To mark the Big Draw 2015, OCA facilitated a series of sketching opportunities around the country. I joined a tutor and eight or so fellow student on All Saints day in Abney Cemetery, Stoke Newington. This is a Victorian burial ground established as a non denominational cemetery in 1840 and closed to burials about 50 years ago. It became very overgrown before being taken over by a trust and preserved for public enjoyment. Seen in the mist of the day after Halloween, it was full of gothic atmosphere.
I had decided to travel light, since I had several train connections to get there, so I restricted my equipment to a small stool, small sketchpad and a handful of pencils, a pen and a waterbrush. Other students had taken large rolls of paper or big pads, which offered them different and exciting opportunities, and I wished I had done this too.
We met in the morning for quick sketches and exploration. I fell in love with all the statues of angels with broken arms and faces softened by time and moss or algae.
We met up for lunch and chat in a local cafe. It is always interesting to meet other students on different courses and hear about their experiences. The tutors always give a different insight to the courses, too. After lunch, we returned to the cemetery to continue with larger drawings (or not, in my case).
Briefly, and gloriously, the autumn sun glimmered through the mist.
We gathered together at the main gates to share our work, much to the interest of passers by. We all had a great and productive day. Many thanks to the OCA office for arranging this.