Friday, October 07, 2016

Cemetery sketching


Sketching is always high on my list of priorities and is pretty much a habit with me.  Subject matter varies to whatever is at hand or sometimes I get an idea in my head and have to go with it.  Last weekend the weather was beautiful, cool but sunny and perfect for a wander in my favourite cemetery to do some sketching.  The sculpture found in older cemeteries is often ornate and makes beautiful subjects for drawing.  Most of the individuals with large sculpures on their gravesite were likely from wealthier families.  Likely then, as nowadays, monuments were expensive.  There can be a marked difference almost next to each other in the cemetery of an ornate sculpture next to a simple wooden cross.

Over time, weather takes its toll and taller objects and finials crack off and are propped up the main element as in this very ornate monument.  Trees in the cemetery grow of course and encroach on grave enclosures and sculpture, pushing some of them over into the grass.

In this cemetery, graves of very young babies, children and young adults are common. With deaths in the 1800s, it was obvious that many illnesses or relatively minor accidents that we consider non-life threatening today were deadly as it was an era that existed without antibiotics.  Measles, mumps, influenza, scarlet fever, infections from minor wounds all took their toll in young children and adults alike.

I sketched on site using a new fountain pen that I didn't realize had water soluble ink in it.  Until I added water to my drawing back in the studio.  Still, I like the effect but will remember its reactive properties for next time.  And to read the label before I buy something!

Sketching baby graves is poignant but a stark reminder that despite the problems of the current world, we have a lot to be grateful for in the medical field.  In this Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, we have much to be thankful for, including antibiotics!


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

love older cemeteries :) often nice quiet places to draw some really interesting things :D

I really like the watered look, gives the stone a very nice weathered look :) but def wouldn't work with everything

Jeanette Jobson said...

I always think of cemeteries as places of history...people, events, stories. They are serene and lovely especially the older ones.

The water soluble ink was a surprise but I figured I'd work with it instead of fight it.