Genre: Plein Air Painting
He’s always been drawn to the urban environment; where people interact with the busy spaces that surround them. His goal is to draw people without actually putting them in – partly because they never keep still.He likes drawing the spaces they’ve been in, or the cobbles they’ve walked on, and the windows they’ve looked through. He loves location drawing as it enables me to record the experience of being in a busy place.
Ian generally begins with a painted wash to break up the space in front of him. This establishes the broad shapes of my composition. This is a very emotional part of the process as you are dealing with colour which affects us all in different ways. Watercolour paint is perfect for this part of the process as they soften easily and create a wonderful layering effect which enables me to build up tones and glazes of colour.
Then he works on top of the colour with brush pens which adds depth and tonal value to the image. He then uses liner makers to add the texture and detail. This is a big part of the creative journey as recording the detail of an urban scene really forces you to look and notice things. This brings in the very human element of simply being out on location and fully experiencing and enjoying the world around you.
Finally, if he is lucky, it will be complete. In between all this he’s constantly jumping around, bouncing up and down, nipping to the toilet or buying a coffee and cake. I tend not to sit still, so the angles can change. If a car or van parks up in front of me, the choice is to draw through it, or move around it – either way you have to get fully involved in the scene, both physically and imaginatively.
Fennelly’s urban sketches typically take around 2 – 3 hours to complete. He used to be a lot quicker but he notices things now. The more you look the more you see the more you understand.