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.


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religious architecture


The beauty of an on location sketch is in the memories and atmosphere that are captured within the piece of paper. My sketchpads are full of notes, observations and thoughts from the moment that make the pen and paint all the more intriguing.

As previously mentioned during my weekend at Boconnoc I chose the beautiful old church as a subject. Like my many sketches at Truro Cathedral it was the architecture and the religious foundation with which it came to be that urges me on to paint the scene.

It was early on the Sunday morning when I came to choose a spot to draw. Only the drifting smell of freshly lit fires in the fireboxes of the traction engines hinted that activity had began over the fields.

The church is of  three aisled construction and has all the hallmarks of centuries of change and wear in it’s build. As I sketched, inked and painted the weather turned towards drizzle to the point where I took shelter in the church entrance, eager to complete the piece in site.

As I neared the end an old lady appeared from behind showing interest in my sketch. What could be better than someone taking interest in your work? After a short conversation she continued into the church to see to her pre-service chores. As I carefully made last minute marks on the page, with the words ‘Don’t Fiddle Alwywn’ in my head, I could hear her continually mutter words of exasperation to herself. It’s little things such as this that mean so much to me when I look back at my paintings.

On this occasion the sketch lead to a more detailed painting which will be featured on cards for the church. And with that in mind it’s time to return to said artwork.

Sketch of Boconnoc Church by Stephen Bedser