So, it’s been a while… but I haven’t been idle. Well, not very idle. But when you’re on holiday, that’s part of the gig, isn’t it? We had a few days on Madeira – the extremely vertical volcanic island. If you haven’t been or seen pictures, it’s a very beautiful, but very vertiginous island, famed for its good walking along the ‘levadas’ or raised man-made irrigation channels. We did a great deal of walking, and in the end not so much sketching, but you really can’t have it all. Madeira’s not ideal for beach bums as the beaches are pebbly and the waves are strong, but if you like sitting on sun-warmed stones listening to pounding surf, then you’ll be happy by the sea.
And that’s what I did the first morning. The pebbles were so smooth and big, grey at first sight but much more varied on closer inspection. An ideal subject for watercolours, this one virtually painted itself, and turned out to be the nicest picture I did during the holiday.
This was a new sketchbook with different paper to what I’m used to (not sure I’m keen on the tooth of this one, it’s very even and pronounced) and the strong sunshine and stiff breeze kept drying the paper much faster than I wanted. However, the sun did produce some lovely dark shadows, which were fun to add, giving a bit of depth to the picture. The various bleeds and crinkly edges seem to complement the subject – it’s wonderful when watercolour adds that bit of magic to a picture.