Travelling on a cruise ship to Iceland, Greenland and the Orkney Islands in August 2019 was a unique experience that I recorded, not only with my camera but with sketches and scribbled notes. I find that taking time to sketch/ paint plein air makes me really look at my surroundings. I end up appreciating and remembering far more than I would do if I was only taking photographs. In these personal moments of observation and sketching I automatically take in the sights, sounds and the atmosphere. It becomes an experience. Back in the studio at home I can choose either to keep each art journey 'collection' of sketches and mementos for my own recollection and enjoyment or to use them as reference, to help build an idea for a drawing or painting.
For the series of sketches seen here I used Derwent Graphic pencils carried around in my handy Carry All A4 Folio. These pencils are a favourite for my travels as they are sturdy enough to cope with being carried around (and dropped!), sharpen to a point to allow for detail and give a good tonal range from light to dark.
Sailing through Prince Christian Sound in Greenland.
I have written two articles about this incredible 2019 art journey, which featured in Art + Framing Today magazine (published by the Fine Art Trade Guild, UK) in October 2019 and January 2020. (See below).
Articles in Art + Framing Today magazine, October 2019 and January 2020.
Sketchbook work (L) Mountains behind Nanortalik, Greenland and (R) Gullfoss Falls, Iceland.
Mount Qilertiki, Greenland (sketchbook) - Derwent pencils.
The small isolated village of Aappilattoq (above), in the Prince Christian Sound, Southern Greenland is dwarfed by the high craggy mountains that surround it. Opposite, across a stretch of water is the magnificent Mount Qilertiki. With a milder climate than the outer islands, the sea rarely freezes over, allowing for fishing all year round. We sailed north through the Sound and returned through it again when sailing south, to avoid sea fog. In this sketch above I focused on content only. I wanted to record what I could see and did not worry about getting tonal values right. Although there is an eraser in the photo I tend to use one only for lifting highlights and cleaning up the paper if the pencil marks have smudged. I mostly ignore incorrectly placed lines when sketching. If I were to make a painting from this sketch my composition would probably be from the same or a similar viewpoint...but I would add depth and drama to try and share the feelings I experienced when looking at the landscape around me. The artwork would be a personal reaction, a response to a remarkable place. To find 'the story' to tell in a drawing or painting is part of the creative process, in my view and helps ensure that each artwork is both personal and unique.
Anne Corless, Derwent Ambassador
Anne Corless was an art instructor on MV Boudicca, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines from Dover ‘The Fjords of Greenland’ cruise in August 2019, also visiting Reykjavik in Iceland and Kirkwell in the Orkney Islands. Total distance travelled: 4,137 nautical miles.