When I went to the fabulously festive Dickens festival in Rochester in early December I was so inspired in the place and the history of the place and how much it featured in Charles Dickens life I started to read “The Old Curiosity Shop” by him which has had me totally and utterly enthralled in its tale of beauty and goodness and greed and envy and the way it portrays all aspects of humanity with its depictions of love, family, gambling addictions, friendship, lack of want, greed and avarice, with sometimes laugh out loud comedy scenes intermingled among it, I have with regret finished reading the book today but know that it has one that I absolutely adore and will read again at some later time. I adored it!
But also whilst reading it I was also totally besotted with the pen and ink drawings that accompanied the tale, giving greater depth to the story and illustrating the way people lived then, in such a way that is virtually impossible to imagine nowadays when we have instant heat and light, ease of travel and all manner of ways of communicating. Seeing these drawings made the tale even more poignantly.
And it also inspired me.
And also since I had a couple of hours each day in the last week when I wasn’t putting up Christmas decorations, making mince pies, delivering Christmas cards. that I could so some pen and ink drawings of my own. And these dark and miserably days of grey skies and rain too quickly turning to the twilight and complete darkness by 4.30 in the afternoon meant I could do my drawings under electric light without it messing up the image which is what happens with watercolours, certainly!!
So, my first drawing was of Rochester, from a photo I took when I was here on holiday some years ago, about the time we fell in love with Kent and decided we’d like to live in this beautiful county. My drawing has the old castle in the background but the corner of Rochesters High Street as its main focus, it has old and new, Dickensian parts and modern contemporary parts and I loved doing it…..so much so that the following day I did one of Aylesford, also taken when we were here on holiday a year or two after the Rochester one, not knowing that we would move to a place only three miles away from this viewpoint and one that would be a regular crossing point when we go to the nearest B&Q over the river Medway as depicted here in this drawing. I loved doing that one featuring the old arched stone bridge as much as the Rochester one. So much so that two days later I was looking for my next choice of drawing and found a photo of The Pantiles area of Tunbridge Wells, another place we visited whilst on holiday, and again drawn from one of my photos taken whilst on holiday here six years ago.
I loved Kent then, and I love it even more now we live here. It is inspirational in so many wonderful ways. And I am delighted so do these three small easy drawings (none of them took more than four hours, and all are just over 9 x 6 inches in size) which inspire me to do more, and get my artist eye trained up again.
Because there is a whole lot more of Kent to draw, and paint!!