Sketchcrawl in Heerlen

Last Saturday, I took part in the 35th Global Sketchcrawl in Heerlen, just over the border in the Limburg region of Holland. Conicidentally, it was the day of the Heerlen Jaarmarkt (annual market) so there was lots to draw once the rain held off.
12 People of four different nationalities (Dutch, German, French and English) spent three hours sketching in and through the windows of the Glas Palais. The librarian was remarkably tolerant as we scattered through her library with our stools, sketchbooks and paintboxes….

Here is a view of the street below the library:

Heerlen Jaarmarkt

When the rain didn’t stop, we were able to move into the bright, friendly cafe next to the library where we drew each other and the cafe. Here is one view of the cafe:

Cafe in Glas Palais, Heerlen

When the rain let up, we moved outside and drew in the area immediately around the Glas Palais while a great jazz band played beside the Pankratiuskerk. Here is a view of the church from the shopping precinct. Lots of pentimenti! The building on the left is unfinished in the sketch. I should have taken a photo – it was an unusual shape and a reflective (glass) surface, with a huge, oval shadow, from the Glas Palais (?). One wall juts out asymmetrically and it is difficult to visualise it in retrospect.

Pankratiuskerk, Heerlen

We then moved to the other side of the church and sat on the steps around the square, the Pankratiusplein, to draw. In this sketch, I ran out of time and added a few colour details at the time, which I filled in later.

Pankratiusplein, Heerlen

I like this sketch least because it is too tidy and not what watercolour should be about. Later, at home, I tried sketching it again in another sketchbook. Unfortunately, the paper was too thin and the fluid watercolur soaked into the paper rapidly, producing effects which were even less predicatable than usually occurs with watercolour. However, I did achieve more random areas of colour and some spattering with an old toothbrush introduced a bit more character into this sketch compared with the original.

Loosening up...

I was still not happy with the scale and balance of the drawing and tried again, using coloured pencils. This time, I tried to limit the palette rather more and also took away the stalls on the right. I changed the red / orange house on the far side of the square to green and made the rooves red. I also altered the scale, making the houses smaller, finally achieving some depth in the composition but losing the energy of the second attempt.

The proportions in the “live” sketch were fairly accurate – the square was fairly square! However, the “live” sketch lacked energy and spontaneity so this must be my next goal.

Final attempt....more depth but less energy

The sketchcrawl was great fun, in spite of the rain. I enjoyed sketching with a lovely bunch of people in Heerlen. Roll on the 36th Sketchcrawl!

Here is a link to the Limburg Sketchcrawl blogspot.

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