Sketches from Victoria's travels; many year, many countries.
Sketching can be a method of learning about something. By studying it, you and become familiar with it, whether a landscape, face or other object. Taking a photograph is not the same. It is only once familiar with a place that Victoria can attempt some larger pieces of work. A Lot of the expression in the final piece of work will have been created, in a much rawer state, in the sketch. Many of Victoria’s studies for her larger landscapes can be seen in En Plein Air in Back Catalogue.
Sketching is also a way of recording. Victoria wanted to create this page as a record of her travels. It spans many years and many countries. It is a playful page of quick sketches
done on the road. Although some of the Scottish sketches lead to larger studio pieces, most of them are made for the pleasure without any intention of using them for inspiration for further paintings.
In her earlier years, Victoria travelled widely. India, South East Asia, Indonesia and South America. For several years she funded her travels through commissions in UK and abroad. When not travelling she lived for periods in London, Scotland, the West Country and Morocco before settling in an artist’s community in the mountains of Southern Spain.
She took painting equipment wherever she went. On her first trip to India, eschewing a camera, she recorded her travels with a sketchbook and watercolours, painting her adventures and the people she met.
She has many tales to relate from her travels with paints. One particularly rememberable one was when sketching in Tha Prom, one of the temples of Angkor Watt in Cambodia. The guard wanted to borrow her walkman to play music to his friend during his lunch break. Unsure that he would return with it, Victoria asked for a guarantee, he left her with his Kalashnikov rifle. Tourists later entered and asked why she had the gun, without thinking, she replied it was to shoot the tourists that got in her way, not one stepped between her and her view!
Wanting to improve her portrait skills, she went with an artist friend to Goa in India, in search of interesting faces to paint. There they found plenty of colourful people with time on their hands to sit for them for a couple of hours. Acid Eric, Eight fingered Edie and many more. Although not a path she wanted to follow it was an enriching experience.
When visiting her brother, then living in Vietnam. They went on a motorbike trip round tribal areas near the Loas border. Crossing rivers in canoes with their motorbikes, sketching the landscape by day and staying nights in tribal villages who’s inhabitants she sketched by candlelight in the evenings. Painting in extreme situations has challenges but sometimes produces surprising work.
The brilliant thing about sketching is that you can sketch with just about anything; pencil, earth, colourful spices, sticks of burnt wood, ink, mud or anything else you can find. Mark making can be such a pleasure, on finding a liquid black makeup brush, it was perfect for creating the landscape of rocks in Hampi, India at sunset.