I had the joy of handing over my first art commissions last weekend. They were two hand drawn elevations of house fronts given as gifts to close family.
I’ve always been a lover of intricate detail and since the fast paced world we live in doesn’t provide much opportunity to slow down and take our time, detailed drawings have become the perfect outlet for me.
I was inspired by an instagrammer I follow called @maltzcreative, who does a lot of intricately detailed shop and house facades.
I’m hoping to make a thing of it, so if you are interested do get in touch and we can chat. More than happy for suggestions.
Hello! Welcome back to another weekly summary of sketching progress. This week was typically sporadic and entirely in my brown sketchbook as the white one is now complete. Here goes..
TOO COLD OUTSIDE
It was too cold to draw outside, so I sat inside and drew what was outside. Pretty chuffed with this effort – especially the effect of shading on the internal sash window. The lone spot of colour for the flowers adds some needed flavour to an otherwise mono-tone image.
I took this with the flash on as it illuminates the white lines made by the Posca pen. The beauty of small collage pages is that it doesn’t have to be complex / large / finished drawings. Simply look around and start sketching.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER CAFE
On Wednesday lunch, I officially went to Cafe Nero for the 1 squillionth time. If the staff don’t know me by now, they really aren’t observant. This was a bit of a longer perspective drawing, taking almost 40mins after munching on some dairy-free goodness.
DRAW WITHOUT LEAVING THE PAGE
Want a kill 20mins and get some drawing practice in?
Try this quick & fun exercise as suggested by a friend of mine. The base drawing [in pen and ink] was done without lifting the pen (although I did occasionally rest my hand and start exactly where I stopped). The biggest benefit was having less hairy lines, something that still needs to improve in my general drawing.
POST WORK WIND-DOWN
After work on Friday, I needed a quick 20min sit down to unwire my tangled mind. Sketching and good music are one way that help me achieving that. This was drawn as I sat in a Costa and watched people battle through the rain. Particularly chuffed with how the guy struggling with his umbrella came out – though he won’t appreciate it I’m sure)
OLE’S AT THE WHEEL
“Tell me, how good does it feel?”
Manchester United. Champions league quarter finalists.. Un-real!
My favourite sketch this week is a collage of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba. I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling ever since Wednesdays win at PSG.
Detailed faces are definitely not my strength and need more work, but I’m glad with how Rashford and Martial came out. Pogba, not so much lol.
Weekly summary of last weeks sketching efforts. This week, I joined a coffee and art group that meet weekly to chill, chat and draw. My cup of tea! Or coffee 🤔
I began by looking around at the light instalments in the room.
Then ventured onto my favourite pass time – people watching!
Finally, observing people wearing yellow, Bath rugby fans and random bags.
Earlier in the week, I observed details on the facade of the Guild Hall Market.
These were riverside people sketches in the sunshine. Drawn over lunch break. I particularly love the jogger (bottom left) and the dog. I haven’t drawn animals or nature much, which might be another avenue to explore.
There I was; About to start the most professionally run FIFA tournament I had ever been to.
Venue: Some dudes room at uni with two massive screens, a trophy & buckets upon buckets of KFC chicken. Ultimate lads night in! Between games, I was constantly refreshing my phone for live updates on Zambia’s opening match against Senegal at Afcon 2012.
Truth be told, I was confidently pessimistic that my beloved Zambia would retain their title of “Serial Underachievers!” In European football, I’d compare us to The Netherlands; Well respected, unexpected, but won’t win squat!
‘‘How soon till we’re out?’ I thought.
Add to this a hint of mild frustration at the draw we had and our potential routes to the final which would see us face all the big guns, if we so dared. All the negativity aside, I was quietly excited.
Zambia vs Senegal
To set the scene; Senegal were pre-tournament favourites along with Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In the absence of Egypt (who had won the three previous tournaments) and the Super Eagles of Nigeria, they saw this as their trophy.
At the time, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse (both prolific goalscorers at Newcastle United) alongside Moussa Sow were among the most feared partnerships on the continent. On paper, this game was over before it had ever began. However, Zambia took a quick & impressive 2-0 lead which lasted well into the second half when they conceded 1. In the end, they hung on for a rather unexpected but well deserved three points.
Full Time: Zambia 2-1 Senegal
Zambia vs Libya
Onto the next one and along came Libya. I was amazed to see the game still went ahead in such treacherous conditions. Historically, Zambia have struggled against North African opposition. As a child, the name Hossam Hassan or Mohamed Aboutrika (both of Egypt) sent shivers down my spine.
In the end, Zambia fought hard in the conditions and came from behind twice to earn a brilliant point.
Full Time: Zambia 2-2 Libya
Zambia vs Equatorial Guinea
With charismatic French coach Herve Renard at the helm, Zambia headed into their final group match against joint hosts Eq. Guinea. This was a chance to win the group.
I was only 1 when it happened, but grew up in the aftermath of the event with the massive re-building job in the 90’s. The effects on the country were strong and the passion and emotion connected to football was understandably prominent.
Going into this game, my fear was that the emotion of the event and the dreaded home advantage would kill our momentum. Besides, I had grown up with years of Zambia almost doing something big, but eventually settling for disappointment (hence the earlier pessimism).
The game itself was tough against the tournament debutants, but in the end a lone goal from captain Christopher Katongo settled the matter. This result meant we finished top of Group A and avoided the other tournament favourites, Ivory Coast.
Full Time: Zambia 1-0 Equatorial Guinea
Zambia vs Sudan
It was straight knockout from here on. You lose, you leave!
We were pitted against the Sudanese ‘Falcons of Jediane.’ With Zambia’s ‘Copper Bullets’ firepower proving too much in the end, it was the end of another team with an animal nickname – cue all the memes about poaching. In truth, it was a fairly comfortable / convincing 3-0 win. In my lifetime, I had never seen Zambia in the semi-finals of such a huge tournament and I was too young to remember our run to the final in 1994 which ended in defeat to Nigeria. But now, the toughest test lay ahead.
Full Time: Zambia 3-0 Sudan
Zambia vs Ghana
Wow! This was it. The end of the road.. surely!
4 years earlier, I watched helplessly from the stands as Ghana systematically destroyed Zambia 4-1 in a friendly at Leyton Orient’s ground, London.
On that occasion, they had Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari & Stephen Appiah to name a few legends of the African game. This time round, they still had Muntari, along with rising stars Asamoah Gyan, Andre and Jordan Ayew. I considered them the Germany of African football – Efficient, consistent and always making it to the semi finals. Just 2 years earlier, they were on the brink of making history by becoming African’s first ever World Cup Semi-Finalists – but were denied bythe hand of Luis Suarez and the foot of Asamoah Gyan. Their form had hardly dipped in the intermediate time, so this was going to be an uphill battle.
But low and behold, little Zambia [who stood NO chance – if you listened to the self-acclaimed ‘football experts’] did the impossible. Emmanuel Mayuka with the faint, followed by the perfect curling shot inside the post sent every Zambian momentarily off the planet in celebration. Wowzer!
I remember being in the minority of people celebrating that goal in the students union on campus – along with my legendary Welsh housemate and a few Nigerian fans (you know how they get on with Ghana! lol). One more win away from History!
Zambia had previously built a squad capable of beating a near full-strength Italian team 4-0 at the 1988 Olympics. But in 1993, that golden generation had been stripped away in the most abrupt and tragic of circumstances. This win was about more than just football. A nation had been brought to her knees in mourning, but now it was time to rise up and honour those who died.
Full Time: Zambia 1-0 Ghana
Zambia vs Ivory Coast
Now for the big one. The cherry on the cake.
The undeniable favourites, highest ranked team at the time, highest profile players from the best leagues in the world – meet the Ivory Coast (aka The Elephants). Even if our ‘Copper Bullets’ (aka. Chipolopolo) would strike against this lot, it would take a lot to bring these giants down.
If the semi final was a test against the most efficient and consistent team, this was a test against the absolute best in their prime.
With Didier Drogba (Chelsea) the charismatic talisman, Yaya & Kolo Toure (Manchester City), Gervinho (Arsenal) & Salomon Kalou (Chelsea) among many star names, this wasn’t just an uphill battle, but an impossible task.
I could literally go on naming players that were important members of league winning sides in top European teams. If this game was played on paper, no way did we stand a chance. Even my faint optimism at this point didn’t give me any hope.
The game itself surprised me as Zambia started off at flying speed creating many chances throughout. Didier Drogba missed a penalty during the 90 mins and the game went into extra time and then penalties at 0-0.
The most superb, intense, and gripping shootout I have ever seen – not just because it was my team involved, but everyone scored. With the score at 7-7 in sudden death, Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast/Chelsea) missed giving Zambia the chance to win it. Unfortunately, Rainford Kalaba (Zambia/TP Mazembe) did likewise and we were back to square one. This was never going to end. Then Gervinho (Ivory Coast/Arsenal) sent the ball out of the stadium with his shot (slight exaggeration, but it looked that way) giving Zambia another chance to seal the deal.
Up stepped a confident young man, Stopilla Sunzu – Already a Zambian legend no matter the outcome, singing along to the song the Zambian players had been singing throughout the shootout. A song in that moment that embodied the spirit of the team that had carried them from the bleak ashes of tragedy to the very brink of victory. As the late-great football commentator Dennis Liwewe poignantly put it; “never again will we go to Gabon and return without dignity and honour.”
Sunzu duly dispatched his penalty with ease, sending the keeper the wrong way and a nation into rapture.
Why do I love football so much, I hear you ask? For moments like these. From tragedy to triumph.
That Monday Feeling.. back to the grind after a restful weekend. I left for work when it was dark, and got back when it was dark. Despite the many frustrations, difficult work and early starts, I’m constantly reminded to be grateful and embrace it wholeheartedly. This picture was taken in Bath’s main Shopping complex, Southgate.
Bath’s famous Pultney Street Bridge. Took this photo while on a stroll before work. One thing that constantly baffles, amazes and saddens me is the parallel lives lived in this evidently wealthy city. A matter of meters to the left of this shot were two homeless men wrapped up in sleeping bags under an archway. Very sad indeed.
Just around the corner, you have Bath Abbey in all its splendour. I could only capture the calm before the tourists arrived in the morning.
Architecture Site Visit.. Always good to get out of the office and see the progress on site.
Boarding the “Not-so Great Western Railway”.. A delayed service, of course. This was a replacement after an hour for a broken down train.
VW Campervan in Bath – Love an old classic. The city, the car. They were made for each other.
And finally, after a deep and meaningful catch up with a friend, I spend some time doing some writing. This was a short poem (soon to feature on the blog) based on 2 Timothy 1.