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Resolute Beginnings by Sasha Ward

'Resolute Beginnings' was a title that I always liked given by one of my fellow art students to her mass of smashed up and refired glass pieces. In this case it refers to drawing with colour, which I never do. So, for a trip to Assisi, Umbria, Italy, I bought a new box of watercolours and set off with resolution. If in doubt I draw the view through the window, this green view (below) was what I could see when sitting up in bed.

 New watercolours                                         View from my bed                                      On opening the door

 New watercolours                                         View from my bed                                      On opening the door

Through the door there was a balcony with a beautiful view of the mountains to the north east of Assisi. The camera captures the rhythms and shadows of the balcony, the ink drawings, one example below, are better at getting into the contours and details of the landscape.

On the last evening I went as far as painting the sky from the end of the balcony. As the sun set on the other side of the building there was a riot of colour in the sky and briefly across the illuminated landscape. Phthalocyanine and cinereous blues, even dioxazine purple, more useful than I could have imagined.

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View From The Window by Sasha Ward

If in doubt, I draw the view from the window. Last weekend (of the attacks) I was staying in a friend's flat in Paris, being very critical of the view from the windows on to the blank wall of a block of flats less than three metres away (drawing 1). However, as shown in drawing 2, we ruined the view from the bedroom window at home in Marlborough by building our tall studio in front of it. Looking at the little patch of sky that remains at top left, I remembered another sketchbook page (drawing 3) drawn from my bedroom at West Dean House last January, where I had to peer between the thick flint walls and the courtyard castellations to find my view.

drawing 1, Paris                                         drawing 2, Marlborough                                          drawing 3, West Dean House, Sussex

drawing 4, Loch Lomond                                  drawing 5, Lewis                                         drawing 6, Berneray

There are window drawings in all of my sketchbooks, here I've chosen three Scottish ones from 2011 when I did a commission on the Isle of Lewis. On the way there was a hotel window near Loch Lomond, some tree tops and lots of sky visible (drawing 4). Then the ugly bungalow we stayed in on Lewis had only one high window facing south towards a magnificent view of The Minch (drawing 5) - invisible when you were sitting down at the kitchen table. Drawing 6 is a view from the kitchen window of the most beautiful place I have ever stayed, that is undisputedly the hostel on the Isle of Berneray.