A Sketching Story

I thought I would share one of the reasons I enjoy sketching out and about, especially when I am travelling. I did this sketch on my holiday in Malta. It is in the village of Rabat, down a tiny side alley that I came across whilst wandering around. I found a disused doorway with a step to sit on (aided by my little thermal sitting mat) and had my perfect view of the street. I started with a bit a light pencil sketch as it was quite complicated, and then set to with my pen. The first thing that happened was a small van covered in dents and scrapes arrived, it took a bit to get it round the tight corner (there was a narrow crossroads ahead of me) and I was sure it was going to park right in my view, but it didn't few! Out of the van came a monk dressed in brown and he went in to a nearby house. I continued to sketch. Then a bigger car came along and was surprised to find she also managed to manoeuvre her car round the tight bend narrowly missing the greek-style pot on the wall. I continued to sketch, and a local came and watched for a bit. Then the monk came back out of the house then rather unexpectedly followed by 8 chihuahua dogs. They all had a little tinkle around about (yuk) a couple had a little growl and bark at me and then he called them all by their names and they scampered back in. Soon another man came out of the house with a big bull dog and he took it for a short for about 10 minutes. I had sat for around 45 minutes and was now painting the little sketch so it was time to stretch my legs. I walked up the alley and had a look at a little finch cage on the outside of the monks house. I could see several birds in the tiny cage and then saw that there was a hole in the wall and the birds were coming in and out. I then peered in through the windows to have a nose and all I could see were cages of birds of various colours, what a true menagerie inside! I sat back down and enjoyed painting in all the different greens of the potted plants and as I painted I spotted more details such as the red poinsettia, green reeds with the spiky tops, the subtle blue of the shutters on one of the houses. A lady came and called to the ginger cat and gave it a good stroke. She chatted to the monk within the house and after a short exchange in Maltese, she ended with the phrase 'and the same to you, Ciao!' The sketch took and hour and a half in all, and I had sat out of the sun with my thick coat on. I was glad to meet my sister back near the bus terminus and sit in the sun for a while to warm up before we headed off to our next location. Now I have a lovely set of memories to accompany the sketch much more than the snap of a camera - though I do consider myself lucky to have the ability and opportunity to work in such a way.