Double Dutch, 2 Doctors & 3 drawing classes

IMG_2248The Eastern Solent at 09.40am 24.11.14 : the ipad over-cooked this shot and it decided it should be at ISO 64 at f/2.4. if i could have overridden this setting I would but then my mission was to teach drawing not photography.

The scheme of work for my lovely University of Portsmouth Computer Games UG students said “Drawing Sea and Sky” so who am I to disagree ! I met about 17 of them in the drawing studio at 09.00hrs and despite the temperature (-2 degrees) we set off down to the beach ! I quipped that I hoped they all had their swimming costumes but I may as well of been talking Mandarin for all the response it got ! By the time we got to the hovercraft terminal, next to the Clarence Pier Fun-Fair in Southsea it had warmed up a little and the sun illuminated a tranquil but busy Solent. I decided upon this spot because of the constant traffic that trudges up and down to the North Sea and beyond – also because there is a handy Victorian shelter to hide in from the prevailing wind, which in November can be a little bracing !


I’ve never been a great fan of pigeons, particularly those with no control over their digestion – you know the ones – the delightful creatures that squirt all over you outside the National Gallery or the ones the try to steal your fish and chips during Cowes week ! However, it was amusing to watch these fellows hovering up the last vestiges of the summer buns dropped by the holidaymakers.


IMG_2246After a while several gulls flew in to join the party – needless to say I didn’t share my mince pie with the encroaching hoard that mistook our hideaway for the film set of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” !


IMG_2247As a ex purveyor of yachting equipment I rarely miss the opportunity to photograph a dead yacht fender or rusting length of chain !

IMG_2249By 09.42 the light to the west had begun to improve and here we see two UG Computer Games students stalking a lonely seagull !


IMG_2250The Victorian windbreak that made a very cosy temporary studio for our intrepid water-colourists. © All rights reserved 2014 In the background is a fabulous sky which progressively got better.

IMG_2255Here we see a happy man at work returning the pebbles to the sea from the slipway of the hovercraft – the JCB spent most of the day going back and forth – this must be a full time job as the storms are constantly throwing vast amounts of shingle onto the promenade. I love the iconic yellow building in the background which is hopefully listed if not it should be ! The circular top looks as if it should be a revolving restaurant or better still the hanger for a “Thunderbirds” rocket ! © All Rights reserved 2014

IMG_2258 “Setinels” The last vestiges of a Victorian pier for paddle steamers proudly stand to attention before a colourful horizon and yes that’s real sand on our Southsea beach ! © All rights reserved 2014


IMG_2259‘A race between the “Fast Cat” and an Isle of Wight ferry’ © All rights reserved 2014


One of the highlights of the day “The Dutch Holland-class offshore patrol vessel being escorted out of the harbour” © All Rights reserved 2014




One of the highlights of the day “The Dutch Holland-class offshore patrol vessel motoring down the Solent towards the Spithead Fort” © All Rights reserved 2014


IMG_2271“The Dutch Navy Sailing off through the Forts and into the sunrise” © All Rights reserved.

The  offshore patrol vessel is either P843 Groningen or P842 Friesland – they both passed us but I didn’t log their numbers and times !


IMG_2274The crew (Computer Games UG students) hard at work in their temporary studio ! © All rights reserved 24.11.2014


IMG_2277and this was what we suffered for “The Isle of Wight Hovercraft” © All rights reserved 2014.

IMG_2306and yet another Ferry prepares to enter Portsmouth Harbour ! © All rights reserved 2014

IMG_2328“The Isle of Wight Car Ferry” and a University of Portsmouth Computer Games student recording the scene for posterity. © All rights reserved 2014

IMG_2359“The Last Post” © Chris N Wood All rights reserved 2014

For the inquisitive the title of this post “Double Dutch, 2 Doctors & 3 drawing classes” Refers to the fact that during my various excursions to the coast on Monday I encountered 2 Dutch Offshore Patrol Vessels ; I met a retired lecturer and friend who was awarded a doctorate after studying naval fortifications; I met the the multi-talented Dr Ayman Nassif who is Principal Lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying at University of Portsmouth and FINALLY . . . .my reason for spending most of the day on the beach in late November was to demonstrate water-colour painting to 3 separate classes. I met the first set of Computer Games students at the University at 9.00am, then we walked down to the beach and proceeded to capture sea and sky in sketchbooks, on iphones and tablets, then I darted back to the University to meet my second group of UG Computer Games students at 11.00am and I repeated the exercise. Exhausted, I returned to the Drawing Studio for lunch and met the third group, of UG Computer Animation students, who dutifully followed me to the Hovercraft terminal on the beach where we drew, studied seagulls and pigeons,took innumerable photographs and watched the sunset over the Isle of Wight !

The students produced some lively interpretations and captured the natural environment for their self directed project : Development of a Concept Character – I cant wait to see the results and to see if any of them include a maritime themed environment !

I will add another post later – showing some creative responses to what was a cold but  exciting day away from the drawing studio !


About chriswoodartist

painter, print-maker and illustrator


  1. Oh yes ! i can’t wait to see what they produced. and you , maybe?

    • Oh yes I’ll be posting some of my quick watercolours made with salt water from the Solent ! I might be wrong but the salt seemed to slow down the drying process. I was working quickly though as the pages of my moleskine sketchbook are very thin and to avoid too many wrinkles I drew the brush over the surface just once. An interesting technique thats worth revisiting. . . .

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