Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Kalahari Bookshop

The Kalahari Bookshop in Orange Grove is a cavern of delights for anyone who would take the time to sift through its groaning shelves, boxes and bookcases to find their particular brand of fascination (or if you're in a hurry, ask the knowledgeable owner Richard for help). I gladly accepted an invitation, along with a few friends, to join artist Tim Quirke in this tucked-away shop's day off - a Monday - to draw in this stacked to the ceiling space. 
Tim was working on a painting, and chatting to us about his methods and approach while the rest of us sketched, as we do, recording the moment in this nostalgic corner of Johannesburg. It was really hard to keep my mind on my sketch when titles that lined my childhood bookshelves kept catching my eye and drawing me to them with squeals of recognition.

After a morning chatting about art, by lunchtime we'd agreed to return over the next few Mondays to continue drawing and painting and learning from Tim the much he has to teach us. So that's what I've been doing over the last three weeks, instead of straightening the house after the weekend, laundry and keeping up with emails and blogging (and Inktober, more of which later), it's been pure indulgence in the world of tone, pattern and observation, which of course is all good!

The sketches below are studies of shape, flow, volume, light and dark, pattern, trying to make sense of the jigsaw of shapes. Hand-toned paper helps to convey something of the feel of the shop and its vintage, well-loved contents as a base for painting on later. While in theory I know of this approach to composition - notan, grouping of lights and darks to form passages - I'm very happy to feel I'm at last starting to figure out, with guidance, how to do it in a real situation...something that's mostly escaped me up to now.

To add to the alchemy, Richard's assistant Arthur kindly sits for us - he could possibly have stepped straight out of one of the books towering over us.
Next on this final (I think!) version, more light and dark passages following the studies above it, and some colour - I'll keep you posted, eventually!


dinahmow said...

Oh, what a great way to start your week! I could walk away from the usual Monday grot and prowl through a Hemingway-type bookshop, complete with Hemingway-type characters.
Looking forward to the next round. Thank you.

RH Carpenter said...

What a wonderful artist you are - I would sit and be so befuddled with all the books I would get nothing done, but you've made some great sketches and even have a feel of coziness to them.

Sadami said...

Cathy, I love these drawing so much!!! Cheers, Sadami

Cathy said...

Wow! You must have had such fun! The sketches are wonderful; WE can actually feel the atmosphere of the place. Like some fairy tale magic bookshop!! :-)