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Capture This!!

Dear Planksters,

Happy spring to you all!


Whilst out and about I’m always looking around for inspiration – things to draw and things to write about. These gems come in many forms, it could be someone that I see, a snippet of an overheard conversation, a feeling that a place gives me that I want to somehow recapture, or maybe something that I read.



I record things mostly by taking a picture; this can be awkward when you’re trying to snap a person (Note – this is illegal to do in a private space without the person’s permission - I usually go for a back profile mostly for the purpose of recording outfits.)


E.g. This... When really I want this!















A couple of days ago in the park, I saw a fellow walker and I just fell in love with the colour combo of their outfit; purple trousers, fawn-coloured coat, and a purple bag. The sun was shining and they were strolling by, casually swinging their walking stick, taking in the daffodils, looking the epitome of contentment. Knowing that my aphantasia (see previous post!) would prevent me from recalling the sight, I had to get that photo! I did the old ‘Obvious panning of camera to get the best view of the park whilst pressing the button mid pan on the purple outfit from behind’ scenario, and, happily got my photo which I will be working up into something later on this week!

To be fair, when someone dresses with such consideration for their outfit, they’d probably be totally fine if you asked them for a photo – maybe next time I should be brave and have that slightly weird, but potentially fun conversation!


I’ve never done outdoor sketches and remember watching an interview with the late Shirley Hughes who said that she never used a camera and sketched everything she wanted to remember.

She was in excellent company of course, as many artists including Turner and Van Gogh made hundreds of outdoor sketches of places they wanted to paint, finishing them up in their studios.

Lowry too made lots of on-site sketches but always said that when he came to working up the actual painting, all the people featured were from his imagination. I wonder if they would have continued to sketch if they had owned cameras back then?!

If I’m not able to capture a photo of an event that I want to remember, I might make a rough scribble on a piece of kitchen towel with a biro (my go-to, readily available, cost-effective art supplies!!) as soon as I get home, but never a sketch in a sketchbook.


My phone is crammed with photos! Sometimes several of the same scene and often with many turning out blurred, which incidentally, I don’t delete as even viewing the blurred ones can recreate the feeling I had when I first saw the scene, and usually as it’s the feeling that I want to get down on the page, the blurred ones are keepers too!

Maybe I should set myself a sketching challenge and go out for a week without my camera and only a biro and a kitchen roll… (Besides being cheap, I genuinely like the feeling that the biro makes as it glides over the tissue!) If I complete it, I’ll come back and post my efforts!

So, which way do you swing, Planksters, when it comes to capturing inspiration? Photo or sketchbook?! Let me know!

Radiating out feelings of warmth behind an unnecessary frosty façade,

Thalamus Plank.


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