A book to savour

“This book is also about drawing, and what the process of drawing brings out of me. In his poem ‘Afterwards’, Thomas Hardy ends the first stanza with: ‘He was a man who used to notice such things’. I’ve come to feel that noticing things, looking more intently at them and understanding them better, is key to what drawing means. It has always made places more interesting, and made me feel more alive.” David Gentleman, from the first page of his newly released book My Town: An Artist’s Life in London.

I’m a fan of David Gentleman‘s books and drawings, and several months ago, when I saw that he had a new one coming out, I preordered it. It arrived today, just as I was painting a scene in my garden, but I stopped what I was doing to have a look at it.

I don’t hold many books in my hands these days. Most of what I read is in digital format — both newspapers and novels from the library — so this one is going to be a special treat that I will savour. The hardcover is printed on thick paper (it feels almost like a sketchbook) and includes stories and sketches of London from Gentleman’s seventy years in the city. And in a year when most of us will be staying close to home, the idea of noticing our surroundings and understanding them better through our drawings has a special significance for me. This will be a slow read, in the best possible way, for sure.

22 Comments on “A book to savour”

  1. Janet Duggan says:

    I so enjoy your sketches and the inspiring information you give. Clearly I don’t paint as often as I should. For many years now I’ve owned David Gentleman’s “India”, you’ve inspired me to look at it again. Thanks again for your regular posts.


  2. I quite agree, re: noticing things.
    I don’t know Gentleman. Will check him out.
    The garden is looking resplendent! What are the big white flowers?
    Love the variety of greens.


    • Thanks Alison. The white flowers are cosmos. The only annuals I like to plant because they always look a bit wild. The garden is looking very good in that corner because everything is blooming at the same time. Next week it will go back to all green again.


  3. That is delicious Shari – the soft colours & the restful garden. Wish I was there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carla says:

    Hi Shari,

    I have my own copy of Gentleman’s “My Town” and so glad you have one too!



  5. Denise says:

    That chair looks like an inviting spot to sit and paint, or read-or read about painting!


  6. Lee Kline says:

    Ahhhh. DAvid Gentleman. I have so many of his books. His work is instructive and wonderful.

    Lee Kline


  7. Mary McLaughlin says:

    Hi Shari – how do I access your first class, Sketching Landscapes? I see that it’s offered through Bluprint which is apparently closing. Thanks so much.


    • Hi Mary, That is a very good question. Yes, we heard last week that Bluprint is closing. So far many instructors, like me, have asked to have the content and mailing lists transferred to our own sites. But so far no response. It is very sad but it means that all the students who have been promised lifetime access now have nothing, and of course the instructors have lost a source of income at a very difficult time. Plus there are many employees of Bluprint who are now out of work. It’s a situation that makes no one happy. If I have news I will certainly post it on my blog. And if I manage to get the course videos I will certainly have them on my teaching website: learn.shariblaukopf.com. Regards, Shari


      • Julana says:

        I also bought your Craftsy classes and got the Blupring closing notice. I was so sorry to hear that, because its so nice to be able to re-watch those. One is always at a different place in ones sketching journey, and gains new help from them. Being able to access them through artist sites would be great! They will offer downloads, but those can always be lost or degrade over time.
        I have David Gentleman’s Paris book. It is wonderful. I would love to have the London book. On my list


  8. Pastor Cathy says:

    A book to savour


  9. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Morning dear friend Shari,

    Very lovely sketch as usual.

    God bless you and my blessings too.


  10. TonyU says:

    Always good (but increasingly rare) to hear nice things about and English Gentleman! Good to see your garden’s blooming too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bernadette says:

    Your garden scene looks so inviting. As always your clean, fresh washes impress me and encourage me to go lightly into detailed scenes of beauty.


  12. joantav says:

    Lovely garden scene!!! The colors and the details are great. I am not familiar with David Gentleman. When I have a little time to breathe here I will try to check him out.


  13. sandidureice says:

    This is my first introduction to David Gentleman. Thanks for the info. I have just put a hold on this book at my library. My library system continued to distribute holds via a courier, and now, with physical distancing, from the library branches themselves. Still no browsing books on shelves. I am looking forward to this book and my first experience of David Gentleman. Thank you.
    By the way, I missed this blog post originally and went directly to Instagram – first time there in a few years – to see today’s painting which featured on the side bar in a later blog post. It is beautiful.


  14. You have me very interested me in David Gentleman’s book so I ordered it from our local book store. Could you send the ISBN No. that would make it easier to order? . . . Thank you!


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