicity, we did and I hope so too!

Cathy Gatland said...

Oh, Ana, I skipped over you - thank you for visiting too!

Sandra said...

I just saw this post on Urban Sketchers and I thought it looked like one of yours - and only when I have looked on your blog did I realise I was right! You obviously have a style all of your own. I love your colourful studies - They always have so much life in them :0)

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Sandra, I'm always wondering about 'my style' - it seems to me to chop and change with every sketch!

Anais said...

Just fantastic drawing, Cathy! :)

Sadami said...

Dear Cath,
Wow, wonderful watercolor sketches!! I love your work. Me, too, love catch our daily life, with watercolor. Particularly, quickies of people. Thank you for sharing lovely work.
Kind regards, Sadami

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Anais!

...and Sadami - your blog and work are wonderful, I'm very happy to find them, so thank you for visiting and commenting here.

Teresa said...

Beautiful sketching and painting, Cathy! You just keep getting better and better all the time.

Maree said...

Your sketches are awesome Cathy! And I never knew that Newtown has undergone a revival! Absolutely must pop over there to have a look. Sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful time!

Maree said...

By the way, the tree on the right looks like a Balhambra, and they grow to absolute enormous size and diameter!

Cathy Gatland said...

That's so nice of you Teresa, thank you!

Maree, I'll go with you if you like - let me know... thanks for the tree ID, I've never heard of a Balhambra before.

MrsDoF said...

How great it would be to just sit with a friend having a nice time, figure someone was doing a drawing, then get an e-mail of the grand finale!

Such lovely art! Thank You for sharing with us.

MrsDoF said...

I learned a new word! which I figured from the context, but went to an online dictionary to see exactly what 'sussed' means :)

Gillian said...

What a pleasant sketching day with great results! Those trees are gorgeous. Yes, hard to believe they're right there in the heart of Jo'burg. The colour and light of an African sunny winter day - ah! -I want to be there! Lovely Cath.(Does John have a blog? Would be interested to see his work.)

Charlene Brown said...

Your 'sun-bleached' background is exactly right for these wonderful pictures! Hard to believe anyone would hesitate to venture alone onto this apparently idyllic street!

Cathy Gatland said...

MrsDoF - I went to look it up too, wondering if it was a South Africanism - from 'suspected'and English slang, so now we've both learned something!

Gillian, wish you were too, as always... John and his mom have a website that I linked to in the previous sketchcrawl- http://2.africanpainting.com/ -some amazing work there!

Charlene, thank you - yes it seemed ridiculous once we were there, but I would still recommend caution in parts!

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

I love these two sketches Cathy! they really represent a typical buzz and atmosphere. And they have the colours of the African markets..beautiful! I can't understand how you make it look so effortless to do...when I try it, I'm completely overwhelmed by so much info and it ends up looking much like that tumultuous history..
Ronell.

Barbara Philip said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the posts in your Blog, Cathy! John told me about it, so it was a wonderful surprise to see your other work. Your figures are excellent and I love the way you capture the essence of the moment in a few lines, without sacrificing accuracy in the figure drawing. You are so talented and I will continue to pop in here from time to time to see what you are drawing/painting :) You are very inspiring and your loose style is reminiscent of my art school days way back in the 70's ! I have been trying to recapture this style recently with travel sketches done in the car. It is a marvellous way to pass the time on a long trip. I am delighted that John has found a sketching companion and I wish you both great success with the Joburg Sketchcrawl excursions!

Pat said...

Hi Cathy, I loved the sketches. What a great place to sketch. You could just sketch all day just by turning a fraction of a degree in any direction. Ronell is right. You make it look like this is easy to do. I know it is not. I would have ended up with frustration but you have made it look enjoyable.

Cathy Gatland said...

Hi Ronell - I do usually feel like there's too much info but just start with one thing and move out from there, trying not to panic about what's left out or in a wrong place - it's the overall effect that I try for...

Hello Barbara! How nice of you to say hello - I did have a quick look at your lovely blog when I posted your link here, but didn't have time to comment - will rectify that very soon! It's so wonderful to find another keen sketcher in John - maybe one day you'll join us for a trip or two...and we can reminisce about the 70's :) Thank you so much!

Thanks Pat, one could sketch all day here - just need more sketching fitness, I was tired after these! It was enjoyable, but have to remind myself to just not get frustrated.

SKIZO said...

Thank you for sharing
This fabulous work with us
Good creations

sue said...

Wonderful, colorful sketches. You do the best job of capturing people in their quotidien activities.

carolking said...

Cathy, as usual, you've captured such a sense of vibrancy in your street scenes. Since I'm late to the party and everyone else has said most of the things I would have said, I'll end with great job. Keep these scenes coming!

Sandra said...

Now if it were me, I would be drawing the buildings and avoiding the people!
As always a sketch full of colour and life - Brilliant!

Cathy said...

Your sketches are a treat! They are so lively! And I wish I knew this plce! Would have loved to come and sketch with you! Next time maybe? Please, you HAVE to go back there and sketch some more!

Helen Percy Lystra said...

I do so love your sketches... what a colorful spot to sketch too.

Caroline Bray Art said...

These sketches are just fantastic - they're bursting with life and energy, from the expressive lines right down to the colours! Brilliant!