A Weekend Touring Ropley


Loco Yard

Watercress Line Ropley Schools class V 925 Cheltenham - 19th September 2015This Saturday and Sunday the Watercress Line are holding their open weekend.  As well as running an intensive service of four trains (consisting of two steam hauled passenger, one steam hauled demonstration freight and one heritage diesel DEMU) the railway have opened up most of the works in Ropley.  My task for the day was to run tours of the workshops in Ropley and overall I’m very pleased with how they went, especially as these were my first “official” tours.  I was ably assisted by one of the Canadian Pacific apprentices today (thank you very much Alfie!) 

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The detail is in the shadows


My final entry for Loco Yard…

Loco Yard

Tonight we have a very special guest blog post from a fantastic artist, Stephen Bedser.  Stephen has previously written for LocoYard and today we are at his final part of his mini series on how his does his paintings. To catch up on his previous posts you can new find it on his own dedicated page (click here). I would strongly recommend you visitwww.cornishinc.co.uk to see more of his fantastic works.  Stephen can also be found on twitter (click here), Facebook (click here) and has a wordpress blog (click here).  Without further ado, please read on!

If you’ve been following my previous guest blogs on Loco Yard it is with mixed feelings that I write this last piece. On one hand I’ve enjoyed sharing how I create a piece of artwork through heat stage however like the actual painting itself it’s great to share the final piece!

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Steam flowing with watercolour


…and here’s my latest entry for Loco Yard

Loco Yard

Tonight we have a very special guest blog post from a fantastic artist, Stephen Bedser.  Stephen has previously written for LocoYard about how he became an artist who specialises in heritage scenes (click here) and he has now kindly agreed to write a mini series looking at how he does his paintings. I would strongly recommend you visit www.cornishinc.co.uk to see more of his fantastic works.  Stephen can also be found on twitter (click here), Facebook (click here) and has a wordpress blog (click here).  Without further ado, please read on!

image1Steam flowing with watercolour

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Capturing history with lines and curves


Here’s my first guest blog for Loco yard, part two will be available soon!

Loco Yard

Tonight we have a very special guest blog post from a fantastic artist, Stephen Bedser.  Stephen has previosuly written for LocoYard about how he came an artist who specialises in heritage scenes (click here) and he is nowly kindly agreed to write a mini series looking at how he does his paintings. I would strongly recommend you visit www.cornishinc.co.uk to see more of his fantastic works.  Stephen can also be found on twitter (click here), Facebook (click here) and has a wordpress blog (click here).  Without further ado, please read on!

The big question is, what inspires me? I’m always asking myself that question as I know that if I’m not passionate about the scene I’m painting the result of hours sketching, painting and inking will always be lacking in atmosphere. It’s fair to say that I don’t paint to be rich, famous or even to produce…

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Remote sketching


Drawing of Matera, Italy, seen through the doors of the Santa Maria de Idris

Remote sketching sounds like some kind of psychic connection but in reality it’s a term I tend to use when describing pieces of art that have been inspired by photos or other reproductions of real life scenes.

For the most part it’s old scenes and views of steam locos that tend to fit into this category but from time to time something else comes along that inspires me.

This view of Matera in Italy sadly didn’t come from a visit to the region. Instead the recent broadcast of Italy Unpacked on BBC2 provided some beautiful views of the country that sparked my excitement and urge to once more put pen to paper.

I’m always looking for interesting compositions for my artwork whether it be unusual angles or purely an unexpected view. One particular scene on the programme saw presenters Andrew Graham-Dixon and Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli climb up to the Santa Maria de Idris which is carved out of the very rock it resides on. That view in itself would make for a stunning piece of art however a shot from within, looking through the door back out to Matera did it for me.

Thankfully at the time I was watching the episode on good old iPlayer and more that that on my laptop so with a quick pause and a swift screen grab I had a new reference for a drawing!

Above all I love being out and about enjoying the moment and the view ahead as I capture it in my paintings but when the opportunity doesn’t present itself I’m always happy to make the most of all types of media to continue my passion of art.


Is there a question regarding my artwork you would like to ask or would you like to commission a piece of art?

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Going round the bend


 

Sketch of South Tin Crofty Mine by Stephen BedserYou know, one of the joys of painting can be the wealth of subjects just waiting to be immortalised on paper or canvas.

One of my painting passions, if you haven’t guessed from previous blogs, is capturing the remaining signs of Cornwall’s mining past. The fact is that I’m spoilt for choice really, so well built were the engine houses and surrounding buildings that even though in some cases a hundred years or more have passed they are still a dominate part of the Cornish landscape.

But for me this sometimes presents a dilemma. What do I draw? I grab any opportunity I can to do a sketch of what I see in front of me or draw a representation of an old photo but I don’t always have ample time to complete each piece. Given the time I’d just sit and draw until I could draw no more!

Just the other day I passed a view I had seen many a time on my local travels. South Tin Crofty Mine outside Redruth has both it’s Man Engine, which transported miners underground, and the Compressor House still standing. The latter sports some rather ornate brick arches which I had been meaning to draw for some time now. Having been presented with a short break between meetings I considered stopping off to capture the scene in my sketch book. But which building should I draw?

Whilst heading over the idea of a fisheye lens style piece popped into my head. On the relatively small space of a sketch book I could draw both buildings by bending the scene thus fitting the relatively wide view onto the page.

The sketch was brief, from pencil to ink took little more than 15 minutes and applying the ever changing mixes of watercolour perhaps another twenty. A storm had just passed giving more than a glimpse of blue skies, though standing still left me in no doubt that summer it was not as the bitterly cold wind whipped around and dried the paint at an alarming rate!

Sketching and painting whenever I can keeps me focused and keen. A week without producing something can result in an artist dark age that I sometimes find difficult to recover from. In this case a single piece of art has inspired me to do more, so that can’t be bad.

Click on the above image to see the full piece in its ink stage. You can also see the final colour version by visiting either my Twitter or Facebook page.

Sketchy details


BR_Standard_Class_4_2-6-4T_Stephen_Bedser_sml

I suppose the title should really be sketching the details but for the sake of an interesting title sketchy details seems more approprite and compelling.

For someone who has chosen a style of painting and drawing that is loose and almost shaky I’ve probably picked the most complex of subjects to paint. When it comes to painting steam traction David Shepherd once said that the combination of circles in all their varying perspectives and positions certainly provides a challenge to any artist.

From wheels to buffers and everything in between, I perhaps spend the most time planning and laying out a painting since getting those circles correct can be the difference between success and failure in my mind. That’s not to say that I will go all out to create the most technically drawn piece of art. Perfecting positions at the inital stages provides a guide to which my rather sketchy approach of drawing can follow. If you observe one of my paintings the final curves are by no means correct to the ninth degree but had they not been correct in principle the perspective would have gone out the window long before pen and watercolour hit the paper!

My most recent commission of a BR Standard class 4 2-6-4 is a case in point. As it’s Whyte notation suggestsa way to classify steam locomotives by wheel arrangement, it has 2 leading, 6 driving and 4 trailing wheels. Though not all are seen each never-the-less has to be considered to ensure the most accurate of compositions. Those circles are the essence of any engine, the driving force so to speak.

Then there are the cylinders that clearly define its type. The smoke box is surely, if you take Thomas the Thank Engine to heart, the face of an engine and the following curves of the boiler is most definitely the heart. All are circles, many face in opposite directions but all need to be somewhat correct. It’s like creating a portrait of someone incorrectly to the point where the head is larger than the body and their limbs defy physical capabilities. I add this reference as last night’s BBC episode of Big Painting Challenge is fresh in my mind!

So next time you come across a piece of steam engine artwork, whether it be a photo perfect rendition or an exciting abstract piece, take note of those circles in all their complexity.